As a senior in college, I have to tell you, cruising is one of my top forms of college vacation! Not only is it super affordable, but both my friends and I can do whatever we want, at any time of the day. Plus, it is so much better to see more countries than the typical one you would spend your whole college vacation exploring.
Yea, I know exactly what you are thinking! You do not want to find yourself on a cruise surrounded by older vacationers that do not want to party and have a good time on your college vacation or Spring Break cruise. Well, let me tell you, if you choose the right itinerary during a popular time of the year, there will be dozens if not hundreds of other college students looking to have an amazing time!
In this article, I am gonna try to convince either you or college students you know that cruising is becoming an increasingly trending mode of transportation and college travel for not only a Spring Break cruise but also for any other escapes you want to experience during your time in college.
I do not know about you, but I am always double checking my bank account just for my weekly trips to the grocery store!
While going to college is super beneficial to set you up for the rest of your life, no one said it was gonna be cheap. Not only do you have to price out tuition, fees, books, and rent, but seemingly small costs like gas, groceries, clothes, and other essentials definitely add up fast.
I know when I was a freshman in college (btw, I'm a senior now), I was planning out extravagant, and extremely expensive, college vacations for spring break. I wanted my first year of freedom to be perfect and wanted an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime adventure with my new college besties.
Well, let me tell you, that first (and probably second and third) college vacation I planned out for weeks did not work out. But, with a lot of research, I found that cruising is the best way to pay for most of the expenses before you leave on vacation, often at a super affordable price.
Just looking around at cruise itineraries at the major cruise lines for this upcoming Spring Break, I have found countless 7-night itineraries from only around $500!
While you will most likely have to pay for your flight to the departure city (bonus points if you drive!), college travel through cruises that I have discovered are typically half the cost a regular Spring Break vacation would be. A cruise fare usually covers your stateroom, unlimited food, onboard amenities (pools, library, lounges, nightclubs), and entertainment.
You will totally want to look into a college cruise package that includes a beverage package for you and your friends to enjoy at sea. These packages normally include unlimited alcoholic (and nonalcoholic) drinks for your entire cruise! That means you will not have to worry about raking up an obscene bill at the bar as you are having the time of your life at sea.
A few other packages to watch for are the shore excursion and spa packages. The one time I invested in a spa package was surreal. I will totally be booking one in the future as you can spend all your time at sea relaxing and rejuvenating in the ship's thermal suites with your friends.
The shore excursion package is a no-brainer if you want to discover what each port in your itinerary has to offer. If you are looking to just sunbathe at the local beaches or walk through the downtown markets, this package probably isn't a big deal, but if you are like me, you want to get to know each special spot you stop on your college vacation!
And that brings me to my next reason you should totally consider cruising for a college vacation, you will discover corners of the world that you never imagined existed!
Whether cruising through the Caribbean or exploring the coast of the Mediterranean with your besties, you are bound to discover and explore secret spots that offer once-in-a-lifetime experiences. When I was cruising around South America in my breathtaking adventure in December 2019, I was offered opportunities to explore areas I have only dreamed of seeing.
I always noticed Instagram pictures posted every once in a while of people sandboarding or paragliding in some exotic destination on a college vacation. Well, let me tell you, you definitely do not need to be made of money to also experience these special moments!
The picture taken above was during my sandboarding experience in Ica, Peru where I cruised to in 2019. Who would have thought a $700 cruise for 14 nights would bring me to spots from the fruitful rainforests in Costa Rica, to the narrow Panama Canal, to the deserts in Peru? Definitely not freshman me! That is why I highly suggest you do some deep investigating into different itineraries at varying times of the year for you to explore while you are in college.
Some of the amazing Caribbean cruises that are offered out of popular departure cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Austin (Texas), and New Orleans can bring you to the most breathtaking and rejuvenating Caribbean ports. Plus, you will be happy to learn most of these Caribbean islands offer a magnificent party scene for your college vacation!
You will not be shamed or feel awkward about having a genuine college vacation by ordering local drinks at bars or laying out at the beach with a tasty, tropical cocktail, I can guarantee you that. You may have to watch how sober you are getting back on board, but other than that, just make sure to have an amazing time making lifetime memories with your friends!
Cruise ship parties and nightclubs
Who says you have to get off the ship to have a good time on your college vacation?
I whole-heartedly believe some of my favorite vacation memories have come from the fantastic cruise parties in the ship's lounges and nightclubs while at sea! The picture above was a toga party where everyone on the ship celebrated crossing the equator. Cruise lines (especially the Norwegian Cruise Line) truly know how to cater to every age on cruise ships. That means that even college students will have a fabulous time on their vacation!
