For most, taking a cruise seems like a great way to vacation. Being aboard a giant “floating hotel,” passengers feel like royalty. The food. The fun. The feeling of being free. These things and more make people excited to save up their hard-earned dough for a fabulous cruise. Some book just a few days at sea while others are away on a whirlwind adventure for weeks. Whether the cruise is local or it sails around the world, there is something that feels special about the idea of cruising. And lots of people are choosing this type of vacation, hoping for an unforgettable experience with their friends or a significant other.
Before booking your cruise – be it your first or a follow-up - beware that not everything is as amazing as it seems. Sure, the travel agents and cruise lines representatives will assure you that taking a cruise is a choice you will be glad you made, but as we know, they are in the business of selling…not always telling the full truth. And there are surely some things you ought to know before signing your credit card receipt and packing your suitcases preparing to hop aboard.
Sure, cruising has its perks, and plenty of people take many cruises over the span of their lifetimes. But others will confirm that cruising isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Here are 20 surprising reasons why most adults should avoid taking a cruise and find something else to do for their next vacation. Let’s dive in…
20 Bad Weather Can Ruin Everything
Most people plan cruises when the weather is expected to be perfect. Sitting on the deck with a cool drink in hand feels like paradise. And some cruises make stops to beaches and shops, so good weather is a must in order to be able to enjoy these outings. Plus, your time on the cruise is limited, so every nice-weather day is a blessing. But what if the weather doesn’t cooperate? A few stormy days and you’re stuck inside doing karaoke or having another beer at the bar. And how much food from the buffet can you eat before you feel like a beached whale? Bad weather and cruising just don’t mix. You won’t get your time or your money back. Bad weather casts a cloud – both literally and figuratively – over your entire vacation.
19 If You Lose Power, You’re Screwed
Cruise ships have been known to lose power. And when you’re in the middle of the ocean, it’s not like the electric company is just down the block. All the fun that comes with cruising relies on power to persist. From cooking the food to playing music to just keeping the lights on, power is precious to keep things running smoothly. Sure, there’s a backup, but if that blows, the boat will be more like a canoe than a cruise. Bring a flashlight but don’t expect the staff to do more than offer up a game of charades on the deck ‘till help comes.
18 The Rooms/Cabins are Tiny
The cruise ship itself may be huge but the cabins are pint-sized. Sure, you won’t be spending tons of time in your room, but if you do choose to chill out away from the crowd, you’ll feel like a sardine stuffed in a can. And you probably won’t be traveling alone, so “the more” is not necessarily “the merrier” when you can’t stretch your arm out without hitting a wall. You can pay more and get a bigger cabin, but even the upgrade is nothing to write home about. If it’s a sprawling suite you’re after, taking a cruise will be nothing short of a claustrophobic experience.
17 Seasickness Can Strike at Any Time
If you think you won’t get nauseous after spending days at sea…think again. Even if you have never experienced seasickness before, one bout of belly flips and flops will have you turning green. Choppy waters and a rocky ride can make anyone feel dizzy or sick to their stomach. Especially after drinking and eating far too much from the late-night buffet, getting queasy can come quickly. Nothing ruins a vacation faster than spending hours in bed or huddled over the toilet tossing your cookies. If you think you may be prone to getting seasick, taking a cruise can be a curse.
16 Illness Travels Fast
Being in close quarters with other passengers for a week or so means that germs and viruses are all aboard too. Say someone has the flu or another illness that’s airborne – that means that everyone on the ship is susceptible to getting sick too. When the guy next to you at the bar is coughing up a lung, cover your drink and duck into another spot on the ship. But due to limited ventilation and proximity to people 24/7, if there is something going around, you may catch what they’ve got. Being sick at sea is not what you signed up for.
15 Extra Expenses for Excursions Add Up
There is plenty to do on board but many cruises offer extra perks like off-shore excursions on private islands and sandy beaches. Cruise passengers love the idea of making a stop here and there to get off the boat and see a new place. But not every excursion is included in the price of the cruise. And temptation will get the best of people. Seeing others ready to explore will make the rest of the passengers pay up. On top of what you’ve already spent for your trip, now you will be shelling out even more than you’d bargained for. Next time read all the fine print before finalizing your package.
