You’ve heard the horror stories surrounding cruises: collisions, horrible epidemics at sea, and of course, the epic tragedy of the Titanic. But just how likely are any of these scenarios to transpire during your own sea-bound adventure?
Here, we debunk five of the most persistent myths associated with cruises:
Cruise Myth #1: Seasickness is a Given
It’s the classic image of a vacation gone awry: constant nausea, fueled by motion sickness. The source of this myth is hardly mysterious — no one wants to be confined to their cabin bathroom for days at a time.
Fortunately, even those predisposed to seasickness rarely grapple with nausea, as cruise ships are outfitted with stabilizers to minimize side-to-side motion. Stabilizers work very much like wing flaps on an airplane: they resist the forces of ocean currents by exerting physical pressure against the water, and more advanced stabilizers can even be adjusted from a digital control system.
Cruise Myth #2: Beware Norovirus Outbreaks
While Norovirus outbreaks aboard cruise ships tend to be well-publicized, they are not a common occurrence for the vast majority of cruise-goers. Out of the thousands of cruises that set sail in 2016, the CDC counted only 13 outbreaks aboard cruise ships.
This low rate of infection can be credited to the proactive efforts of cruise lines to avoid outbreaks: for example, some cruises have stopped offering buffets for the first two days of a cruise to avoid the spread of the virus during its incubation period, and most cruise lines insist that passengers apply (freely provided) hand sanitizer as often as humanly possible. Royal Caribbean even has a specialized health and sanitation task force, as well as a three-stage program that aims to prevent the spread of onboard illnesses.
Cruise Myth #3: Cruises Aren’t Kid-Friendly
It’s a little more difficult to understand where this myth comes from because most cruise lines actually bend over backward to cater to families. There are certainly itineraries, and even entire cruise lines that are geared toward elderly passengers or young adults in search of thriving nightlife, but these trips hardly constitute the majority of cruises. In fact, the existence of the Disney Cruise Line should be enough to dispel this myth forever.
Most ships function almost like summer camps for kids, offering endless entertainment and activities: arts and crafts, dancing lessons, movie showings, and video games, just to name a few. Carnival even offers a Night Owls program to let kids stay up late having (supervised) fun while their parents enjoy a night to themselves.
But if you’d rather not encounter any children at all, there are also some ships that flat-out ban them — at the end of the day, it’s up to you to define your cruise experience.
Cruise Myth #4: I’ll Be Bored Silly At Sea
Some people think that the excitement of cruises is limited to the onshore excursions. In fact, the sheer number of onboard activities available to passengers means that days spent “at sea” can be even more memorable than days spent in the most incredible port cities.
On the biggest cruise lines, there’s almost no limit to entertainment options: you can surf, rock climb, zipline, ice skate, attend theater productions, watch acrobats perform, go bowling, take classes, sample fine wines, and gamble in casinos, among dozens of other activities. If you can imagine it, a cruise line usually offers it.
Cruise Myth #5: I’ll Have to Pack a Tux (or Ball Gown)
In the past, cruises adhered to strict guidelines for formal wear. Most evening meals necessitated business casual attire at the bare minimum, and cruises almost always held traditional formal events for a few nights out of each itinerary.
As it turns out, many vacationers would prefer to visit the Caribbean without needing to rent a tuxedo for the occasion, and cruise lines have begun to accommodate this desire. Today, most cruises still have formal events, but passengers are free to opt out of them and dine elsewhere on the ship in more casual clothing.