In theory, taking a cruise seems like a great idea for a family vacation. You get to see many different places, you enjoy the open ocean, and there are so many things to do onboard. But, that's what cruise lines want you to think. There are many things you don't see being advertised, like small rooms and crowded pools. So, before you book your next cruise vacation, read our list, and then decide!
1. Boarding The Ship Is Not Like A Red Carpet Walk
While you might think that getting onto the ship is like walking the red carpet, it can actually be very stressful. There are hundreds of people with their luggage all trying to get on the board and settle into their rooms at the same time.
The dock looks like a great place for a photo-op, but it is not a great place to stop because everything is hectic, and people are not afraid to use their elbows.
2. The Hot Tub Is Not Private
Once you have settled in, it is a great time to hit the deck, and sit in the hot tub while you enjoy a scenic view of the ocean. Well, you aren't the only one with that idea, and the hot tubs can start to feel crowded quickly.
It is an interesting way to make some friends, but you might want to avoid the hot tub instead. Maybe take a stroll around the deck to get used to the boat before jumping into the crowded waters.
3. The Rooms Are Not As Spacious As They Said In On The Website
When you booked your cruise, you were probably excited by the luxurious rooms that were pictured on the cruise line's website. Then, you get on board to find that you have a windowless cramped room with bunk beds.
Yes, if you want to shell out tons of money, you can get a cabin with a balcony and modern features. Continue reading to find out what the bathrooms are really like in your "luxurious" cabin!
4. Under My Umbrella, Ella, Ella
In the middle of the ocean, the sun can be very strong, so instead of seeing a wide-open deck, you will probably look out to see one with all the umbrellas opened.
It might not look great, but at least you will be protected from the harsh sun.
5. The Bathrooms Might Be A Little Cramped
The bathrooms in the cabins may not have gleaming marble, expensive finishes, or space to move around, but at least the room has a bathroom, right?
Space is limited on the cruise, so they have to keep the bathrooms small. Again, if you have a luxury room, the bathroom is much nicer than the average cabin.
6. Your First Day Is Spent Doing Emergency Drills
Remember in school when there were fire drills? Cruises have them too! During the first day of your cruise, most of your time is spent boarding the ship, settling into your room, and emergency drills. Every cruise is required to have emergency drills so passengers are prepared for anything.
There are thousands of passengers on the boat, so these take a while to get everyone lined up and cooperating. It's just like grade school, only on a ship with thousands of strangers and louder alarms.
7. Good Luck Finding A Chair To Sit In
The main pool always seems to be one of the most beautiful places when you look at pictures of cruise ships. Then, you get on board and everyone gravitates to the pool making is overcrowded and impossible to find an open chair.
It goes from a relaxing vacation to music blasting and people yelling in a matter of minutes. Also, when the ship rocks, so does the water in the pool and it becomes a dangerous wave pool without a lifeguard.
8. When They Run Out Of Deck Chairs
As we said previously, the main pool area gets crowded quickly, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying a cocktail while lounging in the sun. Sadly, this is actually more difficult than you thought it would be.
When the upper decks get full, and all the chairs are occupied, people often drag mattresses out of their rooms to enjoy the fresh air. Honestly, tanning on a mattress sounds better than lying on a deck chair.
9. Flooding In The Halls Is Normal
"Oh no, is the ship sinking?!" Not to worry, the halls on the lower decks regularly take on water when the seas are rough. Your room might flood if this happens, and then you will have a private pool in the comfort of your cabin.
You might fear that you are going to be like Jack and Rose and have to decide who gets to lie on the piece of wood safely, but this is a common occurrence. Another reason to love cruises.
10. "Did Someone Say Buffet?"
Were you expecting white-glove service for all three meals? In reality, most of the day, ships will have buffet-style meals so they can feed the thousands of people on the boat without long wait times.
On luxury cruises, there are fantastic dining options that come with an additional cost. The food at the buffet is not bad; it is just not the five-star dining experience you were hoping for.
11. Cakes, Cakes, And More Cakes
On most cruise ships, there are buffets open all day. Usually, the options are unhealthy, like burgers and fries or donuts and cakes. On top of the food, people are spending the day drinking sugary cocktails.
