In 2019 (before the pandemic) more than 15 million people took cruise vacations - this number is expected to be surpassed in 2023 as more people feel comfortable to travel in close quarters once again. While that's a large number of people and the industry is growing rapidly ... many people still have outdated views and misunderstandings about what it's like to be on a cruise ship. Personally, I find that sometimes industry associates over simplify things or brush off concerns too much as a counterweight to media mentions that are vastly inaccurate. However, these topics of myths and misunderstandings continue to be a popular topic of new cruisers and experienced ones alike, so let's get started on some of my favorites!
Cruises are Boring & Over-Priced
There's plenty to do on board and when the ships make port calls. Prices have come way down in recent years, and competition for passengers continues apace. If anything, ship-based vacationing has more options for fun than any other kind of trip. Whether your tastes run to sports, casino gaming, dance, or traditional card play, ships are where the action is. As for the price portion of the myth, that urban legend sprang from the era of the mid-1900s when only the wealthy could afford to traverse the high seas as a form of recreation.
Rigid Schedules And Fixed Dining Times
This was once true of cruising, but today most ships offer flexible dining options such as open seating or buffet-style restaurants where you can choose when and with whom you want to dine. Additionally, almost all cruise ships have some form of 24-hour room service. As far as schedules for entertainment ... there are tons of different opportunities available for amusement on cruises but some may only be offered once or twice during a voyage - for instance a premium Scotch tasting or a Wine Blending class.
However, I've done cruises where Heather and I did nothing except relax on our balcony and enjoy the Ocean breezes and ordered room service. That's ok too! It's your vacation. Enjoy it however you want.
Bargains are Hard to Find & Loans Aren't Available
Check any online travel site, and it's apparent that there are countless discounts, bargains, and special deals for those who enjoy cruising during their vacation days. However, the savvy traveler will notice a pattern - cruises are MUCH more expensive than the initial price might appear. For instance, you may think that cheap baja cruise might only be a few hundred dollars but that's before tips, taxes, upgrades, and fees.
While your travel advisor can help you identify deals and promotions that are actually worth doing, you still need to pay for it.
Luckily, there are some speciality loan services for cruisers that want to avoid credit card debt. However, another smart way to pay for special trips is to take out a personal loan. Banks and other lending institutions make unsecured loans by the thousands every day, many of which are for applicants who want to finance a fun vacation in advance.
In short, deals abound, and loans are one of the most common money-saving tactics.
On top of this having the money in advance will allow you to spend your money better. Instead of thinking you only have enough for an inside cabin, now by booking six or 12 months in advance you can divide your payments up so that the monthly cost allows you to afford a balcony instead. Tips like this are way we always advise cruisers to work with a travel advisor!
The Majority of Travelers are Senior Citizens
A generation ago, cruisegoers were mainly older adults. Today, according to the most recent CLIA surveys, only 30% of cruisers are 60+. The industry is a very diverse space and why the average age of cruisers is now 47 years old, you can find long exotic luxury cruises where the average age is 70+ and you can find short cruises to Ensenada where the average age is probably only 35 years old since those cruises are very low cost, short, and more focused on drinking and partying.
It's a Couples Thing
Yes there are those that plan marriage proposals on a cruise and celebrate anniversaries, but in general, couples, singles, families, corporate groups, and social clubs are part of the mix. There's no denying that love birds enjoy taking honeymoon cruises, but there are all kinds of groups, families, individuals, and tour groups on any given excursion.
Cabins Are Too Small
This one is sorta true but has changed dramatically on the newer ships. Today, modern cruise ship cabins come in all shapes and sizes, so there’s something for everyone ... who's willing to pay! If space is a priority then look into suites which typically offer more room than standard cabins do as well as upgraded amenities like balconies or Jacuzzis! Some larger ships even offer exclusive spaces complete with butler service and private amenities as well as some of the larger staterooms at sea. It all costs money though, and for those looking for great cruise deals, inside cabins and ocean view cabins remain a fantastic opportunity to save money.
Stomach Sickness is a Major Problem for Travelers
Most have little or no problems related to what is usually called seasickness. If it's a problem for you, take an over the counter remedy to deal with a mild case. Regarding the issue of seasickness, those who suffer don't go on cruises. But that's probably less than 1% of the adult population. More people have negative physical reactions to flying in airplanes, riding on trains, and traveling long distances in cars.
On the other hand, the concept of "sea legs" is something a lot of people experience when on boats but except in stormy weather (which cruise ships mostly avoid), that won't be an issue for most travelers either. The exception is spring cruises that experience rough weather off the coast of Washington and Oregon. Otherwise, Pacific Coastal and Mexican Riviera cruises tend to be very calm.
Despite this, with millions of people taking to the open seas during vacations, the few cases of seasickness got a lot of media attention. But like so many other new activities that generate myths and misconceptions spending annual holidays on ships eventually caught on and has since become a fundamental part of modern culture. In 2023, all the major lines are expanding their offerings amid increased post-COVID demand.