How does being waited on 24/7 sound to you?
Why not Sail Away and enjoy a cruise?
Before you do I’ll give you the low down on the Pros and Cons of Cruising.
I always thought that people who took cruise holidays fell into two categories.
Firstly, living in Australia, I thought it was for young people to cruise the Pacific Islands, drinking and partying the whole time and not really worrying whether they called into port or not.
The second category was cruising for ‘seniors’ who were happy just to play bingo and maybe ‘take a turn around the promenade deck’ and be back in time for the next meal sitting plus of course morning and afternoon tea.
It was not until 2011 that my husband and I took our first cruise in the Mediteranean and since then we have cruised every year. There is something exciting about checking in and then wandering around the ship familiarizing yourself with your new home. I love looking out at the expanse of ocean as we while away the hours.
We love it and I don’t think we actually fall into either of the two categories above! We do however, usually combine a cruise with some land travel where we explore on our own at our own pace as well, so we are lucky enough to have the best of both worlds.
My cousin and his wife are avid cruisers and last year fulfilled a dream for their 50th wedding anniversary with a world cruise.
There are cruise ships for all budgets from the exclusive luxury lines to the more affordable lines which are still very comfortable.
Cruise ships cater for all ages so is a great family holiday with activities for all, including child minding so that Mum and Dad can enjoy some alone time.
Now cruising isn’t for everyone, however, I’ve tried to be objective in arguing the Pros and Cons of Cruising from my experience.
Let’s start on a positive note.
Here are the Pros from my point of view
- Floating resort – You are booked into a floating hotel resort with everything that a land resort can offer plus more. Usually most cruise ships have several pools, hot tubs, spa treatments, gymnasium, several options for dining, a designated crew member to look after your cabin and requirements, room service and that is just a basic ship.
- Boarding – On boarding day there is a fun and exciting atmosphere that pervades the ship and the staff are welcoming and friendly.
- Cabins – The cabins are very comfortable – even the lower priced internal cabins.
- Variety of options for length of cruise – Cruises have different lengths of travel from 3 days to around the world cruises of over 100 days.
- Once you unpack that is it for the holiday. No packing, racing to the next destination and unpacking for a night or two, then repeating the process over a period of two weeks. Not to mention lugging heavy bags and negotiating public transport in a foreign country.
- Cashless on board – Your cruise card is all you will need once onboard. Lock your wallet in the safe as you don’t need money on board. The cruise card covers all onboard purchases, is the key to your cabin and your identification when leaving and reboarding the ship.
- Flexibility – You have the same flexibility onboard as you would in a normal resort. You can participate in the ‘at sea day’ activities and take dance or yoga classes, attend art auctions, laze by the pool or find a cosy nook in one of the bars to relax, have a quiet drink or read a book.
- Destinations – You visit fascinating destinations without the hassle as you usually sail at night and arrive at a new destination the next morning. This gives you a taste of different places and if you don’t like it you are only there for the day and can go back to the ship. If you like it you can enjoy the experience and put it on the bucket list for a return visit and a longer stay.
- Involvement – You can be as involved in activities, excursions and socially as you want or if you prefer your own company and just relaxing you can do that too. There are no fixed rules.
- Several excursions in each port are usually available to choose from depending on what you want to see.
- In port ‘onboard special offers’ – if you don’t want to leave the ship there are usually good deals for spa treatments whilst in port that you can take advantage of.
- Entertainment is usually top class and there are usually different shows every night so something is sure to appeal.
Am I whetting your appetite yet? Can you see yourself lazing on a deckchair, sipping a pina colada?
Now before you go booking a cruise here are the Cons from my point of view
- Fear of sea sickness – of course sea sickness can happen however there are several medications and natural remedies (e.g. ginger) which can make it less disruptive to your holiday. However, with the size of the ships these days, the seas need to be very rough to really feel sick.
- Hidden costs for the novice – Although it is advertised that the cost of the cruise includes most things you will need to budget for extras. If you drink alcohol it can be expensive and even though some cruise lines provide a Drinks package it is not usually comprehensive. Spa treatments and some gym classes are provided at a cost. But hey you are on holidays so maybe live a little!
- Gratuities – this varies from cruise line, however this will normally be added to your account so read the fine print for charges.
- Cashless on board – this can be a negative unless you are aware. It is so easy to charge everything to your card that your budget can be blown out of the water (oops another pun!). However, some ships provide the facility of a daily running total so make use of this to avoid nasty surprises at the end of your holiday.
- Excursions can be rushed – It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to see everything you can in one day. Prepare before your cruise and study what excursions are available, what they offer and the cost. Don’t be put off by cruise lines advising that you will be left behind if you use private tour operators. The tour operators are very experienced and will get you back to the ship in plenty of time before departure. Just make sure you research the tour operator before you book. Sometimes it is safer just to take the ship’s excursions.
- Not enough time in each port – If you are wanting to explore an area or city in depth then cruising excursions are not for you. As I said above, they provide a taste of what is on offer and for some people that is enough. They just want to experience something they haven’t seen before or been to before.
- Some people may annoy you. There are always those that can be annoying or complaining anywhere. At least on ships there are usually 2,000 odd passengers so you can easily avoid them and not have your holiday spoilt.
- Photography – as a novice cruiser I had every photo taken and purchased each one. There is always a photographer popping up so just say no politely or have your photo taken and decide later. I’m now more savvy. How many photos of yourself do you really need?
Warning – if you do take a cruise be prepared to be spoilt and have ‘post holiday blues’ when you return home and find that there is no restaurant or chef on call or wonder why your bed has not been turned down.
Well what do you think? Do my Pros outweigh my Cons? Ready to test the waters? (pardon the pun).
Do your research and ask the opinion of others who have taken cruises. Cruise Critic is a website which can be useful for research. All of the cruise lines have comprehensive websites as well to provide you with all you need to know.
Why not try a 2 or 3 night cruise to start and see if you enjoy it?
Are you a cruiser? I’d love to hear some of your stories so feel free to share in the comments section.