I’ve been cruising since I was a child but when I wanted to take my first cruise with my friends, and suggested the idea to them, they had some funny ideas about cruising.
Many of my friends were under the impression that on a cruise you will be constantly seasick, crammed in with other passengers, sharing your bathroom facilities with others, and mixing with lots of retired people.
A lot of my friends seem to be basing their cruising knowledge on the White Star Line’s “Titanic” that sunk in 1912!
Cruise ships and cruise ship technology have moved on so much in the last few decades. A cruise ship is more like a luxury hotel at sea and it’s enjoyed by over 30 million people per year.
In this post, we address some of the worries and concerns that any people have when they are considering booking their first cruise so that you can decide if cruising is right for you.
Myths, Concerns and Worries
1. Cruises Are Only For Old People
Many people think that cruises are only for “old people.” This is the whole reason I started my blogging career in the first place! – Many of my friends wouldn’t consider a cruise because they thought they were only suitable for pensioners!
The title of my original blog? “Cruising isn’t just for old People.”
There really are cruises to suit everyone. If you take a cruise with a traditional company like Cunard or Fred Olsen, you are likely to find an older passenger demographic.
If you take a cruise with Carnival, you may find it full of young adults who like to party! Norwegian and Royal Carribean appeal to families.
Choose carefully the cruise line that will suit you and your family’s needs.
Click here to download a copy of my free cruise line guide. It will help you compare the mainstream cruise lines so you find the perfect cruise holiday for you.
2. Cruises Are Too Expensive
Whilst the prices of cruises vary greatly from one cruise line to another, there are some real bargains to be had.
The cruise fare includes all of your travel on the ship, accommodation, entertainment and food and I’ve paid as little as $50 (£37) per night for a cruise.
You will often have to pay an additional charge for drinks, and sometimes, depending on where you are booking from and the cruise line, additional daily tips for the staff. These are usually called “Service Charges” – or “Gratuities.” These are automatically added to your onboard account, and paid via your credit card at the end of the cruise.
You can book a very affordable inside cabin (with no windows) or spend a bit more money for an ocean view, a balcony or a suite cabin.
There is a cabin to suit every traveller’s pocket. You will still get to enjoy all the food, entertainment, bars and facilities if you book a cheaper cabin.
Often the cruise price is far cheaper than staying in a hotel or land-based resort. As well as the cost of accommodation and meals, there may be additional travel costs to factor into getting to and from your hotel.
3. I’ll Get Seasick On A Cruise Ship.
Cruise ships are very large, and usually have “stabilisers.” As the name suggests, these keep them stable in rough weather.
Stabilisers are like fins that come out below the water level to make the ship more stable in rough weather.
Normally, you aren’t aware of the cruise ship moving at all. If you are unfortunate enough to have a rough couple of hours onboard, there are plenty of seasickness medications you can take.
It is very unusual for a ship to be in rough weather for more than one day at a time. Pick the itinerary and time of year to minimise the risk.
Find a full list of seasickness tips by clicking on the link below:
4. I’ll Feel Claustrophobic On A Cruise Ship
Most cruise ships are huge! It is hard to get an idea of the scale unless you are standing on the dock next to one.
It is more like being inside a very large building or shopping centre than on a conventional ship or ferry.
The cabins are designed to give you the most space possible, and all have their own, well-appointed en-suites.
If you are really claustrophobic, it may be wise to avoid an inside cabin. Generally, the more money you pay for your cabin, the more space it will have.
I can honestly say I have never felt claustrophobic onboard any cruise ship!
5. The Food On A Cruise Ship Is Terrible.
The food on cruise ships is of a very high standard.
Eating out in the main restaurants is equivalent to eating out in a restaurant every night.
The buffet restaurants have a large variety of hot and cold foods, so you can help yourself to as much as you want.
All food in the main restaurants and buffets is free of charge.
Many cruise ships now have what they term “Speciality” restaurants onboard. This is like eating out at one of the finest restaurants. They have Indian, Thai, Italian, Mexican – all sorts!
An additional charge is payable to dine in these speciality restaurants, but it is usually only a fixed amount per person, not per item on the menu.
Check which speciality restaurants your ship offers.
6. I’ll Have To Dress Up For Dinner Every Night
There are formal cruise lines, like Cunard who expect you to dress for dinner every night. Even on “casual nights” men are expected to wear a jacket. The majority of cruise lines don’t expect that though.
The below talks more about my cruise with the most formal line, Cunard.
Lines like Royal Caribean and Norwegian have “Freestyle” dining, where you can eat where you want, when you want. You are not expected to dress up at all.
