Even after going on more than 50 cruises, Lisa Modrick, president of Modrick’s Travel in Rapid City, still gets excited about each voyage.
“It’s my favorite way to travel,” she said. “I love that when I’m getting ready to go on the next cruise, I know it’s going to give me a brand-new experience.”
That’s because she always comes back with something she had not done or seen before. She said people can even go back to the same ports of call and get an opportunity to do something they had not done before.
“That can be everything from a day on the beach, or a horseback ride along the beach, Segwaying down the board walk, zip lining, parasailing or scuba diving,” she said.
Scuba diving is a must-do for her, she said, because she likes to log in her dive book that she has gone scuba diving in every port she has visited. For increasingly more travelers, she said, visiting museums and historical sites is becoming more popular, even for student-age travelers.
Modrick holds one of the highest certifications in cruising: Elite Cruise Counselor with Cruise Lines International Association. She has been in business for 18 years.
Modrick said that even during these economic times, people are finding the value of taking cruises.
“So many businesses aren’t in growth, and yet cruise companies are ordering brand-new ships and hiring more people. That is a confidence that people can feel: that my cruise line’s going to be there, no matter what during these times.”
Dianne and Wayne Block of Rapid City have gone on 10 cruises so far. Dianne said cruising has become a great way to see the world.
“We’ve taken ships from Hawaii and then to Tahiti and then flew home. We’ve been through the Panama Canal and to Alaska,” she said.
Their most recent cruise was to the British Isles. She said her family has gone on many vacations, and she and her husband have taken many road trips together, and cruising is by far the most relaxing way to travel.
“As far as getting on a plane, getting to the ship and then cruising around, it’s the most relaxing. There’s no pressure,” she said.
With cruising, your cabin becomes your own little home. Her routine is to unpack everything the minute she gets to her cabin.
“Then you have your own room steward, who you practically get to know personally. I just love to cruise,” she said.
There are cruises of different lengths, but she prefers the 12-day voyages.
“To me, even a five- to seven-day cruise is too short, especially if you are going over a time change, because it takes a couple days to get used to the time difference,” she said.
She also prefers the no-hassle convenience of group tours. She and her husband are scheduled to travel to the Mediterranean in July with Mike and Lisa Modrick. They are already trying to book a March 2012 trip on the new Allure of the Seas, the world’s largest passenger vessel.
“Cruising’s in our blood. We love it,” Dianne said.
Mike and Betty Quasney of Rapid City recently went on their first cruise, and they are still amazed at their experience. Mike said they chose a cruise because they had never done it before, and they used their trip in January to celebrate an early wedding anniversary. He said their experience was everything they had imagined it would be.
“We went to the Caribbean — St. Thomas, St. Martin and Grand Turk. It was awesome,” he said.
He and his wife got off the ship at every port of call to snorkel, shop and do “the touristy things,” yet he still found the experience to be relaxing. He said the time spent onboard was his favorite part of the trip.
“It was relaxing, and yet we had lots of things to do that were really enjoyable,” he said, adding that the food was incredible.
Mike said he brought back a valuable lesson from his experience: not to get caught up in the moment and buy something that you think is too good to be true, because most likely it is. In his case, it was jewelry.
“Some things are not necessarily priced that cheaply on the islands, so maybe save those for when you come back home. We didn’t get really taken,” he said, “but I could have bought the same thing here.”
Steve and Linda DiStasio of Rapid City are currently on their seventh cruise. They left Feb. 25 for two weeks in Hawaii. Their first cruise was 25 years ago for their 10th wedding anniversary. Steve said cruise ships visit ports around the world.
“One cruise could be in the Mediterranean, the next the Caribbean. You could even do Asia,” he said.
Last year, they visited Australia and New Zealand, which he said was stunning. He and his wife like to go on cruises as well as take regular vacations.
“Cruising gives you a taste of a place, and land tours help you immerse yourself in a location or two or three,” he said.
Steve likes having to unpack only once on a cruise ship and not having to clean their cabin.
“It’s all done for you. What Linda and I do is we convert that time into activities. We get to work out, to lie on the deck and read or participate in a sport,” he said.
While his wife enjoys the sightseeing and shopping at the various ports, he is sometimes just as happy to stay on the ship and enjoy its amenities. He said cruising offers travelers a little more price stability.
“There are typically no surprises. You pay one price that includes your shipboard time, your meals and fabulous entertainment,” he said.
The only thing you will pay extra for are the souvenirs, alcoholic drinks, soda and tips for the cabin and dining room staff.
Steve said because there are many types of cruises and types of ships with various themes and amenities, he recommends using an experienced travel agent to book your trip.
“Not all cruises are the same, so the first thing you’ve got to do is find someone who has done the cruises and knows the cruise lines and their different services,” he said.
It is important to know beforehand that with so many activities on board, it is impossible to do everything, he said. The first time he and his wife cruised, they tried to do everything that was offered on the ship.
“By the third day, we were so exhausted, we spent the day in bed.”