I live with a cruise hater. Why the fates were so cruel as to put my life on the same path as that of someone who loathes the very thing around which my every waking moment revolves, I’ll never know. But as a result, I’ve spent more than a little time trying to convince someone that cruising is not all of the things they believe it to be.
This is a subject that cruise line executives know a thing or two about, as evidenced when Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Cruise Line, told attendees of the Cruise Lines International Association’s Cruise360 gathering recently, “A lot of people will dismiss a cruise vacation based on what they mistakenly believe to be true. They just think they’re not cruise people!”
With that in mind, I thought maybe, just maybe, I could help you convince the non-cruiser in your life to give our favorite pastime a try. How? By addressing some of those misconceptions… and suggesting ways that even those which might contain a nugget of truth can be avoided!
1. The Misconception: “Cruise food is as awful as it is awful-for-you.”
The Fact: If you can’t find great food and healthy options onboard, you just ain’t trying. After all, modern cruise ships feature not only the main dining rooms and buffets of yore, but a plethora of specialty restaurants. And while food is available around every corner, it’s not difficult to find healthy options. Carnival’s newest ship, Vista, offers a salad bar in their adults-only area, making it easier to avoid grabbing quick, empty calories at the buffet. And the Moderno churrascaria found aboard many Norwegian ships features a salad bar so well stocked, vegetarians have been known to happily dine at the meat-centric restaurant.
2. The Misconception: “I’ll get norovirus!”
The Fact: You have a better chance of contracting the bug from one of your co-workers than you do on board a ship. The illness is far more prevalent on land than it is at sea. And even when an outbreak does occur, crews act quickly to minimize the ailment’s spread, usually resulting in a small percentage of the ship’s passengers falling ill. While news outlets love nothing more than covering outbreaks, they rarely give the actual facts behind the headlines. Want to read more? Click here.
3. The Misconception: “I’ll be bored.”
The Fact: When we hear people utter this excuse, we literally have to stifle a laugh. There’s a reason highlighters are the No. 1 item on our list of small items you’ll be glad you packed. They’re great for looking at the daily programs and marking all the different activities you want to make sure you don’t miss. That said, this is where a good travel agent really comes in handy. Because if a first-time cruiser winds up on the wrong ship, they actually could find themselves bored. Not all cruise ships are the same, and neither are the activities featured onboard. Finding a ship that has the right itinerary, activities, and entertainment options for you is crucial.
4. The Misconception: “Cruises are for old fogies!”
The Fact: If you happen to want to cruise with octogenarians, you’ll certainly be able to find a line and ship which caters largely to that crowd. But more and more often, lines are focusing on making themselves more appealing to a younger audience. Recent months have seen the rollout of higher speed Internet across several lines, innovative attractions, and even a new way of thinking about what the typical ship’s atrium area should look like. Sure, you can still play shuffleboard on the lido deck of Norwegian Breakaway, but you can also play the latest Wii games on the big screen in the atrium.
5. The Misconception: “It costs too much.”
The Fact: Cruises are a lot like a trip to Disney World: How much you spend depends on what you’re looking to spend. For example, at the Florida theme parks, you can opt to stay in what they call a “value” resort which will offer fewer amenities and cost less, or you can book yourself into one of the deluxe resorts where you’ll pay a whole lot more for a higher level of comfort. There’s a room for every price range. The same holds true of cruising, where the price is going to depend on everything from which line you select to the type of experience you want to have. Many opt to save money by booking an interior room, figuring they won’t be spend a lot of time in it. Others would rather pay more for a balcony on which to relax or even a high-end suite. But the big difference with cruising is that your food and entertainment are, for the most part, paid for. You might opt to pay to eat in a specialty restaurant or book a massage, but all of your basic expenses are included in the price of your cruise.
What are some common misconceptions you’ve heard about cruising? What’s your response?