My Top 10 Fears of Cruising

10.  Nice ship – wrong passengers

Different ships are targeted at different types of people. You may not feel very comfortable surrounded by a rowdy bunch of  ‘booze cruisers’ who think ‘formal’ means turning their baseball caps around ; alternatively you may not fit in with an elderly crowd hooked on Jigsaw puzzles and napkin folding? It is important that you pick a cruise line/ship which offers an experience that you would feel comfortable with.  So plan carefully and happy cruising!

9. The food is inedible and service is atrocious

The food is an important part of any cruise. Not all ships are born equal, but you should expect the food to be of a reasonable standard for the fare paid. Personally, I like my waiters to be seen and not heard. I don’t want my waiter to sing, dance, do magic tricks, spin plates or make speeches; the entertainment crew can do all that. These are all a distraction; I just want my waiter to quietly and efficiently get my order right.

8. The ports of call are boring

I’m not a beach bum, so an itinerary which includes a series of topical islands, each almost identical to the next is my idea of ‘boring’. It is essential that I pick an itinerary with interesting ports of call, unless I was cruising just to experience the ship. With all of the new innovations being added to each new ship the idea of the ship being the destination is becoming reality for many cruisers.

7. The Cabin is like a shoe box

The average cruise ship cabin is not as spacious as the average hotel room. However, even the cheapest/smallest cabins on board modern ships are perfectly adequate in term of space for two normal sized persons. Please notice that I said ‘adequate’ and not ‘generous’. Admittedly you may not be able to bend over in the shower to pick up the soap. You and your partner will need to learn how to synchronize your movements: for example if one of you opens the wardrobe the other cannot enter or leave the bathroom.

6. The Entertainment is garbage

You cannot realistically expect true ‘West End or ‘Broadway’ quality entertainment at sea. The performers are often young people who are learning their craft. If they were really Broadway standard they would be performing on Broadway, not on a cruise ship. The vocal talents in particular of some performers can leave a little to be desired. For example I’ve heard the occasional so called ‘vocalist’ sing like a cat during mating season. However, In general the quality of entertainment onboard ships is very good.

5. I have the table mates from hell

Some ships still have traditional dining where you are assigned to a table for the length of the cruise. Therefore you will probably be sharing a table with complete strangers, heaven forbid! Now of course the ‘strangers’ might well be ‘friends’ that you do not know yet. Hoverer what if you don’t like them? Fortunately I’ve never shared a table with anyone that I actually disliked, but I have shared a table with people that were twice my age and that I had nothing in common with.

4. I lose my luggage

I am in my cabin sill waiting for my luggage to arrive, when the ship sets sail. The last time that I saw my luggage was on the dock side. I was beginning to think that it may still be there. My heart certainly skipped some beats until it was eventually delivered to my cabin. Apparently it spent a few hours on the wrong deck. However, let’s have some sympathy for the crew. Big ships often carry 2000 passengers or more, which equates to a hell of a lot of luggage to be moved and delivered.

3. I spend the entire Cruise being seasick

Picture the scene: You spend your hard earned cash on a well deserved cruise and you wait months for it to come around. Once you are onboard cruel seas mean that you then spend the entire cruise hugging the toilet bowl. Fortunately cruise ships are normally scheduled to operate in warm climates and calm seas. Additionally, the massive size of most of today’s cruise ship makes them pretty stable. Therefore the likelihood of the ‘mal de mer’ striking you down is greatly reduced. However all ships, no matter how big, will rock and roll in a big storm.

2. I fall off the ship and drown

I have this recurring nightmare where I am in the cold sea, in the dark, watching the lights of my cruise ship slowly sailing away into the distance. In reality nobody falls off a cruise ship unless they are doing something very stupid indeed. Examples of said behaviour include, but are not limited to, the following: sitting on their balcony railing, getting over romantic while on the balcony, or trying to tight-rope-walk on the deck railing. Not surprisingly, excessive quantities of the demon drink are nearly always involved.

1. I miss the boat

Without doubt my number one fear is to arrive at the pier just in time to wave goodbye to the ship. No amount of “my plane was delayed” or “my car hit an endangered species of wild Boar and I had to take it to an animal sanctuary” type excuses will help, It’s a case of what part of “embark by 5.00 pm” did you not understand”? Likewise being late back to the ship at a port of call is no excuse either. The positive side is that you should get a good photograph from the dock side as your ship sails off into the sunset.

