9 Cruising Myths Busted

We were totally not into cruising less than ten years ago, because well, we had quite a typical bunch of beliefs we didn’t know are myths.


Our cruise experiences of the ships that cruise between Finland and Sweden, even they are huge, nicely updated and have quality food, drinks & entertainment, have never found their place in the line of our favorite travel experiences. But then we decided to give cruising a chance. We took our first Caribbean cruise June 2013 and well, it didn’t end there. Here is a list of myths that seem to come between people and their first cruise.

Cruise Myth #1: Cruising is Super Expensive

Cruise Myth #2: Cruise Travel Only for the Elderly

Cruise Myth #3: Cruises Are Boring

Cruise Myth #4: Cruises are Full of Families With Kids

Cruise Myth #5: Cruises Require You To Dress Up Every Day

Cruise Myth #6: Cruise Food Brings you Down

Cruise Myth #7: Cruises Will Make You Sick

Cruise Myth #8: You’ll Not Experience The Ports

Cruise Myth #9: Bigger Is Better

And here we go, busting or at least analyzing myths that may have stopped you from booking your first cruise.

Cruise Myth #1: Cruising is Super Expensive

Is it really? It can be, there are the extremely high-end cruisers where the white-cloved butlers and congerierces fill all your needs on board and at the ports. However, there are endless options for various budgets these days.


There are some basic things that will affect the total price of your holiday, for sure. For someone living in a city with a cruise port, it’s easy to board, no need to buy flights, book hotels, rent cars. Studying different cruise lines, their ships (older and more recent, smaller and larger), itineraries (ports, lenghts..) will give you a basic idea of what are the different, basic variables affecting the price. Booking with a travel agent may sometimes be a good option price wise, believe it or not!


don’t forget to check all the cool things your cruise includes, at most of the cruises you’ll get quite a lot of included dining 24/7, all the ports to visit, varied pool life, tons of free program every day.

So, how do we choose? First of all, we like laid back luxuries. Luxury for us means something else than it means to those who want all their smallest whims heard and served. For us time is the biggest luxury, the possibility of hanging out together without having to follow too many schedules.

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Good food and beverage, they are an inseparable part of our life, but we are by no means food and beverage snobs. You’ll have quite a lot of dining included in your cruise every time and then at many ships you’ll have special dining options that you can book in advance, or like us, just go and enjoy during your cruise when you feel like it (sure, it’s easier to get a table for two without reservation than it would be getting a table for a group). You’ll pay a little extra for these speciality restaurants, but for one fixed fee you eat as much as you like.

The third fact is that we love discovering new places and cruises for us are like bus tours where you can visit new destinations, many places we might never visit any other way, very conveniently. Getting flights to some of these places would cost more than the return flights and the cruise we paid for.

Sometimes we pay extra for excursions, sometimes we head to the port without any special booked in advance. The excursions may look expensive (no, they are not exactly cheap), but the local operators running the excursions are tested & approved by the cruise line and these excursions will get you back to the ship in time, an important guarantee we appreciate.

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We find the Wi-Fi and the beverage packages are maybe the most expensive, separate things every time. But we still get them, they are part of our cruise.

At the end it’s all up to your own principles of where to save and where to splurge in life. We are a DINK couple, run business together and have decided to spend available time for travel. As we don’t own a sailing ship, a cottage or  have other expensive hobbies, travel is where we might let our hair down from time to time and spend some extra on things.

Cruise Myth #2: Cruise Travel Only for the Elderly

There still seems to be a stereotypical idea of how the grey panthers that represent generations before us fill the cruise ships with their bridge clubs, World War memories, thick perfumes, loud voices, squealing hearing aids and walking sticks. Early evenings, early mornings, annoyed mentions on the moral decay of the younger passengers.

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However, it’s no secret that senior citizens these days are surprisingly fit and even trendy. Age range goes from 50 to over 80, part of seniors don’t consider themselves seniors at all. They have time and money to use and cruising is an easy way to discover the world, relax or be active at the same time. So fear not, it’s not likely to be a God’s waiting room in a shape of a ship.