Most cruise lines have a nightclub open to the wee hours of the morning for those youthful and energetic enough to dance the night away. Plus, if there are a lot of kids on your cruise (especially during Spring Break weeks), the DJ and employees will make an effort to kick out anyone under the age of 18 at a certain time. These small gestures, in addition to allowing song requests and an on-site bar make cruising both an exhilarating and safe way to have a great time with your friends.
Plus, since you are contained in a boat, there is minimal risk of hurting yourself while intoxicated! While partying on land holds many risks like drunk-driving or ending up somewhere you didn't mean to, cruising allows you to safely enjoy a special night with your besties, only steps away from your stateroom. It does not get much safer than that! Also, if you are like me and get the late-night munchies, most cruise ships have at least one 24-hour restaurant that you and your crew can find your way to after your legs are exhausted from the dance floor.
If you are looking for another thrilling opportunity onboard your college vacation cruise ship, I highly, highly suggest seeking out the ship's karaoke bar! I know it may be scary at first, but I have made some of my best memories singing my favorite songs at these special spots onboard. While the walk up to the microphone will bring butterflies to your stomach, you will find your biggest fans in the crowd cheering you on as you bring your best voice out on the high seas.
While I know I touched on this topic of cruising earlier, the fantastic food found on cruise ships truly deserves their own, dedication section of this article!
If you are or know any college student, you totally understand their never-ending hunger. It is absolutely insane. College students can truly shovel down 3,000 calories a day without gaining any weight! That is why, naturally, cruising is a great form of vacation for college students.
Once you pay that flat rate when booking your cruise, you are granted access to the numerous delicious buffets and restaurants onboard. Cruise lines make this ridiculous deal with passengers because they believe they are going to profit as the majority of their guests are older and eat a predictable amount of food a day.
Well thankfully, as college students, we can easily take advantage and devour all the delicious food onboard! From sushi bars to Italian eateries to juicy steakhouses, you will be able to find food that fulfills whatever your stomach (and heart) desires. If you are looking to splurge a little for food onboard (completely unnecessary), I highly advise looking up your cruise line's specialty dining packages that they offer upcoming passengers. This is a super simple way to save up to 20% at these delicious restaurants onboard.
Lastly, I want to touch on room service. Now typically, if you are staying at a resort or hotel on a college vacation, you would have to pay for anything you ordered via room service at an obscenely high price. Well, let me tell you something that even shocked me at first, room service at sea is normally completely free and included in your fare!
While it is customary to leave a tip with the steward who brings your food, there is normally no added cost to order some fries or chicken wings to satisfy your late-night munchies. Since this may vary by cruise line, I highly recommend researching your specific cruise companies policies on room service before calling the number through your stateroom's phone.
If you are obsessed with taking photos of yourself and your friends like me (no shame), you are gonna fall in love with Spring Break cruising as a perfect college vacation.
As an avid social media consumer, I am always gawking at other's pristine, seemingly perfect images online. Well, with countless hours of ideal sunlight and golden-hour at sea, you will be that college student eyes from all over social media will be jealous of. You will potentially be spending days at sea where you can grow your tan and pose for stunning pictures that you will cherish forever. In fact, let me help you out. Here are our favorite, go-to Insta-worthy poses to try on your college cruise.
Make sure to look up your cruise's formal night before you leave. While it is not usually mandatory to dress up, this is a great way to get some professional portraits taken while all-dolled up before the show or dinner. Make sure to head over to the atrium with your besties to line the elegant spiraling staircase and ask a kind employee or fellow passenger to take some fabulous pictures of your group!
Most importantly, make your way to the upper deck to take some scenic outdoor pictures in your best outfits to remember your college vacation. If you are looking for a more unique photo-opt, grab a champagne bottle and head out to your balcony to pop it open while making sure to record the exhilarating moment!
Well that is cruising for a college vacation pretty much wrapped up by a current college student!
I totally understand the old revelations that people made when cruise lines catered to older people, but with the ever-changing travel climate, there is no reason why cruisers of all ages, especially college students, can't enjoy this fantastic form of vacation!
If you are planning a cruise for your next Spring Break or college vacation, I highly suggest checking out our ultimate guide to college cruises and getting organized with a travel planner. Our free, printable travel planner offers pages dedicated to budget planning, an expense tracker, packing lists, and much, much more!