Cruising is nothing like it used to be. With endless options and more customization than ever, today’s cruise ships are resetting the bar—from laid-back to luxurious, intimate to immense, relaxing to rugged adventure and everything in-between—it’s easier than ever to find a cruise vacation that aligns with your personality and passions.
While few vacations can truly satisfy everyone, cruises come pretty close. The old days of a "one-size-fits-all" cruise is long gone, replaced by a variety of diverse ships, destinations, and deals.
Not sure if cruising is right for you? CruiseInsider has sorted through the misinformation and myths to help answer your questions, make sense of your choices and help you better understand what today's cruises are really about.
Ask our experts or keep reading to separate the fact from fiction so when you're done reading this, the only question you'll be left asking is, "Where should I go first?"
Myth: Booking seems like a hassle
Actually, booking has never been easier. We can do all the work for you or work alongside you helping plan and perfect your vacation. We help save you time, save you money and give you all the extras for the best experience possible—incredible deals, industry exclusives, insider knowledge and invaluable tips, all while staying within your budget. And the best part, since we get paid by our travel partners, you never pay more for your vacation—you only get more!
- Our advisors can make special occasions even more special—private car and drivers, in-room champagne bottles, chocolate-covered strawberries, balcony gourmet dining, personalized excursions and more—we know the ways to make your cruise vacation memorable.
- Did you know the price of a spa treatment aboard a cruise ship often goes down when the ship is in port? Or that you can get complimentary breakfast, room upgrades, early check-ins and more on your pre or post-cruise hotel stay? We have the insight and answers to the questions you don't even know to ask.
- Do you want to skip the lines, avoid the crowds and be treated like a VIP both onboard and onshore? Let our experts arrange a private guided tour the cruise lines don't offer or a personalized adventure the shore excursion companies won't tell you about.
Myth: Cruises are expensive
Cruises are one of the best vacation values available because so much is included—meals, drinks, rooms, activities and more. Some luxury cruise lines like Seabourn, Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Uniworld River Cruises are all-inclusive—meaning the price covers airfare, transfers, tips, specialty dining, alcoholic beverages, enrichment, and even shore excursions in some cases.
- Cruise fares depend on the ship, season, stateroom and sailing itself, but in general, cruises get you a lot of bang for your buck and can be customized to fit any budget or bucket list.
- If you're dates or accommodations are flexible or you're feeling adventurous, there are always value voyages and last-minute deals to be had. Just ask us!
- Some of the most relaxing, yet least expensive, itineraries are called "repositioning cruises"—one-way routes with limited ports-of-call that are usually sold at a discounted fare.
Myth: Cruises are overcrowded
The fact is, even today's big cruise ships are roomier and more comfortable than ever. Many even offer exclusive cabins on private decks within the ship, areas the public can't go.
But if you don't like buffets, bustling pool areas or big crowds, there are tons of options including a variety of luxurious small-ship cruise lines, such as Seabourn, that hold no more than 300 people and offer incredible cuisine and impeccable service, along with expansive decks and true VIP treatment so you feel like you're the only one onboard.
- For a laid-back, intimate yacht experience, great food and the chance to see exotic ports that the big ships simply can't access, perhaps a SeaDream Yacht Club, Windstar Cruises or Star Clippers vacation is right for you?
- The small and stylish expedition ships from Silversea Cruises and Lindblad Expeditions provide a taste of exploration, wildlife and adventure in off-the-beaten-path places and out-of-the-way ports—the perfect blend of nature and niceties without the crowds.
- If history, architecture, and food & wine are your thing, think about a boutique river cruise such as Uniworld River Cruises or AmaWaterways. With less than 200 passengers onboard, river cruises offer fairytale-like scenery, calm waters and docking right in the heart of Europe's most famed cities.
Myth: Real travelers don't cruise
If you think an exotic cruise isn't something a savvy traveler would do, think again. More people are cruising every year, because it allows you to see a lot of places in a short time and see the world in style—all while unpacking only once. Cuba. Iceland. Vietnam. The Galapagos Islands. Tahiti. Madagascar. Antarctica. Most travelers have never visited these exotic locales, yet you can see all of these destinations and more on your next cruise.
