If you have actually been on a cruise ship before, then you know that they can be a fantastic experience. An all-inclusive, all-in-one-place holiday, what could possibly be bad about that? Today there are even bigger and better attractions and entertainment available on cruises, truly giving people a unique and relaxing trip on the ocean. However, advertisements can often be somewhat deceptive… We are not denying the fact that some cruise ships are truly massive, and provide luxury services and experiences that go way beyond what you can imagine! But not all cruise ships are created equally.
All Aboard! – What We Think It’s Like
This is where all the excitement begins. You have everything packed in your suitcase, you have made the journey from your home to the ship, and bleary-eyed (if it was an early morning leaving time), you see the ship in all its glory, just waiting for you. The towering, calm giant of entertainment and adventure. All there is left to do is walk on up there, go up some stairs, give a person your ticket, and it all begins, right?
All Aboard! – What It’s Really Like
Well, maybe not. Although that all sounded really nice and dreamy, not to mention quick and painless, in reality, there is usually at least an hour-long wait where all you can do is stare at the ship, willing the line to get shorter, and for your holiday to begin. These lines are often quite disorderly, with people and their bags strewn everywhere. You are generally forced to stand outside, whether it be rain or shine, and it can take a while to board. So you are left waiting, and waiting, and waiting.
Rooftop Hot Tubs – What We Think It’s Like
Ah, the image of a gorgeously luxurious and relaxing hot tub on the deck of some wonderful cruise ship. The sun is shining, and you are melting in the hot bubbling water, maybe with your partner, but both with plenty of legroom. You have it all to yourselves; peace, quiet, and bliss. It feels like you could do water aerobics if you wanted to, while watching others strolling leisurely by on the deck below. Well… This might be less reality and more fantasy…
Rooftop Hot Tubs – What It’s Really Like
Gosh… Now that picture depicts reality a little more closely. We are sorry to be the ones to break it to you, but the romance in the hot tub on a cruise ship is not quite realistic, unless you want to share the romance with another few naked and overweight individuals. The same can be said for the legroom. Dream on. It seems that there is a running theme here of the well-known little game, “how many grown adults can this little hot tub fit in before all the water overflows?” So don’t get your expectations too high when it comes to hot tub relaxation.
Swimming Pools – What We Think It’s Like
Swimming pools on cruise ships are usually one of their main attractions, and one of the biggest selling points. Otherwise, what are you going to do stranded at sea, day after day? Similarly to the hot tub idea, you probably think of this wonderful pool area that is reminiscent of a private beach somewhere, but with water slides included. Kind of like a water park but without all the screaming children. And there is no line for any of the slides because there is no people-traffic, it is simply serene. Sorry to be the bearers of bad news again…
Swimming Pools – What It’s Really Like
Well, that might not be the case. In fact, probably everyone thought similarly to you, and all flocked to the pool. Only to find that half the vacationers are now at the pool and it is not quiet, relaxing, or peaceful. They are always full of people and always somehow smaller than you imagined. Some cruise ships do have a number of pools, so not everyone is all crammed into one area. But still, it may be pretty hard to live up to expectations of utter luxury. If you don’t mind children who are not your own asking you for a piggyback ride to get to the shallow end, then you have nothing to worry about.
Sleeping Quarters – What We Think It’s Like
If you have not been on a cruise ship before then it might be hard to imagine what the sleeping quarters may look like. Or, in other words, your bedroom for the entirety of the trip. Many of us probably imagine either a large luxurious room as seen in swanky hotels, or maybe something we saw in a movie. Certainly a room that belongs to the rich and famous. Well, the photo here is in fact a real room on a cruise ship named The World, but this room costs nearly $9,000, per night! So you may say, that that is not something most of us can casually afford… The truth is, there are very few cruise ship rooms that look like this!
Sleeping Quarters – What It’s Really Like
In reality, a large majority of rooms on a cruise ship (depending on the type of luxury you are paying for too, of course, as the previous price mark and photo showed us) actually look less like a hotel room. The reality is more like, well, what they are: a small ship cabin (many with bunk beds) that will make the memory of your college dorm room seem like luxury. Ok, we might be exaggerating a tiny bit with the photo – they are not quite like jail cells, nor as grimy as this photo implies. But you will be lucky if you don’t have to squeeze between the wall and the bed to get to the tiny bathroom. Then again, it also really depends how much you are willing to pay…
The Cruise Ship Bathroom – What We Think It’s Like
If you have never had any sort of cruise ship experience, you may have no real image in your mind of what the ensuite bathrooms are like. Your only reference may be a hotel room or something you saw in the movie Titanic. If so, unless you are on a $9,000 a night budget, you might have to think more in line with the rooms passengers in Dicaprio’s character’s ‘class’ had… This one also varies quite a lot, depending on the kind of cruise and ship. In many cases, you might be grossly disillusioned, especially if you are imagining marble countertops, gold taps, or private jacuzzis…
The Cruise Ship Bathroom – What It’s Really Like
If you are not spending a ton on this holiday, then you may have to lower your expectations slightly. You can anticipate slightly more linoleum walls and brightly colored ceramics that belong in the ‘70s and haven’t been redone since the ship was built. It might be better to imagine something closer to a bathroom in a youth hostel. We might have exaggerated again a bit with this photo, really showing you the worst of seaborne bathrooms. There are many much nicer ones available at affordable prices, we just want to help manage expectations.