There may be the odd rule, like “Don’t wear your swimming shorts in the main restaurant” or “You must wear shoes in the buffet” but most cruisers would consider these rules reasonable!
Choose a more casual cruise line if you don’t wish to dress up for dinner.
7. I’ll Get Bored On A Cruise Ship
Your cruise may well have “sea days” when the ship is sailing from one place to another.
There is plenty onboard to keep you occupied. You are likely to have a schedule of events delivered to your cabin daily, or the cruise will have an App to let you know what is going on, and where.
There are quizzes, theatre shows, live music – even go-carts, zip lines and rock climbing walls on the bigger ships!
Some days you will be on land, exploring new cities or countries, but it is very unlikely you will have time to get bored when on the ship.
8. I Won’t Be Able To Stay In Touch With The Outside World
Long gone are the days of ships leaving port, and not being heard from again until they arrive at their destination!
Most cruise lines will offer you a Wi-Fi package of some sort, usually at an extra cost. You can use the Wi-Fi to check your email, send messages via Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger, and post on Instagram or Facebook.
It has to be said the quality of Wi-Fi varies greatly from one ship/cruise line/destination to another.
I am able to use my mobile data on my phone when we dock in most countries, at no extra charge. I don’t often bother with the Wi-Fi package.
Check your mobile/cell phone contract to see what is included for you.
If you use mobile data roaming and this isn’t included in your plan, it can get very expensive.
Your phone may connect to the Maritime Network, rather than the typical satellites it would connect to while on land. This is far more expensive.
Find out all about using your phone onboard here:
9. I’ll Be Stuck With A Bunch Of Strangers I Won’t Like.
There is no need for you to interact with anyone you don’t want to when you are on your cruise holiday. It is your holiday, you can spend the time however you like.
You can come and go to activities, restaurants and entertainment venues as you wish. You are unlikely to see the same people all of the time.
On some older, more traditional cruise lines guests sometimes have to table share at meal times.
This is very uncommon now, and you can speak to the restaurant and let them know you do not wish to share a table. I have always found them very accommodating.
10. The Cabins On A Cruise Ship Are Small And Uncomfortable.
The cabins on cruise ships are designed to be comfortable but compact.
They have everything you should need, storage space, a comfortable bed, TV, some even have a mini fridge and tea and coffee-making facilities.
Every cabin has its own ensuite facilities, similar to that found in a good hotel.
All cabins are prefabricated in a factory and come complete with fixtures and fittings. They then slide them into the side of the cruise ship when it is being built!
A lot of thought goes into the design and style of these cabins, and I have never stayed in a room that has not been comfortable! Find examples of cabins in the article below:
11. I’ll Have To Share A Bathroom On A Cruise Ship.
Every cabin has its own bathroom, similar to an ensuite in a good hotel room.
As a minimum, most have body wash and shower gel in a dispenser in the shower and liquid soap by the sink. More upmarket cruise lines supply a selection of lovely toiletries too!
All have a toilet, sink and shower along with some storage space for your toiletries.
If you book a more expensive suite, you may be lucky enough to get a bathtub as well, but this isn’t the norm.
12. I’ll Have To Wake Up Early Every Morning To Go On Excursions.
It is your holiday/vacation! You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.
Most cruises don’t include excursions, you choose to pay and go on any excursions that you want to take.
Some of the more premium cruise lines will include excursions, but you don’t have to go on any that you don’t want to.
Not all excursions leave first thing in the morning.
If you are not “a morning person” you may be able to book an afternoon excursion instead and you don’t have to do ay excursions at all, I often don’t.
13. I Won’t Have Long In Ports
The average time for a cruise ship to be in port is 8 hours.
Sometimes it can be shorter – but sometimes a ship will stay in port overnight, giving you two full days to explore!
Check the itinerary for your cruise ship before booking. Times in port won’t be confirmed until you are on the cruise.
Sometimes ships have to make last-minute alterations to their itinerary – usually for circumstances beyond their control.
The longest I have stayed in a port was 3 days when I went to Bermuda. This is pretty common on this route and I personally loved it.
14. I Won’t Be Able To Maintain My Fitness Routine On A Cruise Ship
Most cruise ships have well-equipped gyms that you can use free of charge.
Many have running tracks marked out on the top deck that you can use.
Some have exercise classes such as Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and Aerobics.
Some lines make a charge for these classes, on others, it is included in the cruise fare.
Check your daily cruise schedule for full details of what is available on your ship.