- Many cruise lines like Azamara Club Cruises are now including overnight stays and destination immersive offerings in their itineraries—an opportunity for travelers to fully immerse themselves in the nightlife, when culture, dining, and entertainment is just revving up.
- Another Azamara Club Cruises initiative made possible by spending more time in port is "Cruise Global, Eat Local," a program providing curated restaurant recommendations from knowledgeable onboard staff everywhere from Croatia to the Canary Islands.
- Try an adventure-packed expedition cruise! Patagonia, the Arctic Circle, the Galapagos—nearly every bucket-list destination is available to you on one of the adventurous expedition cruise on cruise lines like Lindblad Expeditions, Crystal Cruises, Uncruise Adventures and more. Sail alongside expert guides—naturalists, photographers, scientists and marine biologists—as you explore the farthest reaches of the globe accessing remote areas by helicopter, Kodiak or kayak.
Myth: Cruises are for old people, not for me
Though the myth of cruises being only for Seniors is starting to fade, some people still believe cruises are just bingo, buffets and bad "Broadway" shows. With today's diverse options, that couldn't be farther from the truth. There are cruises geared for every age, adventure and activity level. Whether you're young or old, with your family or on your Honeymoon, there's something amazing for you to experience.
- Luxurious spas. Private dinners. Unique excursions. Special in-room extras like champagne, fresh flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries. Cruises are one of the best options for couples looking for a romantic getaway.
- Do you want to explore? Are you a foodie? Traveling with kids? Do you want to enjoy the nightlife? Are water sports your thing? Traveling solo? Our CruiseInsider experts have the insight and information on every ship and every cruise to craft an experience perfectly suited to your wants and needs.
- Luxury lines such as Seabourn, Crystal Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises certainly accommodate all ages, but they're perfectly targeted toward the older set thanks to all-inclusive options, longer itineraries and on-board activities carefully curated for the 50+ crowd.
Myth: The cabins are small and stuffy
Just like a hotel, every ship is different and all staterooms are unique. Depending on what your preference is or what your pocketbook can withstand, there is a cabin for every kind of traveler. Sure, inside cabins and rooms with portholes do exist, but even standard staterooms on most cruise lines today are very comfortable.
- If you want open floor plans or true opulence, many ships offer multi-room suites that rival high-end condos and 5-star hotel amenities including 24-hour butler service, in-room spa features, state-of-the-art technology, and one-of-a-kind artwork.
- Some luxury cruise lines, like Regent Seven Seas Cruises, don't even offer inside accommodations. Each room has a verandah—everything from small patios to wraparound balconies—all with a beautiful ocean view.
- The priciest accommodations are usually the first ones to sell out. Why? Mid-ship and aft-facing balcony suites have the most dramatic views overlooking the ship's wake and the stunning vistas when arriving and departing from iconic ports-of-call. Book these in advance.
- Our experts know every ship's deck plan intimately. We'll ensure you're not next to noisy elevators, near any restaurants or entertainment venues, and far away from high-traffic areas so you don't have to endure the insistent late-night thump of the nightclub next door or the rearranging of pool furniture above your head.
Myth: Cruises can make you sick
Getting sick on a cruise is highly unlikely, however cruise lines take health and safety onboard very seriously. Every ship has procedures in place to help prevent the spread of germs and bacteria from mandatory hand sanitizers in common areas to rigorous food quality standards to crews "fist-bumping" passengers rather than traditional handshakes. Most ships also have a full-time doctor onboard in case of emergencies or unlikely illness.
Worried about seasickness? Even if you suffer from motion sickness during car rides or on airplanes, it's unlikely you will become seasick aboard a cruise ship. In fact, many people don't notice any motion at all. The sheer size of the ships, specialized stabilizers and the ship's officers being trained to set a course away from bad weather or bumpy seas all ensure the smoothest sailing possible.
- If you're sensitive to seasickness, opt for an ocean-view cabin (windows let you gaze at the stable horizon line) and something more mid-ship where wave action is less noticeable.
- If you're still concerned, consult with your doctor about preventative options. There are a variety of over-the-counter medications, adhesive patches, pressure-point wristbands and even certain foods and drinks that will calm or cure seasickness.
- The reality is you have about a 1 in 12,000 chance of picking up a virus aboard a cruise ship (compared to a 1 in 15 chance on land). You probably have a better chance of winning the slot machine's progressive payout in the ship's casino!
