The value of pre- and post-cruise vacation stays

Cruise planning
Cruise planning

Cruise passengers often wake up at the crack of dawn in order to catch flights to their ship's port. After arriving, many cruisers find themselves exhausted, and the first day of the cruise is often overshadowed with trying to catch up on rest. Disembarking starts the whole process over again with an early morning wake-up call along with the subsequent rush to the airport to catch flights home.

Regrettably, many cruise travelers are so focused on booking their cruise they often don't give thought to adding a few days to enjoy the city of embarkation and/or disembarkation. For those sailing on an Alaskan cruise vacation or starting off on a European cruise, it's a shame to fly all that way and not savor some of the world's most exciting places. Thankfully there is a better way to enjoy your cruise vacation and it's called pre-and post-cruise stays.

Pre- and post-cruise vacation stays

Most cruise lines offer convenient one, two or three-night pre- or post-cruise hotel packages in which the hotel, roundtrip airport and pier transfers are included. You can also consider alternative packages at other hotels than those offered by the cruise lines.

A day in port, and often a different port each day, defines the majority of cruise itineraries. But many of the world's most amazing places are a bit too far from port to explore in a matter of hours. In these destinations, extended port stays and multi-day shore adventures, even the option of leaving the cruise ship in one port and re-embarking in another, add an unforgettable new  dimension to many cruises.

Extended port stays - sometimes 18 hours, more often two full days - showcase some of the most exciting, culture-rich and unique cities on earth. The extraordinary history and culture of Istanbul in Turkey, the unique glamor and style of Rome, the fun and beauty of Sydney, the pomp and charm of London: these are among the many world capitals and great cities where passengers can spend time before or after their cruise. A European cruise vacation can turn out to be the perfect way to explore several iconic countries in a short amount of time.

Other examples include striking Asian cruise destinations, like Hong Kong and Singapore. A number of itineraries feature cities with exceptional nightlife, from San Juan to Puerto Rico to Buenos Aires. A South America cruise might be just what you need to explore all this region of the world has to offer. By booking this type of vacation, you can give yourself multiple opportunities to explore other cultures.

Extended stays are a particularly popular feature on Alaska cruise sailings. Most cruise lines offer a variety of extended cruise-tour package options which take passengers deeper into Alaska via train and include land stays at lodges. Highlights range from hiking and sightseeing in Denali National Park to "flightseeing" across the massive Yanert Glacier via helicopter. An Alaska cruise vacation can give you the opportunity to explore a whole new territory of the U.S. that you have never visited before.

Just think of the true value of being able to decompress before or after your cruise. Pre- and post-cruise stays allow the stress to melt away, which can only enhance the overall cruise vacation experience. Whether you're going on a Mexican cruise or sailing to the Far East, planning ahead can help you get the most out of your vacation. In the end, you'll be glad you took the time to do so!