I’m sure you guys have all heard the reasons why people don’t give cruising a chance, some of the reasons given by people who have never cruised themselves. But I love cruising and find it relaxing and an easy way to see various parts of the world with little to no effort on my part. And since I think everyone should give cruising a shot, I’m tackling each excuse from my own experiences. Just maybe I’ll make a few converts yet 🙂
I’m sure you’ve seen it. You know, the video of the entire ship rocking back and forth so much so that the piano slides from side to side, chairs are launched across the room and people are fighting to stay grounded. It made such an impression on me I laugh every time I think of it. Contrary to what anti-cruisers might have you believe, cruise lines do take precautionary measures to avoid choppy seas and bad weather. They will go so far as to reroute and completely change the itinerary if a storm is brewing on an island. But don’t get me wrong. If a ship is caught in a storm, there will be movement. Some cases more than others. People who are sensitive to motion will get seasick and the overall atmosphere will not be quite as charming as a calm, sunny day. However, calm and sunny (or cloudy) days are the most common types of days.
Too many people
Yes, there are a lot of people. Popular cruise lines take anywhere from 2500-3500 passengers. In essence, that’s a small town crammed into one ship. But what many people don’t realize is that the people are crammed into a small town. Literally. The magnitude of ships is unimaginable until you’re standing on the pier in front of one. And then it dawns on you. You’re not entering a quaint boat or a fancy yacht. You’re entering a city with multiple elevators, dining rooms, buffets, rooms, climbing walls or bowling alleys, the list goes on. You will run into familiar faces every so often but you’ll also be amazed at how easy it is to find a quiet place to read in common areas and how many unfamiliar faces you’ll spot on a daily basis.
Let’s be honest. The lines are long. But they go fast and you find ways to work around them. If you hit breakfast at 8 and the buffet is overflowing with people and you can’t deal with it, you learn to go at 7:30 or 8:30 when the number of people is cut in half and the dining area resembles your favorite restaurant on Friday night instead of a barnyard at dinner time. It’s amazing what a difference a half hour can make. Remember that you can also opt for the dining room if buffets aren’t your thing. If you really can’t deal with lines for food at all, make reservations for dinner. The longest wait will maybe be 10 minutes.
It’s all about expectations. If you book a cruise expecting 5 star hotel service, you will probably be disappointed. This isn’t the Four Seasons or Ritz-Carlton tending to your every whim. That being said, I found the service commendable. Every staff I had the pleasure of dealing with was attentive, kind and ready to answer any questions I had. There may have been two that could have improved their service but I just avoided contact with them the remainder of the trip. I got to know some pretty special people and their hard work was evident throughout the entire week. They went out of their way to chat with me and provide me with the best service they could.
I find this one humorous. Some people would have you believe that the ships only carry unhealthy food. And while the average cruiser does gain weight after a cruise, it is completely the fault of the passenger and not the cruise line. It’s important to remember that while the cruise lines do offer very unhealthy choices (mind you, you’d see these choices at your favorite pizza shop or sandwich shop), they have a great line up of healthy options: a huge salad bar, fruit available all the time, and gluten-free options if you ask. They don’t push their unhealthy food on you, it’s your choice. It’s also your choice to go back for seconds 🙂 And remember, there’s a fitness center to keep you accountable.
I just ran across this one recently. I never thought about it before but yes, a cruise can be dangerous if you aren’t smart. But so can a town. Or a college. Or a train. Similar to real life, you have to exercise caution and use street smarts. Take the same precautions you would anywhere else and you’ll be fine. Don’t walk around alone after midnight (you’d be amazed just how free of people common areas are after 11pm), don’t be overly trusting, don’t just give out your room number to anyone etc etc. Just because it’s a cruise doesn’t mean everyone has the best intentions.
While it’s true that thousands of people all together on a ship and breathing the same air is a cess pool for germs, the chances of coming down with the flu or any virus is slim if you follow precautions. There are hand sanitizer stations everywhere on the ship. EVERYWHERE. Every food area has 2-3 while the elevators all have a station or two outside them. There are also staff members standing in the dining areas with bottles ready to give you some if you try to bypass the sanitizer stations. In other words, you are strongly encouraged to sanitize throughout the week. I recommend always using the stations. It cuts down on the germs you are passing to other people and it disinfects your own hands for meal time. And as a consideration of others, if you start feeling ill, please make sure you head to the infirmary and minimize your own contact with others.