But if you still want to find a cruise with more variety in passenger demographic, don’t go for the most expensive ships, the smallest speciality ships or choose the long itineraries. The average passenger age at the longest cruise we’ve been to (Partial Panama Canal Cruise of 11 nights on Norwegian Jade) was sure higher than on the 3-Night Mexico cruises by Carnival from Long Beach or the 5-night cruises from Florida ports. You’ll have more kids and more younger, party people on the shorter itineraries.

Cruise Myth #3: Cruises Are Boring

If cruising was all about sun bathing and eating, our 2013 cruise would have been the first and the last. But fear not: you will not have time to do everything you could onboard. Each day you’ll get the next day’s programme delivered to your stateroom.

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The first sports sessions start 6 in the morning and every day you’ll have dancing and cooking lessons, jewellery lectures, art auctions, wine tasting, quiz and game sessions, spa and shopping specialities, movies, theatre, towel folding, casino fun, theme parties, music lessons and sessions, tours around the ship.

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So, even those sea days will be filled with activities, if you want them to be. But it’s ok to just hang around as well. We’ve surprised ourselves by trying new stuff like bingo and couples massage during the sea days. And as art collectors we have also made some good art deals during those days onboard. These are the most awesome days for napping, just being. Make the best of it.

We travel as a couple and have fun where ever we go to, but some enjoy the solo cruising – check out what Sherry Laskin Kennedy of Cruise Maven has to say about solo cruising.

Cruise Myth #4: Cruises are Full of Families With Kids

More and more cruise ships start operating, with more variety on itineraries. This means the prices of cruises have become affordable for families with kids as well. Some companies, like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian and Disney, obviously, have physical evidence of being specially interested in the junior travellers. If you look at the photos of the pool decks and spot a lot stuff like water slides, you’ll obviously cruise with some number of kids.


But have no fear: even if you want to ensure tranquillity through your cruise on board of ships serving also the families with kids, you can do that. And also, you have the option of booking with the companies without kid friendly amenities. They are likely to be more expensive, but maybe worth it, if kid free is your thing. Read more about the kid-free experiences.

Cruise Myth #5: Cruises Require You To Dress

All cruise lines will have more or less variety of nights of casual and formal. Obviously the the smaller ships will get you more under radar if you don’t dress up for the occasion. The larger ships give you the freedom of going by your own preference.

We totally understand that for a lot of people dressing up is one part of the special cruise experience, rising above the every day makes those evenings special, festive occasions.

However, we have both enjoyed our fare share of formal wear and dressing up, when we  are on holiday we are totally not into formal dressing. We have always got good service, always got nice dinners, always had fun.

Cruise Myth #6: Cruise Food Brings you Down

Your cruise package will include a selection of restaurants to choose from, options for different times of the day. We have been mostly very happy with the options available, from brekkie ’till late night snacks. There are real people making real food, trust us. All cruise lines and all ships are a little different, but if you have cruised on one cruise line once you’ll notice some similar brands within the brand.

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Anyways, our faves are ships with variety of dining options, we are willing to pay some extra when we feel like getting something special.

Like Teppanyaki, Brazilian Steak House, Italian specialities, tapas. And when you want some extra, go enjoy restaurants at the ports. Yes, you’ll have to pay, but you’ll also benefit the local economy.

Cruise Myth #7: Cruises Will Make You Sick

We spent one restless night in a storm from Key West to Cozumel, but didn’t get sea sick. The only time we’ve been really sick had nothing to do do with the ship – it was after spending too much in the straight sunlight in St. Kitts. Which, by the way, is an awesome port. The ships these days are built to take waves, huge waves. You’re not likely to feel sick. However, if you feel sick, green apples seem to work like a magic, a trick the crew swears on.

If you think about food poisonings and such, the best rule is: wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. And don’t put your fingers in to your mouth, nose, ears.

We have been to quite a many cruises with 2500-5000 fellow passengers and washing hands has obviously saved us from a lot of.


Still, if you have a health condition, consult your doctor in advance (and make sure your travel insurance covers possible medical treatment). The ships do have doctors onboard, but we’ve also witnessed passengers being picked up by an ambulance more than once. Ending up in a hospital in a strange land never sounds nice.

