Despite the fact that 20 million people took a cruise somewhere in the world this year, it is a method of travel that has never overly appealed to me. About two years ago one of my close friends (who has travelled all over the world and even lived in South Korea when I was there) invited me to join her on a Caribbean cruise. I sort of laughed at the suggestion, brushing her off with, “Aren’t cruises just for old people?!”
Then I saw her Instagram. And her endless Facebook photos which made it clear to anyone that would listen that, no, cruises are definitely not just for old people and that a Caribbean cruise could well be one of the memorable travel experiences you will ever have.
The truth is there are so many different types of cruises on offer these days, from exotic trips around paradise-like Caribbean islands to month long expeditions to the Arctic, that while cruises may not be for everyone there is certainly one to meet most travel tastes.
As the Caribbean is an area that I have never really explored, it sits firmly at the top of my 2016 bucket list and I am so determined to do whatever it takes to get there! The fact that there will be direct flights from Dublin to Jamaica starting next June should help this become a reality for me.
While researching what types of Caribbean cruises are on offer for 2016, I learned so much about cruising that I felt a blog post was needed to dispel some common cruising myths. Below are 5 common misconceptions that many people, myself included, have always believed about going on a cruise but are so far from the truth. Enjoy!
1.Cruises are for old people
While cruises certainly used to be primarily for the aging couple, these days there are so many types of cruises worldwide that there are trips to suit every age bracket. Gone are the days of old people sitting around playing bridge or shuffleboard, struggling to walk from one side of the deck to the other. Modern day cruises offer activities such as surf parks, tight ropes and even ice-skating rinks while others cater predominantly to the 20-30 age range, organizing nightly minglers and parties at sea. For families or kids, you might even find cartoon-themed cruises where you bump in Spongebob or The Smurfs on board!
2. Cruises are too formal
Not any more. While many cruise ships used to enforce strict dress codes at meal times, with people fighting to be seated at a good table near the captain, or trying to out do each other in the fashion department a la the costumes worn by first class passengers on board The Titanic, things are way more relaxed these days. Thankfully. Some cruise companies even offer a ‘freestyle cruise’ where people are not confined to a meal or activity schedule and can do as they please, when they please. Pick the right cruise and you can most definitely leave that ball gown or tux and tie combo at home in your wardrobe, where they belong.
3. Cruises are ridiculously expensive
The cost of cruises, even those in tropical locations such as the Caribbean, have dropped in price dramatically over the past 10 years. Cruises that used to cost over €1,000 per person now cost as little as €250 or €300. You must also consider everything that is included in your cruise before you go comparing it to the price of a land-based holiday. All your meals, entertainment and often times all your drinks and even on-shore excursions are included in the price, meaning once you pay the lump sum there is little left to worry about.
4. Cruises are boring
This one used to go hand in hand with the misconception about cruises being for old people, with the thought that there must be no interesting activities on board for the younger generation. Cruises in 2015 could honestly keep you entertained for weeks. No matter what your interests, they will always have something on board to keep you busy. Be it painting or swimming, yoga classes or wine tasting. Listen to a lecture by a famous explorer, treat yourself to a full body massage, or challenge a new friend to a game of pool / table tennis or mini golf…seriously it’s like a mini holiday resort…it just happens to be out at sea!
5. Cruises are only for couples
Here is one that has put me off going on a cruise for years. Whenever I used to see photos of people on cruise ships, it was always loved up couples sharing an ice-cream with one spoon or posing together on deck or swimming together with dolphins, while holding hands. As if anyone swims while holding hands in real life! Apparently I was wrong on this also, as many of my single and solo female travel buddies have recently pointed out to me! Plus, if I plan on waiting for Mr. Perfect to come along before I set off on my dream trip to the Caribbean, I may be waiting quite some time! Seriously though, cruises these days have so much on offer for solo travelers, with some even creating specific areas on board where people can meet and mingle. There are even certain dates to exotic destinations that only cater to single travelers. Now THAT sounds like my kind of ship!
Planning on going on a cruise and don’t know what to pack? This Ultimate Packing list should help.