A recent survey by travel researcher Amadeus found that 42% of adults who holiday abroad but have never taken a cruise would be tempted to book one in the future. With this in mind, we decided to look at the common cruise misconceptions that might be putting the other 58% off.
It’s too expensive
When you take into account everything that’s included, cruising is actually one of the best value holidays around. Your cruise fare includes meals on a full board basis (with the exception of great value speciality restaurants), accommodation, transport, facilities and sometimes even a choice of excursions at your destination. While luxury cruise fares can seem expensive at first glance, they actually present great value when you take into consideration everything that is included; luxury accommodation, all beverages, speciality dining, exclusive excursions, all gratuities and world-class cuisine.
With kid’s clubs also included in the fare, cruising can be a cost-effective choice for families looking for maximum fun on minimum budget.
I’ll end up with a huge bill for all the hidden extras
While you can fill up on an endless choice of dining options, it has to be said that the same sadly doesn’t go for drinks. Although drinks on cruise lines including P&O Cruises and Cunard are cheaper than in the average city centre bar, your tab can soon add up when you are enjoying cocktails around the pool, a glass of wine with your meal and then a couple of drinks in the lounges before bed. Despite this, you needn’t always expect a huge bill at disembarkation. Almost all cruise lines offer drinks packages, with the likes of Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises often offering all-inclusive or up to £900 per person drink packages free when you book.
Gratuities are another hidden cost that can add up, however those incurred on a cruise are actually considerably less than you would expect to pay in a land-based restaurant at home. Pre-pay them at time of booking to avoid unexpected bills or look out for cruise sales and special offers that see your gratuities covered by the cruise line.
I’m too young, cruising is for old people!
The average age of a British cruiser may be 56, but the number of under 35’s booking a cruise has skyrocketed to record levels in recent years. Thanks to more innovative ships, exciting entertainment and action-packed activities, cruise holidays are no longer just for adults either. More families than ever turn to cruising as a way to get the most out of limited holiday time, seeing more destinations in the same space of time. Water slides, bowling, surfing, skydiving, outdoor cinema, nightclubs; it certainly doesn’t sound boring to us!
I’ll be stuck on a ship for days on end
44% of people surveyed hated the thought of being confined to the ship for days on end and we can’t say we blame them; it doesn’t sound like our idea of a great holiday either! Luckily, a cruise holiday sees you arrive in a different destination almost every day, so you won’t actually spend that much time at sea. Of course, if you’re on a transatlantic cruise you’ll spend much longer on your ship, but that’s part of the appeal and you’ll have even more time to enjoy the ship’s facilities.
I’ll never get any time alone or personal space
On a ship with sometimes thousands of passengers, it really can be difficult to get some personal space. Unless you head to the spa or set up camp in the exclusive outdoor retreat on Sun Deck, of course. Or you could avoid the dinner crowds with private dining on your balcony (complete with private waiting staff). Or sink into one of those leather armchairs in the library with a cappuccino and your holiday read. Or perhaps sneak a pastry on a quiet afternoon in the patisserie.
I’ll be herded from one place to the next
If you call waking up in a new exciting destination most mornings ‘herding’ then yes, you will be herded from one place to the next. You’ll visit multiple destinations in a single holiday, see more of the country than you ever could from a land based resort and spend the time in between making the most of incredible food, facilities and entertainment on board. Prefer to take things at your own pace? Feel free to skip the ports you’ve seen before, making the most of the peace and quiet on board instead. It’s your holiday and you can use it to see and do as much or as little as you choose.
I’ll be stranded in the middle of the ocean without contact with the ‘outside world’
For many people, a holiday is a break away from everything, including social media. For others however, a week without Wi-Fi is akin to a week of inconceivable torture. Hard to believe? Well apparently, 62% of people considering a cruise holiday would want superfast Wi-Fi on board the ship and would consider lack of internet a deal breaker. Luckily, ships are becoming more technological than ever and you needn’t spend your sea days using dodgy dial-up in the internet café; Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas made history with the fastest Wi-Fi at sea when it launched last year. In reality, almost all modern cruise ships offer Wi-Fi, though you’ll usually have to purchase an internet package unless you come across a special offer when booking.
I’ll get sea sick
If the YouTube videos are to be believed, your ship’s crew will spend their days clearing more smashed crockery than a Greek waiter, battling to keep the water in the pool and catching Pina Colada’s as they slide off the bar. Luckily, this isn’t the reality of choppy seas. Cruise ships are built with huge stabilisers designed to minimise the motion of the ocean, and while many do feel some swaying until they develop their ‘sea legs’, it is exceptionally rare to experience debilitating sea-sickness. Those who do usually experience motion sickness can stave off a bout in advance with medicines bought over the counter.
I’ll get bored of eating the same stuff day-in, day-out
Those who regularly take cruise holidays will tell you that one of the best aspects of cruising is the food. It’s the reason you’ll need holiday clothes in two sizes for a fortnight away (your usual size for week one and a size bigger for week two) and it’s the main reason you’ll see people lapping the running track if you’re out on Sun Deck early morning.
Today’s ships have more dining options than ever before and sub-standard Vegas-style buffets have been left firmly in the 80’s. Celebrity chef’s including Jamie Oliver, James Martin, Marco Pierre White and Atul Kochhar bring their expertise on board with signature restaurants, and five star dining is a matter of course (or should that be courses?). With multiple dining venues, including a whopping 18 on board Royal Caribbean’s latest Quantum-class ships, cruise ship dining offers more choice than even the most extensive all-inclusive resort!
I’ll have to watch past-it performers in cheesy shows every night
If you think cruise ships are where those who fail at Butlins entertainment boot camp come for a second chance, think again! The entertainment on board today’s ships is often compared to that on Broadway and the West End, and with good reason; the cast performing Mamma Mia on board Quantum of the Seas has been touted as the best in the show’s history. Elsewhere, jazz legends Blue Note Records are making special appearances on Cunard ships throughout 2015, and the incredible Blue Man Group and Cirque Du Soleil are a permanent fixture on board ships in the Norwegian Cruise Lines fleet.