August 17, 2019

7 reasons to hate a cruise!

A lot of people are nervous of taking a cruise. Some are even outright haters – and most of them have never been on one!

Cruising has a lot of fake news around it. Mention you’re a fan of cruises and you’ll be met with an equal number of effusive voices as you will those who are adamant cruising is not for them.

Fair enough.

The reasons people say they hate cruising:

  • It’ll be too claustrophobic with all those people around.
  • I’ll get sea sick.
  • Everyone will probably come down with norovirus or some other shocking illness we’ve all read about.
  • The food won’t be very good. It’ll be too same same. I’m a picky eater.
  • I hate long lines and crowds.
  • I’ll get bored.
  • Cruises are for old people.
  • Cruises are expensive.
Cruise ship at dock
Me about to embark for lunch in Auckland and see what the food is all about!

Before we get started I’m gonna tell you right up front: I’m a fan of cruising! But some I’ve liked better than others and therein lies the secret. Not all cruises are the same and some, for sure, you probably wouldn’t like, but I bet you an onboard massage I could find one you will!

Cruise ship dining
A typical main restaurant where meals are served a la carte from a menu

Here are 7 reasons for believing cruising is not for you – and my (hopefully) persuasive arguments to change your mind!

1  I’d get claustrophobic

For some people the thought of being on a ship with a few thousand fellow passengers and about half that again in crew is overwhelming. They think they won’t be able to move for people. But that’s not the case at all. Think of a ship like a floating hotel, how often is everyone from every room jammed into the lobby or the restaurant? Never. That’s because probably at any one time half the people are chillaxing in their cabins and the other half are dispersed around the vast public areas. Pools, bars, restaurants, decks, library, theatre, spa, gym – all these are standard on most ships. Sure the pool can be crowded, but I don’t swim in front of people anyway, so I either read a book so I can get the attention of servers for drinks, on my balcony (if I have one!)

Vision of the Seas lounge
My favourite reading spot I escaped to each day on the Vision of the Seas

2  I’d get seasick

This depends on where you cruise and other factors like weather and your constitution. I’ll admit it, the first cruise I ever went on from was Auckland to Fiji and that was big sea. I didn’t get sick, but did take to my bed of an afternoon to be rocked to sleep. But others had to visit the doctor for a jab in the bum. However when I took my sister on a cruise in the Caribbean it was as flat as a mill pond. I think itineraries that keep you close to shore (Mediterranean, Croatia/Italy, and certainly river cruises) are probably best if you are prone to seasickness.

My recent cruise out of Singapore to Malaysia and Thailand was another really calm, flat sea experience and that is very normal for this part of the world. However my cruise across the Tasman Sea from Dunedin was on a few large swells and I interviewed the captain for his tips on what to do about seasickness.

3  I’d get bored

This is where one cruise does not fit all. You might get bored on a houseboat on the Murray River where there is literally nothing to do except play cards and drinking games with your friends, but if you’re on a luxury cruise or better yet, a mega ship, there is SO much to do I bet you won’t get to do it all. Theatre shows, outdoor cinema, shopping, casino, classes, lectures, spa, gym, probably water slides, rock walls, mini golf, even a surf wave and sky diving thingy is becoming pretty standard. And that’s before you get stuck into your book or watch a movie in your cabin – and eat!

And of course that’s just on sea days. Depending on your itinerary you’ll be off exploring some ancient city or cute village or Caribbean island during the day.

4  I’d hate the food

I’m not really a buffet fan, so I’d agree with you if this was your only option. But the buffet is really just Plan B. It suits families with picky kids who just want pizza or pasta and those wanting a quick bite before disembarking or heading off to a show or other activity, but I much prefer the restaurants.

Most ships have one main restaurant with proper white table cloths and service and a menu that changes each night – all inclusive (except the drink). But it’s also very standard to find speciality restaurants on ships where you can choose to pay a surcharge and eat in a swanky, small, even fine-dining establishment.

5  Everyone gets norovirus

No they don’t! But yes it’s true this can happen, so every cruise I’ve been on for about the last five years has a crew member standing at the entrance to the Lido deck buffet with a bottle of hand sanitizer giving everyone a squirt as they come through. There’s also hand sanitizer stationed all around the ship, so use it to your heart’s content and you’ll stay healthy.

6  Cruises are expensive

This is probably the biggest myth of all. Cruises can look expensive at first glance, but when you consider the price covers three (plus!) meals per day and your accommodation, plus the many free onboard activities, not to mention the actual transport around your selected region, the daily rate works out a lot cheaper than it looks. Some cruises also include wine with your evening meal and some also throw in the shore excursions (although this is unusual, but happened for us in Cuba on Fathom).

