Whenever someone goes on a cruise, they tell you all the positive aspects of it. There are a lot of positives! But what they don’t tell you is the negatives, the dark side of cruising. It’s not that they’re lying to you to be malicious, they’re doing it because they want you to also go and experience a cruise. They don’t want the few negative to deter you from going on what could be the biggest adventure of your lifetime. The list isn’t very long, but there are some things to be aware of. This list is not to stop you from going on a cruise. My cruise to the Caribbean was one of the best experiences of my life. I would cruise with Carnival anytime, anywhere. Here is what they do and don’t tell you about cruising.
The night life on the ship is amazing. There are clubs, lounges and sports bars. You can spend the night watching a show, laughing at a comedian or even be a part of a game show! Hey, you can do it all in one evening if you want. But it’s going to cost you. The entertainment is free but the drinks certainly are not. If you plan on drinking on your cruise, your best bet is getting the drink package. Otherwise you’re going to be spending a lot of money on just a few drinks. Or if you’re like me, you’ll be standing in line on the free shot tasting day or hoping to befriend someone who has a drink package. Potentially you’ll get a few cheap drinks on shore and that buzz will last you through the evening. But if you’re like me, you’ll still have a great time. Still allow yourself to splurge on a few tequila shots or margaritas. This is your vacation after all. Though you’ll probably have a better time in the port if you don’t drink too much the night before. Shore time is limited, you don’t want to waste your day with a hangover.
It’s 90 degrees out and all you want to do is swim. But the pools are so small you can barely stand let alone swim. You spot a clearing in a pool and are so excited. Yet when you get there, you realize that the only reason why there is room for you in the pool is because an intoxicated woman threw up all in the pool. To rub it in your face, the intoxicated woman is lounging in one of the sparse poolside lounge chairs sipping on yet another $12 beer. But when you do get the rare moment when everyone has left the pool dock to get ready for dinning and the pools are practically empty, you jump into the salty water and are finally able to swim. Maybe larger cruise ships have better pools that accommodate more people or maybe the only way you’re going to get quality pool time is when the hordes of cruise guests have left the ship to explore the ports.
People tend to say that you can’t feel the ship moving. They are lying. Or they had exceptionally smooth sailing. The ship is moving and you will feel it. Be prepared for that. For me this was not an issue at all. I don’t get motion sick and I don’t get car sick so it made sense that I didn’t get boat sick. For the most part, we had smooth sailing. Yet even on these days, you can feel the sway of the boat. You just have to go with it. You’ll find yourself rocking back and forth with the boat. We only had one night of bad weather. A storm seemed to be rolling in. The waves were high and the winds were strong. The higher the deck we went to, the more we were stumbling around. We faced the wind to take pictures in our formal ware outside. (Because why pay a photographer for a photo in front of the fake ocean when you can take your own photo in front of the real thing?)I held on tight to the railing so I wouldn’t trip whenever a large wave came. As the friends I was with do get motion sick, they were feeling a little nauseous toward the end of the night. The best thing to do was to call it a night. The movement on the boat doesn’t bother you when you’re sleeping. It’s like your getting rocked to sleep from the waves.
When they say there are formal nights on your cruise, they mean it. Yet, they don’t tell you how many formal nights there will be. In my experience, there were two formal nights on our 7 night cruise. Pack accordingly! Be prepared so you’re not scavenging through a friends suitcase to find something appropriate to wear to dinner. If you’re like me and brought a “fancy” maxi dress, you will technically be dressed up enough for dinner. But you will probably be one of the most dressed down people there. Cruisers take formal nights seriously. People are dressed up in everything from a semi formal cocktail dress to ball gowns. But don’t worry, there are two separate dining room. If you’re wearing your fanciest maxi dress, you’ll probably end up in the lower dining room, where there aren’t too many people in ball gowns. Even if you’re a little dressed down in comparison to the other cruisers, you will still receive exceptional service. Don’t let your lack of owning an evening gown stop you from dining on formal nights, because the food in the dining room is some of the best you will ever have.
Ports of Call
On your cruise, if you’re lucky you will have a port of call almost every day. This is wonderful. You barely feel like you’ve traveled any distance and suddenly you have arrived at a new island or city. This is my favorite past about cruising. You will feel thrown off though. You eat at the same spot every morning for breakfast, however the views from the window are much different. Towards the end of the cruise, you begin to get used to this. You get useful the luxury of waking up in a new place every morning. You get to exploring a new place every day. What they don’t tell you is how hard it is to leave each port everyday, knowing that you will not be back in the same place the next day. The worst part about cruising is having to leave the cruise. They don’t tell you that when you you come home from your cruise, your heart will break a little bit. Suddenly you will miss it all. You will miss the crowded pools and even the piercing sound of your cruise directors voice over the load speaker. You will miss it so much, that you forget about the negatives.