Taking a cruise holiday has been one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK travel market for a number of years. Yet many people have preconceptions about having a holiday on the waves which are wrong and once they try out cruising for themselves, they’re hooked for life.
Our quick guide will help to dispel the ‘so called’ myths around cruising and answer some of your questions.
1. If I go on a cruise I’ll get sea sick – Well, you may well have an odd day where seas are rough, but with most itineraries sailing through the calm waters of the Caribbean or summer in the Mediterranean then it’s not likely you’ll encounter rolling seas. And most ships are now equipped with stabilisers that stop the vessel from pitching and rolling, so sea sickness is a thing of the past for most people.
2. Cruises are only for rich people – It is true that a cabin on a Round the World cruise can cost as much as £50,000, however the average cost of cruises through travelsupermarket.com is only just over the £1,000 mark.
There are many deals to be had well under a grand with weekend cruise breaks starting at only £299 per person. What you also need to remember is that the cost of cruise is pretty much ‘all in’. You only need to pay extra for alcohol, tips, trips on shore and gifts. Your cruise holiday can cost as little or as much as you like.
Your food and entertainment is all included, so it’s great value for money.
3. I can’t take my family on a cruise ship – Ships are aimed at different markets and these days there are ships that cater for families of all ages and make up. So it is key to pick the right cruise line and the correct ship, in order to feel at home.
There are special facilities for children of all ages, including day clubs and organised activities such as rock climbing walls and sports, so your kids can have a great time. For parents and grand parents there is spa pampering, sports, shopping and all types of activities from crafts through to learning new skills. And most cruise ships have a fabulous range of entertainment from child through to adult as well as food of every type you can imagine.
4. Cruise ships are crowded – The new Oasis of the Seas is a ship catering for just over 6,000 passengers in one sailing. Yet being aboard this huge vessel, you just don’t seem aware they are there. Cruise companies have worked hard to ensure there is plenty of space for passengers and it is easy to escape to quiet parts of the ship if you want to avoid other passengers. If you want something more intimate then choose one of the smaller ships catering for only a few hundred people.
5. Cruise ships are packed with old people – It is true that many older customers love cruising. And they love it because it offers such good value for money. Yet the average age of cruise passengers is dropping rapidly as word spreads ho fantastic a cruise holiday can be. In the USA it is well below 40 and for cruises from the UK it is rapidly approaching this figure. The newer ships with more modern facilities tend to attract younger crowds so opt for those. Older ships tend to attract a loyal, older clientele.
6. The quality of entertainment on cruise ships is terrible – Not so. Many ships now have world class entertainers on board straight from Broadway, Vegas or West End runs. This applies to shows, comedians as well as singers and performers. Casinos are top notch and entertainment for children is of a high standard too. However it is usually aimed at a market, the US, UK or an international market.
The key is once again to understand the ship you are looking to book and ensure the ambiance and style of the offering suits your requirements, likes and dislikes.
7. Cruise ships are dangerous places – The only thing dangerous about cruise ships is that you may well put on weight with all the food being offered. But you can even work that off with on board exercise in the gym.
Seriously, modern cruise lines operate under very strict health and safety guidelines in all aspects of their operations. They are regularly inspected, they have fully trained employees including medical staff and take their responsibilities very seriously. And levels of cleanliness are supreme.
8. I don’t like beach holidays so cruises won’t be for me – Again, this is about picking the right cruise for you. If you want to avoid a beach holiday then head for a cruise in Alaska or the Baltic where you ill see stunning scenery and get the chance to visit world class cities. And somewhere like the Mediterranean or the Caribbean is as much about warm weather as it is about visiting some fabulous ports packed with history, art and shopping. If you don’t want to lie on the deck in the sun, there are so many alternatives on board to fill your time, you’ll hardly notice the days go by.
9. Being herded around on a cruise is not my idea of fun – Cruising these days is about choice. True, the ship will be following an itinerary, however you can eat when you want, sleep when you want and just about choose anything you want to do at a time that suits you. The days of everything at set times with no flexibility are over. You can make cruising an individual experience today.
10. Cruises are boring – Not at all. With activities galore, ever changing scenery with new ports to discover and constant entertainment on board, there is always a choice of things to do and something new to discover. And if you just want to kick back and relax, then you can choose that any time of the night or day.