The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and CruiseCritic.com field a lot of questions from first-time cruisers.
“For travelers considering a cruise for the first time, the unknown can sometimes be a bit overwhelming,” says Colleen McDaniel, senior executive editor of CruiseCritic.com.
She adds that with so many cruise options, you can find one to fit your travel needs, whether you’re looking for a big ship with tons of activities or a low-key small ship with fewer crowds. “The most important thing is to make note of what’s essential to you, read reviews and ask a cruise specialist to find the perfect match,” she says.
Here are their answers to the most common cruise questions they receive.
How can I keep busy on days at sea?
Cruise lines have been outdoing each other with unique onboard offerings to keep boredom at bay. We’ve seen an ice skating rink, a bowling alley, a skydiving simulator, drag racing and massive water slides, just to name a few. Cruise lines have plenty of activities to suit a range of interests, from surfing to zip lining to cooking demonstrations.
Is cruising fun for all age groups?
Cruising is the perfect travel option to satisfy all age groups, thanks to the wide range of dining and entertainment options available. Multiple generations can find something fun to do, from bumper cars and water parks, to Broadway-style shows and farm-to-table dinners. Groups also have the freedom to split up and do their own thing by day, and easily meet up again in the evening. Working with a travel agent ensures travelers of all ages will find the best cruise for every personality.
Can cruising be a healthy vacation?
Expect an array of 24-hour dining options, from sushi and seafood to Italian and French. It’s all very tempting, but do your best to stick to the mealtimes and snacks you would normally eat at home. In buffet lines, load up your plate with fruit and vegetables to fill you up. Stick to your workout routine by hitting the onboard gym, running track or a fitness class. And don’t worry about that food allergy: Cruise lines cater to various dietary restrictions including vegetarian, gluten-free and low-carb.
Is it possible to really experience new cultures on a cruise?
For many travelers, experiencing the authentic culture of a destination is a top priority, and cruise lines have taken note. Excursions have evolved, and cruisers can join chefs at local markets, book home visits with locals or volunteer for the community while in port. For those looking for an even more immersive experience, some cruise lines offer overnights in port for more time to explore.
Will I get seasick?
Cruise ships are built with stabilizers that help keep vessels on as smooth of a journey as possible. When seas are calm, motion on the ship is minimal. When seas are rougher, or if you’re extra sensitive to motion, there are other ways to combat seasickness. Booking an outside cabin in the middle of the ship can help, as can over-the-counter drug remedies, or non-drug remedies like ginger candy or acupressure bracelets. River cruises can also be a fantastic option for those worried about seasickness.