Straight up: I’ve always been skeptical about going on a cruise. Regular Teacake readers will know that I’m the type of gal you’ll find hiking in the mountains of China, biking through the mountains of Vietnam or driving from the UK to Mongolia in a Toyota Yaris. ‘I don’t do cruises’ I said.
When I saw my friends, including travel blogging friends, start to go on cruises, I said, ‘There’s no way I’d do that’. This is why…
I like my independence and doing what I want to do, when I want, where I want.
I don’t want to be stuck somewhere with people I don’t like.
I don’t want to be cheated out of seeing or ‘feeling’ a culture because I’m there for too short of a time.
I’m known for being seasick on pedalo boats (it’s that bad).
Cruises are for old people right?
When Princess Cruises invited me to take a Mediterranean Cruise with them from Barcelona, Spain to Pisa, Italy…I stopped and reminded myself about my outlook on life:
Don’t knock it ’till you try it.
This obviously doesn’t go for everything out there that the travel world offers you (yes I went to Tiger Kingdom in Thailand and deeply regret it). But I decided to really try and put my biases aside, step onboard with an open mind, and actually see, as any good travel blogger should, what’s happening out there (and write about it honestly with you!).
11 cruise myths are definitely debunked! It’s almost 12 – there’s one I’m still not sure of!
I’m now a complete convert. Seriously. Anyone up for a world cruise?
I’ve realised that most of my preconceptions about cruises were outdated, and I had some catching-up to do. Read on to find out what changed my mind.
Cruise Myth #1 Debunked: 65%
If you’re stepping on this cruise as a 30-something Rose looking for her artistic Titanic Jack…I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. I can tell you with absolute love and enthusiasm that my Mediterranean Cruise was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. It had challenging hiking, sightseeing on segways, cooking lessons in tiny Spanish apartments – it involved everything that I love.
I found people my age at the bars, in the nightclub and in the more adventurous activities – but the reason they were there was because they were with their family or partner mostly. I had an amazing time because I went with 7 other bloggers who were just as gung-ho as me. Would I go as a solo female traveller? I’m not 100% convinced yet. I see this trip as one you’re going to take with your boyfriend, a bunch of girlfriends or your family.
Cruises appeal to older people because of the sheer convenience of being able to visit several destinations without the hassle of getting on and off flights and buses, packing, unpacking, and checking in and out of different hotels. You don’t have to trudge around all evening searching for an affordable place to stay or a decent restaurant.
If you’re tired of the guesswork and the legwork involved in backpacking, a cruise is a great option for you. And I am honestly am pretty burnt out right now. Being able to take a cruise was a welcome break for me. I had to just unpack and pack once! Sheer brilliance!
The good news is that cruise companies know that their clientele consists of all types of travellers, from young to old, families, couples, groups, and solo travellers. The activities onboard go all-out to offer something for everyone. And perceptions are definitely starting to change. More and more of my friends are expressing an interest in going on a cruise. They’re right to!
Make sure to check out my Best 7 Day Mediterranean Itinerary. You’ll be surprised.
Cruise Myth #2 Debunked: 100%
You might have always thought that going on a cruise was prohibitively expensive, but actually you needn’t break the bank.
If you shop around and book at off-peak times, avoiding school holidays, you can find fares for under £80 per person per day! This is particularly on popular routes such as the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
I checked to see what other cruises Princess Cruises have on offer. They have cruises starting from just 1 day if you’re looking for an economical trip. These trips are perfect to try out if you aren’t yet sure that cruising is for you too! Perfect if you don’t want to commit to a full week.
The fare usually includes all-you-can-eat food, soft drinks, and a range of onboard entertainment. The things that can seriously inflate your bill are big-ticket shore excursions, excessive drinking, gambling, and shopping.
If you exercise some self-control with your spending whilst on a cruise, you can avoid racking up your bill unnecessarily and still be able to afford the extra activities that you really want to do.
Do be aware that Princess Cruises automatically add a recommended gratuity per guest per day onto your shipboard account on a daily basis. This gratuity is shared amongst all of the staff that provide you service and support during your cruise experience.
The gratuity amount varies by the type of stateroom you are staying in. For my balcony stateroom, it cost £10.50 pppn.
