When Matt and I got married, I made it clear to him that travel was an important part of my life goals, as long as we could afford it.
We had done a bit of traveling when we first started on the VORTEX2 project, traveling from small town to small town throughout the Great Plains. You can read my very first blog about the experience here.
We also were forced to travel quite a bit in the first few years of our relationship as a long-distance couple, living in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Maryland at different times. We were also visiting our families in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Georgia. After we finished grad school, got engaged, moved in together, got our first big-kid jobs, and got married, I felt it was time to kick off our travel adventures, which have thus far gone as follows:
- 2013: Honeymoon in Cabo, Mexico
- 2014: No travel, we bought our first house
- 2015: Western Europe — England, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany
- 2016: Southern Caribbean Cruise — Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados
- 2017a: Baltic Sea Cruise — Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Russia
- 2017b: Christmas/Birthdays Cruise — Bahamas
- 2018: Mediterranean Cruise — Spain, France, Italy
- 2019: Bermuda Cruise
As you can see, after our fun but sometimes grueling two-week adventure in Western Europe, we determined that cruising would be a less intensive way to see a comparable number of countries in a shorter amount of time.
We are definitely concerned about the environmental and cultural impacts of cruising. Developing countries don’t see as much income from tourists when they aren’t staying in the country, and the types of people who are drawn to cruising may also be culturally insensitive or feel entitled to a “good vacation,” treating locals more poorly than they might if they were staying overnight. The environmental pollution is bad; so bad, in fact, that Carnival Cruise Lines was just fined 20 million dollars for breaking United States environmental protection laws, dumping plastic waste into the water (and previously, oil).
Nevertheless, we have been enjoying the floating hotel, which allows us to focus less on transportation and lodging and more on enjoying the time we have in each country. We’re certainly not getting the immersive experience that we get when traveling on land, which is disappointing, but for the sake of minimizing stress and improving our overall vacation experience, it has been good. We hope that as more people become more concerned about environmental protection more cruise lines will make changes to attract more conscious people.
Matt and I are grateful that we have this opportunity to travel as frequently as we do. Over the next few posts, I’ll finally write the blog posts I had always intended to write about these trips, starting with our land-based honeymoon and Western Europe trips, then getting into each of our cruises; the ships, the destinations, the experiences, and the food.