A Life on the Ocean Wave or Stick to Dry Land?
Here’s why I have never been on a cruise…
Bucket list is a phrase that’s thrown around a lot these days, especially when referring to dream holidays we want to take or places we simply must visit before we’re off the face of the earth. Sure, I have a few destinations that I’ve still to tick off my wish list (I prefer wish list to bucket list, personally) and I hope to be able to visit them before my time is up.
However, there’s also things on my list that I know I definitely DON’ T want to do. Cruising is one of them.
Despite a recent interest in them, largely down to being a huge fan of Jane MacDonald’s Cruising hit TV show, try as I might, I just cannot bring myself to go on one. The sea scares me. As Billy Connolly once said in one of his sketches, “We’ve no business in there”. Now I know you’re not actually IN the sea on a luxury cruise ship but the thought of anything going wrong and needing rescued from the middle of the ocean is the stuff of nightmares for me. This may be an extreme and pessimistic approach but I can’t get it out of my head. It gives me the fear. Every time I have come close to booking a cruise, I go straight to the safety FAQs section and I don’t get past that.
Cruise calling points or quick peeks?
More positively, a cruise would allow me to visit lots of places that I might never see otherwise. For example, I wouldn’t enjoy staying in one beach resort in the Caribbean for a whole fortnight (been there, done that and was bored out my mind!) However, being able to see a few islands might be more appealing. I did see one itinerary which was offering up some ritzy stops such as Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Antigua, St Kitts and St Vincent.
Apparently I could squeeze the lot of them into an 11 night voyage.
Being able to see so many destinations on the calling point schedule in one go is tempting and that is one plus point that might make me consider a cruise. That said, do you have enough time to see much of the place or is it a quick dip in and out before you need to be back on the ship? There’s every chance I might be so caught up in the port of call that I might miss the curfew and end up stranded while my luggage sails off into the sunset. Furthermore, is setting foot in a place for a couple of hours really travelling? Imagine docking in somewhere sensational like Barcelona or Naples, only to have a quick zip round before getting back on the ship? It would break my heart to be so close to these city treasures but not having enough time to see them.
Storms up ahead
Other things that put me off cruising is the thought of being at sea for days and not being able to see dry land. You really are at the mercy of the elements.
What if you’ve chosen a particular cruise purely for certain stopping points and then it gets cancelled because the weather has changed for the worse and the vessel can’t dock in your port of choice. Granted the poor captain can’t do anything about the weather and the safety of his passengers is his only concern but I’d still be gutted.
I have loads of friends and fellow travel writers who berate me for being so unadventurous and assure me that once I go on a cruise, I’ll never want to do anything else but go on more. I can’t see it myself. What if I get on-board and hate it? What if I get sea sick and can’t find my sea legs? Surely this would not be a fun experience. I don’t want to spend my holiday on the bathroom floor hanging over the toilet.
Has this ever happened to any of you cruisers out there? Tell me, I need to know if what they say is true – that you don’t feel any movement and you don’t notice you’re at sea. I’m not convinced.
All of my personal worries and concerns about cruising aside, I also have quite strong feelings on whether these massive liners should be going into some places at all. Take Venice for example. The landscape of this enchanting city and the Grand Canal is marred by the sight of gigantic ships barging up and down a waterway that, in my opinion, really is only suitable for small boats and gondolas! Recently a cruise ship made the headlines when it ploughed into a busy embankment and another small boat. Crash risks aside, the sight of these big cruise liners in such a quaint and beautiful spot is just off-putting. They spoil the ambience and the magic of Venice but also adds to the overcrowding situation as hundreds of passengers disembark from their cruise to saturate the narrow streets and piazzas that already packed with visitors. Although the upside to this is the positive effect on the local economy and I’d be happy to see small businesses which rely on tourism getting a decent turn from all these visitors but are they actually spending money when they dock? And I don’t even want to think about the effect of cruise ship on the ocean and its inhabitants but I am sure cruise companies are doing their best to limit the effects of water pollution.
Fellow cruisers…holiday Heaven or holiday Hell?
So, back on-board, what else turns me off booking a cruise holiday? Well, I also dread getting stuck with fellow passengers that I don’t want to spend time with. Supposing I get landed with the world’s biggest bores that I can’t escape and have to spend my time dodging them every time I go a walk about or go for a quiet drink on my own. I’ve heard that cruises tend to sit you with randoms at dinner? Is this the case?
The only reason I can see for holidaying on a cruise ship is that they offer so many different activities so if Mum wants to go shopping or enjoy a beauty treatment, she can, safe in the knowledge that her little ones are having the time of their lives in the kids clubs and if Dad wants to watch sports in the bar or go off and join in a creative painting class or whatever…it’s all there in one place. More importantly, this floating resort will be big enough to avoid each other for a few hours if you’re starting to get on each other’s nerves – common holiday hazard of being with each other 24/7 which is just as well really as you can’t exactly escape to your cabin for some space. Are these rooms not likely to be the size of one of your cupboards back home? I suspect you’ll be crammed in like sardines.
And don’t even get me started on what I’ve heard about decorating the door to your cabin!
That’s another thing worth mentioning, if you don’t like hordes of people, cruising could be quite scary. These liners are massive and could have around 3000 passengers sharing your holiday so there won’t be anywhere you can find peace and solace. Urgh, I feel sick just thinking about that. At least on dry land you can wander off and find a quiet, shady spot far from the madding crowd.
Cruising may not be for me but neither is my type of holiday for everyone either – it all comes down to personal choice and preference at the end of the day.
As you can see, I have so many concerns about taking a cruise but I’m happy to listen to the argument for them if any tripsologists out there fancy posting their own cruise experiences and perhaps change my mind.
Am I right to stick to dry land adventures or should I take the plunge?
Anchors on a postcard!
I love travel. I’ve been fascinated by other countries and cultures since my first foreign trip in 1985 and I’ve had serious wanderlust ever since.I also love to write about where I’ve been and tripsology lets me indulge that passion. I’m thrilled to be a regular contributor and editor. When I’m not writing I also run my own PR and publicity company.