Going on a cruise is a great way to experience multiple different destinations without having to worry about travelling from one place to the other yourself. You simply go to sleep and you wake up in a new place—what’s better than that? They also give you pretty much everything you could ever want at your disposable, 24 hours a day. You don’t have to think about anything, you just show up and enjoy your vacation!
However, there are definitely downsides to taking a cruise rather than booking a trip on land. You definitely have limited time in each place with not much time to explore the area to the very fullest. The ship can also get crowded and loud, feeling like you have no place to escape for some peace and quiet. And of course, there are the obvious risks of sailing into the sea on a boat, with the possibility of mechanical failures, undesirable weather conditions, and viruses such as food poisoning or seasickness.
There are also a ton of hidden costs when it comes to cruise ships, as the price of the ticket acts as simply a base cost, with a million and one add-ons once you are on the actual boat. And since you are on vacation, it would be silly not to spend some more money…right? That is, unless you are on a budget, and then you’re in trouble.
There are definitely both pros and cons to booking a cruise for your next vacation. If you are wanting to just show up and be pampered, and aren’t bothered by a ton of people, then it might be for you. However, if you are an adventure-seeking traveller that also loves some R&R time, then you may find that a cruise is too limiting. Regardless of what you choose, here are a few things to consider before booking your next cruise holiday.
25 A whole lot of seasickness
If you’re one to get seasick, you probably guessed it that taking a cruise probably isn’t your best option. While cruise ships are so massive that you don’t even realise you are moving half the time, there is a lot of time spent on the deck where you will definitely be fully aware of what is happening. And the worst part is, you can’t get off, so you’re essentially stuck in a state of sickness until you hit land next.
24 The boat can get overcrowded
While cruise ships are very big, you still can’t escape the fact that there are hundreds of other people onboard sharing the same space. The most popular areas such as the top deck can get extremely overcrowded. The tiny pools can fill up pretty quick and if you don’t snag a chair in the morning, you likely won’t get one. This is the same for meals, as peak lunch and dinner times can mean a lot of lines, waiting, and absolutely no privacy.
23 A whole lot of germs are floating around
With so many people in one space for an extended period of time, germs are bound to be spread around. Just like in your office or dorm, if one person gets sick, you're all pretty much doomed to get sick as well. And it’s not like you can stay home from work or escape it, since you are stuck on the ship together until your trip ends.
Of course, there are regular cleaners, but in such a public space it's hard to get every nook and cranny.
22 Drinking isn't free, nor cheap
You would think that a cruise is like an all-inclusive resort where you can drink as much as your heart desires, since it’s built into the price you paid. Unfortunately, in terms of cruises, you have to add on pretty much everything for an extra price, including an all-you-can-drink package.
You can load up your card to a certain amount, or pay the flat fee and order as much as you want throughout the week. Either way though, it’ll cost you.
21 Food poisoning is common
While cruise lines take considerable measures to protect passengers against food poisoning, it’s still a possibility with the amount of food they have to prepare onboard. A single batch of bad food served can affect hundreds of people, especially in the case of buffets that sit out for hours at a time.
There’s no quicker way to spoil a cruise than to be hit with food poisoning, especially if you are already prone to motion sickness. A good way to avoid this is to avoid meat and go veggie on your cruise!
20 Living in close quarters
The accommodation on a cruise isn't as luxurious as you think. The fancy suites with a balcony that they show on advertisements and movies are few and far between...and come at a price. Unless you pay the extra, you will end up with a room that doesn't have any windows at all, feeling like you are staying in a mini closet. Because of the limited space, they try to cram as many beds into the room as possible, resulting in single bunk beds for the most part.
19 The unhealthy food choices
If you’ve ever been on a cruise you know that there is essentially an unlimited amount of food at all times. You can pretty much eat whenever your heart desires, with a number of different restaurants and cuisines available to you. This not only results in you over-eating (because if it’s in front of you, why not?), but also eating a lot of unhealthy foods that you wouldn’t normally eat on a daily basis. I mean, you are on vacation, but don’t expect to lose a few pounds if you go on a cruise.
18 The short stopovers
The great thing about cruises is that you get to visit a lot of different places in one trip, waking up in a new destination every morning. However, the downside to this is you have limited time in each place, only getting a taste of what each location has to offer. If you really love a place, you have no choice but to leave. This wouldn’t be ideal if you’re the type of traveller that likes to immerse themselves in a culture and explore a destination to the fullest.
17 No phone service and expensive wifi
I mean, you kind of figure when you set sail into the ocean that trying to make calls would be an issue. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that Wi-Fi is not free, and it costs an arm and a leg to purchase. Forget scrolling through IG or video chatting a friend back home, since most cruise lines charge a daily fee for data usage. It’s probably a good idea to just put the electronics away for the week.
16 Expensive excursions
There are always a ton of options in terms of excursions when you take a cruise, but all of them will cost you. Cruise lines will always try to sell you things that you can do when you visit the land, but you can probably get a cheaper price if you just do some investigating once you arrive.
However, most people just end up signing up for the activities linked to the cruise because they know they will never have an issue with scheduling in terms of trying to get back to the boat before it leaves.
15 You could get stuck at sea
While it rarely happens, it is possible that you could get stuck on a cruise ship due to an electricity or mechanics failure, resulting in the ship not being able to move for a period of time. There was an actual case where a cruise ship in the past lost their electricity, engines AND air conditioning for a few days.
Can you imagine sweating your butt off at sea for 72 hours? At least at a resort holiday on land, you can escape to another building or another resort.