To learn more about cruise ship gyms, check out this post: Cruise Ship Gyms: Cost, Opening Times, and Other Things You NEED to Know
15. I’ll Have To Pay Extra For Everything On A Cruise Ship
Your cruise fare covers the cost of your travel onboard, accommodation, entertainment and food.
Sometimes it covers more than that too, but it makes sense that the more you pay for your fare, the more is included.
If you are booking from the UK, cruise lines like P&O, MSC and Marella include all tips (these are usually known as “Service Charges” or “Gratuities” in the cruise world.)
If you are booking other cruise lines you may find a daily “service charge” is added to your account automatically for each person.
Some of the more luxurious cruise lines include many drinks as standard, some even offer included excursions.
When booking, speak to your travel agent about what is included in your cruise fare. Or fill in the form and book through me. My partner travel agents are SO helpful and knowledgeable!
16. Cruises Are Only For People Who Like To Drink And Party
This certainly doesn’t apply to most cruise ships!
In the USA there is a reputation for Spring Break Parties for students being held onboard cruise ships. These are typically cheap cruises to the Bahamas or the Caribbean – often on cruise lines like Carnival.
Most cruise ships aren’t “Party” ships at all! Most suit for a wide variety of people who enjoy the travel, good food, shows, and entertainment that is part of the cruise experience.
Most people don’t go on cruises to drink – drinks packages are often quite expensive, so it doesn’t make much financial sense for the majority of students or young people to cruise!
I might drink the occasional cocktail whilst onboard, but am usually found with a Pepsi Max or a non-alcoholic “Mocktail” instead!
I have rarely seen drunk people on cruise ships – I probably go to bed too early.
17. I Won’t Be Able To Find Healthy Food Options On A Cruise Ship
I eat far more healthily on a cruise ship than I do when at home!
There is always a wide range of food available, both in the main restaurants and the buffets.
Portion sizes vary greatly from one cruise line to another.
American cruise lines tend to offer larger portions than their European counterparts.
You can always ask for more dishes if you are hungry, leave food or skip a course if you feel you have too much!
There are lots of different fresh fruits and vegetables on offer. If you choose to eat nothing but burgers and pizzas, that is entirely up to you!
18. I Won’t Have Any Privacy On A Cruise Ship
You will have your own private cabin, that you can return to whenever you want to. Put the “do not disturb” sign up on your door, and no one will disturb you at all!
If you have a balcony, you can sit outside and watch the world go by without having to interact with anyone.
There are often quiet deck spaces or bars around the ship without crowds of people.
Take your time to explore the ship. You will probably find a favourite quiet space to sit and people-watch.
19. I’ll Get Lost On A Cruise Ship
Cruise ships have deck plans by the elevators/lifts on every floor. There are normally two or three sets of elevators on each deck, front, middle and back – or should I use ship terminology and say “forward” and “aft?!”
Some of the newer ships even have interactive boards, that will actually show the best route back to your cabin or a particular entertainment venue!
Some cruise lines give you a paper map when you embark.
I am not guaranteeing that you won’t ever get lost – I frequently do as I have a terrible sense of direction.
It is always easy to find a map of the ship though, you will soon get yourself back on track.
20. The Entertainment On A Cruise Ship Is Cheesy And Boring
Entertainment on cruise ships varies so much from one line to another.
Cruise lines like Norwegian and Royal Caribbean have full Broadway-style musicals to keep you entertained.
Most ships have good, live music in many venues across the ship.
If you want to take part in “Mr & Mrs” or a “Knobbly Knees” competition – you can probably find them onboard cruise lines like Carnival! If you want a classical quartet, pick a traditional cruise line like Cunard.
Cruise ships are not at all like a holiday camp at sea.
It is a case of finding a cruise line with entertainment that suits your personal tastes.
21. I’ll Have To Dress Up In Formal Wear For The Captain’s Dinner.
I have never yet been to a Captain’s dinner on a cruise ship – nor do I want to!
Although some people love dressing up and meeting the Captain, it is not for me.
There is no need to wear formal wear or meet the captain at all.
22. I’ll Have To Share A Table With Strangers At Dinner.
Since the Covid Pandemic, table sharing has mostly gone out of fashion – understandably!
I was surprised on my recent Fred Olsen cruise to find I was expected to table share.
More traditional cruise lines may expect you to share tables, but most do not.
If you have booked a cruise and in the unlikely event that you are asked to share a table, speak to the restaurant staff. They may be able to rearrange things so you don’t have to.
23. I Won’t Be Able To Do My Own Thing On A Cruise Ship
Cruises are all about doing your own thing. Eat when it suits you, sleep when it suits you, and do as much or as little as you like.
