The only time I’ve ever been on a cruise was a short trip to the Bahamas. We set out from Miami the summer after my eighth-grade year. Even during that short excursion, I could tell that cruises weren’t my jam.
There were plenty of seasick passengers, some of my own family included. I have a vivid memory of midwesterners laying down in the fetal position as our ship was tossed around the Florida Straits. Overall, the cruise was overcrowded, the weather was sweltering and I was an awkward thirteen-year-old. Not a great combo.
Being stuck on a massive vessel with hundreds (or thousands) of other passengers is sort of a nightmare. Luckily, our cruise didn’t get stuck, the seasick passengers recovered and we docked safely in Nassau. But if I were ever given the opportunity to go on another cruise, I’d probably pass. Flying would be more economical, quicker and a better option for me personally.
Here are some other reasons to consider alternative travel options. Taking road trips, flying or exploring close to home are all options that could ultimately keep you and your family safer than going on a cruise.
Once you’re on a cruise, you’re on a cruise. It can be exciting for a little while, but once the novelty wears off, and you’ve exhausted all of the entertainment, you’re just kind of stuck. What’s worse is if someone carries a communicable disease on board, you’re likely to get sick too. Gastrointestinal infections, flu outbreaks and respiratory infections including coronavirus are common on cruises.
Even at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, cruises became headline news when the virus spread quickly throughout them. There was confusion and chaos as countries refused to let ships dock. Ultimately, there were some passengers, entertainers and crew members stuck on board. The CDC suspended cruises in March of 2020 given the significant spread of the virus. Currently, cruise lines are resuming operations at different times. As of June 2021, there are still restrictions in place for the safety of the passengers and crew.
Negative Environmental Factors
Not only can cruises be detrimental to the health of those on board, but cruises also play a large part causing environmental destruction. The carbon emissions, pollution and blatant disregard for the planet are enough to give even cruise-lovers pause.
For example, cruises can cause irreparable damage to fragile ocean ecosystems if they dump raw sewage and other harmful waste into the ocean. But all cruise ships are not created equal.
Some cruise lines score better than others on their environmental “report card” according to Friends of the Earth. The Disney Cruise Line scored the highest marks with an overall score of B-. According to Friends of the Earth, “Disney’s ships burn fuel with a 0.1% sulfur content worldwide which is lower than what is required internationally, earning the company an A- in the air pollution reduction category.”
This is promising news if other cruise liners decide to follow suit. However, for the time being, most have not.
Whenever there is access to booze, large crowds and massive bodies of water, accidents definitely happen. Horror stories of people falling overboard, mechanical errors causing loss of power, flooding, fires and even slip and fall accidents have been reported aboard many cruise ships.
According to the Maritime Injury Guide reported in 2018, “Since 2000, around 300 people on cruise ships have fallen overboard. There were 17 overboard incidents in 2017 alone.” That’s enough to keep a lot of people, especially those with a fear of water, on solid ground.
Cruises are notorious for crime as well. In the first quarter of 2018, the most common serious crime reported was sexual assault. Out of 100 incidents of crime in a 15-month span, 72 were reportedly sexual assault.
Stormy weather happens, especially during hurricane season.
In the Caribbean, hurricane season spans from June to November, which includes peak cruising season. Cruises do everything they can to make sure the cruise isn’t canceled, however. Whether they need to re-route the cruise, stay an extra day at a port or have another change in the itinerary, they’d rather the cruise go on than have to give out refunds. Whatever the case, it’s wise to pack some nausea medication in case of bad weather, as the seas can get choppy!
While there are negative sides to cruises, there are also positives. And maybe you’re an avid cruise lover. If that’s the case, have a safe and pleasant trip, we mean it! Enjoy your buffet, cramped rooms and crowds – it’s just not for me. Bon voyage!