Does the idea of taking a cruise make you break out in a cold sweat? Do you fear the screaming kids, the cookie-cutter activities, the mediocre food…and the dreaded norovirus?
Sounds like you might be a cruise hater! Although I’ve never actually taken a cruise, I have a similar aversion to cruising.
But lately, I’ve been wondering if my fear of cruises is irrational. Perhaps I’ve been missing out on a fantastic travel experience all these years. So I decided to talk to a few cruise enthusiasts and do some research in favour of cruising…and now I just might be convinced to give it a try.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Choose your cruise carefully
Not all cruises are created equal! Some are massive floating malls, filled with screaming kids and obnoxious adults, where you need to compete for deck chairs and pool space, be subjected to tepid entertainment and sit with strangers at dinner. every. single. night.
While others are exclusive, quaint and/or tailored to specific niches like food, adventure or even…Star Trek? Large cruises have more dining and entertainment options, while smaller vessels can get into smaller ports and may offer more flexibility for getting on and off the boat at your leisure.
So skip the Disney cruise if you’re not into kids. Skip the Caribbean if you’re not into sun and find the perfect cruise for your travel style.
Ask friends and family for suggestions, jump on social for ideas, or check out online reviews. Careful planning can make or break that debut cruise.
Companies like UnCruise even cater to cruise haters with smaller ships (max 90 people), more immersive land excursions, and the lure of going places and doing things that bigger ships can’t!
2. Maximize your off-ship time
Although cruising is about the ship, it’s also about the excursions. Take advantage of time at port to see the sights. Although 5 hours at a port doesn’t seem like a lot of time, work with what you’ve got and enjoy the time you have.
While most cruises usually stay in port for a few hours during the day and cruise through the night, there are a select few that cater to travellers who want more in-port time. After all, many cities only come alive at night.
With these cruises, you can experience nightlife and special excursions that may just make your overnight stays the highlight of your cruise. Here are a few cruise operators to check out:
Azamara Club Cruises – Boasts cultural immersion, inclusive amenities, and personalized comfort
Celebrity Cruises – Features holiday voyages, Caribbean and Alaskan cruises, and cruises under $799
SeaDream Yacht Club – Touts casual and personalized luxury unlike any other cruise vacation
If it’s all about the destination for you, read about three unforgettable world cruises. Trust us, these quality shore excursions in Indonesia, France and the Arctic will provide you with the travel experience of a lifetime!
3. Do whatever floats your boat
I dislike the idea of “forced fun”, whether it’s party games or a sit-down entertainment situation…it’s just not my thing! So if all the activities and shows are not for you either, do what you love instead. It’s your vacation after all!
Although cruises offer a plethora of activities for all tastes—from Tony Award-winning musicals to ice skating shows to casinos and dining, sometimes you may just want to chill…and do as close to nothing as possible.
Read a great book while you intermittently gaze out to sea, sip a drink poolside, spend quality time with loved ones. And do this every single day if you feel like it.
Convinced? If you’re ready to give cruising a shot, don’t forget to read up about travel insurance for cruises before you go!
Have tips of your own for how to make the best of your cruise? Share below in the comments!