When you leave land behind and set foot on a cruise ship, you enter a whole new world. It’s almost like being on another, better, planet, where all day-to-day worries and obligations are set aside and everything around you is new and fascinating and geared entirely to your enjoyment.

1. Relax

Cruises are soul-restoring because they allow you to relax. You can sleep as late as you want, rocked in the cradle of the sea. You can read a novel, listen to live music, have a drink or two — you won’t be driving anywhere. Enjoy a sauna, a massage, a hot tub, a jacuzzi. You can lounge by the pool or float in it. If you choose cruises from Florida, you can stretch out on the white sands and swim in the aquamarine waters of a wide variety of Caribbean beaches.

If your idea of relaxing involves physical activity, you can play croquet or pool volleyball or basketball or ping pong, and, if that’s not enough, you can work out in the gym. You can drop the kids at an activity they’ll love, while you go relax at one of the adults-only lounges or terraces or pools. Or go play poker. It’s your call.

2. Have Adventures

Being on a cruise ship is an adventure in itself, with the massive scale and the seemingly infinite activities of the floating city. The ports of call, though, add an entirely different kind of adventure to your trip.

Cruise ships can take you virtually anywhere there’s ocean, and from time immemorial the harbors of any country have been where the most interesting events occur. Lisbon, Venice, Oslo, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cozumel, Fiji, Tasmania — there are over a thousand ports of call for cruise ships. You decide which ones will be yours. 

Off-ship adventures offered by cruises are literally world-class. You can zipline through any number of rainforests on various continents, visit Japanese shrines and night-time Tokyo, or experience the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. Some tours even take you away from the ship for a day or more — Machu Picchu or the wilds of Denali on a cruise! — before returning you to your floating home.

3. Immerse Yourself in Beauty

From the fjords of Scandinavia to the Great Barrier Reef to the skyscrapers of New York City, the Earth is a varied and beautiful place. Your cruise ship gives you a front-row seat to the awesome vistas as the world glides by. 

The world aboard the cruise ship is also pleasing to the eye. Premier architects have lent their talents to creating onboard spaces that are thrilling to look at and beautifully functional as well.

4. Treat Yourself to Exquisite Food

Not only is a cruise food for the soul, it’s food for your body, with your ship offering a multitude of restaurants featuring various cuisines, all overseen by the world’s best chefs. And many of the offerings are included as part of your vacation experience. Room service? Of course.

You won’t have time to try every snack you’re offered, nor to drink all the drinks nor try everything in all the buffets or on all the menus. Just do the best you can.  

5. Be Awed

When you’re on a cruise, you’re not only in the world’s greatest resort hotel environment, you’re also afloat on the briny. As M. L. Borges wrote, “The beauty and mystery of the ocean fills our lives with wonders, vast beyond our imagination.”

Sometimes, such as on transatlantic crossings, cruise ships may be out of sight of land for days. Many travelers find this experience profound and moving. Perhaps for the first time, they have a real sense of being on the planet: vast water below, vast sky above.

The worst thing about a cruise is that it’s eventually over. But when you do set foot back on land, it will be a refreshed and happy foot, attached to a rejuvenated body that houses a satisfied soul.