The Pros And Cons of Cruises
Cruise travel has long been synonymous with luxurious escapes and unforgettable experiences. It is a convenient way to visit multiple destinations in one trip, enjoy a variety of onboard activities, and have everything taken care of. There’s something romantic about being on the open sea in the lap of luxury, away from the mayhem of the world and mobile phones.
However, not everyone enjoys cruising. As with any mode of transportation, cruise travel has its advantages and disadvantages. Many people dislike cruises for a variety of reasons, including the fact that they are crowded, pricey, and have a negative environmental impact. It has been observed that you either love cruises or you don’t; there appears to be no in-between. What appeals to one person may be a complete turnoff for another.
Let us set sail into the world of cruise travel, analyzing both the lure and potential drawbacks of this unique vacation experience. We’ll take a look at the pros and cons so you can decide whether they’re right for you.
THE PROS OF CRUISES
1). Cruises are Easier to Plan and Much More Relaxing
Planning a multi-stop trip can be overwhelming, but cruises are incredibly easy to plan and are a stress-free way of travel. You simply need to book a cruise, coordinate your flight to the city where the ship departs, and arrive at the port at the time of sailing. Everything will be taken care of once you board the ship. Your luggage will reach your cabin, you will have ready meal options, the staff will clean your room, the itinerary will be planned, and you will not need to look for transportation to get from one place to another. This means that you can just chill by the pool, dress up for dinner, be pampered by the staff, eat unlimited food, and participate in activities and entertainment whenever you want. Of course, you will need to book a few excursions, but this is nothing compared to planning a full-fledged vacation. You can reap maximum rewards with minimum effort and enjoy an idyllic break from the monotony of everyday life.
2). You Only Need to Unpack Once
Unpacking and packing every day or two can be quite an ordeal. On a cruise ship, you travel from one port to another while staying in the same room every night. Your room moves with you, so you only have to unpack and pack once. You unpack your belongings on Day 1 and have no reason to touch a suitcase again until you leave. For me, this is one of the most appealing aspects of cruising. It also means that we can bring a little more with us because we are not moving a great deal.
3). You can Visit Multiple Destinations on a Single Trip
If you want to see more of the world in a short period, cruising is for you. One of the most significant benefits of taking a cruise is the opportunity to visit multiple places without having to worry about the logistics of getting from one location to another. It can sometimes provide easy access to exotic destinations that are otherwise challenging to reach by other means of transportation. Every morning, you are in a new place, sometimes even a different country. A week-long trip typically includes visits to five distinct locations. This allows you to experience a variety of unique landscapes, cultures, and attractions in one trip. If you love a place, you can always return and spend more time there. When selecting a cruise, consider your preferred number of stops versus “at sea” days.
4). They are Perfect for Family Vacations
If you are traveling with a large group or extended family, a cruise is an excellent option. The majority of cruises are designed for families and offer an eclectic mix of activities and experiences to suit all ages, interests, and activity levels. There is something for everyone to do both independently as well as together. You can swim, play tennis, goof around in the kid’s club, swing a mini-golf, gamble in the casino, take a cooking class, get pampered, play cards with other travelers, go window shopping, do yoga, or just relax and read a book. Some of you can split up during the day to do different activities before coming together for dinner at night. Most cruise lines also provide babysitting services, allowing you to take a break.
5). You can Enjoy all Kinds of Entertainment and Activities
Cruise ships are floating cities, complete with casinos, pools, gourmet restaurants, and a wide range of activities and entertainment options. You can find something to do at any hour of the day. That might include theatre, movies, magic shows, musicals, karaoke, games, casinos, cooking classes, live performances, themed dance parties, and lots more. When you’re confined to the ship, you can stay active with water slides, rock climbing, zip lines, mini-golf, go-karts, bowling, skating rinks, and various other pursuits. You will probably spend a day or two at sea, and these endless entertainment options will keep you occupied and stimulated. Each ship is unique, so it is important to review what is available on that specific vessel.
6). Cruises are All-Inclusive
Most cruise ships now provide an all-inclusive option that includes things like lodging, food, beverages, entertainment, most activities, tips, and so on. This means that once you’ve planned and paid for your trip, you won’t need much more money to go on it. You are not required to carry any cash or credit cards onboard. Because everything is paid for upfront, you know exactly where you stand and can easily stay within budget. Spa treatments, shore excursions, alcoholic beverages, and some specialty restaurants are extra, but they can be paid for at the end of the trip if you choose to splurge on these luxuries.
