To cruise or not to cruise...that is
the question. To help you decide, we debunk the myths and reveal the
truths of romancing at sea. Here are some common questions and straight
answers to help clear up any cruise confusion.
1) Isn't cruising just for old people?
Who are you calling old? There are cruises for every age group, and every
age group is on every cruise. The more expensive lines with longer
itineraries tend to cater to an older clientele. Feel out the vibe before
you book by finding out how many bars are onboard and what type of
nightlife and activities are available. (Most seniors we know won't be
rock climbing on Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas, for example.)
2) Will I get cabin fever?
Consider this: Outside rooms have windows -- or you can book one with a
private veranda -- and even inside rooms have lots of mirrors (hubba hubba!)
for a more spacious feel. Then there is the long list of activities that
await you under the open sky. Cruising liberates your mind: Because you
don't have to bother with the standard travel nuisances --hopping planes
between cities, packing and repacking, making restaurant reservations --
you can relax and concentrate on other, ahem, pursuits like...movies,
lectures, casinos, and sports galore.
3) What size are the beds or, gasp, berths?
Double, queen, and/or king beds are available on all ships for your
4) Will I feel rushed in port or be stuck with an unwieldy tour group?
Time ashore is all yours. Although shore excursions with local operators
can be arranged before you disembark, you are under no obligation to sign
up or stay with the group. Like any other trip, you're free to strike off
on your own walking tour, rent a scooter, or shop at your leisure.
Typically you have 8 to 12 hours on shore to explore and absorb -- plenty
of time to go river rafting, biking, riding horses, climbing pyramids,
sailing, snorkeling, or just parking on the beach.
5) Is every meal an over-the-top, feed-the-masses buffet?
It's true that breakfast, lunch, and a midnight snack often come in the
form of a buffet, but with up to ten restaurants and room service, you
always have options. Pepperoni pizza in your room at 2:00 a.m.? No
problem! (And don't write off buffets so quickly -- Norwegian Cruise Lines
offers a weekly chocoholics buffet!) Militant foodies, however, may want
to spring for one of the tonier lines to guarantee gourmet eats. Also, if
you have any special dietary requests or needs --vegetarian or kosher
meals, for example -- the ship can accommodate with prior notice.
Will we have assigned seating?
It's true that most cruises have assigned seats at dinner but about half
offer tables for two, and none mandate that you eat with people you
detest. Simply ask the maitre d' to move you to another table, check out
one of the many other restaurants onboard, or order room service (and
relish the view from your veranda). Another tip: If your ship has two
dinner seatings, the later one usually draws younger couples and gives you
ample time to unwind after a day in the sun.
7) Will roving bands of screaming children wielding pool floats bulldoze
No cruise lines ban children, but you can increase your percentage of
scream-free hours by sailing during the school year and avoiding
8) Will I feel seasick?
Well, one too many pina coladas aside, probably not. Obviously, the bigger
the ship, the less swells, although the most popular cruise areas have
calm waters. Add modern ship stabilizers, accurate weather forecasting,
and medications such as Bonine or Dramamine (free at the purser's desk),
and even the weakest stomach will feel right at home.