Should You Go Cruising? Pros and Cons of Cruising

Cruising is sometimes seen as a way to travel for old people. Yes, there are a lot of older people aboard, but we feel that is because people don't realise what cruising is actually like. We love cruising for many reasons, and although we don't always choose to cruise, we have been on quite a few. We put together a pros and cons list to cruising to help people to see if cruising would be an option for them.
Top  Deck at Night

PROS:
  • Stress free: Basically, you board the ship, unpack your bags and live like royalty.
  • All inclusive: All of your food is included in the price of the cruise. For an extra cost drinks can be too.
  • Bars on every deck (get a drink package!), Drink packages really do pay for themselves. You'll have a better time not worrying about the cost of a drink (Drinks are quite pricey on the ship without a drinks package.)
  • Wake up in a new city (or Country) almost every day. Since the ship is always moving, you go for your dinner, drinks and head on to bed. You do not have the stress of 'traveling' to your next destination.
  • Cheaper: If you are like us, we like a bargain. We found staying in an inside cabin (How often are you really in your room?) you can cruise for a reasonable price. Compared to how many cities and/or countries you get to see, this ends up being a much cheaper way.
  • Guided Tours: These can sometimes be pricey, but they make seeing the city stress free. You also tour with other cruise passengers, which will give you more company on board to hangout with!
  • Comfortable and safe environment: You can really let loose and have a good time.
  • Lots of entertainment. Cruise ships really like to make sure their passengers are entertained. This includes, evening shows, games, arts and crafts, parties etc.
  • Taste Tester: Because cruises stop at so many ports, you can discover places you never thought of seeing. This can also give you ideas of where you'd like to go back to, OR NOT.
CONS:
  • Missing the local feel: Because you end up hanging out with cruise passengers, and eating cruise food, you miss out on the authentic food and environment of the city or country you are in.
  • Doesn't stray: Since the cruise brings you into the port and only allows a limited time ashore this really limits the places you can see. You can't really just go out walking until your feet get tired, you have to be watching the clock to make sure the ship doesn't sail away on you!
  • Entertainment is focused at the elder generations. This totally makes sense as elder people are the ones who are usually cruising. (The more the younger generations cruise, this will change)
  • You can get homesick for the shore: It can sometimes be tiring to be on a ship for over a week. You can sometimes feel the need to be on land again.
  • Illness:  Since cruises are so confined, if you have a low immune system you could be prone to picking up a bug on the ship. They do however sanitise everything - even not allowing you in the dining room without using antibacterial washes. 
For a video of what life on board a cruise ship is like, check out our vlog:

Comments

  1. What's your opinion on the impact that cruise goers have on the cities they visit? I've spoken to local tour guides on my travels and they're quite negative about cruise tourists as they tend to just get off the boat and get back on without contributing to the local economy. There's an interesting article about Venice that I've linked below.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/aug/31/tunnel-death-venice-city-tourist

    Surely a cruise ship is one of the most wasteful ways to travel. All of those extra crew members and masses of food that no doubt go to waste. Any other method of travel must surely be more efficient and not produce so much waste. A cruise to me doesn't seem like a particularly minimalist way to travel but perhaps I have missed the point when it comes to minimalism.

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    1. Very good point Harp. People will want to keep in mind the ethics of cruising when deciding whether to cruise or not.

      I don't have any data on the environmental impact of cruises but I would be interested to see some comparing like for like holidays. I'd like to see a comparison of travelling to multiple destinations in a week or two, including the impact of the travel, entertainment and accommodation. You could be right though, cruising could be one of the most wasteful ways to travel. I don't know.



      Traveling is not good for the environment. Every time you fly, drive, train, stay in a hotel, eat at restaurants, use a device you are creating pollution and waste. It is unfortunate.

      Shockingly though, the animal agriculture industry is the number one cause of pollution so the more mainstream veganism is the better.

      As for you questioning our minimalism. There are different types of minimalism. We work towards minimalism in limiting our possesions so we probably have a different minimalism goal than you.

      Looking at the local economic impact of cruises. I would say that someone travelling to Venice and staying there, eating there, going out there contributes more than someone stopping by on a cruise ship but cruises also stop in ports that do need help from cruise ships to get tourists. Venice might not be one of them but who knows. I think that article's main point is that cruise ships are an eye sore. Agreed.

      All in all we do prefer to go to a destination and stay locally in a hotel or airbnb but we have gone on cruises for the convenience of it all and the low cost. A self catering, airbnb, public transit holiday has got to be a lot better for the environment though.

      Thanks very much for reading and commenting.

