The pros and cons of a cruise are very personal. Asking someone whether they would enjoy a cruise holiday is a little like asking them if they like Marmite. In the vast majority of cases, people either love them or hate them.
Negative opinions often come from people who have never experienced a cruise, while the positive views come from those who are die-hard supporters of their ideal holiday.
The big question is, what’s the truth? I’m going to take you through some of the pros and cons of cruises so that you can make up your own mind.
Everyone is different and what might be a pro for some people would be a complete deal-breaker for others, so keep that in mind. This post will take you through the advantages and disadvantages of booking a cruise holiday.
The Pros and Cons of Cruises
The Pros of a Cruise
Let’s start on a positive note. I’m going to take you through all the wonderful reasons to cruise.
- You get to see a lot in a short space of time. If you want to see more of the world but only have a week or two off from work, a cruise is pretty much the easiest way to do it. You will get direct access to the ports of some of the most popular places on the planet and will have enough time on-shore to taste different cultures in a single trip.
- They’re EASY. Whether you want to experience 5-6 countries in Europe, head out to the Caribbean islands, or check out the snowy expanses of Alaska, it’s all laid out for you on a plate. Minimum effort, maximum reward. You get taken from port to port and don’t have to arrange any transport for yourself.
- They’re Budget-Friendly. Ok so when you first look at cruise prices they might seem expensive but when you break it down into cost per nigtht and realise that price includes your food, drink, board entertainment and transportation, well it starts looking like a pretty great deal then. My mam paid much less for her cruise around Hawaii than I spent travelling around Hawaii myself the more traditional way.
- No Packing/unpacking/repacking/unpacking again. On a cruise, you only need to pack and unpack once – all your gear is on board waiting for your return after every trip. I don’t know about you but that’s a serious advantage in my book.
- They’re relaxing. On sea days and the hours between ports you have plenty of time to relax. You can check out the spa, hang by the pool, do yoga or just sit with a coffee and enjoy the view.
- There’s plenty to do. It’s hard to be bored on a cruise when there are so many things to do on a cruise ship. Each ship has different facilities, from climbing walls to FlowRiders. There are shopping facilities, evening entertainment, libraries, theatre shows and much more. Something for everyone!
- They are all DIFFERENT. No cruise ship or cruise line is the same. So it’s a completely different experience every time you cruise. One year you might try one of the Bolsover Cruise Club luxury cruises down the Nile, the next you could try a more budget-conscious affair around the UK. There are cruises for different age groups, for singles and more. There’s even a DISNEY cruise!! Literally there’s something to suit all tastes.
- THE FOOD. Cruise ship food is as spectacular in variety as it is in taste. There are diners, buffets, grills, steakhouses, pizzerias, ice cream parlours and much, MUCH more. You’ll be dreaming of the food once you’ve disembarked.
- Meeting New People. Since you’re in the same space for a set period of time you often bump into the same people. You might sit next to a couple at dinner, or during one of the shows. You might meet a friendly family at the pool. Life long friends can be made on a cruise.
- Tax and duty free shopping. Depending on where you’re cruising you can take advantage of this and shop until you drop.
The Cons of Cruises
Of course, it’s not all plain sailing on a cruise – see what I did there, sorry not sorry. Here are some of the disadvantages of a cruise.
- You don’t have much time in each location. While cruising is an excellent way to see the world, you don’t have the opportunity to really get to know any city or country. You only have a short period time in each place.
- There is no flexibility. If you really like a destination you can’t easily change your travel plans and stay like you could if you were backpacking or road tripping.
- Gaining weight. Ok, so this is a risk with any holiday, but cruises are particularly bad for it, mainly because the food is so damn good and plentiful. If you want to hit the on board gym you may be able to avoid this particular con.
- Extra costs. Shore excursions often cost extra and can be more expensive than if you organised them independently. Drinks packages can be pricey and not always worth it depending on how much you like to drink. However, most cruise lines have an allowance of wine and soft drinks that you can bring on board, take advantage of this to avoid extra costs. Not all on board restaurants are included in your cruise price either, though they are usually reasonably priced.
- Dodgy Internet. On board Wi-Fi isn’t always great. This is fine for most leisure travellers, but if you have business to attend to or people to keep in touch with at home it can be a bit of a frustration.
Final Thoughts & Tips
As with all holiday types, what works for one person won’t always work for another. There is SO much variety in the cruise industry so the real key to enjoying your cruise is choosing the right one for you and your travel companions.
Read the brochures, take to the travel agents, read the forums and make an informed decision. There are downsides, of course, but perhaps you should try a short cruise trip one year to see if they are a good fit with your personality and holiday needs before you completely rule them out?
What do you think about cruises?
Let me know in the comments!