Make sure to add this into your budget!
Princess Cruises have great deals popping up the whole time. Keep a beady eye on their deals page because you never know what is going to come up.
Cruise Myth #3 Debunked: 90%
When I was 18 I stepped onto an all-inclusive booze cruise in Spain on an 18-30s holiday (oh how times have changed). I paid upfront and had never drank on a boat before, so had no idea really. Long story short, I never touched a drop of the alcohol. As soon as we left the port, I was throwing up over the side of the boat for the whole trip. Worst experience ever.
Just to add insult to injury, I then got seasick on a pedalo boat on that same holiday. Even scuba diving these days is hard for me. I have to worry about whether I’m going to throw up in my breathing equipment or not.
If the thought of getting on a ship makes you queasy, rest assured: taking a cruise probably won’t make you seasick. Cruise ships have stabilizers which minimize the rocking motion, so on a calm sea you can’t feel any movement at all, especially on a very large ship.
If you’re prone to seasickness there are some steps you can take to ensure that you have a pleasant vacation and not a miserable nausea-fest.
Try to avoid booking a room at the bow or stern of the ship, and choose an ocean-view cabin where you will be able to look out at the horizon.
Also, make sure to bring an adequate supply of your favourite nausea remedy and test it out in advance. You can also consider booking a trip with fewer sea days and more stops which will give you the chance to recover on land each day.
I have to say that I never felt seasick on the ship. Yet, when I stepped on land, I did sometimes feel like I was ‘floating’. It was not a feeling that put a dampener on anything I did – but I sure did feel a little spacey at times.
Cruise Myth #4 Debunked: 100%
It’s true that when you are on a cruise, you will typically be at each port for just one day, so you will have to cherry-pick the couple of sights that you most want to see. However, it’s not the case that you are dumped at each port for just long enough to go shopping!
With Princess Cruises, my port days were long, so I had the whole day to either explore the city at my own pace or book organised excursions.
I went to a tiny apartment in Barcelona to learn how to make paella with two local sisters
I hiked all the way up to the rock of Gibraltar
I went wine tasting in Provence
I visiting Cinque Terre in Italy
And on my last day, I took a Segway tour around Pisa and finally saw the Leaning Tower!
Not bad eh?
However, you don’t have to take organised tours if you’d rather create your own personal itinerary for each port of call.
With the advent of ride-hailing apps like Uber, it’s never been easier to hop off the ship in the morning and take off to any part of the city that you want to see.
And if you want to stay onboard, it’s the perfect time to do it! At this time, 3000 guests usually minimises to 200. Why not have a massage, enjoy the pool, munch on the buffet and watch a movie on the open-top deck?
Cruise Myth #5 Debunked: 100%
Just because you’re on a ship, doesn’t mean you’re going to be eating mush. Princess Cruises food is the creme de la creme!
You’re going to find a staggering amount of variety both in the types of food and the types of dining experiences on offer.
Whether you fancy a steak dinner, fresh sushi, handmade pizza, or just want to grab a lazy burger by the pool, there’s sure to be something to tempt your taste buds at any time of day.
The only hard part is deciding what to eat, which brings me to the next point…
Cruise Myth #6 Debunked: 100%
With anything in life, you can choose the naughty option if you want. Yes, there’s free-flowing ice cream if you want it. However, health-conscious travellers needn’t avoid going on cruises for fear of not being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The Sanctuary serves special health-conscious low-calorie food, and there’s specific low-carb/low-calorie options in the main restaurants.
As long as you’re mindful of your portion sizes, you should be able to make healthy choices at each meal. I made the absolute most of the fresh fruit and vegetables at the buffet when I wanted to snack at the pool.
You’ll also find plenty of opportunities to keep fit and active to burn off some those excess burgers you accidentally ate.
My Princess Cruise had a gym, swimming pool, dance classes including zumba and line dancing, yoga, a basketball court, a running track and the chance to play ping-pong to name but a few!
And that’s only on the ship.
The onshore excursions such as hiking, biking, and sightseeing on foot kept me very busy. I weighed myself before and after the cruise – and I had actually lost weight.
