Living in Florida has given Paul many opportunities for cruise vacations. UK born, Paul has traveled extensively in Europe and elsewhere.
I love to travel and have visited many places in North America, Europe, and around the world. Living in Florida has enabled me to take advantage of one of the biggest cruise industries in the world.
There are many positives of cruise vacations—for example, they can be easy to organize and enable you to see numerous destinations with comparatively little hassle—but this article lists and looks at the negatives.
10 Negatives of Cruises
Here are the 10 main downsides associated with cruises.
- Hidden Costs
- Lack of Time Ashore
- Tourist Traps
- Sea Sickness
- Zero Flexibility
- Weight Gains
- Slow Internet
- Too Crowded
- Illness Outbreaks
- Small Cabins
I explore each disadvantage in more detail below.
1. Hidden Costs
Cruises can seem like great value for money when you consider them initially, but there are all sorts of ways that you can end up spending much more than you anticipated.
For instance, the cruise line gives you a special credit card, and it's easy to forget how much you are spending. Excursions are almost never included with the original booking price and will add to the overall cost of your cruise. Tipping the staff at the end of the journey can also add expense.
2. Lack of Time Ashore
If you are somebody who really loves to explore a destination and gain an understanding of the local culture, cruising may not be for you. Often the ship spends only a matter of hours in port, not giving you much time to survey the area or really get to know a place. It can feel like you've been to many places, but not got to know anywhere in any depth.
The places where cruise ships stop may also not be representative of a country generally, but rather the most tourist-orientated (see #3 below).
3. Tourist Traps
Cruise ships bring floods of tourists to each destination. While this can boost the local economy, such a big influx of visitors inevitably has the effect of altering the character of a place and can result in a loss of authenticity. Prices for things like food, drink, souvenirs and adventures can also be inflated in tourist destinations.
4. Sea Sickness
However a cruise is dressed up, you are still at sea and on a ship. If the waves get choppy or the weather becomes stormy, things can get rough quickly. For some people this can mean nausea and vomiting. Seasickness can ruin a vacation for those unlucky enough to experience it.
5. Zero Flexibility
When you book a cruise, you effectively sign away your ability to influence the way that your vacation will unfold. If you visit a destination that you discover you love, there is no possibility of staying longer. If you want to change the route, that is also not possible.
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It's also possible that the cruise company will change the itinerary due to the weather, or other factors. For better or worse, you are forced to go with the flow.
6. Weight Gains
Being surrounded by lots of food and booze can seem great, but it's difficult to resist, as well as keep track of your consumption, and the result can be many pounds added. Everywhere you go, there are tasty burgers and fries, doughnuts, cakes, not to mention beer and cocktails.
Days at sea can be particularly challenging; it's so easy just to spend the spare time snacking and drinking without even realizing that you're overdoing it.
7. Slow Internet
Cruise ships generally rely on satellites for internet, so the connection may be much slower than you are used to at home. For those on vacation, the best option may be to just unplug from the web have a relaxing holiday.
If you have to be online for work purposes, or need to remain in contact with friends and relatives, slow internet can quickly become frustrating.
8. Too Crowded
Cruise ships can be very crowded places, in my experience. They are like floating cities. Getting a good place to relax on deck, or finding the space to actually swim any distance in a pool can be difficult, if not impossible.
Attractions like the buffets and bars can also be busy during peak times. It can be challenging to obtain any quiet or calm, without retreating to your cabin.
9. Illness Outbreaks
The COVID pandemic has highlighted what many of us already knew: Cruise ships are one of the worst places that you can possibly be when there are bugs and viruses going around.
The two main problems are that firstly, you are surrounded by crowds of people, and secondly, you are reliant on other passengers to follow basic hygiene, such as washing their hands, as well as behave responsibly when sick.
10. Small Cabins
Cruise ship cabins tend to be much smaller than hotel rooms. It really is a science to store all your clothes and possessions in such a tight space and still have room to maneuver.
Unless you pay extra, your cabin is generally fine for sleeping but not so good as a place to hang out. You may not have any windows either, if you chose the cheapest option, which can add to the general sense of claustrophobia.
Are Cruises Safe?
Statistically, you are extremely unlikely to die when going on a cruise, so in that sense, they are very safe. There are a number of potential hazards, though, which, although rare, are technically possible:
- Illness outbreaks - This problem is at the front of many people's minds, ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. For a time, the entire cruise industry was effectively shut down by the virus. Another illness to be on the guard for is norovirus. This gastrointestinal bug that can spread quickly on ships, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
- Falling overboard - As long as you're sensible, this is very unlikely to happen, but it's obviously a potential risk on any ship.
- Drowning - Pools, hot tubs, and other water features are common on cruise ships, as are drunk people and children, which means that there's always a possibility of someone getting into trouble.
- Collisions - While rare, collisions with other ships, debris, or other objects do occasionally happen. The consequences can be severe, if and when they do occur.
- Running aground - When the water is too shallow for the ship, it can result in the ship getting stuck, becoming damaged below the waterline, or tipping over. As with the other dangers, it's a very unlikely thing to happen, although always possible.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Paul Goodman