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    2. Sorry, wrong Venice article

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2016/sep/27/dont-look-now-venice-tourists-locals-sick-of-you-cruise-liners

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    3. As for food waste, how much food do you think goes to waste from city restaurants? Most likely don't compost (which is a law in the city where I live). Cruise lines will grind up food and put it out in the ocean where marine life eat it. As for sewage the laws are very strict for cruise ships and they have treatment facilities on board. Some have said the water is so clean afterwards you could drink it, but don't worry they aren't serving that water! lol From what I've heard Naval ships don't have any regulations as to what they can throw overboard! And there are way more Naval ships on the oceans then cruise ships. I would be interested to see if the cruise ships going the same distance as a plane use more or less fuel. I'll have to search that! Some cruise ports like Vancouver have a big plug thing that cruise ships can plug in while in port instead of keeping their engines running, so that's great!

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    4. I was curious about the comparison with air travel but it's tricky to find a direct comparison. One article popped up but it was about 10 years old and just a collection of quotes, so it all seemed irrelevant. I guess it all depends on the measure, is it CO2 per person per km? I guess each and every transport industry can find a measure that they can spin to make themselves look greener.

      I think the key word in your defence of cruises is 'some'. Friends of the Earth suggest that about 40% of cruise ships are using outdated sewage treatment methods. Looking at the Friends of the Earth cruise ratings they state that only one of the big companies (Disney Cruises) openly responds to their requests for information.

      They are pretty uncomplimentary about cruise ships but I guess they're not exactly an impartial body.

      Here's the link if you want a closer read and do share if you find any good information... http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2016-06-disney-cruise-line-regains-a-grade-for-pollution-transparency

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  2. I prefer short term cruises, or local ones, covering just one area (Greek islands for instance) but I believe the pros you mentioned on the list on top of the post cannot be overlooked. I have also heard the trend in public getting onboard is changing, and more families as well as younger people are choosing cruises for the same reasons you mention. As far as local economy is concerned, it can be true that it does not help the macro economy of hospitality (hotels, home/car rentals, etc.), but it is also true that it sometimes boosts souvenir shop owners and artisans. For instance in Santorini, everyone wants to go back to the boat with a memento from the island. When the cruiseships dock local shops have peaks in sales ...

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    1. We would love to do a small cruise around the Greek islands. Santorini would be amazing to go to.

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  3. As someone whose girlfriend has dragged them on a cruise before, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. While it certainly wouldn't have been my preferred way of travelling, there is a lot to be said for being the type of luxury that a cruise can afford. There are literally no stresses which, particularly for older people, which is why cruises can often have an older demographic than other holidays. But, as you highlighted, this does ultimately result in entertainment being geared towards this age group and I certainly know what you mean about longing for the shore. There are only so much sunbathing and games of shuffleboard one can play. Overall, it was something I was glad I did but really, would I do it again? I'll reconsider when I'm older...

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    1. Yeah, its not for everyone. It is a very easy way to travel for those having a first trip. We enjoy them once in awhile and they are great for big family trips.

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  4. I've never tried a cruise before, but I don't know if I'm willing to sacrifice money and time for such an experiment. I considered it a few times, especially the ones on the Norwegian fjords, but in the end the idea of being treated like a vip and being free to do whatever I want except what I'd really like to do due to the time restrictions, never convinced me.

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    1. They are amazing for trips around islands. Like the Hawaiian islands or Greek islands.

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  5. I am totally sold out on pros.I have been on a very short dinner cruise and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
    May be for longer duration I may feel shore sick. Good one on cruises.

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    1. We found one week is a good length. Any longer we get a little shore sick.

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  6. Cruises seems to be a love it or hate it way to travel. That's part of why we wanted to write a pros and cons list for cruising. Thanks for reading and commenting. We like hearing other people's thoughts.

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  7. Love how straight to the point this is. Sometimes you just need to know! I'm not a cruise person - one thing that's a con--- not much movement. Love to be walking on land, mountains to be exact so only certain people can tolerate being on a cruise.

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    1. Yeah not a lot of walking to be had onboard. They have started introducing cruises that stop in destinations for longer than a day for people who would rather explore longer.

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  8. Cruising sounds like a dream, board the ship unpack your packs and relax while you sail across different cities and sometimes countries. Is this for real? :) We have explored lot many destinations like local so we would not mind missing on the local feel. We were especially surprised that its mostly older people who prefer cruising yes probably because it needs less of physical strain?

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    1. When we went on our first cruise, people told us cruising is for the 'Newly Wed, or Nearly Dead' Cruising is just a nice, relaxing holiday.