It is easy to overeat these options because they are readily available, and who doesn't like a burger when they have been drinking non-stop for days on end.
12. "Fine Dining"
If you have seen Titanic, you are probably expecting everyone to be dressed up and dining on fine china. While there are certain nights that everyone dresses up and has a five-course meal, most nights are like dining at a chain restaurant.
This is not to say the food will be bad; it just won't be lavish like you had pictured. Also, be prepared for a packed and loud dining room.
13. This Is What They Call Relaxing
Although the pool is one of the main attractions on cruise ships, it is not always a spot that is considered relaxing. Since there are so many people, you have to keep a watchful eye on your children.
With crowded pools, swimming can be quite dangerous. Your relaxation expectations might not go as planned
14. Where Are The Dolphins?
Most people have this idea that they will see dolphins following the boat, but that rarely happens when you are out in the open ocean. Sea creatures tend to avoid large ships, so most of the time you will be staring out to nothing but water.
Don't be disappointed though; on the open ocean, you can see some of the most beautiful sunsets.
15. Working On A Cruise Will Be Fun, They Said
If you have seen shows like Below Deck, you will know that working on a boat is not easy work. Their cabins are often for multiple employees, and they have little to no privacy.
It may seem fun to get to work on a cruise ship and travel the world while getting paid, but there are many downsides.
16. The Ports Might Not Look Like Instagram Photos
When you booked your cruise, did you expect to see beautiful beaches right as you pulled into port? Unfortunately, the ports are mostly cement structures with a few palm trees.
Once you get off the boat, there are plenty of places to see the beautiful scenery. Ports aren't meant to be the final destination, so it shouldn't really matter if it is pretty or not.
17. Your Luggage May Or May Not Be Lost
Just like airlines, cruises can lose your luggage too. There are thousands of passengers with multiple suitcases, so it is possible for a suitcase or two to be left behind.
Luckily, most modern cruise ships are like floating malls. If your luggage is lost, you can go shopping for a whole new wardrobe!
18. Try Not To Get Cabin Fever
When you take a cruise in the winter and leave from a northern port, the chances are that the first few days of sailing are going to be too cold to sit by the pool. While there are many activities, they do not happen 24/7, so you might have to find ways to entertain yourself.
Your kids might complain of boredom, so be prepared with cards and games so your family doesn't get cabin fever.
19. "Shuffleboard Is Fun" - Said No One Ever
Shuffleboard is a popular activity on cruises. When there are no other activities, shuffleboard is always an option.
You might spend most of your time waiting for your turn, but at least you weren't cooped up in your cabin.
20. Cue The Titanic Theme Song
Many people are tempted to recreate the "I'm flying" scene from Titanic. We hate to break it to you, but it probably won't live up to your movie expectations.
Some things are better left to the movies and your imagination.
21. "I Paid For An Ocean View"
When you paid for an ocean view but forgot to look at the ship's deck plan. Sometimes, you can find yourself looking out at a lifeboat instead of the ocean. That extra money you paid for a view and balcony is completely wasted.
If you aren't planning to spend most of the time in your room, it is not a problem. It is just not something you want to wake up to every day.
22. When They Said The Entertainment is "Quality"
So you saw pictures from your friend's cruise and the Rascal Flats performed, and now you are so excited to see what performer will be on your ship. Don't get your hopes up because most of the time it is a magician or some girls singing karaoke.
After unlimited alcohol, people have no problem getting up in front of strangers to belt out "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun."
23. People Of All Ages
Cruises are fun for people of all ages. Some cruises offer age-specific demographic. If you book a regular cruise for all ages, you will see young and old people.
Unless you booked a cruise for your age, the majority of people will be 55 and older. The upside to that is that the people won't be partying till all hours of the night!
24. The Beautiful Cruise Ship
When you expect to walk into the port and see a pristine ship with a gleaming white exterior, but your ship looks like this. If the boat is not brand new, it won't be as perfect as it once was.
The ship is exposed to the harsh elements of the sea and goes through wear and tear the more it is used.
25. Endless Alcohol
"Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots." From mai tais to Pina Coladas, you can get pretty much any drink with an alcohol package. The endless alcohol is fun until you have been drinking for three days straight, and the hangover finally kicks in.
Although, with so much alcohol on board, the peaceful vacation you imagined usually turns into a giant frat party.
