Fact or Fiction? Six Cruising Myths Exposed…

1st November 2013
Pól Ó Conghaile

Considering a cruise holiday? Many people tell me they love the idea of cruising, but are worried about sharing the experience with thousands of fellow passengers, having to eat at all-day buffets, or clapping along with a spirit of forced camaraderie… whilst dying a little on the inside.

Here are six of the most popular preconceptions… and the reality behind them.

1) Cruising is for old-timers…

False. Though cruising by its nature suits older travellers, passengers are increasingly diverse. With cruise companies ranging from Disney to Silversea (pictured, above) and Yachts of Seabourn (and facilities running the gamut from ice bars to surf simulators) there’s something for everyone.

2) Cruising is expensive…

False. Well… unless you want it to be. There is more and more capacity coming online, and cruise ships have been discounting spectacularly to fill those cabins. One winter cruise spending seven days around the Canary Islands, for instance, is priced from €599pp… including flights.

3) I’ll get seasick…

Very unlikely. Today’s ships – especially the bigger ones – are built to be stable, and only really adverse weather should cause discomfort. Norovirus outbreaks are a whole other story, and have made for some PR disasters in recent years – though they are still relatively rare.

4) Cruising comes with hidden costs…

True – though it depends who you’re cruising with. Most cruises are ‘all-inclusive’, with accommodation, meals and entertainment factored into the price. Shore excursions and speciality restaurants cost extra on most mass market ships, however, as do alcoholic beverages. As a general rule, the more luxurious the cruise, the fewer extras you’ll contend with.

5) Cruising is tipping hell…

Not necessarily. This is one of the big cruising myths. Whilst North American customers think little of dishing out gratuities, Europeans are less forthcoming (after all, tips can hit 10% of the cost of a cruise). As a result, more and more sailings out of Europe include gratuities in the total ticket price.

6) Cruise ships are crowded…

Mostly false. Though some of the bigger ships can carry 6,000+ passengers, their layouts tend to be capable of comfortably absorbing those numbers. Other, smaller boats, can carry 200 or less. But whatever the headcount, there’s usually a quiet corner to escape to.

As with all of these issues, the key lies in choosing the right cruise (and cruise ship) for you.