Cruise holidays can lead to multiple misconceptions. As an ex-crew member I’ll dispel for you some of the myths around holidays on a cruise liner.
If we look back in history, cruise ships as we know them today are only about fifty years old. Way back, passengers used them to cross the Atlantic; these were mail ships that with time developed into cruise liners; Titanic or Queen Mary, anyone?
In a world were technology is rapidly changing life as we know it, undoubtedly it is also changing cruise ships. Building them bigger, taller, wider and smarter, some even becoming “smart-ships” offering high-tech touches.
Innovation, Technology And Competition In The Cruise World
Regardless whether you are a passenger or a crew member yourself, nothing can prepare you to the overwhelming feeling of finding yourself inside one of these floating cities where no details are spared. Try to come up with something that the cruise companies haven’t thought of already, and you will find it’s almost impossible.
Still not convinced? Cruise ships are designed to please a large number of demanding passengers, meaning that the options aboard are endless. Some of the biggest ships currently in navigation offer Ice skating, outdoor movie screens, rock climbing walls, science labs, tattoo parlours, nurseries, comedy clubs, several swimming pools, theme parks and even virtual balcony cabins for those passenger who can’t afford a real one. The list just keeps growing.
Nowadays cruising is good value for money and more affordable than ever before, equally accommodating and treating equally silver passengers, families and singles.
Debunking Some False Myths That Revolve Around Cruise Ships
While the average age of a cruiser is 55-56 years old, do not let that put you off. Cruises are a heap of fun, they are entertaining, and also can be ideal places for flirting and blossoming new romances. Most of the crew is young and energetic and work hard to keep the passengers active and entertained. Activities are countless on board; sailing-themed parties, formal nights, tropical nights, regular evening entertainment, photo galleries, casino gambling and many bars and nightclubs keep even the most exigent party lover entertained.
The offer in cruise holidays is varied and colorful and with plenty of hours at sea, there are several opportunities to socialize with both fellow passengers and crew members. Friendships are easily built as the passengers embark in good humor. However, cruises aren’t exactly for those looking for privacy. Starting from dinner where as a passenger you are assigned a table at the main dining room with other fellow passengers, some see it as an opportunity to establish conversation and possibly even friendships whilst others feel stuck with people they’d rather not sit with.
This being said, things aren’t as bad as some cruise companies are breaking the traditional rules of cruising by inserting an open seat policy on their main dining rooms. Nowadays many cruise ships also offer various dining options from speciality restaurants with a menu designed by a top leading chef, buffet option and á la carte so you don’t always need to be eating in the same restaurant during your trip.
With cruises becoming more affordable each year allowing a wide variety of people to enjoy them, the policies are getting more flexible, relaxed and adaptable to just about every kind of person. Cruising has stopped being an elitist holidays for the rich and famous and nowadays welcomes people from all walks of life.
While life on board is the reason why people take cruises, a non-less important aspect is also the ports of call and the time spent ashore: one of the most exciting parts of cruising is disembarking to explore. As a passenger, this can lead to a unique experience as occasionally mega-cruise ships are not able to dock at every port due to their sheer size.
As a result larger ships provide tender services that act as a link between cruise ship and shore, and that by some have been named “tender-misery”. Ships use normally their own lifeboats for that purpose and passengers have priority over the crew to embark and disembark. Tender service can be quite chaotic at times with passengers aiming to disembark quickly as if their own life depended on it.
On other occasions long queues make tendering an exhausting experience, especially in sunny destinations where it is obvious that tendering is inadequate and not much sought-after by guests and crew members alike.
With guests waiting in line to be transferred ashore, other queues follow closely; they are the crew members’. These queues can be a funny thing from a crew member’s point of view as members debate between remaining professional and the savage desire to get rid of their theatrical performance on board to finally being able to be themselves, if only for a short period of time. It’s an understatement to say that the best part of working in a cruise ship from a crew member’s point of view is when they are able to leave the ship behind.
Did you know that the biggest cruise ship in the world can carry up to 6.000 passengers and has eighteen life boats with a capacity of 370 people each? Nowadays, building a big cruise ship takes up to two to three years and can cost anything around eight hundred million dollars.