Because cruising is so different from other types of vacations, people may hold off on their dream trip, inhibited by the untrue and the overstretched. Hopefully this post helps you to cut through some of the misconceptions that may be keeping you onshore.
Those of us who are cruise fanatics can easily rattle off a handful of reasons we love vacationing at sea. But those who haven't yet taken the plunge may be holding off because of preconceived notions that don't truly reflect what a cruise vacation is about. Because a cruise is so different from any other type of vacation, people carry many myths and misconceptions about cruising.
Time and time again, people hold onto reasons why they believe a cruise vacation isn't for them. But after they take their first cruise, the barriers are broken down and they're ready to cruise again. If you're riding the fence about whether cruising is a good fit for you, we'll try to lay down some facts, and bust some of the myths, that may be keeping you away from the vacation of a lifetime.
It Will Be Boring.
People who are considering a cruise vacation may feel that they'll be bored to tears spending so many days of their vacation surrounded by water. The quick response to clear that up is, 'only if you want to be bored. While aboard the ship, you set your own pace. If it's peace and quiet that you want, even on a large ship with a couple thousand fellow passengers, believe me, you can find a quiet spot on a deck that's all your own.
On the other hand, if it's non-stop excitement that you seek, then you'll likely find that hunting for daily activities aboard a cruise ship is more like sipping water from a fire hydrant. Beginning with sunrise stretching activities, the action around the ship is pretty much non-stop. Whether you're into first-run movies, jogging, video games, working out, gambling, basketball, dancing, taking in Las Vegas-style revues, or even rock climbing and ice skating, there's a ship to meet your needs.
And speaking of (the lack of) boredom, it's important to remember that on most cruises, not all of your days are at sea. On a typical 7-day cruise, you'll spend 3 or 4 days at beautiful ports around the world. At any one of these ports, you'll likely be offered dozens of various shore excursions, sure to suit anyone's taste.
Shore trips give you so many opportunities to experience what a port is about, such as sightseeing tours, wildlife interaction trips, beach breaks, snorkeling, scuba diving, eco-tours and more. Days in port are an action-filled experience in an exotic location, sure to be something you'll remember for years to come.
So boredom on a cruise vacation is optional. Set your own pace, because you're free and clear to do your own thing at your own time. The first myth is now officially busted.
I’ll Feel Seasick.
Understandably, this is a common concern. No one wants to spend their week of vacation hung over a ship railing with a green face. But on a modern cruise ship, this is almost always not a factor.
Today's cruise vessels utilize state-of-the-art stabilization systems that can largely eliminate the rocking and rolling common on ships of an earlier time. They are quite stable even in rough waters. No one can perfectly predict what sea conditions will be like on any given day. But unless you're plowing through notably rough seas, chances are you'll only feel some gentle rocks or sways from time to time, or you'll forget that you're even moving until you look out a window.
Still concerned? Check with your doctor about bringing some type of motion sickness medicine. You'll likely find that these medications are available in the shops onboard your ship, but if you're concerned about motion sickness it would be a good idea to buy this ahead of time, just in case the stores aboard don't carry it.
Cruise Ships Are Overcrowded.
Not true with a modern cruise ship. Even if you're sharing the journey with a few thousand cruisemates, there's always room somewhere for solitude. Remember, many modern cruise ships are in the neighborhood of a thousand feet long. Multiply a thousand feet by 10, 12, or 14 decks, and you've got a lot of floor space.
Video: Royal Caribbean debunks some of the common myths about cruising. This video was created before the debut of their 'Oasis' class of ships, but it still covers important points.
Just like a modern city, it's true that certain areas, such as around the pools, can be crowded at times. But it's also true that there are certain areas on certain decks where most of your fellow cruisers may never venture over the course of your time at sea.
Even in the areas where people tend to congregate, such as the dining facilities, you'll find that the crowds are handled very well. Most modern cruise ships will have in the neighborhood of a half dozen different spots to queue up for food at dining times. With this many options, even if you find a line's not moving fast enough, you can always skip to another dining location. Of course, with formal dining in the evenings, you'll likely have your own assigned table anyway, so there's no waiting for a seat there whatsoever.
Cruise Lines Mainly Cater to an Older Crowd of Vacationers.
Again, far from true. In fact, it's been my experience that the age mix is no different than what you'd likely see in your community back home. From infants to senior citizens, you'll find them all on a cruise ship, and there's something to cater to each of them aboard. Whether you're into art auctions, watersurfing or whalewatching, modern cruise vessels have plenty to keep you busy, regardless of your personal age and taste.
I’ll Get Fat.
There's not much chance of having to go hungry on a cruise ship. In fact, it's closer to the truth to call it an all-week foodfest. Because of this, some people may fear they'll return home with the souvenir of a few added inches on their waistline.
But that doesn't have to be the case. Set yourself some common-sense 'cap and trade' rules on where you'll splurge, and how you'll make up for it, each day. Take advantage of the onboard gym. Use the stairs instead of the elevators when feasible. For more tips on staying slim while cruising, take a look at our dieting on a cruise page.
It’s a Formal Atmosphere.
With most cruise lines, this is far from true. In fact, most of the time folks are strolling around in casual wear such shorts and tee shirts. The only time that formal wear may come into play is during formal dinner nights, and with the many photo sets you may want pictures from on those nights.
Of course, you could even choose to skip out on formal dining by eating in the casual buffet restaurant. But what a missed opportunity to be pampered that would be! Most nights, eating in the formal dining room simply means wear a nice shirt with some type of pants but not shorts. In fact, jeans will probably be fine most of the time.
Your cruise may have a 'formal night' or two during the week, and on those nights, you'll want to bring out your best. Whether that's slacks with a dress shirt, a sports jacket (or not), possibly a three-piece suit or even a tuxedo... it's up to you. Even on formal dining nights, the dress code is pretty lax, as long as you steer clear of the shorts. So don't let intimidation over clothing stop you from being spoiled to the nines at formal dinner.
Cruise Vacations Are Only For The Wealthy.
Hardly so. In fact, if you plan things right, you may find that cruising is actually one of the cheapest vacations you could take. Think about it... cruise prices sometimes drop to around $50 a day. That includes your travel to the ports, all the food you can eat, most of your entertainment onboard including nightly shows, and your lodging... all for about the cost per day of a very cheap motel room.
Like most other things in life, with cruising you can spend what you want. But if you do your homework and a little planning, you can give your family the vacation of a lifetime for a fraction of what you'd think. In fact, if you're interested in learning some very effective ways to save money on cruise booking, regardless of who you book through, then you should definitely check out our CruiseGuide 2011 page.
So if you've been held back from an adventure at sea because of incorrectly perceived notions, it's time to put that stuff away. No one can guarantee that you'll become an avid seagoer after your first cruise. Ultimately it is you who will be the final judge on whether or not you'll become a 'regular' on the decks of a cruise liner. But don't let myths, and the fact that cruising is an unconventional type of vacation, keep you away from a life experience like no other.