When people ask: "How much does it cost to go cruising?" They are asking the wrong question. They want to know "how much money does it cost to go cruising" and not "what are the costs of going cruising."
While these might sound like the same thing right now, they won't when you finish reading. The financial aspect of cruising is simple, it will cost you what you have set aside to do it. You can tie up in a marina every night on a huge yacht and pay through the nose for fancy meals. This style of cruising will be very expensive and you might not be able to afford it for very long. On the contrary, if you anchor (which is free) and cook your meals on board, and buy food that is on sale from a cheap grocery store, your costs will be very low and you can sustain it for a long time. But this is not the cost of cruising!
The real cost of cruising is saying goodbye to the people and places you love. Leaving everything behind you as you set off into the unknown. When you leave, you don't know when you will return or what you will find out in the world. You will miss years with your family and friends, as life events happen and you are far away in a distant land.
Your friends might move away, the neighborhood you lived in will change, and you will never be able to return to the world from whence you left. If you stay, you will experience all the changes gradually, so they won't seem like a shock to you. Your life will continue as it always had and you will always dream of what could have been if you had set off cruising.
There will always be a cost, and the price is time. You can't set off cruising and expect the world you left to pause itself. When you return, things will be different and the place that you remembered will be gone, replaced by something new and changed.
I used to work in a family dental practice with my parents and sister. We lived a few miles from Maddies parents in Baltimore, Maryland. I would see my parents and sister almost everyday, and we would see Maddie's parents a few times a week. We kept the boat in a small neighborhood of Baltimore called Fells Point, where we would walk the streets at night and eat at our favorite restaurants.
Change was always happening, but we saw it happen on a daily basis so it was nothing shocking. At the same time, looking back at when I moved there 5 years prior, it had changed a lot; i just never noticed it since it was gradual. While we lived there, restaurants came and went, a massive hotel was built, and crime started to become more prevalent. The old park where the farmers market would happen on Saturdays was demolished, and the farmers market stopped happening. The abandoned pier that used to play movies on a big screen at the edge of the water stopped happening. Stuff was always changing, but we were there to see it and the change was always gradual.
With family, my sister is pregnant, and I will miss the entire process. My parents send me pictures as her baby bump keeps growing, but I will be away as my niece or nephew (she doesn't know the gender) is born. We also had to leave our pets behind, as ocean sailing is not very conducive to an exotic bird or a dog that demands a walk on shore twice a day. We know they are doing fine, but we still miss them very much as they are a huge part of our lives.
Our friends will also change as we are away, they will find new interests and have life events without us there to experience it with them. They might even move away in our absence, life goes on and no one can stop it!
All of these factors may sound like if cruising is a horrible idea. The costs are very high when you think about all the things that you will miss while you are away. At the same time, the costs of not going are equally high if you make the most of it. If you don't set sail, you will spend your whole life wishing you had gone and wondering what lay out beyond the horizon. You only get one life, so you need to choose what is more expensive to you and which can you afford.
We are going cruising because we are dreamers and will always wonder about what lays off in the distance. If we stayed, we would enjoy life with our friends and families but we would always have the unmet dreams of distant lands. We plan to go cruising and explore the world, then we can return to a new home where we can continue our lives with our families and friends in the future. It is a cost to pay, but if it is worth it to you, then the cost is not a concern.