7). It’s An Opportunity to Unplug
It’s practically impossible to disconnect these days since we are constantly bombarded with phone calls, emails, and messages via WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram. Internet access on board is prohibitively expensive, and buying it makes no sense unless there is an urgent need. Even if you have data on your phone, it may not work in the middle of the ocean. Therefore, it is not possible to use laptops, tablets, or mobile devices. Consequently, you are largely cut off from the outside world. Your screen time is reduced to zero, giving you a chance to unwind and reconnect with yourself and your travel companions. Just listen to the sound of the waves and feel the breeze on your face, and forget about the troubles at home and workplace.
8). You Can Meet New People
Cruises draw people from all over the world, representing different countries, cultures, and lifestyles. Since you’re in the same space with the same people for the length of the cruise, you keep bumping into them. You will see familiar faces in bars, restaurants, gyms, spas, lounges, and during excursions/activities. You might come across some folks who share your passions and interests. Many long-lasting friendships and relationships have started on cruises. Even if you don’t end up making friends with your fellow passengers, chatting with new people is always stimulating and broadens your horizons.
9). Good Value for Money
Cruising can be a cost-effective way to go on vacation. The upfront cost may appear high, but when you break it down into cost per night and consider what is included, it starts to look like a pretty good deal. The price of your cruise will vary depending on the cruise line you select, your itinerary, your room’s location on the ship, and the excursions you choose. If you have a limited budget, you can pick an interior stateroom with no window or balcony. There would be substantial price differences between an inner cabin and a spacious suite on a ship. However, the cost of your cabin has no bearing on anything else during the cruise. You will eat the same food, have access to the same amenities, enjoy the same onboard experiences, and be able to participate in the same excursions. Cruise lines are constantly running incredible sales and deals that can save you more than 50% on your cruise costs.
10). Get a Taste of Diverse Food Options
One thing all cruise ships have in common is a lot of food. In addition to the main dining room, there are cafes, buffets, grills, a pizzeria, a burger joint, an ice cream parlor, casual eateries, and more available at no extra charge. There are typically 2-3 specialty restaurants that charge a small fee. Whether it’s included or not, you’ll never go hungry on a cruise. You can get food at almost any time of day or night. If you are a foodie, you will love the endless food and the opportunity to try so many different dishes without spending a fortune.
THE CONS OF CRUISES
1). You Have Limited Time at the Port
This is the biggest disadvantage of cruising. Visiting all of these places means spending very little time in each one. The majority of cruise itineraries restrict stay to one day in each port. That means you only have 8-9 hours to explore your destination. You will find yourself rushing through attractions to see as much as possible. In most towns, the allocated time is just sufficient to see the main sights, plus you may still have time for shopping. If you want to do in-depth sightseeing or experience the destination, you will be disappointed. With so little time, it can be difficult to discover hidden gems and learn about local culture and heritage. You only get a sense of the place. If you truly want to know the place, you should do so in a traditional way.
2). They’re Horrific for The environment
Another disadvantage of taking a cruise vacation is the negative impact it has on the environment. The ‘floating cities’ generate an alarming carbon footprint. They pollute the environment with their exhaust fumes, burn an awful lot of fuel, consume tonnes of resources, and generate an abundance of waste. Fuel emissions have a major impact on climate change and lead to poor air quality. Cruise ships are frequently caught dumping trash and sewage into the ocean, contaminating marine ecosystems and aquatic life. There is growing pressure on cruise ships to tidy up their act, and they are attempting to reduce their environmental impact by using cleaner fuel, recycling trash, and backing conservation projects. However, there’s no denying that cruising is the worst mode of transportation when it comes to the environment.
3). Bad Weather Can Ruin the Experience
Although cruise ships are constantly tracking the weather, they have no control over it. Unexpected weather conditions can cause cancellations and delays, disrupting the whole schedule. It may have an impact on your overall cruise experience, lead to an itinerary change, and possibly throw off your excursion plans. Occasionally ships are forced to skip ports and head to the next port. When the weather is stormy and the sea is rough, the chances of motion sickness increase, especially for those who are prone to it. Sea sickness can completely ruin your vacation. However, there are numerous medications available to help you deal with motion sickness. Staying in a section of the ship with the least movement also makes a difference
4). Lack of connectivity
Internet on ships is sketchy and expensive, particularly when you’re at sea. Frequently, there would be no cell service. This makes it difficult to stay connected. If you are used to being constantly in touch and on top of things, a cruise may not be the best option for you. It can be frustrating when you have people to contact at home or a business to attend. Cruising is an excellent opportunity for a digital detox, but for those who dislike being cut off from the rest of the world, it can be a disadvantage.
