It’s no secret that cruising has at times struggled with its identity as the industry transitions from the ocean voyages of past to the cruise vacations we see now – one of the results of this is misconceptions.
Let’s try and tackle a few of those here and now...
1. I’ll be bored 😴
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My grandmother always said to me that “only boring people get bored” – but this a real concern a lot of first time, and prospective, cruisers have.
Firstly, it’s important to think about why you’re booking a cruise. Is it for the destinations? Is it for the ship itself? Is it to relax and be spoilt? The reason for your choice to cruise can inform the type of cruise and ship you should be booking.
If you’re the kind of person that craves adventure then perhaps a 14 day at sea transatlantic isn’t for you, but a week long South American exploration could be. Conversely if you’re looking to put your feet up for a week a port intensive itinerary might not give you the chill out time you’re after.
Regardless of the itinerary you choose cruise ships today are near impossible to be bored on. Ships today are packed with activities to entertain: ice skating rinks, rock climbing walls, waterslides, cinemas, theatres, go-karts, high ropes courses and much much more.
And if you’re looking to relax and be spoiled it’s hard to beat a cruise ship. Pull up a sun-lounger, grab a glass of your favourite drink, and listen to the live bands – or perhaps you’d rather a dip in the pool, a martini making class, or even a day in mud bath?
All things are possible – the only limitation is your imagination (and your budget).
2. I’ll feel sea sick 🤢
Whilst it is true that people sometimes get sea sick on cruise ships they’re a very small minority of cruise passengers.
Today’s ships are so vast and have incredibly high-tech computer controlled stabilisation systems that you wouldn’t know you were on a ship at all if you weren’t looking at the sea.
Two large fins extend underwater from the side of the ship and adjust pitch using their aeroplane-like wing shape to cancel out waves before they can even rock the ship.
If you do feel unwell at any point however just ask at Guest Services and they’ll be happy to provide you with sea sickness aides.
3. It’ll feel crowded 🤔
Modern cruise ships have certainly increased the number of passengers that they carry in recent years – but the ships themselves have also grown dramatically too.
When Royal Caribbean’s Sovereign of The Seas was launched in 1987 she was the biggest cruise ship in the world weighing in at 74,000GT and carried 2282 passengers.
Today Royal Caribbean’s flagship, Symphony of The Seas, carries 5,518 passengers which is over double that of Sovereign – but is actually three times the size at 228,081GT. So whilst passenger capacity has grown the size of the ships has more than kept pace.
There will always be so called “pinch points” on cruise ships, places which can get busier than others, these are predictably the pool decks and buffets. But modern ships can have upwards of 20 bars and 15 restaurants to ensure passengers never feel crowded, and some even use technology to let you know on your phone/TV which restaurants and bars are the quietest at any given time.
One thing I’d always recommend to someone who is concerned about feeling crowded is to book a balcony cabin. That cabin, that balcony, is yours and yours alone – a little oasis just to yourself. Head to a bar, grab a glass of wine, and take it back to your balcony and just watch the waves go by. Bliss.
4. It’ll be full of old people 👴🏻
Let’s not beat around the proverbial bush here – cruising has a reputation for being the older person’s holiday of choice. It’s an image that most cruise lines are working hard to shake.
This misconception stems, in part, from the fact cruise holidays in the past were very expensive and thus aimed at those with more disposable income. To target this older demographic the ships, itineraries and services were tailored to match.
It’s only been in the last 15 so years that cruise companies have really changed course (if you’ll pardon the pun) and decided to attract a wider customer base.
The same economics can still often apply, however. If the cruise is higher priced than average, or longer than average, it’ll attract an older passenger base – purely based on disposable income and free time (annual leave allowance or retirement). But book yourself on a 7 day Caribbean or Mediterranean cruise with a major line and you’ll find the average passenger age to be 30s-40s.
5. It’ll be full of children and babies 👶🏽
With onboard activities, childcare, baby sitting and excellent safety cruises have always made for excellent family holidays – and as cruise lines attract younger passengers there are more families with children cruising than ever.
This doesn’t mean you’ll be over-run with kids on your cruise, however.
On port days families tend to get off and explore together and on sea days (days spent sailing at sea) parents tend to put their children into the onboard daycare facilities so they can enjoy some adult R&R.
On top of this many cruise lines have adult only areas, such as Royal Caribbean’s Solariums, and evening curfews for younger passengers.
But if you’d rather have a completely child-free vacation there are things you can do – book with cruise lines that don’t target families, cruise during school term times, or book onto an adults only ship (like P&O’s Arcadia, or Virgin Voyages).
Final thoughts 😎
Cruising has come a long way in the past few decades, transforming itself from a mode of transport, to a holiday for only the rich, to incredible vacation accessible to almost everybody. Each year that passes millions of new people try their first cruise and drop their own misconceptions about cruising.
There’s a cruise out there for everybody, whether you’re old or young, want excitement or relaxation, sailing alone or with a family. Don’t let misconceptions hold you back – Get Out There.
If this was interesting to you consider sharing it using the buttons below. What myths and misconceptions have you heard about cruising? Are you thinking of booking? What advice would you give first time cruisers? Got a question I haven’t answered here? Feel free to leave a comment, or contact me on twitter at @CruisingWithTom or Instagram at @TomLovesCruising