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More and more Australians are choosing to go on a cruise for their holidays, so the demand for this relaxing and comfortable method of travel is on the rise. As the number of passengers steadily increases, there are some sceptics who can’t imagine themselves spending their holiday with so many people. You probably have a ton of questions, especially if you’re a first-time cruiser, and with these questions come misunderstandings and false perceptions. Here are the five most common cruise myths that we’d like to set straight for you.
1) Cruises are crowded, and there will be no room to relax.
Whether you’re sailing on a small ship or a large liner, you will be able to find more quiet spots on the ship than you’d think. Due to their size, smaller ships display a crowd-free, intimate atmosphere. Bigger vessels offer lots of space, both inside and out. Finding your favourite place to relax on board will be no problem!
If you cherish time spent alone, we recommend that you book a balcony stateroom. Imagine sitting out on the balcony, listening to the sounds of the sea and watching the seabirds and maybe even dolphins zip by the ship. Most cruise ships offer in-room breakfast, and where’s a better place to enjoy your breakfast and start the day than on the balcony of your stateroom? The view of the ocean waves rolling by can be absolutely marvellous.
Onboard spa and pool areas also offer plenty of space to relax. They are not always accessible to everyone but can be reserved on hourly or daily bases, sometimes for an extra charge. Cruisers can even plan shore excursions in a way that they don’t disembark with all the other passengers: This can be achieved by opting for a later tour or a tour with a participant limit or by letting others disembark first while you plan your tour.
This same logic applies when visiting restaurants or buffets. If you’re not set on eating during peak hours, you will always find a spot you’ll love. We recommend that you explore the ship thoroughly at the start of the cruise. Libraries and spas with designated relaxation and outdoor areas are just some of the areas where passengers can switch off. You’ll also be able to find some relaxed bars and lounges on board – often with panoramic windows – where you can just sit down with a book or enjoy the stunning views.
2) Cruises are not made for solo travellers
There are many good reasons why cruising is also for solo travellers. Even though the picture that comes to most people’s mind has changed over the last few years, cruise myths like cookie-cutter holidays and pushing and shoving on board are still here today. The opposite is actually the case: If you want to flee from the masses, there are plenty of opportunities to do so. The same goes for those who want to connect with their fellow passengers.
Destinations and areas that cruise ships travel to are what make cruise holidays so special, and there is a little bit of something for everyone. If you prefer to travel alone, you can do just that on a cruise. Most cruise ships offer a variety of excursions for passengers who don’t want to explore everything solo. One of the upsides here is that the cruise ship will wait if your tour returns a little bit later than planned. Cruise lines offer a diverse portfolio with a variety of options – from shore excursions to interior design – to serve all needs of their guests. As a cruiser, you can personalise your cruise holiday. The number of onboard and offboard entertainment options is steadily increasing. Event cruises offer varying attractions for all sorts of people. It has never been easier to meet and mingle with other cruisers who share similar interests.
3) Cruises enforce a conservative dress code
For some, they are the highlights of the cruise; for others, they are simply mandatory: the elegant evenings and the famous captain’s dinner. However, if you don’t want to partake in the more formal events, you don’t have to. No matter what cruise line you’re travelling with, these formal nights with multi-course dinners, a warm welcome from the crew, and a photo op with the captain are completely voluntary. If you decide to opt out, you may still go to the buffet, open throughout the evening and offering various cuisines.
But fear not: You won’t be alone. Some cruise lines, like Norwegian Cruise Line, push for a more relaxed environment without a dress code. If you still want to be prepared for these evening events, you can read up about the dress code in the travel documents you receive after booking. Even though evening wear is standard, we recommend bringing some options because longer voyages put on several festive nights.
4) Guests must eat dinner at set mealtimes
The topic of set mealtimes is also one of the most common cruise myths. Most times, our idea of cruising is outdated: An evening meal with scheduled times, set seating, and the same company. Many passengers appreciate having the same dining companions every night and enjoy talking about one another’s days. These dinner get-togethers are especially common on older cruises, divided into an early dinner session and a later one. Flash forward to today, where more cruise lines don’t stick to set mealtimes anymore and promote flexibility dining. Because the needs of passengers are everchanging, cruise lines must adapt to suit them. Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, is one of the first cruise lines to have adapted to the dining needs of its passengers.
5) Everything on board is all-inclusive
Cruises are jampacked with features, which include far more than the cruise itself and your stateroom on board. The extent to which what is included varies from one cruise ship to another, but generally, main meals with accompanying tea, coffee, and water, using public areas and facilities, and entertainment in lounges and theatres are all included in the cruise fare. Some cruise lines offer even more, ranging from one or two extra amenities to all-inclusive experiences. These all-inclusive cruise packages are attracting more and more passengers, but not all all-inclusive cruises are packaged the same way. Despite the name, they don’t always include everything. Upon closer inspection, differences usually emerge when comparing beverage options, culinary offers, internet allowance, and gratuities. Most all-inclusive cruises cover restaurants in the cruise fare, but a meal at a specialty restaurant will cost extra. The same applies to very exclusive beverages. However, some cruise lines really do include everything, especially those in the luxury sector. As a rule of thumb, remember this: Only what is stated in the offer is what’s really included.
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