We’ve all heard the myths, rumors, and stereotypes about cruising. Maybe we have The Love Boat to blame. Whatever it is, cruising is one of the best ways to take a trip.
I have been on 10 cruises, and I can tell you that the cruising of old is not what cruising is today. There is a lot of misinformation and negative stories floating around but much of your experience will depend on a variety of factors like cruise line, ship size, cabin type and itinerary.
Below, we put to rest most of the most common myths associated with cruising, which keep people from ever stepping foot on today’s ships and having an excellent cruising experience.
The ships today have so much to do, you can’t possibly fit it all in. On any number of the ships, you can rock climb, surf, watch outdoor movies, ice skate, zip line, drive go-carts, shoot basketballs, play bingo, tour the galley, get a massage, tour the bridge, make cupcakes, attend Broadway level show, play slots and craps in the casino, dance in the disco, go bowling, learn to salsa dance – and that’s just part of the things you can do onboard.
Some people feel like you can’t get off the ship in the middle of the ocean, or that you’ll be confined to the ship at all times. If you choose an itinerary that has few or no at sea days, you’ll be at a new place every morning, which will help you from feeling stuck on the ship.
Plus with all the open deck space, you’ll forget you’re even on a ship and avoid that closed in feeling. Also, choose a cabin with a balcony to help if you have a problem feeling claustrophobic.
Older ships do have fewer cabins with balcony’s, while the newer ships are designed with many more cabins with a balcony. After having a balcony you’ll never go back. We love to listen to the sound of the water by opening our balcony door. Pay the extra money for a cabin with a balcony. It’s worth every penny.
How much or how little you eat is totally up to you. There are so many food choices that you could literally be eating around the clock if you want to. But like anything in life, moderation is the key. If you stick to a dining schedule that is similar to your normal routine and you use portion control you shouldn’t have a problem maintaining your normal weight. The cruise lines offer so many healthy dining choices than they did on ships in the past. I also use the stairs instead of the elevators every chance I get. I also keep to my normal workout routine by walking or running outside on the deck or using the well equipped onboard fitness center.
This is more of a problem with the older ships. In booking a cruise, make sure the ship is a newer ship because of the buffet and theatre areas are better designed for traffic flow. The cruise lines learn something new every time they build a new ship. They learned that passengers wanted cabins with a balcony and they also learned a lot about traffic flow. Even the larger ships like Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas at 5518 passengers have no problem with traffic flow because they have more deck space, entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, and activities to handle the larger number of passengers.
The newer ships are much better equipped to provide a smoother ride than the older ships. The new ships have stabilization fins that help the ship roll from side to side. Also, the new ships are much larger so it takes a lot more to move them around. Still, mother nature can kick out some ugly weather from time to time.
Here are a few tips…Take a once a day Bonine tablet before you think you actually need it. Bonine prevents and treats symptoms associated with motion sickness. So just take one and don’t worry any further about it. The worst time for motion sickness can be the first day before you get your “sea legs”. and you’re not used to the motion of the ship. Also, book a cabin in the middle of the ship (front to back) and halfway up the ship (bottom to top). Don’t get a cabin at the very back or very front of the ship. There is more movement here.
Although the norovirus occurs less frequently onboard than it does ashore, you’re more likely to hear about outbreaks on cruise ships than outbreaks elsewhere. The cruise lines offer hand sanitizers throughout the ship and you’ll be reminded to practice good handwashing-particularly before dining and after using the bathroom. Good handwashing habits are the best defense against getting sick. If someone does get the norovirus, the infected passengers are quarantined, and affected ships go through a thorough cleaning and sanitation process per industrywide protocols before the next group of cruisers is allowed to board.
If you want to eat food all day you can. You can also roll dice in the casino all night if you want to. If you want to meet people or learn to salsa dance you can. That’s why cruising is so much fun. You make it what you want. If you cherish some time for yourself and to be alone you can do that too. You can find a quiet place to read a book. There are lots of lounges, libraries, and nooks and crannies on the ship to be alone. There are also onboard spas to get a massage, facial, manicure or pedicure and pamper yourself. If you really want to be alone you can always hang out in the balcony of your cabin and sip on a glass of champagne.
There are more people in their 20s, 30, and 40s cruising now than ever before. It’s not just for the old retirees with all their free time. There are all age groups and many multi-generational families taking cruises today. Cruise lines are catering to the younger and more adventurous crowd by offering great dining options, lots of children programs for parents with your children, adults only areas on the ship where you won’t hear any kids, Broadway-level shows to keep everyone happy, and offshore excursions like zip lining and swimming with the stingrays.
Cruising has it all. Great ships, excellent food, fun activities and entertainment, beautiful ports, and adventure for all age groups. Don’t let these myths keep you from booking your next cruise.
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David Kluge is the founder of the Global Travel Boss blog. He loves helping Empty Nesters & Midlife Adventurers create more freedom, travel more, travel smarter, explore destinations, and for less money. He is a travel activist, small business advisor, avid Green Bay Packer fan, and has a Caribbean soul he can barely control.
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