For some people, there’s nothing like boarding a massive ship, unpacking once and spending some time at sea. Cruising can be a hassle-free and even economical vacation option. Many itineraries feature numerous ports of call, so you might, for instance, get to explore four or five different islands on a week-long Caribbean cruise.
But while there are those who love nothing more than to take a cruise, it’s definitely not for everyone. If you’ve never gone on a cruise before, here are a few things to consider:
The Seasickness Factor
If the idea of spending seven days and nights swaying to the rhythm of the ocean sounds appealing to you, then by all means, book that cruise. But if the thought of having to eat, sleep and shower while constantly moving is enough to make your stomach churn, you may want to consider a vacation that’s not quite as likely to make you vomit. That said, if you’re prone to motion sickness but want to give cruising a try, there are several remedies that might help you avoid getting sick while at sea. You can try sea bands, which are little bracelets that use acupressure to provide nausea relief. There’s also good old Dramamine, and if that doesn’t do it for you, you can ask your doctor to prescribe a more heavy-duty motion sickness patch.
The Claustrophobia Factor
Think about the smallest hotel room you’ve ever stayed at. Now divide it in half and swap out the windows for a tiny little porthole, because that’s what your accommodations will be like if you decide to go on a cruise. Even if you manage to score a cabin with a coveted ocean view, you’ll still be staring out a window not much bigger than the size of your average laptop, and while you do have the option to upgrade to a balcony, doing so might cost you an arm and a leg. Before you commit to cruising, think about your tolerance for being trapped not only on a boat out at sea, but in a cabin that makes your college dorm room seem like a palace.
The Boredom Factor
Though some cruises offer daily stops at different ports of call, your itinerary may include several days at sea. Now if you’re the type who enjoys lounging poolside or kicking back with a good book, you’ll enjoy the downtime. But if you’re the kind of person who demands constant entertainment, you may get bored on and off — unless, of course, you’re willing to take part in a shuffleboard tournament or an afternoon Bingo session. On the plus side, most cruise ships offer decent nighttime entertainment, from comedy shows to concerts.
The Stuff Your Face Factor
Going on a cruise means signing up to quite potentially stuff your face like you’ve never stuffed it before. Most cruises include unlimited food and non-alcoholic beverages, so if your idea of a good time is indulging, repeatedly, in a wide array of culinary delights, you’ll be sure to appreciate those extensive menus and endless buffets. On the other hand, if you’re a picky eater or happen to be watching your weight, the limitless supply of food may not hold quite the same appeal.
If you’re really unsure if you’ll enjoy cruising but want to give it a shot, book a four-day cruise before committing to a week or longer at sea. And also, be open-minded. Even if cruising doesn’t turn out to be your thing, there’s a good chance you’ll still enjoy the luxury and convenience of escaping reality on a giant ship.