26. Scary Sailing
The weather is continually changing out at sea. From thunderstorms to rough waters, these are things to be prepared for when you go on a cruise.
In fact, ships are often struck by lightning. You are perfectly safe, but it can be scary if you are not expecting these stormy possibilities.
"Hey ladies, do you come here often?" It is common for people to go on cruises looking to meet someone for a cruise fling. You might have some extra courage with all the alcohol.
It is important to remember that when you go on a cruise, it should be more about having fun with your friends and family, instead of meeting someone.
28. A Swanky Casino
When you boarded the ship, were you expecting to find a Las Vegas-style casino? Typically, it is a few card game tables and some slot machines.
It can still be a fun activity to do, but it is not always the big swanky casino you expected.
29. Romantic Getaway
Cruises are a big attraction for couples and honeymooners. It is a time to get away with your loved one and take a break from your everyday routine. In your head, you are imagining peacefully sitting by the pool, but with families and rowdie youngsters, it can be hard to find a moment of peace.
It might not be the romantic experience you had envisioned, but it will still be better than waking up early to go to work.
30. Perfect Weather
No, cruises do not always have perfect weather the entire time. Sadly, the captain cannot control the weather at sea.
Sometimes, the ship will sail through a storm, which is why it is essential to make sure the boat has lots of indoor and outdoor activities for any weather.
31. Relaxing Beaches
When you get off the ship in a tropical location, you are probably expecting relaxing and quiet beaches. When you get to shore, most people go to the same popular beach and it gets crowded quickly.
Surprisingly, it might be a good time to have the ship's pool to yourself while the rowdy passengers are at the beach.
32. "Must Find Service!"
Most boats charge for wifi, so if you do not feel like paying, you will likely be without service while out at sea. This could be an excellent time to detox from your phone and enjoy your vacation.
If you came with your family or friends it will be easier to spend quality time with them without the distraction of your phone.
33. You Probably Won't Get To Meet The Captain
The captain is a very important person because they are running the ship. Instead of walking around the cruise meeting people, the captain spends most of the time making sure the ship is on course and the weather is safe.
Wouldn't you be more concerned if the captain wasn't tending to the ship? Who else is supposed to steer the ship?
34. "Uh Oh, I Think I'm Going To Be Sick!"
Unfortunately, seasickness is a real problem. On larger ships, you will feel less of the motion, but it is still possible to get this motion sickness feeling.
One of the best ways to combat this feeling is to stare at the horizon because it doesn't move and it can help you feel more stable.
35. The Boat Waits For No One
When you get off the ship, make sure you plan for time to make it back before the boat leaves. They will not wait for you if you are late.
If you do miss the boat, it is your responsibility to find a way to the next port to catch up with them.
36. It's Like Contagion In Real Life
On a cruise, there are thousands of people confined to a ship for days on end. If one passenger gets sick, it is likely that many people will catch it.
It is common for flu outbreaks to happen on cruises causing the trip to end early. Try to keep your hands clean and sanitized, so you don't get sick onboard.
37. "Some one Who Loves Me Went On A Cruise And All They Bought Me Was This Stupid T-Shirt"
Most of the time, the places you visit on a cruise are very touristy. You have to go out of your way to find exotic souvenirs.
Most of the stuff you will see is tacky shirts and bags that say "I heart (insert location here)."
38. "Hide Yo Kids, Hide Yo Wife, Hide Yo Wallet"
Like any place you go, it is not always guaranteed that the staff is one hundred percent trustworthy. From time to time crew members have stolen things from guest rooms.
Fortunately, most rooms come with a safe in the closet. If you have any valuables that you want to leave in your room, make sure you lock them up for safe keeping.
39. "No Billy We Are Not Paying $40 For You To Take A Picture With A Monkey"
On top of the many additional costs on the cruise, you might find yourself paying for pricey excursions.
Depending on what you want to do, you could end up paying upwards of $100 per person. Do research before you book off-boat excursions to see if it is worth the extra money.
40. The Adventure Of Disembarking
If you thought boarding the ship was fun, wait till it's time to get off. Everyone is trying to get off at the same time as quickly as possible, and people can be impatient.
You will get through this experience, but it might not be fun at the moment.