14 If you don't cancel way in advance, you're paying the full amount
For most cruise lines, if you cancel less than 30 days before the departure date, you will likely be forking out 100% of the money that the cruise costs. Even if you cancel 90 days prior, you will probably still have to pay at least 50%.
Obviously, this is different for every cruise line, but it’s important to be aware prior to booking so that you don’t end up paying a ton of money for something you aren’t even partaking in.
13 The cruise won't wait for you
Did your flight get delayed or are you simply running late for the cruise departure? Well, you probably guessed that the ship won’t wait for you, since it would be way too much of an inconvenience to mess up the itinerary for one person. After all, they already have your money!
Also, whenever you get off of the boat for the day, make sure you get back with plenty of time to spare, or you’ll have to find your own way to the next stop.
12 There is always the risk of collisions
We’ve all seen Titanic, but I wouldn’t worry a whole lot about colliding with an iceberg. The technology cruise ships have these days is so advanced that they are able to avoid any possible collisions way before they are anywhere near it to ensure maximum safety for everyone aboard. But still, it’s not impossible per se.
There is always a risk whilst being in open water rather than opting for a resort on land, but there definitely won’t be a remake of Titanic
11 When you leave the ship, there is a lot of waiting around
In reality, leaving the ship for the day and boarding back on at the end of the day involves a lot of waiting, lines, and crowds of people. Since there are hundreds of people trying to leave at the same time, it’s inevitable. There are also security measures you have to go through when you re-board to ensure you aren’t bringing aboard any harmful products from the destination you visited.
Unfortunately, these things take considerable time. It’s a good idea to head back a little early in order to avoid the crowds.
10 There are a ton of hidden costs
You may think you got a great price on your cruise ticket, but unfortunately that’s only because there are so many hidden costs once you arrive onboard (that’s how the cruise line really makes their money). From shopping, drink packages, exclusive restaurants, excursions, casinos, internet packages, and much more—there is a ton that you can spend money on.
You are usually given a card at the beginning of your trip that you can use throughout the trip (think…a credit card with no limit), and you basically have to pay up at the end of the week.
9 You get your picture taken a lot
Look! Smile! The hilarious part about cruises is that there are always photographers around, capturing your trip for you every step of the way. Hint: it’s really just another way to make money, as they try to sell you your photos afterwards.
This may be desirable for those who love to create photo memories but don’t want to carry around a camera or phone everywhere. However, If you don’t enjoy getting your photo taken, this may not be ideal.
8 It's hard to escape from the commotion
At times it’s hard to escape the hustle and bustle of a cruise, as there is pretty much always people around at all times. If it’s not a full pool area, it’s a packed restaurant, busy casino, or sold-out entertainment event. For those who are looking for a vacation to escape from the commotion of reality, it can become a tad overwhelming.
Pretty much the only place you are going to find peace and quiet is in your room, and no one wants to hide out there all week.
7 If the weather plummets, you may be in trouble
Obviously the weather not being ideal whilst on a cruise in the middle of the ocean isn’t great. However, the real downside is that when the weather is bad, you are basically confined to the inside of the ship. While there are a ton of activities to keep you busy, there definitely isn’t enough to keep you entertained for days on end.
The whole point of a cruise is to relax on the top deck and get some sun, so if you can’t do that you are basically just in a floating hotel.
6 The health care onboard isn't the greatest
There’s no guarantee that the doctor on board is licensed to practice medicine in the U.S., or anywhere for the matter. They could be licensed to practice anywhere, including the country of the ship’s flag, while some may just be a graduate or medical school, but not necessarily licensed.
While this isn’t really a big deal if you’re dealing with a minor issue such as seasickness or a bacterial infection, it’s not exactly ideal if you are wanting professional medical attention.
5 You're more likely to get sunburnt
When you are lying out on the top deck of the boat whilst trying to work on your tan, be careful not to get too much sun. With the breeze cooling your body down, it’s easy to assume you aren’t getting that much sun. But hey, you’re in the middle of the sea with absolutely no shade, so your risks of getting sunburnt are at an all-time high.
Make sure to always be applying sunscreen and to limit your time outside, or you’ll be forced to stay inside for the rest of your trip.
4 The shopping onboard is pricey
There are a ton of opportunities to shop whilst on board, since most cruise lines have a variety of different stores. But of course, it’ll come at a price.
A lot of cruise lines have more up-scale stores that are usually local to the country of the ship. And the best part is, all you have to do is swipe your ‘cruise card’ and it’s yours! That is, until you end up with a hefty bill at the end of your trip.
3 The entertainment can be tacky
Just like an all-inclusive resort, a cruise line will provide entertainment most nights that include dancers, professional singers, and the classic Michael Jackson tribute that we have all seen at least once.
They are definitely entertaining once you’ve had a few drinks and can feature some pretty talented people, but they can also can be pretty tacky. However, most people attend since there is little to do at night if you aren’t attending the shows or betting at the casino table.
2 Mechanical issues can occur
Mechanical issues on cruises are not common since extreme care is taken to ensure that doesn’t happen, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And without electricity, you essentially can’t do anything you paid for whilst on your cruise, including eating! No power means no refrigeration, food preparation, or sewage disposal. So basically, you’re in a massive pickle.
However, these types of issues make massive headlines that are definitely not great publicity for the cruise line, so it’s a top priority that that doesn’t occur.
1 Cruise ships can have weird themes
There are definitely some bizarre cruise ship themes out there suited for pretty much every type of traveller. You are probably already aware of the Disney cruises with the themed characters, but what about a Star Trek or Cat themed cruise? There is also a cruise that is dedicated for those who like to work out, knit, or find a significant other.
And forget haunted hotels, what about haunted cruise ships? There is definitely nowhere to hide in this case.