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  9. Well written post! I totally admired reading this one. I never cruised on any ship for more than 2 days but in the past I was thinking of working on one (on those Cruising the Caribbean). Not quite sure whether that would happen, but also thanks to your post now I can imagine a week long vacation on a boat would be nice to have one day.
    On a separate note, my friend married his fiancee on a cruise ship this summer! Something I would not even think of :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed our post. We have thought about working on one too, and have chatted with some crew about it in the past. It's a long winded application process, and it wasn't guaranteed if the both of us could be on the same ship. A wedding onboard would be fun if could like rent out the whole ship for your friends and family!! We knew a couple guys who got married in Hawaii on one of our post of calls while we were sailing!

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  10. This is a really detailed analysis whether one should go cruising or not. I personally do not like cruising because I prefer going on my own, having the local feel, interacting more with the locals and have no one to treat me and fellow travelers as animal herds to be guided from one point to another. Also, as you have said, cruise tours are more often than not for elder people and me being in my twenties, I feel like I wouldn't enjoy it. Still, we all have our own preferences.

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    1. We prefer going on our own, having the local feel and interacting with locals as well. We just found with Cruising we save a lot of money for how many places we get to see. We also get brought to some places we have never even considered visiting and loved it. It's great in that way and we wanted to share our experience.

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  11. Cruising has always been a dream. Reading your post allowed me to bring back throngs of life dreams and memories. Hoping to try this luxurious trip before my life ends. HAHAHA. Hopefully with somebody that completes me. :) :) :) Keep sailing!

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    1. Awe, I hope you get to experience it one day!

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  12. I have large doubts regarding cruising, so this post was really interesting:) I would feel constrained on a cruise: same place, same people, no room for improvisation, limited time... but your pros also seem worthy: cheaper, moving while sleeping.... i would maybe consider it for a place with stunning sea landscape (norway, North Sea...). Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. The Norwegian Fjords looks like an amazing cruise. We would love to get onboard that one!

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  13. We have never gone on a proper cruise and would love to to do one soon, So this post is really timely as it gives a balance view of the entire experience. It will help us to have a realistic picture of what to expect.

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    1. Great! I'm glad our post was useful for you.

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  14. Never had an experience cruising in ship but I can see myself agreeing on your Pros and Cons list. That is very helpful something that I can look up to when I have the chance to go on a cruise. Thanks!

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    1. It really comes down to the destinations on the cruise ports. For the best cruise, I would suggest one that does islands and places that are harder to get to.

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  15. I've to agree with your points in the pros of cruising (even if I've never tried it), because it's definitely stress-free. The last thing I want when traveling is stress, but also somehow your cons about it (cruising) are valid. It's important for me to have that local feel, because that's what I look for in every country that I visit. The homesickness and entertainment is something that I can put up with though. :)

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    1. I guess it really comes down to what you want from the destinations you visit. If local feel is what you crave, cruising probably isn't the best option.

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  16. Yeah I am not a cruise person either. I just prefer to arrive at some place and wander aimlessly wthout much planning. It is not possible in something that is so well-planned and confined in a limited space.

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    1. No, a cruise is too well organised for being spontaneous.

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  17. I'm honestly not a big fan of cruises since I get bad motion sickness. I also get a bit claustrophobic in the cabins. There are for sure perks on the upside!

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    1. That's too bad. I get seasick as well, but it seems to pass after the first day.

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  18. Interesting timing for me to come across this blog post! We were just weighing our options for our South America trip and cruising would be our least expensive option given the route we are planning to take, but we're trying to include Antarctica on our voyage and the cruise we were looking at only cruises past. We can't go all that way and not have a landing on another continent. Great pros and cons lists! I totally agree!

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    1. No, you really can't! We hope you get the trip you want! Happy planning. Antarctica would be amazing!

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  19. One of my dream luxury travel. For now I cannot afford it but Im savings just for ths. I mean who wouldnt want to travel in a nice luxury ship?

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    1. We love it. You can find cheap cruises though, so keep your eyes pealed

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  20. Great comprehensive list of pros and cons! I've never been on a cruise but I keep hearing great things and it was interesting to read your point of view and all the good sides of it. Waking up to a new city each morning is indeed the best things! Being taken care of when it comes to food and entertainment sounds really great as well! Where was your favourite cruise to?

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    1. Our favourite cruise was from Vancouver - Hawaii. It was 12 nights, and went around to all the Hawaiian islands. It was beautiful.

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  21. Its cool your trying to bridge the gap between generations or at least enlighten them - I loved the fact that everyday you wake in a new setting - I never thought about it that way before....

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    1. From our experience, the young people on board are always the workers! Young people need to stop working so much. Yes, a new setting every day is amazing.

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