Culture

Why Do You Hate Cruising?

If you’re going to hate cruising, hate it for good right reasons.

My husband and I discovered cruising a few years ago and we adore it.  What I love most is that it can be whatever kind of vacation you want it to be — and a couple doesn’t have to want the same thing to go cruising together.  There are tons of other things I love about cruising, but what I hate most is how many people won’t consider going on a cruise because they believe a bunch of myths.

I can think of hundreds of good and valid reasons not to cruise.  But my sense of logic is disturbed by people who make the decision that they would hate cruising on faulty information.  So I’m going to try to sink those cruise myths two at a time.

Myth #1 I’ve heard some things about cruises that I didn’t like so I know I would hate cruising.

This is your generic catch-all myth.  Cruise lines and cruises are so varied that the only thing they really share is they are about being on a boat in the water.

There are informal cruises on rivers where you’re never more than a few yards from shore.  There are high end cruises with hot and cold running maids, butlers, bartenders and masseurs.  There are adventure cruises where you not only don’t have non-stop service, you hoist the jib and swab the decks with the crew.  There are cruises with themes:  foodie cruises, cruises for motorcycle groups, historical cruises and political cruises.

If you’ve heard about a limited number or type of cruises, stop extrapolating from incomplete information.  You’re short-changing yourself.  As I talk about the other myths, you’ll see that because of the variety of cruise experiences, you may not have been comparing apples with apples.

Myth # 2 It’s claustrophobic and boring.

Bottom line is: you don’t stay in your cabin and you don’t stay on the ship.

How often do you hear people say “I would never visit New York City because the hotel rooms are small?”  That’s basically what the “it’s claustrophobic” argument is.  Yes, SOME of the cabins are small… very small… very very small. But they are better laid out than many of the closets that pass for rooms at the W Hotel in New York.  And there are larger cabins and luxurious cabins.

Ok, I admit, this isn't a typical cabin, it was our cabin on the Regent Navigator when we cruised to Alaska and had been upgraded.

But more importantly, no one goes on a vacation to sit in their room, and you don’t go on a cruise to sit in your cabin.  You wake up and go do things. You go back to change for meals, you go to sleep.  And you will sleep. People with chronic insomnia report sleeping 8,9 and 10 hours on cruises.  But that’s another topic entirely.

But wait, Nina, I didn’t only mean the cabin, I will get claustrophobic not being able to get off the ship.

Well then cruise on a large ship.  Some of the big ones are more like the star ship enterprise than the good ship lollypop. Walking from one end to the other is exhausting and 200,000 square feet of public space is pretty common.  If you can stay in a large hotel on a rainy day without going crazy, you will not be claustrophobic on a ship.  And you’ll be less claustrophobic than staying in your house on a rainy day.

What’s more, cruise ships stop at ports.  People who don’t cruise tend to forget that on most 6 night, 7 day cruises you will be at sea only one or two days.  The other days you wake up, and miraculously, the nice cruise line people have brought you a new destination.  And you didn’t have to pack your suitcase the night before, or wake up early to catch a plane to get there.  You just wake up, and there it is – a new port.

Then you have your breakfast if you want and get off the ship, onto land.

You can go zip lining, sightseeing, shopping, museum browsing, SCUBA diving, beach combing. You can take helicopter rides, train rides, water plane rides, sail boat rides, horseback rides, ATV rides.  You can take cooking classes, snorkeling classes, be a dolphin trainer for a day.  The variety of things you can do is mind boggling.

Or you can stay on board the ship, sit by the pool, go to the spa, use the gym, read a book, borrow a DVD from the library, go to a movie, go to the computer lab and learn how to use photo-shop, eat non-stop, take a nap or not even wake up until dinner time. Did I mention cruising is a really good cure for insomnia?

And that’s what you can do on general interest cruises. If you choose a special interest cruise you can go to lectures, learn a language, meet kindred spirits, see almost extinct animals, visit rare birds and see exotic plants.

So where’s the boredom?  I can’t even fathom using that as an excuse. Whatever you like to do, you will be able to do it.

In a day or two, more myths — busted.