Cruise Ship Expectations Versus Reality

Cruise ships are well known for being luxurious vacations that take you to exotic destinations and at the same time provide you with all the comfort of a five-star hotel. However, things are not as rosy as they seem, or as pretty as they look on catalog pictures. A cruise can actually be quite disappointing once you get to experience them for yourself. And there are some nasty surprises on the way.

The Captain

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Did you think the captain would come and greet you personally at the beginning of the trip? You would be surprised how many people still expect this personal touch, but you should forget all about it. You will most likely never even see the captain, let alone shake hands with him.

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Rooms

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Oh the wonderful accommodation of the cruise ships. We all dream of staying in a luxury room, overlooking the open seas, but actually, that could not be further from the truth. Rooms are small and stuffy, and you can only dream about any kind of view most of the time. 

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Bathrooms

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Image Credit: Getty Images

If the rooms are not much to look at, you can just imagine what the bathrooms must be like. Coming here with all your face masks and perfumes might not be the smartest idea, as you will be hard-pressed to find a shelf to put them on.  

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Boarding 

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Image Credit: Getty Images

When you paid so much money for a cruise experience, you are naturally expecting quite an entrance to the ship. Boarding the ship is an experience many look forward to, as it is the true beginning of their ocean adventure. But you can forget the glamour, and get ready for some good old crowds at the gates instead. No selfies here!

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Jacuzzi

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Jacuzzis are some of the most popular spa activities of any cruise ship but don’t go thinking you will have them all to yourself. Be prepared to share with tens of others, and also wait in line to get in. Not exactly what you might have pictured!

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Image Credit: Guitar Singapore Travels

Pools

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Image Credit: Unsplash

There are crowds everywhere on cruise ships, so naturally, they all make use of the pools on a hot summer day. What might have seemed like a serene spot to sip your cocktail has now turned into a nightmare of party people and children on slides. 

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Casino

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Perhaps you would like to do some gambling while onboard? Naturally, you can, as every cruise ship comes with a casino. But don’t expect it to look like the one in Monaco. You will most likely be playing slot machines instead of high stakes poker. 

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Ocean Views

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Coming to sail on a cruise ship, you would think that you will have plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful ocean views, brimming with aquatic life. You could not be further from the truth. Mostly, you will be staring at an endless open field of flat water, so don’t even bother hoping for dolphins.

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Food

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Food isn’t exactly the selling point of cruise ships, as we all know it tends to be pretty bad. However, many of us don’t understand just how unluxurious eating time onboard is. Try to forget about silver cutlery or ten-course meals.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Entertainment

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Movies might have had us convinced that only the best bands come to play live on board cruise ships, but the opposite is true. Most likely, you will be hearing recordings from the speakers, and even if a band is sailing with you onboard, it probably isn’t the best one. 

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Parties

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Some of you might like to think that cruise ships have great party scenes, but you should think again. The performers and music tend to be pretty terrible, and the crowds get intoxicated fast. Definitely not a high-end party!

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Destinations

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Image Credit: Unsplash

One of the main reasons for choosing a cruise ship is all the beautiful destinations it takes you to. Or so would the cruise company have you believe. Although they advertise pristine islands in their catalogs, you will very often be parked at the pier side of them, and those tend to be decisively more ugly.

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Romance

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Are you taking a trip with your loved one? Is this your honeymoon or anniversary sailing? We hate to break it to you, but the romance on board won’t be like you expect it. Although the sunsets are stunning, the masses of people will prevent you from enjoying them in privacy. And who wants to share special moments with strangers?

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Weather

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Image Credit: Unsplash

We all know the weather at open seas is unpredictable, and yet we all choose to forget that fact. Expecting sunshine and warmth might be one of the biggest mistakes we can make when boarding a cruise ship. If you are lucky, you won’t get into the eye of the storm. But there is no guarantee!

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Beaches

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Ah the wonderful beaches you were promised when booking a cruise ship. Unfortunately, due to human pollution, the nature on our planet doesn’t look like it used to, and you might find yourself on beaches covered with trash, even if in the middle of nowhere!

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Lines

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Image Credit: Getty Images

If you thought coming to a cruise ship is going to mean preferential treatment and luxury, forget about it. You will have to spend your hours queueing up for regular stuff, like security, and that is just the beginning of a holiday spent in line behind the hundreds of other guests doing exactly the same. 

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Cash Payments

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Image Credit: Unsplash

You would assume that boarding a large ship, and spending a lot of money to do so, would guarantee you smooth sailing, with all necessities included. But beware of the extras that you will have to pay for onboard, like drinks for example. Most cruise ships don’t even accept card payments, so come prepared with plenty of cash.

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Ocean Swims

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Swimming in the peaceful ocean in the middle of nowhere seems like a dream, and something you would expect a cruise ship cruise to deliver. But be ready to share your private piece of paradise with other eager swimmers. Not so much an idyllic setting after all!