Ocean Sightseeing – What We Think It’s Like
The idea of sailing across the big blue, catching sight after sight of magnificent marine wildlife, is a commonly held one. Where dolphins swim and play right by you and whales splash their magnificent tails just yards away. How magical. Basically, the idea of being at Sea World, but for real and in the wild, draws in both younger and older demographics. These hopeful would-be voyagers think that going on a cruise is something close to a whale watching tour. The kind where people travel to excitingly populated areas of the ocean. Not quite…
Ocean Sightseeing – What It’s Really Like
If you want to be a little more realistic about the sightseeing opportunities on a cruise ship, then you should probably think more about seeing a huge expanse of blue. Sadly, that’s about it. Remember, the seven seas cover an endless expanse, and you are in the ocean, not a marine wildlife acrobatic show. So, we recommend getting used to the idea of seeing all that blue, every day, and being surrounded on all sides by water. There won’t be much else that you can see at the very least. If you can do serene, and you don’t need excitement, then this is for you.
The Life of Employees – What We Think It’s Life
Some might think that the wages people get paid on a cruise ship must be phenomenal. And that they also get to mix with people from all over the world through their jobs. Those people they mingle with must be charming because, well, they are on a cruise. Surely they also get to see all sorts of exotic places on the way? How fantastic. Well, it might not be quite as exciting or fancy as it seems…
The Life of Employees – What It’s Really Like
Let us begin by saying that if you thought the guests’ rooms were on the small side, then you haven’t seen the employees’ quarters yet. Their rooms are mostly bunk beds and are seriously pokey in size. Ship employees suffer through long working hours. Also, consider that they don’t get to go home after work – for a few weeks or months at a time! To the job’s credit, although it may not be as luxurious as you imagined, it can still be quite a cool experience for a time and they do save a bit of money as they don’t really have any expenses.
The Dining Experience – What We Think It’s Like
Many professional photos shown to us online on various cruise-websites can give us the impression that all food served on cruises is basically gourmet, not to mention the endless varieties of cuisine available, of fresh wonderfully vibrant variety… Something in you just somehow expects, or maybe just wants, that there will be a five-star dining experience with every meal, a pristine buffet table, and wonderful exotic dishes that you have to ask a staff member how you pronounce it’s name.
The Dining Experience – What It’s Really Like
So we are not saying that some of that might not be true, that there may be some wonderful fresh food on cruise ships, but we also just want to remind you that they are feeding thousands of people every day, three times a day, so quality is not usually the central focus. Again, of course, it very much depends what kind of budget the trip is, and if you are on one of the more expensive ships, it might be totally different. But in the majority of cases, cafeteria-buffett is more the style you should be imagining.
Crew Members Pull Pranks On Passengers
Being at sea can get pretty monotonous and boring, and as a way to make things a bit more interesting, cruise ship staff sometimes pull pranks on passengers, usually nothing harmful or dramatic of course, as you could get fired on the spot! According to one anonymous cruise worker who spoke to Mental Floss, “A favorite was while in a passenger area say to another crew member, loud enough to be heard by passengers, ‘Meet you in the bowling alley tonight!’” Of course, there wasn’t actually a bowling alley on board. “Then we’d wait for the comment cards to come in: ‘Why do crew get a bowling alley when we don’t?’” Hilarious.
Unsold Cabins Must Be Filled – You Could Be In Luck
Cruise ships are often prepared to leave the port with a ship at full capacity, which means the right amount of staff too. Unsold cabins onboard the ship mean that the liner is losing money. So what you might not know, is that passengers can actually benefit from this, by purchasing a cruise line experience at a cheaper price. If you are able and don’t mind booking only one or two months in advance, and don’t mind having a cabin without a balcony, then this is a sweet deal. You can get all the newest information and deals if you subscribe to cruise liner’s mailing lists. Also, you can go online one week before the final payment is due, and perform a ‘mock booking’, then you can see which cabins are still available for lower rates.
Strange Requests Crew Members Get
If you are ever looking for a really bizarre story, just find someone in the hospitality and service industry and you will most likely be presented with a goldmine of weirdness. Experienced crew members are pretty used to getting strange requests from passengers while onboard. Apparently young people frequent many of these strange requests. According to USA Today “Some young couples ask, ‘Could you make some towel animals for adults?’ They want naughty animals,” she said. “I say, ‘Sorry, I cannot give you that.’”
Getting Fat Tips
In fact, although a cruise ship worker saves money while onboard, a significant part of their monthly wages comes from tips. So a bubbly, friendly, smiley personality will make it easier to make more cash onboard. But worry not, most cruise lines have a mandatory gratuity which is split among all the employees. The wages are not all that bad when it comes down to it really. Many manage to send quite a bit of money home to their families, they basically have no expenses while on board, so a little really goes a long way.