Cruises are a popular way to travel for many as they are completely organised for you, visit multiple destinations, and you get to experience a little bit of luxury for often an affordable price.
My first overseas experience was actually a family holiday in 2012 on a cruise leaving from Sydney, Australia to New Caledonia which is part of the Pacific Islands. It was a 9 day cruise on the Pacific Pearl through P&O, one of the many cruise liners around the world.
It’s hard to know whether a cruise is right for you, as you will find mixed opinions. Some people love them, like my dad, who is now a seasoned cruiser, whereas someone like myself preferred other ways of travel. So I decided to write my personal pros and cons of cruise travel.
Food. The food is amazing. On our particular ship a buffet was included for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and boy, was it good. It changes up almost everyday, so there’s a huge selection. For people looking for something a bit special, there were also a selection of cafes, and restaurants on board that you could purchase food at.
Convenience. You did not have to worry one bit about getting from A to B. At the start of the trip, they provide with you an exact itinerary as to which days are ‘sea days’ and which days they dock into the destinations. Once at the destinations, you line up to get off, they transport you onto the island, and you just have to make sure you’re back by a certain time. Super convenient, no worries at all.
Activities. The activities are endless. At the time I travelled, I was 16, that awkward age where I felt too old for the kids areas, but wasn’t allowed into the 18+ events. I wasn’t too happy when the karaoke contest was 18+. However, there are numerous kids areas which are segregated to the ages of the children, which had a TV, movie nights, craft, activities, and just a positive environment to meet other people your age on the ship. There were performances on every night in the theatre – dance, musical theatre, comedy, acrobatics, and presentations. Bingo, a casino, quiz nights, water volleyball, retail precincts, almost everything you could think of is on the ship.
Unusual destinations. A lot of cruise ships go to destinations that many group tours don’t. It’s easy to find cruises that go to Barbados, it’s hard to find reputable group travel that goes to Barbados. You get to often experience exotic, and unusual places.
Safety. Cruise travel generally is quite safe, and you can meet a lot of people on board if travelling by yourself. The liners also provide options for activities at the destinations, and are pre-sourced and organised. It also means if something goes wrong, there’s someone to call. You should still have travel insurance though!
Lack of choice and time. The issue with cruise travel is although you can choose which cruise you would like to go on, you have a lack of choice on the destinations. Although cruises can go to unusual places, not all of them will go to the exact place you want to go, especially if you are very specific on your destinations. When at the destinations, you usually don’t always have a lot of time at the destination, especially after lining up to get off the ship, and back on. If you want to spend a solid amount of time in a place, have specific destinations in mind, or want to gain an in-depth experience of a country, you should consider other options.
Solo travelling. If you can get a group of four, and manage to all stay in the same room, you will be getting a massive bargain. This is the downfall for solo travellers, it can get expensive to have a room by yourself. There are many people who do go on cruise ships alone, it’s just not always the most budget friendly option.
Nada Nightlife. One thing about my experience was one never got to experience the nightlife of the place. Most days we had to be back on the ship by about 5-6pm, and didn’t have the opportunity to fully immerse into the island nightlife. There are plenty of bars, and a “nightclub” on the ship, but not the real authenticity of the country. This may be different if you go with cruises that allow you to stay offshore if the ship is docked for more than one day.
Seasickness. Oh yes, with cruising comes the uninvited seasickness. You might think you don’t get seasickness, but you would be surprised. Majority of the time if the ship is smooth sailing, you won’t have an issue, unless you are prone to motion sickness. There were a couple nights into our cruise that got rough, and many paper bags were placed all around the cruise ship. I must say I’m not usually one to get seasickness, but that was a lie.
Internet. Say goodbye to internet, and wifi. Hopefully this has changed since my 2012 experience, however at the time, there was hardly any internet, and the internet that could be purchased was quite costly. In saying this, it allows a positive opportunity for you to live in the now, rather than worrying about updating your Facebook status every 10 minutes.
Cruises are a fantastic way to have an affordable holiday, and experience an alternative way of travelling. I find them to be perfect for someone who hasn’t done a lot of overseas travel, or someone wanting a convenient holiday. I’m sure I’ll be back one day to earn my deserved title of the karaoke contest winner.
Have you been on a cruise? What were your pros and cons?