Malcolm Oliver

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6 Responses to “My Top 10 Fears of Cruising”

  1. Ese Says:

    Thank you Malcom.

  2. Malcolm Oliver Says:

    You will need to check with virgin. (Tickets often arrive with only a fewe weeks to spare)

  3. Malcolm Oliver Says:

    Hi Ese,

    1. No drink not even soda is free on the Norwegian Jade. I can manage fairly well without wine for a week. Will I be aloud to bring a few cans of soda and flavoured water with me?

    Taking soda on is fine.

    2. I really want an upgrade badly to a higher floor with a better balcony at least, a bathtub won’t be a bad idea too. Do you think I stand a good chance? I have it’s mostly by luck.

    It’s mainly luck – try to book the garde you want, it’s the only shure fire way.

    3. I have to be at the airport for 9am on the day we arrive back at shore. Arrival time is supposed to be 5a.m. Do you think I can make it? My flight is for 10.30

    Probably. Request to leave the ship as soon as it’s docked/cleared>

    4. I intend to make my own onshore excursion arrangments. I have found a good tour company for Rome. Any ideas for Monte Carlo, Florence/ Pisa, Naples and Majorca?

    Do you research and check ot trains, buses and taxi’s – you could save a fortune!

    5. What’s the best way to find good food and avoid nasty waiters on board? Secondly, I do not want to pay gratuities for nasty service, what’s you take on this as I hear this is not a compulsory charge?

    The surcharge dining was the best in terms of food and servioce. I never had any ‘nasty’ waiters (even in the free option) just some mediocre ones.

    Well, do you charge a fee? If you don’t, you must be an angel to answer all these questions free of charge!

    No fee! ;-)

  4. Ese Says:

    Last questions:

    Is it possible to check the details of my reservation online with my reservation number? I have booked through Virgin Cruises. As we are still more than a month away from the cruise commencement date. I have not yet received my tickets.

    How does one get an upgrade? Do one have to ask? Is it automatic and at their discretion? Will it come updated in ticket as it arrives or as one is boarding?

    Thank you again

  5. Ese Says:

    Hello Malcom,

    Just a few corrections/ additions:

    1. ‘Will I be ALLOWED to bring a few cans of soda and flavoured water with me?’

    2. ‘I have HEARD it’s mostly by luck.’

    3. Our port of embarkation/ disembarkation is BARCELONA

    5. ‘what’s YOUR take on this as I hear this is not a compulsory charge?

    Thank you for including this changes.

  6. Ese Says:

    Hello Malcom,

    Thank you so much for your blog. I am better informed now otherwise I was worried, you see I am a virgin cruiser.

    I am book on the Norwegian Jade on a 7 day mediterranean cruise in September. I booked and paid in June and I got a BD with free upgrade. After much research on the internet, I discovered this is one of the low grade balcony staterooms. I am also a solo cruiser. I couldn’t find anybody willing to pay that much for a cruise and I felt quite ready to go at this time. This means I have a whole room to myself. I am certain I will not be bored. I do love my company and like to meet interesting people. I am also looking forward to onshore excursions in Monte Carlo, Florence, Rome, Naples and Majorca. I have read some horrifying reviews about food and service onboard and exorbitant prices for excursions with less than optimal value for money. I intend to enjoy myself so I have decided to work my way round all of these challenges.

    I have a couple of questions for you though. I don’t know if you can answer them all:

    1. No drink not even soda is free on the Norwegian Jade. I can manage fairly well without wine for a week. Will I be aloud to bring a few cans of soda and flavoured water with me?

    2. I really want an upgrade badly to a higher floor with a better balcony at least, a bathtub won’t be a bad idea too. Do you think I stand a good chance? I have it’s mostly by luck.

    3. I have to be at the airport for 9am on the day we arrive back at shore. Arrival time is supposed to be 5a.m. Do you think I can make it? My flight is for 10.30

    4. I intend to make my own onshore excursion arrangments. I have found a good tour company for Rome. Any ideas for Monte Carlo, Florence/ Pisa, Naples and Majorca?

    5. What’s the best way to find good food and avoid nasty waiters on board? Secondly, I do not want to pay gratuities for nasty service, what’s you take on this as I hear this is not a compulsory charge?

    Well, do you charge a fee? If you don’t, you must be an angel to answer all these questions free of charge!

    I am grateful in advance. Thank you again Malcom.

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