Cruise vs. dude ranch: vacation faceoff

With vacation dollars tight this year, it’s more important than ever to choose the right vacation style for you and your family. For some, the choice can come down to a sort of ‘cruising versus dude ranching’ faceoff. Each is a fun way to vacation (and frankly, we love cruising). So how do you decide on the best choice for you this year? 19590029

How green: for some folks, a green or eco-friendly choice is important. When it comes to the energy-use of a mega-sized cruise ship as opposed to even one of the larger dude ranch resorts, it’s no comparison. Horse power (and the natural, earth-friendly practices that are a time-honored way of life at so many ranches) will always trump the energy use of a giant floating hotel.

Family friendly fun: both cruise ship and dude ranch offer plenty. And if Broadway-style shows and dazzling nightlife are your thing, then maybe a cruise is your best bet. But if you’re looking for family togetherness, and a getaway that, frankly, excludes the more adult side of some cruise ships (especially those with casino gambling and grownups-only entertainment), then maybe the ranch is the place for you.

Shopping: if this is your main goal, choose a cruise ship. Big ships have lots of shopping right onboard in their own malls; and on shore, they’ll steer you to their favored shops. You just don’t find shops at a dude ranch (but hey, isn’t that what you’re trying to get away from?)

Crowds and costs: of course, the mega-ships are built for crowds (that’s how they can bring down their ticket prices). But beware; once in port, those crowds can hold you up when you’re trying to get off the ship. At a dude ranch, finding peace and quiet and your own patch of sky are part of the package. And those low cruise ticket prices? Often, it means you pay extra for everything from soft drinks to on-board fun and shore excursions. At a dude ranch, all-inclusive really means just that. You won’t have to reach into your wallet ten times a day–it’s all covered.

So, if you want to know exactly what your vacation will cost, choose a dude ranch. And all those other things that are included at the ranch? Getting away from crowds and shopping malls, finding peace and quiet and real family time: priceless.


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