family cruising

Family Cruising. Fact vs. Fiction

It’s a debate that’s been around for decades.  A topic that not only has the country divided, but many families and friends.  Of course I’m talking about cruise ships.  There’s such a rift between the “pro-cruisers” and “anti-cruisers”, that when the two sides happen to meet, the tension can be cut with a butter knife.  Yes, I’m being melodramatic.  Look, the truth is cruising is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t break down some of the common misnomers about cruising, and highlight some of the truths..  Hopefully this blog will cross the isle and challenge the issues that the “anti-cruise” peeps say keep them from taking a vacation on the open sea.

First, let’s look at the numbers.  According to a study done by the Statistic Brain Research Institute, when it comes to vacationing – and I just took summer vacations –  46% of Americans go on a Summer Vacation.  46% seems really low, but that’s a topic for another blog.  Of that 46% of Summer vacationers, the most popular destinations are as follows:

Beach / Ocean 45 %
City 42 %
National Parks 21 %
Lake 17 %
Resort 14 %

And the most popular things to do on Summer Vacation are:

Shopping 54 %
Visiting Historical Sights 49 %
Swimming / Water sports 49 %
Going to a Park or National Park 46 %
Sightseeing Tours 46 %

So, if you trust what the research shows, the places we go and the things we do can all be accomplished cruising. From beaches to sightseeing, the cruise industry understands these numbers and in my opinion, is the best way to find more of what you want, in a fraction of the time.  When my wife and I went on our Norwegian Adventure Cruise on Royal Caribbean, we hit cities and saw Fjords that are very difficult to reach without some sort of water transport and significant time.   I don’t know about you, but when I travel I want to do and see the as much as I can in the allotted that I have.  Transportation is just the very last thing I want to worry about while on vacation, and that goes double when we’re travelling with our kids.

If you’re like me, then you don’t enjoy capitulating your vacation desires, because someone else wants to do something else. And it’s not fair for other peeps to surrender their vacation expectations.  For instance, I don’t like to swim and I’m not a beach guy, but I enjoy playing games, watching movies, trying new food and beer, and getting to know new people.  My wife and kids are more into the pools and water fun.  When we cruise, there’s a better chance we find something for all of us.  Especially on some of the big boys like Royal Caribbean’s Allure of The Seas or Norwegian’s Escape.  We’re talking indoor rock climbing walls and zip lines, massive wave pools, movie theaters, live entertainment, tap houses, fine dining restaurants, the list goes on and on.

Now, I understand that there are a lot arguments about cruising.  I’m going to delve into 5 of the most common reasons I’ve heard from the “anti-cruisers”, and hopefully alleviate some of these misconceptions.

Cruises tend to be smeared by the ‘real’ travel community as floating malls.
–Robert Reid, Lonely Planet

  1. Only “old” people go on cruise ships:  This is the number one reason I’m given by the “anti-cruise” folk.  While it is true that some cruises attract an older crowd, and I’ve been on cruises where I’m one the youngest on the ship, to say that most of the people who take cruises are old is just flat out wrong.  Another study done by Statistic Brain, show’s that the average age of passengers who cruise is around 50+ years old.  Unless you’re under the age of 25, or living in the 1400’s, 50 is not “old”.  Besides, there are many cruises that are more geared toward a younger crowd, you just have to pick your itinerary.
  2. There are way too many people on the ship:  Yes, there can be a lot of people on a cruise at one time, thousands even.  I have never been on a cruise, where I felt like I couldn’t be alone if I wanted to.  There’s always enough going on the ships, that it spreads out the passengers pretty well.
  3. I don’t want to get seasick:  This excuse has diminished a bit, but the “anti-cruisers” still use it from time to time.  The first real time I experienced some heavy waves, was when I traveled across the Straights of Magellan.  Some of the swells came on top of and over the bow.  Even with all of that, I never got sick.  Now, my daughter and my wife have gotten queasy  on cruise ships before.  My daughter just eats a green apple and she feels fine, and my wife just goes to the sky deck for a few minutes, and that works for her.  The point is, seasickness affects us all differently, and the best thing to do is find out what works best you.
  4. I don’t want to get the flu:  This kinda goes with the “too many people” excuse.  Everyone thinks that when you have a bunch of people on a ship, if one person gets sick, all people will get sick.  The truth is, I’ve gotten more sick from picking my kids up from school and daycare, then I ever did on a ship.  Again, I have been on ships where there was an outbreak of Norovirus, but it only affected 23 people out of 3,300.  Any hey, here’s a tip if you don’t want to get sick, WASH YOUR (BLEEPING) HANDS!!!
  5. I don’t want to be told when I can eat:  This is the most annoying statement from the “anti-cruise” people.  First, no one tells you when you can or can’t eat.  It’s not like you’re going sailing on the USS Kim Jon Un.  Do some ships have assigned dinner times?  Yes.  Do you have to eat at that assigned dinner time?  NO!  As a matter of fact, more cruise lines have any time and alternative dining to make it easier for the passengers.  Some ships also do a Formal Night, where passengers can dress up for dinner.  That also isn’t mandatory.

I don’t have time to go over all the “anti-cruising” propaganda, but if you want to read more about it, I highly recommend reading the article written by Cruise Expert Linda Garrison of  About Travel.

In closing – I know that cruises aren’t for everyone, and that’s fine.  But if you’re making your decision not to go on a family cruise because of something someone else said, or an experience you had back in 1992, I strongly suggest you try a cruise on today’s ships.  Even if it’s a 3 day Caribbean cruise, just to get a small taste.  No matter how you take your vacation, Vacation with family and Vacation often.

 

 

 

4 Comments

DShaunte

This is a really great article. I recently went on my first cruise with a girlfriend of mine last October and I thought it was amazing. I came home and told my husband how I can’t wait for us to take a family cruise. It’s the all in one vacation. I know it’s not for everyone, but people should really take a look at what an advantage it can be for vacationing. I’m glad your article shows that.

daddy

Thanks you for the kind words, and understanding what I was trying to say. There is a huge group of people hating on cruising, when they’ve never been on a cruise themselves. I’m glad to hear you had an awesome trip, and cheers on your next!

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