By Simon & Susan Veness
Regular cruisers will have heard it all before. “Why would you want to go cruising? It’s just for old fogeys; it’s dull and dreary; I don’t want to be cooped up; who wants to get sea-sick?” etc, etc, etc.
From time immemorial, or, at least, ever since someone first had the idea to jump on something that floats and steer it around the sea, there have been nay-sayers. You know the type: “You’ll never get me on something like that.” And “It’ll never work, you know.” And, “Even if it doesn’t sink, you’ll be bored to tears.” And finally, “It’s hardly a cultural experience, darling, poodling around with 2,000 people you don’t know.”
That latter may be the most modern version of the jibes, digs and misconceptions that have, ahem, floated around the cruise world for decades, but they still exist, and we thought it would be worth using this week’s blog to dispel, once and for all, the age-old criticisms and cruise myths that we continue to hear about the cruise world.
Cruise Myth 1. Cruising is for the elderly. I’m not ready for the old folks’ home yet…
Define ‘old.’ We’ve sailed with youngsters who have had nothing to talk about, and 80-year-olds who were the life and soul of the party. Yes, some cruise lines (and river-cruising) tend to attract an older clientele, but the general age profile of most ships is now significantly younger than it was 20 or 30 years ago. In fact, some people now claim cruise ships can be TOO busy and too attractive for the party crowd, but that’s a whole different argument!
The bottom line with modern-day cruising is that there is genuinely a ship and a style for everyone these days, from those who enjoy the non-stop party life (Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean), to those who prefer their holidays to be more cerebral, educational and, yes, cultural (Voyages to Antiquity, Pearl Seas Cruises, Uniworld, Saga, and others).
Cruise Myth 2. Cruising is just plain dull. Seven days at sea? I’d rather watch paint dry…
If you have no genuine interest in fine food and wine; stimulating travel experiences; high-quality stage shows; live music; engaging lectures and lifestyle programmes; active adventures; different cities every day; great beaches and chillout opportunities; wildlife encounters; history; art; good conversation; new cultural experiences; romance; family time; and the chance to simply breathe, disconnect and re-charge, then sure, cruising isn’t for you.
The simple fact is that modern cruising now has so much variety, choice and excitement, you’d have to be pretty much brain-dead not to find something you enjoy on a daily basis, irrespective of the fascinating places a cruise can take you. It’s rare to go more than a couple of days without a port of call and there is just nothing as invigorating as sailing into a new harbor with all the possibilities for adventure and discovery.
Cruise Myth 3. I’ll get sea-sick. Or go down with norovirus. Or I’ll explode from too much food.
Okay, so the latter might well be a distinct possibility. The temptation to over-eat on any voyage is now seriously real. Food quality has reached such ridiculously high levels, and it is available 24/7, that you do need to be semi-disciplined about how much – and how often – you eat.
The other two are statistically MUCH less likely. Yes, Mal de Mer does occasionally afflict the unprepared. But, dear readers, you are not unprepared, are you? A Dramamine tablet or two is likely to quell any latent rumblings until you get your sea-legs and, yes, that is a very real thing. Sea-legs is the quaint nautical term for simply getting used to the motion of a ship and, after a few days, you probably won’t even notice it.
Even more relevant is the fact most cruises these days seek out the calmest waters at the most benevolent times of the year. It is EXTREMELY rare for a ship to encounter rough seas as cruise lines are anxious to avoid anything that might make them late for port. Also, all modern ships are equipped with stabilisers, which seriously cut down on their side-to-side movement.
Finally, Norovirus, or Mal de Stomach, does occasionally crop up during Cold And Flu Season from January to April, but you are far more likely to catch it going to the supermarket, school or any other place where lots of people congregate on land. Just be sure to use the sanitisers all cruise lines now provide around their ships, and, above all, wash your hands. Often. It should go without saying, but this basic precaution will ward off a LOT of evils.
Cruise Myth 4. I don’t want to be surrounded by kids.
Wait, what? First you’re telling us that cruising attracts too many old-timers, and now you’re saying it’s a kid-fest? Come on, make up your mind!
Okay, we do get where you’re coming from. Some cruise line adverts show kids on rock-climbing walls, ziplines, go-karts, water-slides and abseiling down the side of the ship. In some cases, it looks like the whole passenger list could be under 18. But fear not.
The reality is that most cruise lines have extremely efficient kids’ clubs that provide almost round-the-clock entertainment for younger cruisers in their own habitat, safe from the important grown-up areas of the Spa, Casino and Martini Bar. And there are lines with either no children at all (Saga, Viking Ocean, and P&O, on select ships) or with a profile that attracts very few (Oceania, Azamara Club Cruises, most of the ultra-luxe lines, and nearly all river-cruises).
Cruise Myth 5. I’ll have to dress up. Or, at least, wear a jacket and tie, and no-one tells me what to wear on holiday!
Whoa there, just relax. Why so uptight? You need to take a cruise and de-stress! Seriously, very few cruise lines these days demand a high level of formality, while some (Norwegian, Azamara, Oceania, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Windstar, Viking Ocean and some Royal Caribbean ships) have no requirement for formal wear at all. So, truly, just chill and enjoy the sea-going style (but no shorts in the dining room, savvy?).
Ultimately, of course, there is no swaying the serial doubters, the ones for whom facts are an encumbrance and reality is merely a state caused by the lack of alcohol. There will always be doubters. To which we respond, “Hoorah!” If EVERYONE knew how much enjoyment there was to be had on a cruise, we’d never be able to get on!
Have you ever felt the need to dispel any cruise myths? If so, let us know in the comments below!