I went on a cruise recently and learned a few things that I like and don’t like about cruises. This is the third cruise I’ve been on, and I’ve gone on two different cruise lines. There are pros and cons to everything, and a cruise is no different. I tend to enjoy the type of traveling that allows you to wake up in some place different every night. A cruise is basically a hotel on the sea. However, there are some great things about cruises, and depending on the type of traveler you are, it may be what you’re looking for.
So, let’s start with what I don’t like about cruises.
1. Rude Americans (and other nationalities.) This is probably my least favorite part about cruises. Americans are known for their sense of entitlement, and believe me, cruises bring out the worst. They are demanding of the staff, they don’t care how loud and drunk they get, they have no respect for personal space, and they treat the staff like their own personal slaves. This is just something you have to endure. I was in line at a pasta bar and there was one person working and you could loudly hear someone say, “WHAT’S TAKING SO LONG?” I think people feel that since “they paid for this,” they’re allowed to be as rude as they want.
2. You’re only in one location for a short time. Usually you’re only in one place for about 8 hours. You dock around 8 a.m., and then you have to be back on the boat by 4:30. This means that you don’t get a whole lot of time to experience where you are, and you definitely won’t be seeing the night views. This means that I will never want to take a cruise in Europe. Europe needs to be experienced in the evening. (In my honest opinion.)
3. Constant party-like atmosphere in the public areas, such as the pool. I actually told someone on a shuttle from the airport to the cruise that the last time I was on a cruise they were playing Shakira at 8 a.m. and I asked if they could turn it off. The person looked at me funny, and I proceeded to explain, “Well, it’s basically a party ship.” They said, “That is so great!” Apparently, she didn’t catch my sarcasm, because I’m not interested in a booze cruise.
4. Overpriced alcohol and lattes. Not only are the drinks around $8-$12, but they tack on a 20 percent service charge as well. So it’s pretty expensive to have an alcoholic drink, or a specialty coffee from the bar. I paid $5 for a latte. I guess it’s not that bad, considering how much it costs at Starbucks, but still.
Alright, now that I’ve been Debbie Downer, I’ll tell you what I like about cruises. I hope my limited scope on this subject will help you weigh the pros and cons to see if you want to go on a cruise.
1. The service. Oh my. I’ve never had better service than I do on a cruise. The staff are amazing. They clean your room every day, sometimes twice. They come and meet you and ask you if you need anything else. The wait staff at the restaurants check on you constantly and you never have to ask for a refill, they are there before you can even gulp the last sip. They are so friendly and welcoming, it’s like being pampered day in and day out.
2. The restaurants and the food. I’ve never paid extra for an “upscale” restaurant on a cruise because I think the food they have is excellent. I had New York Strip, Prime Rib and gelato all at the regular restaurants. These are classy places with menus, nice napkins, China and good service. It’s amazing to me that you can dress up and go into these restaurants and leave with no bill.
3. All-inclusive (minus alcohol and excursions.) It’s a pretty good deal to get your lodging, food and transportation for such a low cost. It really is a good deal for what you get. I don’t think you can do a cheaper trip to the Caribbean than you can on a cruise.
4. The views. I love the views on a ship at sunset and at night. Nothing beats waking up and seeing a sunrise on the open waters, and having your breakfast overlooking a dock. The star gazing is also amazing. The views on the open water are stunning, and unlike even staying at a waterfront hotel. You actually are on the water with an unobstructed view of sunrises and sunsets.