As a child I was lucky enough to go on several cruises around different parts of the world with my family. Something that, much to the confusion of many of my friends, I absolutely loved doing. Still to this day, saying that you’ve been on 6 cruises by the age of 25 is often met with bewilderment and a lot of questions… Are cruises not just for old people? Didn’t you get bored? Aren’t they dangerous? So ever since my last cruise at the age of 16, I was dying to get back on one as an adult and take my friends with me to prove them wrong!
Luckily, last month I finally got the opportunity to hit the ocean again on a 7-night cruise of the Mediterranean with Princess Cruises, docking in Barcelona, Gibraltar, Marseille, Genoa and Livorno, and it was even better than I remembered as a child – partially because I could drink cocktails this time around!
If you’ve ever considered going on a cruise but are put off by any of the preconceptions you have, check out these 11 common misconceptions about cruises…
11 common misconceptions about cruises
It’s not a boat, it’s a ship!
First things first, if you’re dreaming of standing on the top deck as you sail across the ocean singing ‘I’m on a boat’ at the top of your lungs, I’d first make sure there are no crew members or seasoned cruise goers nearby. Technically it’s a ship, not a boat… and some people aren’t afraid to let you know!
Cruises are for old people
You may have heard the saying that cruises are only for the ‘newlywed and nearly dead’. And the average demographic of many cruise ships doesn’t do much to disprove the latter part of this myth. However, with most cruise lines now going out of their way to attract the younger generations, the average age of cruisers is dropping year by year, and rightly so!
There are so many reasons that cruises are great for young people, from the ease of travelling to several new destinations in one quick trip to the lively atmosphere at the ships many onboard bars, clubs and parties every night. As a 25 year old who took a cruise with a group of 8 people all in our 20s and 30s, I would happily recommend a cruise for a fun and stress-free group holiday with friends, or even as a romantic getaway for a young couple.
Check out the post ‘8 reasons you should take a cruise in your 20s and 30s‘ on The Travel Hack!
Cruises are expensive
Another one of the most common misconceptions about cruises is that they are extremely expensive. In the past, cruises may have been more expensive and therefore exclusive to the upper classes. But with the growth in popularity of cruising and the increasing number of cruise lines and ships sailing around the globe, cruise holidays are more affordable than ever before.
You could take my 7 day Meditterean Cruise with Princess Cruises for around £800pp. When you think that this includes your luxury accommodation for a week, all of your meals, loads of fun activities and plenty of quality entertainment, cruising is one of the best value for money holidays you can get!
Cruises are boring
Some people believe that just because they will be spending long periods of time on a
boat ship, that they will get easily bored on a cruise holiday. Well, I can safely tell you that I did not get bored for a single second of my cruise, and even with two days at sea I could have actually done with more time to make the most of everything on board the ship!
From the numerous pools and hot tubs, amazing spa facilities, golf putting course and basketball nets, gym, daily activities from bingo to GoPro photography classes, and the great variety of evening entertainment including West-End quality shows and a nightclub, there was never a dull moment on board the Crown Princess.
Cruises are claustrophobic
If when you think about accommodation on a cruise ship you imagine a small, dark and claustrophobic room, think again. My stateroom on the Crown Princess was bigger than quite a few hotels I’ve stayed in and definitely more luxurious. The bed was not only massive but had one of the comfiest mattresses I’ve ever slept on. The balcony was also a lovely addition and a great way to enjoy some fresh ocean air in the morning – if you can splash out a little I’d definitely recommend getting a balcony room.
Cruise ships are overcrowded
Yes there are a lot of people on a cruise ship, but have you seen the size of them!? Many cruise ships are the size of small cities with loads of different areas, activities, restaurants and bars.
There were 3,000 guests and almost 1,500 crew members on the Crown Princess and yet it never felt overcrowded. In fact, it was quite easy to find a peaceful area to enjoy some quiet time, like on the upper decks away from the main pools or in the adult-only sanctuary.
You’ll get seasick on a cruise
If you are someone who gets seasick, you may feel a little queasy for the first day or two. This is called ‘getting your sea legs’. Cruise ships have stabilisers which work to keep the rocking of the ship to an absolute minimum, meaning once you get used to the occasional swaying at first, you’ll eventually start to forget you’re even on a ship by the end of your trip.
You’ll get ill on a cruise
As well as seasickness, there is a common misconception about cruises that they are hotbeds for other sicknesses such as noroviruses, due to the number of people living within a close proximity to one another. However, you are no more likely to contract noroviruses on a ship than you are on land. Most cruises go out of their way to ensure that germs are not spread between guests, with methods such as hand sanitising machines when you get on and off the boat, as well as at the entrance of each dining venue.
Cruises are dangerous
When I talk to people about going on a cruise, all too often the Titanic manages to sneak its way into the conversation. This is probably one of the common misconceptions about cruises that gets to me the most. One major accident over 100 years ago which turned into a popular film and now so many people are put off from ever stepping foot on a cruise ship! Even though it’s statistically one of the safest ways of travelling.
To put your mind even further at ease, cruise lines go out of their way to ensure the safety of guests, with everyone on board required to attend a muster drill on their first day. In a muster drill, you will head to your designated muster station (the area you would go in case of an emergency) and learn about the safety procedures on board, including how to use your life jacket in the rare instance that something does happen.
There are assigned dining times and venues
Go back many years and it was more common on cruises to have regulated dining options, with guests being obliged to put on their fanciest black tie threads and head to the main dining room at a set time.
Now, cruises are far more flexible and guests can do as they please of an evening. There is usually the option for eating at set times in the main dining rooms, however you can also opt to book a time of your choosing at the speciality restaurants or simply rock up and ask for a table at any of the onboard eateries.
There are still ‘formal nights’ onboard most cruise ships on which many people don tuxes and dresses to drink champagne in the atrium with the captain before heading to a fancy dinner in one of the restaurants. But if that’s not your style you’re also welcome to throw on your shorts and flip-flops and grab a slice of pizza or a plate from the buffet instead.
You’re limited on where you can visit
Cruises may typically be associated with your classic sunny holiday destinations such as the Mediterranean or Caribbean, but did you know you can also take cruises to more far-flung destinations? Princess Cruises have routes around Scandinavia, the Baltics, Alaska, Japan and South Korea.
Plus even if your ship is docking in a particular destination, that doesn’t mean it’s the only place you can visit. We docked in the Italian port of Genoa then took a 1hr45 transfer along the coast to the beautiful Cinque Terre for the day, while other people from our ship decided to head further inland for a day in Milan. With plenty of time in each port, you’re welcome to explore as far and wide as you wish, whether on a set excursion or on your own. Just as long as you make it back in time for the ship to leave!