14 Choppy Seas Can Be Dangerous
While you expect smooth sailing when you gear up for a cruise vacation, Mother Nature does not always cooperate. Most of the time, things go well – the seas are peaceful, the water crystal blue, and the cruise carries on without anything to complain about. That said, there are times when the weather is wild, the water full of waves, and the cruise is chaotic. Super choppy water can make a cruise vacation scary. Things can shake and fall. People can shake and fall. And when the choppiness is out-of-hand, water can even get into the boat, leading to who-knows-what. If you want to be sure your room won’t feel like a tornado hit it, book one at a hotel so you don’t have to hold on for dear life.
13 Passengers with Bad Manners Can Spoil the Buffets
Lots of people choose to cruise as their vacation getaway for the food alone. All-you-care-to-eat buffets are a big draw for foodies who like to fill up. But when it comes to buffet-style dining, you must remember that you’re not the only on loading up a plate. Other cruise ship passengers are just as eager to stuff their stomachs with the tasty offerings on the big buffet spread. And not everyone is going to behave as they might at a five-star white tablecloth restaurant. Beware of people not washing their hands and sticking their fingers right into the food. People will spill and splatter, cut you in line, and do all sorts of things you wish you hadn’t seen. And once you catch someone sneeze over the salad, you’re sure to lose your appetite.
12 Overeating Will Ruin Your Bikini Body
Speaking of buffets, while the food tastes great going down, once those calories hit your hips and thighs, you’ll wish you didn’t make that second trip to the dessert station. Indulging while on vacation is expected and something everyone looks forward to. But when it comes to cruises, there is so much food that it is near gluttonous. And it is hard to resist the delicious fare put out on the buffets, the menu items at the various onboard restaurants, and the late night snacks you’ll surely munch on after dancing at the disco. Add on all the alcohol you’re sure to chug down and it’s a recipe for sudden saddlebags and “mom jeans” muffin tops. It’s hard to feel cute when your seams are holding on by a thread.
11 Food Poisoning Leaves You Doubled Over with Aches and Pains
With all that food, there’s a chance you could eat something that doesn’t agree with you. Food poisoning is not something to take lightly, and if you eat something rotten, that probably means other passengers had some too. Not only will you be in the restroom feeling like crap, but so will many of the others on board. The thought of dozens of folks on the same trip clogging up the pipes will make you wish the ship would turn around and go home. Eat at your own risk, and remember that one bite of something bad will make you swear off buffets forever.
10 Is There a Doctor on Board? If So, Are They Any Good?
Along with stomach ailments, you may get sick in some other capacity while cruising. Coming down with something while sailing not only ruins the trip but who knows if there’s anyone on the ship who can help you get better? There is always some sort of medical professional on a cruise ship, but they may not be as great as the doctor you’re used to. And if you get extremely ill, the staff may not be prepared to deal with your dilemma. If things get truly terrible, you may need to be airlifted to a hospital. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck in your cabin moaning and groaning for the remainder of your trip wondering why you’re being punished for wanting to get away for a few days.
9 Drinking and Leaning Over the Railing Doesn’t Mix
If you drink alcohol, consider your cruise a bar that floats. Drinks are constantly flowing from the moment you step on board to the final moments of your vacation. From fruity cocktails to bottles of wine to shots after hours, the amount of alcohol you’ll consume on your cruise will make you want to check into rehab when you get back to reality. And alcohol and railings over the high seas are an accident waiting to happen. Folks will fill up on dirty martinis and shots of Jägermeister and reenact scenes from the Titanic. No, you’re not “the king of the world.” You’re drunk.
8 Bed Bugs!
The bed in your cabin may be small, but it’s big enough for bed bugs to settle in for the night. Once an incident of bed bugs hits the ship, every room is liable to be infested. The sheets, the towels, the robes, and even the lounge chairs and cushions could be loaded with multi-legged critters waiting to bite into your skin. The idea of it is creepy and the results can make your trip a travesty. And there’s not much you can do to protect yourself from such a skeevy scenario. Hope for the best but be warned that there may be a guest in your bed that’s not your boyfriend.