Cruise Myth #8: You’ll Not Experience The Ports

There are many ways of approaching the depth and importance of a travel experience. Cruises mostly stay at a port for a day or at least several hours. Some cruises stay overnight. Often you read and hear of people talking about the superficial experiences cruises offer, obviously most of these critics have never been on a cruise.

We understand the challenges cruise industry has in terms of sustainable development. Environmental, economical and social issues are no secret. Heards of cruise passengers filling port cities for a day and then leaving, do they really experience the place, learn about it’s history and culture? Do they benefit the local residents or just go on long distance excursions and then back to the ship after the day?

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So, have we experienced the ports? We have found cruising a great way of visiting gems around the world we might have never visited any other way, (like Messina in Sicily, Italy, Mazatlán in Mexico, Yatsushiro in Japan, Mdina in Malta) also places we never had heard before looking at the cruise itineraries (like Yatsushiro in Japan, Roatan Island in Honduras and Catalina Island in the US). Many places we have been happy to visit first just for a day to be able to decide if we’d like to return again for a longer time.

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Reading about the ports in advance (both fact & fiction), checking about blog posts, recommendations & You Tube videos and then coming up with possible activities for the port day is our approach when planning. As mentioned earlier, we are ready to spend some extra for an interesting excursion provided by the cruise line. But sometimes we just decide to hire a taxi driver to show us around or go and check out the city trusting our maps and notes we have made.

Roatan sunshine

One of the most memorable pre-booked excursions was our visit to Embera Indians in the jungles of Panama, maybe the best ever taxi driver we hired was in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The local guides can bring their own city to life, like our guide in Cartagena, Colombia. We’ve seen iguanas in St. Thomas, dived deep below the surface in a submarine in Cayman Islands, have witnessed a funeral of a bishop both in Nassau, Bahamas and in Messina, Sicily. Our principle is to do some dinning and shopping at the port cities, not just at the port shops by the ships.

Cruise Myth #9: Bigger Is Better

The mega-ships are big every way, also the numbers of passengers are high. Do you feel trapped and claustrophobic with all the people around you? Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas and MSC Seaview have been the biggest ships we’ve been to. and they have room to roar. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine there actually are thousands of people sailing with you. But how smooth is everything service wise when you have thousands of fellow passengers? Actually, pretty smooth. You may feel some pressure at the buffets at certain times of the day, but mostly we did not feel the crowds.


This myth has a lot to do with the fear of becoming bored in a ship. Originally just sitting in your deck chair and enjoying the fresh air and the ocean around you were appreciated. The luxury cruise liners activities onboard were card games, reading, the fine dining, captain’s dinners, ballroom dancing. The smaller the ship, less mega-experiences you’ll obviously get.

These days, as people are not good at getting bored, the super-ships have the answer: they are like floating cities with an imaginative mix of services & activities. You’ll have Broadway shows, movie nights, bowling alleys, go-karts, water slides, basketball fields, surf simulators and so on. There are so many restaurants you will not have the time to test them all. There are always people who’ll never leave the ship, they don’t care about the ports. The ship itself is their desired experience.

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And this is exactly why we think bigger may not always be better. As cool and educating  as it is to experience the latest in cruise technology & innovation, the new service concepts and ideas, a lot of the experience is lacking without interesting ports. For us the ports are an essential part of cruising and after finding a suitable time for cruising in our schedules, most of the time we start our planning comparing the itineraries.

We want to see new destinations and the super-ships have limitations because of their size. For example our partial Panama Canal cruise was possible with a mid-size cruise ship, but the bigger ones can’t do that. Our cruise ship was a so-called Panamax, the maximum size that can sail through the canal. And there are endless ports around the world that you’ll never see sailing the largest ships.


However, we recommend trying different ship sizes and itineraries if you have the possibility to do so, comparing and coming up with your own favourites.

If you had your doubts about cruising and read the whole post, we hope you are now a step nearer to your first cruise. We’ll be happy to answer questions and talk about your concerns. And those of you who’ve cruised before, comment on your thoughts about the myths!

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