To move, to breathe, to fly, to float.
To roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.
– Hans Christian Anderson
My previous post enumerated advantages to cruising. But there are drawbacks the wary traveler should consider. Amenities, charges, destinations, etc. vary with cruise companies and individual ships. Do your homework before booking! Here are a few cons to think about when contemplating a cruise:
· Calm waters and sunny weather are NOT guaranteed. If prone to motion sickness throw Dramamine or another motion sickness remedy in your bag.
· Stateroom size and type vary dramatically. The cheapest rooms are interiors, no room and no view. Will that suffice? Is a porthole window adequate, or do you want floor to ceiling windows with a balcony? Check out options. A tiny room with barely enough space to turn around and no view may hinder your vacation satisfaction.
· Meals can be a challenge for the diet-conscious. There are plenty of selections, and buffets offer fresh fruit and salads, but hidden ingredients abound. The result can be too much salt, sugar, and other food no-no’s consumed. Another drawback - although menu offerings vary, the food can get monotonous. On the other hand the dining room responds to special requests, and the menu notes gluten free, non-dairy, and vegetarian options.
· The largest ships today accommodate around 6000 passengers, and a lot of walking may be necessary getting from stateroom to the dining room, the pool, to shops and showrooms and other venues. Wheelchairs and scooters are available for rent for the duration of a cruise, otherwise you’ll get your exercise! Check out ship details, especially if a cozier atmosphere and experience is preferred to a vacation shared with thousands of strangers.
· And speaking of strangers, shipmates, and strange shipmates...investigate the demographics of cruise lines and the specific voyage you are considering. Do you want to cruise with lots of kids? Young adults? A mixed age group? Do you prefer an older crowd? The population varies depending on the cruise line, length of the cruise, destinations, time of year, and cost.
· Large ships can result in crowds and lines, especially when sailing with maximum passenger numbers during holidays – a wait for a dining room table, a seat in the showroom, delays for an elevator.
· Hold your wallet close. There are cruise lines that truly are all-inclusive, but most are not. Hidden fees, such as mandatory room tips, crowd your bill. Employees encourage the purchase of drinks, specialty restaurant dining, souvenirs, jewelry, shore excursions and more. Internet access can be exorbitant ($25 a day on our Holland America ship – we resisted the temptation). If you can wait for port stops, wifi is usually accessible in restaurants and coffee shops.
· Know what type of vacation you want. Some people love the leisurely pace of cruise ship life; others get bored.
· Limited port time, usually only a few hours. If you like to explore new places, a cruise may not satisfy.
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes,
but in having new eyes.