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Fear not

‘Will I feel trapped onboard a ship?’ Cruise myths debunked

Cruise myths are rife among those new to cruising, with many people concerned about the feeling of being “trapped” onboard a ship – we’re here to make you realise that won’t be the case.

Fear of cruise ships can put plenty of travelers off from choosing the high seas as a vacation format but that need not be the case.

Those who have never cruised before often don’t realise the many benefits of cruises and that the myths they have come across are nowhere near the reality.

One major concern some folks have is that they will feel trapped on a ship if they take a cruise.

“Can you get off a cruise ship?” people wonder. But the answer is yes, of course you can! Cruise ships make regular ports of call, sometimes every day depending on your itinerary.

Caribbean cruises, for instance – the most popular cruise destination according to the CLIA State Of The Cruise Industry Outlook 2022 – call at multiple destinations within a, say, week-long sailing, giving you the opportunity to visit a plethora of exciting islands, so you never need to worry about boredom!

“We offer a variety of itineraries including cruises with few to no sea days for guests who want to wake up to a new destination every morning,” Eithne Williamson, Vice President of Princess Cruises UK & Europe, told Sailawaze.

A Virgin Voyages spokeswoman added: “Our Caribbean voyages always include at least two incredible ports of call and our European voyages stop almost every day so Sailors can get off and explore in an authentic way that feels true to each destination.”

If you worry about not being able to see land, adding to the fear of feeling “stuck” onboard, consider a river cruise as the river bank is always visible from the ship as you travel from one exciting city to the next.

Not only can you get off and explore the port of call independently but cruise lines also organize a wealth of shore excursions to help you make the most of your visit, whether you want a guided tour of historical gems, a foodie masterclass or a quad bike adventure.

Robin Shaw, chief operating officer of river cruise brand Riviera Travel, told Sailawaze: “There are various tours and visits across a sailing, as river cruises include at least one new stop every day. Guests can join organized excursions with our expert tour guides, or make their own arrangements and travel independently.

“River cruises give guests the perfect opportunity to make the most of our luxury five-star ships, and enjoy time exploring their itinerary destinations.”

Of course, these cruise excursions are available on ocean cruises too and they don’t have to break the bank.

Bob McGowan, Head of Guest Experience at adults-only brand Ambassador Cruise Line, told Sailawaze: “We have also designed a range of optional Destination Experiences for each cruise, to help guests make the most of their time ashore.

“Appealing to a variety of tastes and budgets, guests can participate in destination tours and activities, either as part of a group or privately.”

Perhaps you worry that there simply won’t be enough to do onboard the ship and that evenings and time at sea will rapidly become tedious.

Again, this is not the case. Not only do some ships stay overnight at port so you can stay out late to maximise your shore experiences but there is oh so much to do on ships – even the smaller ones.

On this, it’s key to remember that there are oodles of cruise lines out there – not all are enormous ships packed with thousands of revellers. Smaller boutique ships take you to destinations you’d never be able to visit otherwise, for instance, and some vessels are incredibly luxurious complete with all-suite accommodation and butlers. You simply need to research cruise lines in advance and find the one that best suits your needs and budget.

As for what you can up to while you’re away you don’t need to think that cruise ship entertainment is all cringe-inducing with only older generations taking part.

The average age of a cruise tourist is actually only 47, with 20 percent of passengers aged between 20 and 39, according to CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association).

Furthermore, CLIA’s 2022 report found that 85 percent of millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) who have cruised before plan to again, as do 79 percent of Gen Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) who have sailed. It just goes to show there are plenty of young people on cruise ships with interest in cruising thriving!

Whether you want to visit incredible spas, while the evening away at unique bars brimming with the latest tech, get your heart pumping on an exhilarating waterslide, or listen to fascinating lectures from experts about your destination – your cruise ship has you covered – and it’s all included in the price of your voyage!

Williamson of Princess Cruises told Sailawaze: “The amount of venues and activities we offer onboard means guests love their time on our ships, with many of our guests choosing to stay on board even when in port.”

Princess offers Broadway-calibre shows, movies under the stars and comedy nights to name just a few entertainment options while activities range from wine tastings, world-class gaming and basketball to Zumba classes, ping pong and retail therapy (think Swarovski, Chanel, Estée Lauder, Clinique, Tissot and more), not to mention actual therapy in The Lotus Spa (from aroma stone therapy massages to detoxifying ocean wraps) and gym.

Other cruise lines have similarly diverse and rich offerings. McGowan explained: “Ambassador guests need not worry about feeling ‘stuck’ whilst on board – we have carefully curated a diverse Entertainment and Enrichment Programme on board our cruises, which features a host of activities for guests to enjoy.

“From calligraphy to cocktail making to salsa classes, there really is something for everybody. Guests can expect a stellar lineup of singers, musicians, and comedians to keep them entertained throughout their journey.

“On board Ambience, guests can visit The Palladium, a tiered theatre featuring West-End quality shows, or the Enchanted Garden, providing a musical crossover of classical, musical theatre and pop. We also have the Laughter Lounge for comedy shows, Cruise & Craft sessions, book club, dance classes, and quiz nights.”

It’s the same on river cruise ships even though they’re smaller. Shaw from Riviera Travel said: “Guests have a wealth of options and activities on river cruises. There is plenty of space onboard with a splash pool, spa, gym, bar and restaurant all to hand.”

Indeed space is something most lines are keen to emphasise so travelers need not worry about claustrophobia. Williamson said of Princess: “As a company, we are constantly perfecting the layout of our ships to enhance the sense of freedom onboard.

“Our latest class of ships, the Royal class, which includes the UK homeported Sky Princess, has many venues for guests to make the most of their time and vacation. We also offer various staterooms, from interior cabins which are budget friendly to the Sky Suite, which features the largest balcony at sea.”

As for Ambassador, McGowan detailed: “Ambience’s size offers a high space to guest ratio, meaning that the ship feels more open and spacious, which helps guests to feel more relaxed and comfortable, which is particularly beneficial on longer sailings.”

Passengers also do not have to be forced into socialising if they would rather have a quiet vacation and keep to themselves. Ship libraries are a lovely place to hole up for a few hours with a good book so you don’t need to feel confined to your stateroom – although cabin balconies are a lovely place to soak up views in serenity.

A Virgin Voyages told Sailawaze: “Our ships were designed by some of the world’s leading architects and interior designers who have created a sailing experience with what seems like boundless open-air spaces and places to relax.

“Almost 90 percent of our cabins have balconies with hammocks and our ships offer incredible al fresco spaces to unplug, grab a bite to eat, do some yoga, workout or lounge.”

In short, nope, there is no risk of you feeling “trapped” or “stuck” on a ship if you take a cruise, if anything you’ll wish you could stay for longer!

Published 09.06.22