Maybe it comes from my mom who loves cruising—she’s been doing it now since the mid-90s—but I never understood some of the fears and misconceptions about taking a cruise. Following our Caribbean cruise last November, we’ve gotten a number of reader emails asking if we can clear up some of the misinformation surrounding cruises. Since it’s a popular topic with our audience, we decided to dispel some of the more popular myths about cruising right here, right now for everyone to read.
Myth no. 1: I’m bound to get seasick.
Yeah, probably not. In fact, there may be times when you don’t even realize the ship is moving. This is primarily due to the ship being equipped with stabilizers, which most cruise ships have nowadays. With that said, the ocean is a big place. If there are waves, you’ll likely feel them. So pack your favorite motion sickness remedy, just in case, and you should be good to go.
Our recommendation: If you’re still worried about getting seasick or if you know you’ll be traveling in rough seas—a winter transatlantic crossing, for example—then book a cabin in the middle of the deck, which is the the natural balance point on a cruise ship.
Myth no. 2: Cruising is boring for guys.
If I had to guess, I’d say this myth originated from the fact that there’s a perception that the majority of things to do on a cruise revolve around spa treatments and shopping in ports. But the truth is cruises offer so much more than that; they are after all floating resorts with lots of entertainment for everyone. On the Carnival Dream, for example, I discovered that cruise ships are a bit of a best-kept secret for guys. From steakhouses, tiki bars, and black jack tables to scotch tastings and ATV rides in foreign lands, there’s a lot of fun for men to have on a cruise. And hey, a nice massage never hurt a guy either.
Our recommendation: Just do it. Start off with a shorter cruise, say three to four days, to see what cruising is like. You may be surprised what adventures you find.
Myth no. 3: Taking a cruise is out of my budget.
You don’t have to be Thurston Howell III (Any Gilligan’s Island fans out there?) to take a cruise these days. With so much competition in the cruise space, companies are always looking to fill cabins and often offer discounts and incentives, such as spa treatments or free shore excursions, to ensure their ships don’t leave the docks empty. One way to ensure your bargain cruise doesn’t turn into a luxury vacation is to watch the extras, especially gambling and drinking.
Our recommendation: Cruise in the off-season for the best bargains.
Myth no. 4: I’ll never have any privacy.
Cruise lines understand this concern and have created adult-only sections like the Serenity Deck on our Carnival cruise. These sections are generally less crowded and have a more laid-back vibe than the other lounge areas around the ship. And if you really want to have the ship to yourself, stay onboard during port days, and you may just get the pool all to yourself.
Our recommendation: Cruise ships are huge, often reaching lengths of two to three football fields, so if it’s privacy you seek, you’re bound to find a cozy nook to call all your own. And if you want even more privacy, book a cabin with a balcony and order room service to your heart’s content.
Myth no. 5: I’ll have to eat every meal with strangers.
You can, if you want, but don’t have to. Carnival offers flexible dining options, giving cruisers the option of eating at their leisure. On our cruise, Beth and I ate every meal alone, not because we didn’t want to mingle with the other guests, but because we often work during dinner and didn’t want bother others.
Our recommendation: Mix up your meals with private and group dinners. While it’s nice to have a romantic dinner with the one you love, it’s also a lot of fun to chat with other cruisers.
Myth no. 6: There’s nothing to do in ports, except shop.
No doubt, there’s plenty of shopping to be had, usually the moment you step off the ship. But you know what? There’s also a lot to do that has nothing to do with shopping. Whether you’re looking for an adventure, a few hours on a pristine white sand beach, or a few pieces of jerk chicken in Jamaica, you are bound to find something that interests you. During our time in Grand Cayman, we learned to scuba dive and then caught a local bus to the nearest beach, where we spent the afternoon swimming and sunbathing.
Our recommendation: After booking your cruise, check out what shore excursions are available for each port. If you don’t see any that interest you, grab a guidebook and plan out your own.
Myth no. 7: Eating healthy is not an option.
As with any all inclusive resort, it can be easy to go overboard in the food department. I did it at brunch, and, honestly, it was glorious. Beth, however, is a bit more disciplined than I am, and she found plenty of healthy, vegetarian options to choose from during our seven-day cruise. Additionally, many cruise lines now offer specialty dining, which—for an extra fee—gives cruisers the chance to elevate their culinary experience.
Our recommendation: Watch your serving sizes and enjoy not having to cut and wash your veggies for a few days.
Myth no. 8: Cruise ships only leave from Florida.
This one’s an oldie but a goodie. Cruises depart from major cities all over the United States. Last year, our Carnival cruise departed from New Orleans, and I know from research that there are a good number that leave from New England, including Boston and Portland, Maine, as well as New York City and Baltimore. And that is only the East Coast. Cities on the West Coast and Gulf Coast are also popular with cruise lines.
Advice: Before booking a cruise that would require a flight, check to see if there are any departures from a nearby city. This way you can cut out the added cost of airfare.
As you can see, there are quite a few myths about cruising that, honestly, just don’t hold water (pun fully intended). For those of you still on the fence about whether a cruise is right for you, I say just go for it. Find an inexpensive short cruise and try it out for yourself. Remember: You’ll never know until you go.
This post was created for Away We Go with Carnival, the destination for getting in the getaway state of mind.