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Restaurants With A View

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Not everything onboard cruise ships is like you imagine it! If you were hoping for sunlit breakfasts with views to the open seas in front, you might be disappointed. Some restaurant spaces have no windows and tend to be pretty grim, and we won’t even mention the quality of the food again.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Luxury Decks

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Dreaming of strolling up and down luxurious decks in your best Sunday clothes is something we can relate to, but sometimes, cruise ships might not deliver. If you had the idea that all decks looked like from the movies, you will be surprised to realize most of them are actually more like ferry ships, and there is nothing luxurious about them. 

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Daily Maintenance

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Cruise ships, like all other structures, need to be maintained, especially if hosting such large amounts of guests. This is why you might sometimes be surprised to look outside your window in the morning, still in pajamas, and be met with a window cleaner, happily going about his job while you try to quickly close the curtains. Privacy can be limited!

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Fitness

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Staying fit onboard a cruise ship should be relatively easy. After all, there is plenty of space to jog around the decks, or do other exercises in the open air, while the sea breeze gushes around you refreshingly. But don’t go thinking the decks will be empty for you to do all that! You might struggle a bit with space.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Gyms

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Speaking of fitness, cruise ships are also famous for their luxury gyms, complete with stunning views. When you run on a treadmill, you should be able to look out to the vast seas, but this is only a dream in some cases. Gyms onboard can also look pretty dodgy, and not at all what we would have expected.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Balcony Privacy

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Imagine you are at your private balcony, sipping a drink in the afternoon with your loved one, talking about the nice things in life. You would assume you would have some privacy for your conversation, but think twice, because right next to you, a couple is doing exactly the same, and you can all hear each other perfectly. Maybe take the private conversations inside!

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Age Group

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Cruises are well known for the fact that it is mostly senior citizens who board them, and you might want to consider this before you purchase your trip. There will be plenty of bingo nights, but if you are looking for a different kind of entertainment, you might not be the happiest being stuck on a ship with hundreds of older people who have different lifestyle preferences.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Souvenirs

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Bringing home souvenirs from the places you stop at on your cruise ship holidays can be lovely, but be prepared to bring home a lot of very touristy and overpriced goods. The cruise ship stops are well aware of the masses of tourists coming there, and get ready with the worst products possible, for the highest price imaginable.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Peace and Quiet

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Coming out to a cruise ship, sailing the wide-open waters of the seas and oceans, you would think you would get some peace and quiet for yourself. But remember what cruise ships are- massive entertainment centers on water! If it is peace and quiet you are after, look elsewhere!

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Accidents

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Because cruise ships serve drinks, and because people are on holiday, things onboard can sometimes get a bit out of hand. Not to mention the often damp decks, which tend to be very slippery are exceptionally accident-prone, so you better have some sort of medical insurance when you board.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Mess On Board

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Cruise ships host hundreds of people at the same time, and this can pose a real challenge for the cleaning staff. Making sure everything is kept in tip-top condition is not always possible though, and you will inevitably stumble upon the remnants of last night's party somewhere at some point.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Crowds

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Image Credit: Getty Images

We can not emphasize enough the extreme crowds on cruise ships. If you are hoping to have a relaxing holiday onboard, and get some space for yourself, you will simply not get it! Be prepared to battle with people for lounge chairs, good restaurant seats, or even space in the pool!

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Party Friends

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Image Credit: Getty Images

You might be coming to a cruise ship to party, in which case you will be looking for the best party buddies out these. But that might be a harder task than expected. Sometimes, you might just end up on the dancefloor by yourself, while the cool kids are having a good time somewhere else.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Activities

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Image Credit: Getty Images

While there might seemingly be plenty of choice in terms of activities on board, you will inevitably be a little bit limited as to what you can actually do. Some places, like the pool areas or gyms, will be crowded, leaving you with fewer options for entertainment. Dry-land curling anyone?

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Seasickness

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Image Credit: Getty Images

If you’ve ever been on a ship, you know seasickness is a real problem. Even if you haven’t felt it yourself, a cruise ship might just change that. The constant moving of the whole structure makes you completely lose your sense of balance, and you will be praying for solid ground.

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Karaoke

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Cruise ships are famous for their karaoke bars, and crowds stream down to them each night. If you are particularly looking forward to this part of the holiday, you might want to reconsider. Having to sit through hours of terrible singing can be off-putting, to say the least, and not many cruise ship guests seem to be talented singers.

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Image Credit: Getty Images

Making New Friends

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Image Credit: Unsplash

Yes, cruise ships are a place to socialize, but you should be careful about who you associate yourself with. Don’t get sucked into a party group if that is not what you are looking for, but do make an effort to make new connections while you are on board. Some might turn into great friendships. 

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Image Credit: Getty Images

There you have it, the reality of cruise ships! Not what you expect is it? You do have to make sure to be prepared for some surprises onboard, and definitely don’t go expecting perfect sailing. While some of you might get lucky and have a stellar experience, chances are, the cruise will let you down in one way or another. 

Sources: Twenty Two Words, Insider, Business InsiderWorldation

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