7  Cruises are for newly weds and nearly deads

Firstly in defense of all you grey nomads out there, I pay a lot of money to ignore my greys! But seriously, while cruises are ideal for older people thanks to the convenience of seeing so many places without checking into airports or driving a car every other day and unpacking only once, they are being skewed to a much younger clientelle these days.

It’s all about which ship you choose. Some are set up for families (Disney), others for partying (Carnival), others for luxury, some have themed itineraries around food or music…

cruise ship pool
Sapphire Princess: There’s an outdoor movie screen here too for night time entertainment

So now here’s what I love most about a cruise:

•  I love stopping at a new port each day – or every other day – and putting on my sensible walking shoes and heading out to explore. Sometimes I book a ship excursion (and there are very good reasons for doing these) and sometimes I wing it (and there are very good reasons for doing these too!)

•  I love exploring the ship, whether it be a small boutique luxury ship or a humungous party vessel with 5000 of my closest friends, the first thing I do is check out my cabin and unpack (packing cells are ideal for popping all your things in the drawers and stowing your suitcase), then heading off for a good look around.

•  I love being treated every night to a plethora of dining options, even if the ship is small and only has two restaurants, right through to the ships that have so many outlets you won’t be able to visit them all. Cruise lines make sure the menu is varied and on ships with specialty restaurants, you’d never get through everything you’d like to try.

•  I love the gentle movement of the ocean that makes me want to sleep for hours too. As soon as we set sail, the feeling of relaxation washes over me and I just want to head to my cabin for a snooze or to sit on my balcony with a book and to watch the view.

•  I love unpacking only once for a week (or longer)! No more up and off every couple of days and having to navigate myself to the next city via rental cars, trains and tedious airports.

Cruise ship small cabin
This is about the tiniest cabin I’ve had, but still enough space to unpack. A couch is behind me, TV, plus ensuite
Ponant cruise ship
This is a bit of me. Taken on the forward deck of the Ponant ship sailing around Italy.

If you are now interested in going on a cruise, you need to read my hugely popular post on 11 things NOT to do on a cruise! >>SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

About Megan Singleton

Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!

"7 reasons to hate a cruise!" - What do you think?

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  1. Lynlee Stone on

    Cruising is a breeze. Just like you said Megan, unpack once only.. Love having our bed turned back each night and bathroom cleaned twice a day, bed made, breakfast delivered and having it leisurely on our balcony. Always purchase a drinks package as it works out to be far more economical even if you only have 2 or 3 drinks a day. And what is especially good is waking up somewhere different most days. Even with my head injury I can cope with it and have a nap before dinner. I Even get to wear my “nice” clothes! Love it! Just thinking about where we are going to go next.

  2. leigh on

    I hated every minute….I loved being with my family……but…..too many people everywhere all the time…..2 tiny pools with too many people…standing in line for everything……I don’t want to play Bingo,go on a scavenger hunt,enter a dance contest,sit for 3 hours waiting our turn to get off the damned thing,and the cattle herd of claiming luggage and going through customs…..did I say I hated every minute?

    • Megan on

      Oh dear! If you like cruising as such though for the destinations and unpacking only once, but with fewer people, you might prefer a smaller boutique ship like Ponant or Windstar.

  3. Allyson on

    Can I fit in yr suitcase cruising is amazing.Its quite annoying when people have an opinion when never tried it out,Thanks for the write up

  4. lexicron on

    I’ve heard there are ridiculously high “fees” one pays while cruising, associated with booze, wine, gratuities. Can you be a bit specific about this unexpected costs? I’m one of those gray-haired (not literally) older people who’s considering a cruise for simplicity’s sake. Many thanks!

    • Megan on

      Hi, gratuities will differ depending on each ship but you should allow around $10-$12 per person per day. It can add up, but for that you get butler service in your room and your own waiter at the restaurant – if you dine at the same table each night. I would also advise you to look into buying a drinks package either when you get on board or via your travel agent before you go. The most recent one I experienced was about US$22 per day and that included all soft drinks and wine, beer. I think it might have even covered cocktails. It was only available though if both people in the same cabin bought it, i.e. $44 per day for 2 people. In the end we decided not to go for it as my husband doesn’t really drink, but a cocktail by the pool and a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, let alone any other drinks and it probably would have been worth it. Otherwise drinks were just at normal bar prices. I didn’t feel they were extortionate.

      Hope that helps!


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