You can get off in port, or stay onboard and enjoy the cruise ship’s facilities. The choice is yours!
24. I’ll Feel Trapped On A Cruise Ship.
Cruise ships are so large, many up to 18 or 19 storeys high!
They are more like a shopping centre or a small village than a standard ship.
It is very unlikely that you would feel trapped or claustrophobic whilst onboard. There is so much to see and do!
If you are worried about feeling trapped, avoid a cruise with too many sea days. When you’re docked in port you’re always welcome to come and go whenever you’d like.
25. I’ll Have To Deal With Annoying Sales Pitches On A Cruise Ship.
Usually, this isn’t the case!
There are times on American cruise lines when I have been aware of the crew trying to sell scratch cards or speciality meals. This isn’t common.
On MSC a couple of times, I have seen the crew trying to sell drinks packages to people who don’t have one at the start of the cruise. I just say no – and they don’t pester you!
The crew are more than happy to sell you future cruises, excursions or speciality meals – but you have to go to the appropriate cruise desk and ask. They usually don’t just come up and annoy you whilst you are just getting on with your day.
26. I Won’t Be Able To Get Any Sleep On A Cruise Ship
Cruise ship cabins are very comfortable – particularly the beds.
If I have an inside cabin with no windows, I can sleep and sleep and sleep. I think I have had some of the best sleep I have ever had in an inside cabin – it is so dark in there.
It is unusual to be disturbed by guests in other cabins, even though the cabin walls are very thin. To find out about the noises you may hear in your cabin, read the article below.
You will not really be aware of the noise of the cruise ship sailing. Occasionally you may feel some movement – or slight juddering as the ship docks. You would have to be an extremely light sleeper for it to disturb you.
27. I’ll Have To Deal With Crowds And Lines On A Cruise Ship.
Again, how crowded your cruise ship will be varies from one line to another, and on the time of year you are sailing.
If you choose to sail in the peak summer season when the school children are on their school holidays, the ship is likely to be more crowded.
Some of the very large mega cruise ships may have lines for food at the buffet, or to get into the theatre. If you don’t want to stand in line, it might be better to go for a smaller or older ship.
Choose when you travel, the itinerary and the ship carefully if you don’t want the ship to feel crowded.
One time you may find yourself in a line is when you get off, or on, at ports.
The ship’s staff are very efficient at managing the people trying to get on or off the ship. When every passenger is trying to get off or on at the same time, it may cause bottlenecks.
Maybe get off slightly later or return earlier to avoid the crowds?
28. I Won’t Be Able To Find Anything To Do That Interests Me
Cruise lines aim to put on activities to suit everyone – no matter what age or gender.
Music, shows, quizzes, gym facilities, spas, pools, art classes, guest speakers – all sorts of things are available to keep you occupied.
Sometimes cruise lines bring entertainers onboard from the destination they are visiting to add a bit of local culture.
Check the daily schedule or the cruise ship App to find out what is going on that may interest you. You are bound to find something!
29. I’ll Have To Deal With Rude And Obnoxious Passengers On A Cruise Ship
It is very rare to find rude or obnoxious passengers onboard a ship. I can only think of a handful of times when I have seen guests be rude to the crew.
You may find rude and obnoxious people anywhere you go in life, they don’t cluster on cruise ships.
The crew are always overly pleasant and accommodating to try and resolve any problems guests may have – unfortunately, you just can’t please everyone.
Some people in life are just rude and unpleasant, and there is little you can do about it!
30. I’ll Get Sunburned On A Cruise Ship
You will get no more sunburnt than if you are going on any other holiday, and sitting in the sun!
When on the top decks or on your balcony it is sensible to wear sunscreen/suncream – as you would if you were out in the sun elsewhere.
If you are going to a warm destination, don’t forget to pack a hat and your sunglasses.
I have to admit I don’t really understand this as a reason some people give not to cruise, the sun isn’t any stronger or more powerful because it’s on a ship.
The below video features a cruise I took to the Caribbean where we did see a lot of sunshine:
31. I Won’t Be Able To See Any Real Culture On A Cruise Ship
You can go off in port and explore by yourself, or take a cruise line excursion if there is something you would particularly like to see.
You can see as little or as much as suits you.
Some Cruise lines, like Princess or Azamara, bring local entertainers onboard so that you can experience the local culture and music.
Azamara cruises have “Azamazing Nights” where they transport all of the passengers to a destination on land to see performances by local musicians and entertainers.
Pick a cruise line that likes to immerse its passengers in the local culture if thats what you are interested in.
Speak to your travel agent to find a cruise line that suits you, or book through me by filling in the form below. We are here for you forever and never cost more than booking direct.
