Cruises have long been a vacation plan for families. They seem like a great idea—little planning, endless food, a handful of destinations, and plenty of entertainment for the whole family.
A great idea, indeed—until you find yourself on a ship for seven days with the same people all sleeping in 10-square-foot cabins, eating the same food day after day. Needless to say, cruises can have their issues. Here is a list of reasons why you should not take a cruise.
Laws Are Different At Sea
When you go on a cruise, you’re trying to relax on vacation. Then you add into the mix of the confines of the ship and how most everyone is cheerful and in a good mood and so your guard goes down a bit. You feel relaxed enough to maybe not take every caution you would if you were staying in a hotel in Cancun since you’re on this massive ship. Plus, if you’re coming from the United States it’s a very Americanized feeling.
However, once you leave the U.S., you’re actually governed by whichever territory the ship is in and which flag they raise, as discussed in this NPR interview. The laws you have to follow could be different. The FBI has jurisdiction over crimes against American citizens but when you’re on a cruise ship, the chances of having any evidence involved a crime not be tampered with is slim to none. If anything happens, the only police on board are hired cruise security; otherwise you have to wait until the next destination.
You Really Need to Watch Your Safety
People go on vacation to leave their worries behind, but unfortunately, trouble can find you anywhere—and that includes on your cruise ship holiday. Our video below provides the details:
You’re Bound to Make Unhealthy Choices
If you have ever been to an all-inclusive resort you probably know that the food can be a little iffy here and there. Especially at the buffets. Since cruises often offer the all-inclusive deal and it’s especially easy to hit those 24-hour buffets, especially with kids, you have to be extra cautious of a few things.
Cooking for a ship full of people can mean the food has to be easy and quick, which often results in things that are fried like chicken fingers and fries. The nicer, table-service restaurants must cater to a wide range of tastes and often offer large dishes full salty carbs, which can lead to dehydration.
Food is always available and the fact you’ve already paid a pretty penny for it can also make you feel like you have to eat your money’s worth, which could result in overeating.
Even when you think you’re being healthy, you may not be. A cruise in the tropics could bring some of the best fruit in the world onboard, but be mindful of how much sugar is in fruit. The more sugar you eat higher you may rise, but the harder you’ll fall when the sugar rush ends.
You’re More Likely To Get Sunburnt
Not only does the sun’s UV rays cause wrinkles and aging, it can also lead to sun stroke and, in worse cases, cause skin cancer. Getting a sunburn once every two years can more than triple your risk of getting skin cancer.
The pain can also be unbearable for a truly bad burn and would definitely ruin your vacation. However, did you know that you’re at a greater risk for a sunburn on a cruise ship?
When you are on a cruise, you are generally in the sun for close to 80 percent of your day. Whether you’re on the deck of the ship or at port and walking around town, a typical cruise will have a tropical theme to all of its destinations.
In addition to being in the sun constantly, another reason there are so many sunburns on cruises is due to the reflection from the water from the ocean, the many pools, and even the sand on the beaches at your excursion destinations. Factor in a cool breeze when the ship is moving and you may not even feel your skin getting burned.
You’ll Probably Experience Seasickness
There is a reason people get sick on boats: the visual disorientation works against our bodies’ natural inclination to be balanced. Though you aren’t likely to die from seasickness any time soon, the nausea, cramps, and even vomiting can ruin your long-awaited trip.
Unfortunately, most people experience it at least once on a cruise, whether it’s thanks to the not-so-gentle rocking as you settle into bed or just looking out the windows as you walk perpendicularly to them.
If you are ever seasick, the best thing to do is focus on the horizon so your vision can settle. Your body will be struggling to understand the motion happening, so giving it a solid focus point is key. Of course there are over-the-counter medications that you should stock up on, as well. If you don’t have any or the ship’s store is out (for shame!), ginger and green apples are supposed to help.
No one can predict the nature of the seas so try to be prepared in case a storm hits and causes choppy waves.
There Have Been Reports of Bed Bugs
One of the biggest complaints about people who take cruises is their uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, including the tiny room sizes and comfort (or lack thereof) of the beds.
Even worse than these bed-related complaints? There have also been numerous reports of bed bugs in four of the major cruise line companies from around the world.
The constant influx of people moving in and out of the cabins at the destinations and stops all over the world has brought one of the worst pests known to man aboard even the most luxurious of liners. Now there is a ban on DDT, which is a chemical used to kill bed bugs, so they’re becoming more prevalent, particularly in North American destinations.
Luckily, there’s some expert advice you can follow to avoid the bed bugs’ bite: never store your luggage underneath the bed and never unpack your clothes on the ground. Bed bugs stay with you as well, so be extra careful when you get off the ship and head back to your home. Be sure to wash everything in hot water. Twice.
Norovirus has received a lot of attention lately due to the severity of several outbreaks among cruise ships. While your chances of experiencing something truly disgusting are low, norovirus is stereotypically (but also unfairly) known as a “cruise ship virus.”
However, the virus isn’t just on cruise ships. Really! Fun fact: health officials are required to track illnesses on ships, but not on land, so outbreaks are reported more quickly and more often, leading to the perception of it being a seaborne illness. Norovirus can actually be spread anywhere where people are in very close quarters of one another, including hotels and hospitals. But let’s be honest—when you’re on a cruise ship for a week, you can’t really get much closer than that.
Norovirus is second only to the common cold in terms of contagiousness and results in stomach pains, diarrhea, and dehydration. It is spread through food and water and also by human contact with someone who has it.
So if you use a crowded bathroom, eat in a busy cafeteria, or try your luck at the casino—all places that exist on a cruise ship—you’ve got a chance of contracting the nasty virus.
There is more information about the virus and cruise ships here. Plus, you can always look at the Center for Disease Control for more information, as any cruise that has a reported cause of norovirus must let the CDC know so they can document it.
You Could Experience a “Poop Cruise”
Ships are prone to problems at sea and there is always a risk of things going wrong. What’s worse about cruises is that being in a limited area increases the severity of issues; there’s not much anyone can do if things do go south. We’ve already told you all about norovirus, but just to make sure you fully understand the related risks, look no further than the 2013 outbreak on one of the world’s most popular cruise lines.
This ship, which CNN dubbed “The Poop Cruise,” made headlines back in 2013 for—you guessed it—an outbreak of waste. There were more than 4,000 people on board of the Carnival Triumph when a fire broke out and ruptured the entire ship’s electrical circuit, causing the power to go out.
The ship sat stranded for four days until it could be towed into harbor. That means nothing worked on the ship—including bathrooms. Human waste was literally piling up in bags along the hallways.
“Just on our deck alone, there were the biohazard bags lined up across the floor,” Bettina Rodriguez said, who was vacationing on the ship with her daughter. “We’re talking about raw sewage at just the end of our deck alone. It was repulsive.”
Doesn’t sound like our idea of a good time. Travelers, you’ve been warned.