7 The Boat Won’t Wait if You Get Back Too Late from an Excursion
If you opt to take an excursion, that means you’ll be off the boat for an allotted period of time. But when it’s time to get back on the ship, you’d better arrive on time. This isn’t a private yacht that will hang around ‘till you’re ready to get back to sailing. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of other passengers on a cruise. Your lateness is not their problem. While the cruise staff will do all they can to be sure nobody is left behind, they have a schedule to stick to. And if that means you get stranded after ziplining on some remote part of an island you’ve never heard of, you’d best have a Plan B as to how you’re going to catch up to the ship at the next port.
6 Cruises Can Get Crowded
Spoiler alert! You’re not the only person who likes cruising. Tons of people love the idea of being on a boat and relaxing for a week on the high seas. And the cruise lines will book up their boats to maximum capacity. Yes, the ships are big, but when lots of people are on board, space can get crowded. While there’s enough room to walk around and try out all the activities and places to eat, certain sections of the ship are popular…and populated. Forget about finding an empty seat at the bar at 8 PM or being the only one who wakes up early for a big buffet breakfast. And the pool area? Forget about it. People are everywhere, so if you’re looking for a low-key vacation with peace and quiet at the forefront, planning a cruise is not the sort of getaway you’re going to like.
5 The Entertainment is Hit or Miss
Part of the cruise experience is the onboard entertainment. Most cruises have lots of entertaining acts throughout the duration of the journey. You’ll find singers, bands, comedians, theater productions, magicians, you name it. And sometimes, the talent is good. True performers with an actual gift are often hired to entertain cruise ship travelers and the reviews are positive. Then you have those acts which don’t exactly reach anything close to the standards you were expecting. Washed-up cabaret singers and lounge acts who haven’t learned a new song in decades are all you get, and you’re stuck listening to their off-key versions of unfamiliar ‘70s songs. The television in your cabin is suddenly looking like the evening’s go-to.
4 The Shower May Be Over the Toilet
We mentioned the cabins are small. So, why would you expect the bathroom to be anything larger than a lunchbox? A cruise ship bathroom can be seriously small, making it feel more like a coffin than a place to clean up. Sometimes, the design is such that the shower is right over the toilet! If this isn’t your idea of a “spa,” then you are not going to be pleased with the layout. Doing your makeup and drying your hair in such a tight space will have you giving up and going to dinner looking like a disaster. And since the loo is so little, you better remember to bring along some air freshener. It won’t be pleasant if you forget to flush.
3 Adult Beverages are Often Not Included in the Cost
Drinking is part of the cruise experience. Boozing it up starting at breakfast is part of the fun. But not every cruise package makes alcoholic beverages part of the payment plan. Many times, you will have to purchase a separate drink package or pay per beverage, which can be ridiculously pricey. Either way, the additional cost will make you want to down another gin and tonic. But who wants to cruise without some liquid courage? So, you will pay for the drinks and realize what you thought was a great deal on your cruise wasn’t so affordable after all. Perhaps you should have thought about your fondness for chardonnay before you called your travel agent.
2 Wi-Fi Costs are Through the Roof
You are going to want to stay connected while on your cruise, but roaming rates and Wi-Fi costs will make you want to say off the grid for good. Do your best to avoid checking email or skimming through social media, and forget about calling or texting loved ones at home while you’re away having the time of your life. Unless your ship has a decent plan you can hop onto, you’re better off trying to wean off your smartphone use for a few days. Going cold turkey won’t be easy, but it’s better than getting a bill that will make you want to jump overboard.
1 If There’s a Mechanical Issue, You’re Doomed
Aside from losing power, there could be some sort of unforeseen malfunction on the ship that can lead to less-than-ideal results for those on board. Perhaps something goes wrong with the engine or there’s an issue or emergency in the kitchen. Maybe the A/C busts or there’s a problem with the speakers throughout the ship. If there’s a mechanical issue while you’re in the middle of the ocean, there is going to be a frenzy on board. Hopefully, the staff will be able to solve the problem swiftly, otherwise, a good portion of your trip will be lost at sea.