Myth: There's nothing to do, I'll be bored
Sure, if your perfect getaway consists of lying around all day or just chilling on a deck chair, all cruises will satisfy those desires. But if you want excitement and adventure on your vacation, cruises offer more activities than you can imagine. These include sports & games, shows & entertainment, interactive seminars, cooking lessons, water sports, fitness classes, ship tours, movies, arts & crafts, and so much more—and that's just what's available onboard.
- Paul Gauguin Cruises specially designed water sports platform transforms the back of the ship into your personal ocean playground complete with jet skis, windsurfing, paddleboard, snorkeling, kayaks and more. You can even dive with famed oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau on select sailings.
- Learn how to prepare a variety of exquisite dishes at your own fully equipped workstation in a state-of-the-art, hands-on cooking school at sea aboard Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Some voyages even allow you the chance to cook and learn alongside legendary Master Chef Jacques Pepin.
- Crystal Cruises renowned roster of complimentary enrichment invites you to pursue individual interests and challenge yourself to try new things. Discover a new language. Try your hand at learning the piano. Take a Tai Chi class. Channel your inner artist. Attend insightful lectures by noted authors and world leaders. Regardless of your interests, the choices are yours and the options are endless.
Myth: Do I really have to get all dressed up?
Few issues create as much confusion or contention among cruisers as onboard dress codes. Just about every cruise line has a dress code of some type and – especially at dinner – usually enforce the rules.
From “country-club casual” to “resort chic” to more formal requirements, each cruise lines’ dress code is different and dependent on the itinerary, the climate, the port-of-call, the type of cruise or even the Captain’s whims. The truth is, if you don’t want to dress up or be fancy, you don’t have to. (And don't worry, our advisors will go over this detail with you so you never feel out of place onboard!)
- In general, shorts, bathing suits and other more casual attire are appropriate during the daytime. Evening dress for gentlemen includes slacks or pants, closed-toe shoes, pressed collared shirt, jacket (if desired). For ladies, dress or skirt, blouse or casually elegant top, and pants are appropriate.
- Dress codes are enforced only for the ship's main dining room and higher-end restaurants. If you want to keep things relaxed or don't feel like dressing up, you can always eat in one of the alternate venues or order room-service.
- Doing laundry on board is easy. Most ships have do-it-yourself options including 24-hour, self-service laundry rooms with washers, dryers, detergent and ironing equipment. Want it done for you? Luxury liners have around-the-clock butler service, dry-cleaning options and even tailoring.
Myth: The food options aren't appealing
In fact, cruising is more geared to "foodies" than ever before. Today, many cruise ships are catering to uniquely modern and varied palettes. Luxury lines boast a broad range of gourmet dining options rivaling the world's top restaurants. World-renowned Master Chefs like Jacques Pepin, Todd English and Thomas Keller have inspired diverse and delicious menus. If you're into great food and gastronomic adventure, the culinary cruise options are elegant and endless.
- Regionally themed dishes and showcasing authentic local cuisines vary by cruise line and itinerary. Unusual spices, exotic fruit, and fiery chili peppers feature prominently on Silversea's Africa-to-Asian sailings and in the Spring, the Chefs on Tauck Cruises' newest river ships get their white asparagus from towns along the Danube, Rhine, and Moselle rivers.
- If you have a craving for a particular dish, tell your waiter or the dining room maître d'. On many ships, particularly the luxury lines, you can make a special off-menu order with advance notice.
- Most menus designate low-calorie or healthy choice options, and include a vegetarian appetizer and entrée. Azamara Club Cruises has customized "Chef's Table" dinners complete with gluten-free options and expert wine pairings. On Viking Cruises' Viking Star, you'll enjoy an incredible cold sushi and sashimi bar. SeaDream Yacht Club even offers a complete raw food menu.
Hopefully that helped clear up some myths about cruising, one of the best vacation values in the world.
Still unsure about whether a cruise is right for you? Want to learn more about a particular cruise line or destination? Interested in our exclusive deals and extras you can't find anywhere else?
Speak to a CruiseInsider expert toll-free at 1 (877) 734-6858 or request more information now and let us help make your next cruise the very best vacation you've ever taken!