Mention the word ‘cruise’ and the phrase ‘cabin fever’ often follows suit. But we think cruises get a bit of an unfair rep. Here we tackle the top 5 myths about life on the ocean wave…
I’ll go stir crazy
If you lock yourself away in your cabin, possibly. But with fun activities like salsa classes, art lessons and cocktail-making demos, boredom isn’t a word you’re likely to hear on a cruise. The old grey matter is catered for, too, by way of guest speakers. Lots of cruise lines – including Thomson Cruises– hire best-selling authors, sports personalities, famous actors and port lecturers to come onboard and give talks.
Factor in some more traditional cruise past-times, like afternoon quizzes and quoits out on deck, not to mention fully-equipped spas and gyms, and you’ll wish there were more hours in the day to squeeze everything in. It’s the same story come sundown. Casinos, restaurants, bars, discos, live music, comedians and glitzy West End-style shows are par for the course on any cruise line worth its salt.
Some cruise companies offer special workshops like Learn How To Paint and The Art Of Writing A Book, which need to be booked before you travel.
I’ll get seasick
Fair do’s if you’re in the middle of the Atlantic, battling a force 10 gale. However, with most cruises sailing around the sedate waters of the Med and Caribbean, this really shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Plus, these days, most ships are kitted out with state-of the-art stabilisers that eliminate any rocking motion.
To really lessen your chances of feeling queasy, plump for a big ship. Quite simply, the bigger the boat, the less movement you’re likely to feel. If you really are prone to seasickness, though, book yourself into a cabin on the outside or in the middle of the ship – these sections tend not to rock quite as much.
If you do feel a bit peaky, head out onto deck for some fresh sea air. And a bit like the old carsickness remedy, remember to face forwards, looking out at the horizon.
I’ll only go to beach resorts
Couldn’t be further from the truth – especially if you’re sailing through the Baltic or the Norwegian fjords! Even cruises in sunnier climes tend to tick off ports that flex more in the way of cultural muscle than beach brawn. For example, Mediterranean itinerary staples often include places like Rome, Florence, Barcelona and Athens.
Unsurprisingly, where beaches do make more of an appearance is on a Caribbean cruise. That said, lots of Caribbean itineraries serve up cultural heavyweights like Havana, not to mention plenty in the way of adventure. Anchor in Jamaica, for instance, and a visit to Dunn’s River Falls is on the agenda. Likewise, ships that call at Costa Rica normally put rainforests and volcanoes within daytripping distance.
Check out what shore excursions are on offer from each port before you decide on an itinerary. Most cruise lines let you book your trips in advance.
I’ll be told what to eat and when
A cruise is not a prison camp! Granted, back in the Fifties and Sixties, set dining times and limited options were something you just had to put up with. But these days, cruising is all about choice. Most ships have, at the very least, two or three restaurants to their name. And they run the gamut in terms of menu and vibe.
At one end of the spectrum you’ve got grand à la carte restaurants serving four-course banquets. At the other, there are help-yourself, 24-hour buffets. So whether you want chateaubriand or a slice of pizza, it’s entirely your call. Lots of cruise lines offer nice little extras, too, like complimentary afternoon tea.
If you’re lucky enough to be invited to dine at the Captain’s table, you’ll need to dress to impress. So remember to pack that little black dress or a dickie bow and jacket just in case.
I won’t be able to afford a cruise
Cruises aren’t actually that expensive and with a lot of cruise deals available on the market, it is within easy reach to most. In fact, they often cost the same as a stay-put half-board holiday. And when you factor into the equation that most prices include three meals a day plus entertainment, you’re actually quids in. What hoicks up the cost of a cruise are port taxes and crew tips.
The key to it all is being canny about your choice of cruise line. Go for one that includes extra charges in the price. Also, try and sniff one out that offers an all-inclusive drinks package. It’s a good way to side-step those bar bills.
Book far enough in advance and some cruise operators will even give you an all-inclusive drinks upgrade for free.
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Author: Osman Khan
Published: November 15, 2011
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