Whew! Maybe I need that ice cream after all…
Cruise Myth #7 Debunked: Hmm I’m not sure…
I’m concerned about the impact of my travelling on the environment, and cruises are undoubtedly not great in terms of fuel and waste. However, many forms of transport are bad for the environment, and we can’t definitively say that taking a cruise is worse for the environment than taking lots of flights.
Technology is improving and many ships now “plug in” when in port, which means they turn off their diesel engines and use shore-based electricity to run onboard services during stops.
Cruise ships also have to follow strict rules and regulations about their emissions and waste disposal, and many are now starting to reduce their use of plastic, as well as introducing recycling schemes.
I was surprised to see that Princess Cruises are still using plastic straws. They are implementing a plan to cut all of these out: in my opinion, the sooner the better. Do it quick Princess!
Overall, cruises aren’t without environmental impact, but things are improving.
Cruise Myth #8 Debunked: 80%
In the past, cruise lines tended to price out solo travellers with a hefty single supplement. However, there are several cruise lines that offer purpose-built single cabins, as well as events and areas geared towards single travellers, so you needn’t feel like the only solo traveller in a horde of couples and groups.
Princess Cruises are getting there. They are catching up and implementing their own single cabins now. Bring on the solo and not being penalised for it!
Cruise Myth #9 Debunked: 100%
If you think going on a cruise means you’ll have to spend your time playing bingo and watching terrible cabaret, think again. Cruise lines offer a whole host of onboard activities to ensure you won’t have time to get bored.
See a movie by the pool, watch live music or stand-up comedy, or unwind with a pampering spa treatment. Depending on the cruise line, you might be able to take part in cookery classes, art classes or wine tastings.
Although you might be so worn out from your daytime adventures on land that all you want to do on board is find a quiet spot, read a good book and watch the world go by.
Cruise Myth #10 Debunked: 100%
This myth terrified me. I’m a free bird.
If the thought of being trapped on a ship with several thousand other holidaymakers fills you with dread too, don’t worry. Large cruise ships really are MASSIVE. There are so many different places to eat, relax and generally spend time on a large ship, that you don’t really feel confined. If a particular spot gets a little busy, you can simply find another (but this never happened to me).
And on routes that have a stop every day or almost every day, you’ll be off exploring most of the time and won’t spend that much time actually on the ship.
Cruise Myth #11 Debunked: 100%
If you’re someone who actively tries to stay off the beaten track, you may hate the idea of chugging round the well-loved tourist routes of the Mediterranean coastline or the Caribbean islands. Don’t dismiss these out of hand, as they are perennial favourites for good reasons – the climate is warm, the sea is calmer than the open ocean, and they are easily accessible from Europe and the US respectively.
But, if you are itching for a lesser-frequented route, you could consider the Norwegian fjords, the glaciers of Alaska, the islands of Hawaii or the Falkland Islands and Antarctica. And that’s without even getting started on river cruises! With so many to choose from, the only hard part is deciding where to cruise to first.
Cruise Myth #12 Debunked: 90%
Don’t get me wrong. Kids are delightful and maybe you even have some of your own. If you do, there is lots to keep them entertained on a cruise! Kids’ clubs and family-friendly entertainment make sure that they won’t have time to get bored, and young kids love the novelty of being on a ship.
However, if you are a solo traveller and would rather not share your trip with other people’s children, don’t be put off from going on a cruise.
Many cruise ships have designated adults-only areas. The Princess Cruises Sanctuary is a real treat and adult-only area where you can completely relax. If you avoid the family-friendly restaurants at about 5pm and eat a bit later, you will miss a lot of the preschool crowd too. And it’s a no brainer that if you want to avoid kids, don’t go during the school holidays.
I went on my Princess Mediterranean Cruise in September and saw a grand total of 2 kids (and they were awesome).
Are you feeling more reassured about these cruise myths and found that your perception has started to change on quite a few of them?
Princess Cruises have many different cruises around the world. Check out Charli’s experience on her first Baltic Cruise.
Is there anything else that you want to ask me about going on a cruise? Still unsure about cruises? Have an idea or experience that you would like to share? Leave a comment below and I’ll reply!
My complimentary Mediterranean cruise experience was made possible by Princess Cruises. As always, no matter how much a brand pays me, opinions are mine = honest, blunt and to the point.