Who doesn’t love a great cruise? They can be a great family trip or a nice romantic getaway. There are multiple recreation items like kid-friendly pools and outstanding shows. The food options are usually top-notch. Most make multiple stops, so you get to experience more than one destination on the trip. What’s not to love?
Actually, there are plenty of things not to love. A number of things that can turn a cruise from a memory-making experience into a terrible nightmare. You will never hear about any of these things in the travel brochure or on the website, for obvious reasons.
Let’s look at a few ways that can happen.
7. Missing the ship
You know the old saying about Murphy’s Law? “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” That is something you may run up against if you book your flight to your cruise location on the same day the boat departs. Terrible lines at the airport security checkpoints, bad weather, mechanical problems, and runways crowded with departing planes are all things that can derail your flight and prevent you from getting to the departure point before the ship sets sail. The ship is not going to wait for you. Also, there may be other opportunities to miss the ship. When the ship makes a stop and you get out and sight-see, if you lose track of time, the ship will depart without you. In that case, you are on your own and have to find your own way to the next stop to get on board. Being in an unfamiliar place trying to get from point A to point B can be tough, particularly if you are stuck in a place that speaks another language. All this over just being away from the ship to sight-see for just a little too much time!
6. Insane crowds
Cruise ships can have over 3,000 people on board. This can wear down even the most avid “people person.” If your cabin happens to be next to the elevator or stairwell, you’re not going to have an easy time getting to sleep. When people are on vacation having a great time, they can easily forget that if they make a lot of noise late at night, they may disturb people trying to sleep. Even worse is a person who knows they are causing disturbances and do so anyway. Unfortunately, some people believe they can do anything they want, and if what they do negatively impacts someone else, it’s up to someone else to adjust, not themselves. It can take a long time to get on and off the ship or to get through the line at the buffet or the show. Moving through crowds is even tougher if you have to dodge people who are so focused on their smartphones that they are unaware of their surroundings. (We’ll talk about those phones a little later.)
5. Bad food choices
If you’re looking to begin or continue a healthy eating regimen, you definitely don’t want to go on a cruise. Burgers, fries, cakes, doughnuts, and all-you-can-eat buffets are staples of the cruise experience. Being in this environment for multiple days sets you up to overeat and make terrible food choices. Alcohol flows freely on cruises, and that’s another place to pack on empty calories. Most vacations are times when the healthy eating pattern gets suspended to a degree. It’s particularly problematic on a cruise, where you can’t just decide to hop in the car and go somewhere else to eat.
4. Getting sick
Speaking of food, a cruise is a venue that is particularly susceptible to food poisoning, thanks to the aforementioned buffets that can have contaminated food, and where people who have some kind of illness can easily pass it on to other passengers. With so many people so close to each other, a single person who has the flu can send the virus racing throughout the ship. Cruise ships do have some medical people on board, but the crew will get quickly overwhelmed if an illness spreads to a large portion of the passengers. There is also motion sickness, which can certainly happen on a ship out to sea. Being out to sea limits the treatment options significantly.
With so many people on the ship, there are going to be a few terrible people among them. According to Business Insider, there were 120 alleged crimes on cruises in 2018. There were simple crimes such as theft, and very serious crimes like sexual assault and kidnapping. Crew members committing crimes is not unheard of. If you’re having a drink and get distracted, some terrible person could slip something into it while you aren’t looking. You have to always be on alert for potential criminals or bad people. As we discussed in the section about big crowds, a person or group of people who believe they can do anything without consequence will certainly be OK with taking things from others. That’s no way to try to relax.
2. Picking the wrong boat
Keep in mind that different cruises cater to different groups of people. If you are taking your children, you don’t want to go on the 3-day Mexico or Caribbean cruise that is going to be packed with 20-something party goers. If your group is all adults, you might not want to take a holiday, summer or Disney cruise, as one-third of those passengers tend to be children. Don’t simply look at the itinerary and make your decision based on that alone. Consider when the cruise is and who the other passengers might be. How much fun will your vacation be if you are in the middle of the one type of crowd you absolutely wanted to avoid?
1. Lack of communication
If you go on a cruise, be prepared to be cut off from the rest of the world. Most cruises have an option to purchase Wi-Fi access. However, it’s terribly expensive and extremely unreliable out on the ocean. This is a problem if someone in your life back on land needs to reach you in an emergency. Also, with so many of us feeling pressure to never be totally disconnected from work, you will face the temptation to use that over-priced, unreliable internet access to check in with the office. Vacations should be reserved for vacationing. And as we mentioned earlier, you’re bound to cross paths with that person that is so addicted to the phone that you crash into each other or have to listen to the phone addict scream about the unreliable connection. That’s not a whole lot of fun.
You can certainly take the necessary steps to ward off these potential bad experiences, even if some of them are mostly beyond your control. The best possible way to avoid these things is to stay on land. You don’t have to get on a ship to have a spectacular and exotic vacation. There are many exotic locations and venues to see and spectacular hotels or other places to stay. You can create lifelong memories in many ways – and can avoid the problems you may encounter on a cruise that the cruise lines aren’t going to warn you about.