Think cruising isn’t for you? Here are some common reasons people give for why they don’t cruise… and why these assumptions might not fit today’s wide range of options in cruising.
“I’ll get bored on a cruise ship.”
The latest cruise ships now offer so many activities on board, you could spend a week (or more!) at sea and not get bored. Those craving an adrenaline rush can go ziplining, go karting, surfing, or rock climbing. Those looking for entertainment can find Broadway-style productions, stand-up comedy and Cirque de Soleil-style shows. If you have an appetite for exploring the culinary side of things, how about a cocktail or sushi class, a wine tasting, or a tour of the galley? For the kiddos, all major cruise lines offer children’s programs that are chock full of exciting activities that keep them coming back for more, which means parents can enjoy some guilt-free adult time taking advantage of all the cruise has to offer. And, don’t forget that in addition to all these activities, cruises usually include 3-4 days in port when you are off exploring cities, towns, islands and/or nature!
“The ship will be crowded.”
I have spent two different cruises on the largest cruise ships in the world and experienced minimal crowds or lines despite it being during peak season. Modern-day ships are so well planned that you seldom have to deal with lines or crowds. There are many dining options and several activities happening at any given time so that people aren’t all in one place at once. On some ships, you have the opportunity to book show tickets ahead of time, which means guaranteed seats without waiting in line. Additionally, if you really want to avoid any lines, many cruise lines offer additional packages that offer exclusive access to some of the most popular activities as well as priority embarkation/disembarkation. Finally, it can be fun to get the ship to yourself by staying onboard during a port day. On a recent cruise to Coco Cay, Royal Caribbean’s newly renovated private island, our family decided to stay onboard for the morning. We had the entire pool and waterslides to ourselves for about 2 hours!
On another note, if being on a large cruise with thousands of people does not seem like your idea of fun, there are other options such as river cruising, sailing ships and other smaller ships focused on a more intimate experience. These options are usually very destination-focused and provide access to ports not reachable by the larger ships, so an added bonus is that not only is the ship not full of people… neither are the ports!
“I’ll get seasick.”
Ships have stabilizers that really even out the movement of the boat… you’d be surprised how little you feel the movement of a ship that is 1000 feet long! This is especially true in specific parts of the world. For example, cruising in the Mediterranean in the middle of summer usually provides calm waters with minimal impact on guests. If you are prone to seasickness, there are ways to minimize the issue, including selecting a cabin that is low and center in the ship and not overindulging in alcohol. Additionally there are medications and holistic alternatives, like crystalized ginger, that help.
“I don’t want to have to follow a set schedule for mealtimes and activities.”
Gone are the days where everyone was herding into the dining room to eat at the same time and then parading through to the same show in the ship’s theater. Most cruise lines offer both a traditional set-dining schedule and an option to select your own time as you go. Additionally, the specialty restaurants are booked via reservation on times you choose. There are so many activities on board, usually offered multiple times and/or days during the cruise, that you truly are the one in charge of your schedule. Just don’t argue with the Captain about the departure time at the port!
“The time in port is too short to get to know the places you visit.”
Cruising is a great opportunity to get a glimpse at the ports of call without the time commitment of a full trip there. After their day in port, travelers can decide where they would like to spend more time either by land or on another cruise. On a recent five-hour shore excursion in Cozumel, we drove a Jeep across the island to a beautiful white-sand beach, had a margarita in hammocks overlooking the waves, went swimming in a cenote, and had lunch by the water. Did I see all of Cozumel? Of course not! But, on other trips, I’ve visited the main town, gone sailing and gone snorkeling in Chakanaab park. I’m sure we’ll be back in Cozumel again and will find more to love about the island.
Additionally, many itineraries offer full day (or even two-day) stops on itineraries to allow guests to spend more time in some of the world’s most famous cities or you can get more in depth by choosing to spend time in the city of embarkation before or after your cruise. On a cruise of the Baltics, for example, fly into Copenhagen early and explore the city for a couple of days before the cruise. Many Baltic itineraries also include two full days in St. Petersburg (without the hassle of a visa, I might add!).