I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ll find the phrase “Going on a cruise” on people’s things to do before I die list. It certainly is on mine. Last weekend, I had the pleasure to tour a cruise ship docked in Dubai courtesy of Stacey and the desire to go on a cruise one day just got stronger.
On my tour there, I realized I had so many misconceptions about cruising and cruise ships. Here’s 13 of them:
1. You’ll get bored – I get bored with long haul flights so a two-week voyage across the sea can get me stir-crazy with boredom. Wrong. From my recent cruise ship tour (I did not go on cruise, just toured the cruise ship), I was surprised to see there are lots of features and facilities designed to keep the passengers entertained while on board. There’s the pool, sauna, cocktail bars, restaurants, lounges, internet cafes, short-term crash course schools, movie houses, fitness centers – you’ll never have the time to get bored. Once the ship docks on its port of call/s, passengers have the opportunity to sightsee, take a short excursion and discover a new culture.
2. You have to be rich to cruise – Most cruises are all-inclusive, meaning your cabin, entertainment and meals are included. This makes cruising more affordable than other vacation options. There are also short-length cruises that are affordable if you book well in advance.
3. You’ll get fat on a cruise – With the plenty of food I saw while touring the cruise ship, I guess this is not entirely a myth. However, this is entirely up to you.
Gaining 5 lbs. per week while on cruise is not a requirement! Neither is eating until you explode.
Also, today’s cruise ships have changed with the changing attitudes of many health conscious travellers. Important to mention, there is likely a gym/fitness center on board where you can burn those extra calories. Everyone is given 24 hours a day, why not spend even just 30 minutes of it exercising even while at sea? (I’m talking to myself here, people)
4. You’ll get seasick – I get carsick sometimes so I can’t help but think I’d end up miserably seasick while on board. I’ve ask my friend Stacey, who works in a cruise ship and some crew on board if they do get seasick, and their answer is no, most of the time, you’ll barely be aware you’re in the water. Today’s large mainstream ships have stabilizers that keep the rocking of the sea to a minimum. Also, a lot of cruise itineraries stay in relatively calm waters such as protected seas and inside passages. With all this said, it won’t hurt to bring along a Dramamine, just in case.
5. Cruise ships are for old people – I admit I had the thought that cruises are for the wealthy and the retired. Those people who got money and time but that is definitely not the case anymore. People of all ages are cruising, including families with children.
6. Danger – Many people think that cruise ships are not safe enough and can sink anytime but gone are the days of Titanic with today’s ship’s high technology navigation systems (that could detect potentially dangerous icebergs) and oh, the movie Speed 2: Cruise Control is fictitious.
7. It’s all about partying – It is not true that all the people you will find on board are people who love going on wild parties. You can meet people with different types of interests and there are quiet places to go like the movie house or the library.
8. Cruises are too long – and you’ll end up missing to see some land. Cruise lengths actually vary significantly to meet personal tastes. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, during 2004, itineraries of 1-5 days accounted for 31 percent of the cruise market; itineraries of 6-8 days made up 57 percent of the market; and 9-17 day sailings accounted for 11 percent. Less than one percent of all cruises booked lasted longer.
9. Cruise ships spend their time at sea – Cruise vacationers actually have the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time on land. Virtually every cruise features multiple ports of call, giving travelers a chance to visit beautiful, secluded beaches, vibrant cities and popular tourist sites, as well as enjoy breathtaking scenery. Every port offers a unique experience.
10. Cruise ship cabins are claustrophobic – while an inside economy cabin tend to be small, in actuality people spend very little time there besides sleeping. An outside cabin (ocean view) has a window or porthole, while a balcony (verandah) cabin has a glass door leading to a balcony usually equipped with a small table and chairs. Most ships feature larger suites for those who truly need more space.
11. You lose touch with the world while at sea – Today’s ship cater to people who would like to stay in touch with the lives they left in the land. On board, there are plenty of computers with internet connection and most cabins have televisions and telephones enabling you to call someone on shore through the ship’s radio operator while at sea.
12. All cruise ships are alike – Choosing a cruise ship is like buying a new car. You are faced with a myriad of variations: big ships, small ships, explorer-oriented ships, absolutely decadent luxury ships, family ships, etc.
13. Your fare is all-inclusive – The cruising business can be summed up in two words, onboard revenue. Drinks and gratuities may be included in fares but spa treatments and shore excursions won’t be. Hairdressing, bar cocktails etc will also not be included as is commonplace in hotels.