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. FYI, I LOVE Marmite! In the vast majority of cases, 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? In today’s guide, I’m going to take you through some of the pros and cons of a cruise holiday 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.
The Pros and Cons of a Cruise Holiday
Let’s start on a positive note. If you want to see lots of different places in the world, 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. 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.
Now, imagine that you are doing all those trips by yourself. Sure, it might be fun traveling by Interrail, different ferries, or even by car – but this type of road trip is time-consuming when it comes to a holiday, and better suited for a gap year. A cruise is perfect for people who want to see a lot but only have a couple of weeks holiday to take. On a cruise, you only need to pack and unpack once – all your gear is on board waiting for your return after every trip. And the travel time is actually incredibly relaxing, with plenty of activities, great food choices, and lots of people you can make friends with.
Also, it’s worth bearing in mind that cruises offer a quality of consistency – which is one of the reasons why first-timers often keep coming back again and again. There’s an enormous amount of choice, too. 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 also cruises for different age groups, for singles and more. There’s even a DISNEY cruise. If you go on the Disney one you better take me with you.
Of course, it’s not all plain sailing on a cruise – see what I did there, sorry not sorry. While cruising is an excellent way to see the world, you don’t have the opportunity to spend extended periods of time in the places you fall in love with. You could be in port for something like 10 hours, which is hardly long enough to get a proper feel for the culture, people, and history of a particular city or location. When you hear the Last Call, you don’t have any choice but to return to the ship, or you will end up stranded in a foreign country with all your belongings still in your cabin, traveling the rest of the region in your absence. Well, that could be an incredible adventure in itself! Has anyone actually had this happen?? Definitely let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear about it!
It’s also worth pointing out that there is no hiding place if you aren’t enjoying yourself. Most cruise passengers are able to meet people and make good friends, but it might not always be that easy. And if none of the onboard activities are of interest, or are too expensive, you might find yourself twiddling your thumbs a lot. To prevent this becoming a problem, make sure you choose a package with enough on board to keep your spirits up. You HAVE to think carefully about choosing the right cruise for you.
Final Thoughts & Tips
Finally, aside from the pros and cons, while we are on the subject of spirits, you should also be wary of the drinks packages. Cruises are famously boozy, but unless you plan on drinking heavily for the duration of the trip, the drinks packages may not be worth it. Take a good look at what’s included and what would be available to you without the drinks package. Alcoholic and soft drinks are both more expensive when bought separately, but the reality is you may need to put an awful lot away if you want to get value from buying an expensive package. Also, most cruises allow you to take one or two bottles of wine with you on board in your luggage. Take advantage of that 😉
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!