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There are many advantages of travelling by sea compared to other forms of transport such as planes, trains, cars and buses. We have set out the main ones below. There are also a few disadvantages that we have included to give you the full picture.
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If you travel by boat, you know it is going to take a while to get wherever you are going. Even a fast boat is so much slower than a plane, a car, a train or a bus. But actually, when you get onto a boat, you need to be buying into the slowness. The extra time to read, or socialise or just look at the water going by, is the real benefit of travelling by sea.
Whatever kind of boat you are on, whether it is a cruise ship, a yacht or a gin palace, the actually travelling is the main point of the holiday. After all, you usually start and end in the same place, so if the physical journey wasn't enjoyable, then you wouldn't do it.
Compare this to flying: you and your belongings are scanned, poked and prodded, before you are herded onto a tiny metal tube, where you sit elbow to elbow with whoever, before being subject to horrific levels of noise for up to 12 hours, while you watch films that you never thought worth watching in the cinema, or even at home. People definitely don't fly for the experience.
The first and principle pleasure of travelling by sea is the sea itself. Every day it is different, from placid to illuminating to violent; you can spend hours simply watching it go by. This is easier to do on a small boat, where it is closer, but you can definitely watch the waves on even the largest cruise liners. There is bound to be wildlife; depending one where you are, you might see dolphins, sharks. Everywhere you'll see and hear seabirds.
A second pleasure of being on the ocean is reading or watching movies. You can catch up on the latest Netflix series or dive into a serious book without any guilt that you should be doing something else.
The final point in this section is that boats are generally seriously comfortable, compared to other forms of transport. You won't be pushing past other passengers on the train to find a toilet, before plonking yourself back into a hard seat. No, for the most part, boats will offer you a level of comfort that are just a dream on other vehicles.
Sailing or cruising is almost always an adventure. There is a near infinity of things to see in the shortest trip. Even if you are travelling a route you've done before, it will be different; different weather, different season, different travelling companions. Depending on the ocean you travel, you might see icebergs, palm tree, penguins or parakeets.
If you haven't travelled much outside of your homeland, you might find the thought of organising a foreign holiday daunting. Then there are the issues of language and understanding a different culture.
Making your first overseas trip a cruise can deal with all of these issues. Your accommodation travels with you, any excursions to dry land will be managed by an experienced guide, and there'll be staff on hand to help with any issues.
If you are lucky enough to be on a yacht or a sailing boat, the physical excitement can be even more. The motion of the boat will be exaggerated and if the wind picks up, the speed will be exhilarating. If you are actively involved in sailing the vessel you can expect to be very active at times, especially if you are sailing into the wind.
Any cruise ship will be equipped to keep its voyager entertained. From sports to cinema, to fine dining, there will be few opportunities to be bored. When you book, just make sure that the cruise is suitable for the party going. Many cruises cater to the older generation. Bear this in mind if you are taking children in particular.
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It is very easy to get to know people if you are on the same boat for two weeks. The proximity and the shared experience make it a breeze to get talking to your fellow voyagers. People on vacation, in new surroundings are generally more open to others in any case.
If you are on a sailing boat this will be even more exaggerated. I made a lifelong friend on a trip from Plymouth, UK down to Spain, going across the Bay of Biscay on a 40-foot sailing boat. The intense time together make the people and the journey unforgettable.
Of course, most of us don't go cruising alone, we go with friends and family. The time together can create some really special memories and help cement those relationships.
New friends that might be more than friends? Boats and the ocean have a way of making romance happen. Perhaps it is the balmy night air, or the bonding over a freshly caught tuna-steak - who knows? Whatever it is, it tends to happen more on the water than on the land.
There are also some practical benefits to a trip on the ocean compared to other ways of travelling:
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There are some places where boat is actually the only option. A number of Scottish Islands for example can only be accessed by boat. If you are working or studying there, then it becomes a purely practical thing.
There are a few disadvantages of travelling by sea that you should consider as well:
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