5). Most Destinations are Overly Touristy
Cruise ships usually stop at popular and highly sought-after destinations, so crowds ashore can be huge. When you deboard, you compete with more than just the thousands of passengers on your ship. There would be a sea of passengers from other ships docked there and many tourists who have traveled outside of a cruise. Such a large influx of tourists is bound to alter the essence of a place and may result in a loss of authenticity. It is impossible to gain insight into the local culture. Expect long lines at all of the attractions as they will be packed with tourists. Every store you visit will have the same products and souvenirs for sale. You’ll have to cope with inflated prices and tourist traps.
6). There is No Flexibility on a Cruise Ship
On a cruise, there is no room for flexibility. When booking your cruise, double-check the itinerary because you will not be able to make changes later. You can’t just alter your plans on a whim. Even if you love a place and wish to stay longer, you cannot. You must disembark from the ship at a specific time and return at a particular time. If you miss a port departure, you must find your way back to the ship or return home without your stuff. This type of rigidity can be frustrating, and it should be considered before committing to a cruise.
7). There’s too Much Food
The easy availability of free food is not always a good thing because you tend to overeat. It is impossible to resist all of the desserts and junk food accessible from breakfast until late-night buffets. You often overindulge as you can’t keep track of your intake. And when you consume so many calories, it’s easy to gain weight. Being surrounded by alcohol, soda, and cocktails does not help. Try to choose healthy food options and keep portion sizes under control. Use the gym equipment, jogging tracks, and swimming pool to burn off those extra calories.
8). Additional expenses Can Add Up
Depending on your package, your cruise cost may not include soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, internet access, gratuities, specialty dining, travel insurance, port fees, laundry service, shore excursions, and so on. Once on board, these costs can add up quickly and throw your budget off track. In each port, you will have plenty of options for things to do. Some places allow you to explore on your own. An excursion is the best—and, in some cases, the only—way to explore the attractions of a port. Excursions can be booked on your own or through the ship. Most tours cost between $80 and $100, and the cost of these excursions can quickly spiral up, especially if you travel with your family. Booking with local operators is sometimes less expensive than reserving with the ship, but if you are late returning, the ship may leave you behind.
9). Cruises Can Get Crowded
One common complaint about cruises is that they are crowded and noisy. Large cruise ships are built to accommodate thousands of passengers and crew members at a given time. That’s a lot of people to manage. Ships have adequate amenities, and you will not feel crowded most of the time. However, the fact remains that you and thousands of other people are stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean. On board, you may experience long wait times, confined spaces, excessive noise, and a lack of privacy. There will be times when you can’t find a spot to swim in the crowded pool, have to wait in queue for breakfast, or have trouble making a spa appointment. It can get chaotic when almost everyone else gets off the ship at the same time as you do. If multiple ships docked at the same time, things would get much worse. One way to avoid crowds is to travel on a smaller vessel or during off-peak season, when the ship may not be fully booked.
10). Things May Become Repetitive
A cruise can last a few days or months. After spending some time on a board, you’ll start feeling that the food, entertainment, and everything else get a little repetitive. Most cruise dining rooms have a set menu that includes a couple of classic dishes each night. The layouts, activities, food, and excursions are nearly identical across all ships and cruise lines. If you keep going on cruises, you’ll come to realize that nothing is new or exciting.
Final Thoughts on Pros and Cons of Cruises
Cruise travel offers a unique blend of luxury, convenience, and exploration, making it a popular choice for millions of travelers around the world. There are plenty of compelling reasons to cruise, but there are a few drawbacks that new cruisers should be mindful of. As the industry expands, debates about the value and ethics of taking a cruise becomes more frequent. The transportation sector must continue to address environmental concerns, overcrowding issues, and passengers’ health and safety.
As you plan your next vacation, carefully weigh the pros and cons, taking into account the impact of your decisions on both your personal experience and the planet at large. If you’ve never been on a cruise, give it a shot. Research the cruise line, itinerary, ship, and ports that pique your interest. To get the hang of things, start with a short 3- to 4-day cruise. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy cruising.