32. What if I Get Sick? Don’t They Have Norovirus Outbreaks Regularly On Cruise Ships?
You may have heard of Norovirus outbreaks onboard cruise ships.
Norovirus is associated with cruise travel simply because health officials are required to track illnesses on ships. They are not at hotels or land resorts!
Outbreaks are found and reported more quickly at sea than on land, which is why you may have heard of Norovirus outbreaks onboard.
Norovirus spreads swiftly wherever there are many people in a small area, including hospitals, nursing homes, restaurants, hotels, dormitories … and cruise ships.
There are strict rules and guidelines that the cruise ship has to adhere to if a Norovirus case has been reported. There are no such strict guidelines on land – which seems a little unfair.
It is highly unlikely that you will catch Norovirus whilst onboard. I never have, and I have been on over 50 cruises.
If you suffer from some other illness or injury, cruise ships have fully manned medical centres on board. They can look after you, dispense medication and make sure you get the best possible treatment.
If you are very ill or have a medical emergency they may evacuate you to a hospital on land.
Find out more details about medical centres onboard cruise ships here:
It is essential to take out cruise-specific insurance, as you will be charged for any medical treatment your receive.
Find out more about travel insurance here:
33. Cruise Ships Are An Environmental Disaster.
There is no getting away from it, cruise ships or planes and cars or any other form of transport, are not good for the environment!
Cruise lines are trying hard to “clean up their act” though.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have announced sustainability commitments, including:
Cruise lines have pledged “a target of achieving net-zero carbon cruising by 2050.”
They go on to say:
Whether these commitments are met or not remains to be seen. Many are sceptical but the industry is without a doubt making moves in the right direction.
34. It Might Sink
The Costa Concordia disaster in 2012 was a tragedy that shocked the world.
Before that most people had never even considered a cruise ship could sink!
That disaster was caused by the reckless actions of the cruise ship’s Captain, not by a fault with the ship or its navigation systems.
Modern cruise ships are very high-tech, with state-of-the-art safety, navigation and communication systems.
Cruise lines don’t take any risks with passenger and ship safety. They will change itineraries and avoid port if they don’t think that the weather is good enough to dock.
By law, a “Muster Drill” is carried out on the first day of the cruise to make sure you know what to do in case of an emergency.
Regular safety drills are carried out by cruise ship staff so that they are always well-prepared for any eventuality.
Cruise ships are worth millions and millions of dollars! Why would any cruise line want to risk their considerable investment by taking chances when it comes to safety?
35. Staff on Cruise Ships are Overworked and Underpaid
There is no denying that some crew members work long hours with very little time off. Contracts often run for a nine-month term, and they get few hours off during this time.
Crew members come from all over the world. In some home countries, the wages are very low in comparison, so a job on a cruise ship offers them real opportunities to make more money to send back home to their families.
This must come at a huge personal cost, as they are away from their loved ones for months on end.
Some cruise lines register their ships in countries like Panama or The Bahamas. This is so that they don’t have to abide by minimum wage rules that many countries have.
It also allows cruise ship companies to take advantage of more favourable tax conditions in such countries. To learn more about this: Almost All Cruise Ships Fly Foreign Flags, Heres 3 Reasons Why
Since the Covid Pandemic, companies are having a hard time finding enough qualified on-board personnel. The cruise industry has been forced to offer more attractive working conditions and upgrade its image as an employer. This can only be a good thing for crew members!
There are advantages of working on a cruise ship too. The crew have an opportunity to see the world, they have no accommodation or food costs.
If they are ill or need medication onboard they will receive medical treatment at no cost to themselves.
I have many friends who love working on cruise ships, the below is Lucy who shares her work on her YouTube channel.
36. They Won’t Be Able To Cater For My Dietary Requirements On A Cruise Ship
If you have an allergy or a dietary requirement, let the cruise line know as soon as possible.
Most cruise lines have menus marked with allergens so that you can make informed choices about what you eat.
I am vegetarian and have found that there is a greater food choice for Vegetarian and Vegan cruisers on European cruise lines than on some of the large American lines – like Norwegian and Royal Caribbean.
When I sailed with Azamara, they had a completely separate Vegan/vegetarian menu, which was fantastic! Find details or Azamara food choices in the article below.
Would I Recommend a Cruise?
A cruise is a great way to visit many new places, eat wonderful food, and enjoy great entertainment all while having the time to relax and spend quality time with your loved ones!
You won’t know if you will like it until you try it – but be warned, if you do like it, cruising can be quite addictive I have been on over 50 cruises – and have plenty more planned…
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