I have done 110 cruises. Here are 7 myths I want to debunk for hesitant beginner cruisers

I’ve been on over 100 cruises and love this way of travelling.Robert L. Willett

  • I’ve spent decades doing over 100 cruises and heard a lot of misconceptions about them.

  • Cruises don’t always have to be super expensive and seasickness is no guarantee.

  • I don’t think cruises are boring – and they’re not just for old people either.

I waited 20 years to get on a cruise ship and I’m now at 110.

In my decades of cruising, I’ve learned that there are plenty of reasons people are nervous about taking their first cruise. I can easily relate to some of them, but I now think this type of trip is worth trying at least once – you, like me, might even get hooked.

Here’s my breakdown of some common cruising myths that can keep people from giving this type of travel a chance.

MYTH: Only rich people can afford cruises

I always thought cruising involved a lot of money, so it took me years to look at the real cost. Finally, as my wife pointed out after research, the actual price was much lower than the brochure figures.

Keep an eye out for deals and specials – many cruises offer discounted packages and fares that can make them more affordable. You can also consider shorter cruises that only last three or four days, which tend to be cheaper than those lasting longer than a week.

Just be sure to watch your onboard expenses too – temptation can be everywhere, but a little willpower and a periodic check of your bar bill can help you stay in line.

cruise ship

I thought cruises would be too expensive for me, but you can get some great dealsVintagepix/Shutterstock

MYTH: Everyone gets seasick on a cruise

Having sailed across the Atlantic and Pacific on Army troop ships, I have found seasickness to be one of the worst experiences imaginable. Additionally, you are committed to a fairly tight schedule on a cruise, which means limited stops ashore and therefore little hope for relief.

But many large cruise ships today have modern outriggers, so you might not even feel the rocking waves. Sometimes the movement is more like vibrations and passengers may forget they are at sea.

Seasickness doesn’t happen to everyone either – and if you start to feel seasick you can try to manage it with special bands and medication.

MYTH: Cruises are only for the elderly

Some younger people may not want to go on cruises because they think only old people do. It might have been common years ago, but today there are so many different lines and ships that target adults, families, and all kinds of groups.

For example, a young family might think twice about taking Holland American cruises, which are popular with older adults, but be drawn to Carnival, which is known to cater to families.

If you’re unsure if a cruise is right for you and your party, check out its ports, activities, and itineraries.

cruise ship deck

Some cruise ships are specifically for families or adults only.Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

MYTH: Being locked on a boat for a week will get really boring

A common concern that I have heard, but find difficult to understand, is that being locked up on a ship for seven or 10 days will get really boring.

In reality, all entertainment features, activities and ports are more likely to wear you out. I’ve been bowling on boats, playing bumper cars, ziplining on the upper decks, and nearly doing a simulated skydiving tunnel before deflating.

Don’t be afraid to get bored. Instead, worry about your pace.

MYTH: Cabins are way too small for you to have a positive experience

Cruise cabins are often very small, but if you don’t like your room, you can simply spend more time elsewhere on the ship. There are tons of lounges and activities on board anyway.

You can also determine if it’s worth paying for more space. Inside cabins are generally the cheapest and smallest. For more money, you can get a window or a balcony – or you can upgrade to a suite.

For some, it might be better to do fewer cruises with nice suites instead of many cruises with decent staterooms.

View of a ship's main dining room with blue floors, red chairs and white tablecloths

My Myths Busted may not relieve your worries about cruising, but it’s worth it.EWY Media/Shutterstock

MYTH: Cruise ships are too formal

One of my first concerns was that some ships are very formal in the evening when it comes to dress codes and activities.

But even though many ships have formal nights (one or two for a seven-day cruise is the norm), you have options if you don’t want to participate. You also don’t need to rent a tux or buy a long dress – dress codes can be quite flexible. Just be sure to check them out before browsing.

Plus, you can always eat at the buffet or another dining room on the ship if you really want to avoid formal evenings.

MYTH: Restricted meal times make it hard to get food when you’re hungry

Years ago, cruising was relatively formal and your dining room and table companions were pre-assigned. Today, most cruises have flexible meal times or, at the very least, serve at least some kind of food all day.

Some lines, like Norwegian Cruise Line, offer freestyle dining where you eat when and where you want, with no set times or preassigned seats.

That said, keep an open mind about pre-assigned meals – you might find it more enjoyable than you think. I loved being in the same group and having the same server every night who could remember my preferences and quirks.

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