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No. of Recommendations: 4
I, too, find Jeff's posts useful and educational.

I've only one cruise under my belt, Carnival - Freedom (?) - Caribbean, out of Galveston.
I was OPPOSED to these 'commercial' cruises, thinking that I would NOT like the experience, but some friends, who I DO enjoy, wanted to do it. I 'went along'. And found that I did very much enjoy it...

I normally will fly into a location, take a bus to some city/location, then branch out from there on 'travel guide' excursions. I like to 'be on my own'.

I was wrong about 'not liking a commercial cruise'. What did I enjoy? The very thing that Jeff posts about in this OP: sometimes the 'hotel' makes a difference; sometimes the 'experience/location' is most important; sometimes it's both... etc.

I found that I REALLY enjoyed the ship since I could go back to the stateroom anytime and relax, away from the crowds. I enjoyed faux art of the 'art auction', we met and talked with some of the 'artists'. I was NOT fooled, nor do I think they were trying to fool anyone. I enjoyed the 'night life'. There were kids but, for the most part, kids do NOT bother me, even though I'm single. For me, kids are part of the community, and I enjoy the sounds of kids having fun.

I read 2 1/2 books (2 from the ship library), I RELAXED - far more than I normally do, on a trip where I'm trying to do excursions of my own choosing.

Anyway, I found that I thoroughly enjoyed the 'Hotel/ship'. Afterwards, I realized that in this case the 'hotel' was the destination.

Perhaps, I should emphasize - having GOOD FRIENDS along, MADE the 'location'. ???

I'd cruise again, with friends. I don't know that I'd do it 'solo'? Unless it was an Alaska cruise, or Galapagos, or Nat Geo?

So, Jeff, perhaps an addition: Hotel + Location + Friends? LOLOL

FWIW
ralph
The excursions were fun, but MOSTLY because I was with my friends.
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