The Dark Side of Cruises

 As you statistics fans may have already noted, the odds of getting sick or killed or maimed on a cruise ship are far less than many communities we’ve traveled in so we are by no means trying to discourage you.  Just remember, though, the fact you are in what feels like a very safe environment carries it’s own dangers.  In other words, you’ll be far too relaxed because it feels so safe.  Dial back being relaxed enough to not leave your purse and key at your table while you go dancing or your camera on your deck chair (you do have a cabin close by for your valuables).  If you have children, watch them around the pool because there are usually no lifeguards.  While drinking, keep in mind that it is quite possible to overdo it enough that you fall overboard (you may  laugh, but you’d be surprised, we know of one woman who accomplished this).  Keep in mind that any liaison you might be careful of in a foreign city would warrant some concern on a cruise ship as well.  Also, remember to wash your hands a lot.

Traveling by cruise ships is a wonderful way to take a trip. You go to extraordinary places; have lots of activities on board if you want to participate; sit in comfortable chairs to read; exercise in fitness rooms and swimming pools; have entertainment that ranges from movies to concerts, and taste food that can please anyone’s palate. I have traveled on four cruises—in the Caribbean, around Western Europe, through the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and from San Diego (USA) to Hawaii.  I loved them all.

The ship’s crew helps you have an enjoyable experience. On one Italian cruise liner, for example, the staff sat us in language groupings so we could talk to people in our own language. In our area of the dining room, the Americans, Aussies, Brits, Canadians and Kiwis were seated at nearby tables.  We ended up getting to know each other and went to each others tournaments, whether they were silly ball games or intellectual quiz challenges. We joined language classes together to expand our rudimentary Italian and practiced our new phrases with each other before springing them on unsuspecting Italians. As a bit of an introvert, the activities helped me meet people. It is a good way for solos to travel, too. You can be alone as much as you want to be and join group activities to meet people with similar interests.  A special note to all you fellow Introverts – unlike other modes of travel, I found it quite possible to get away from my beloved family and friends to get some alone time on all the cruises I have taken, whenever necessary.

It is easy to travel on a cruise ship. You unpack your clothes once and don’t have to pack again until you leave. You can make as many travel arrangements as you want regarding shore excursions or leave it up to the ship’s staff.  I have backpacked and hiked my way through many vacations, so having someone else prepare lovely food and make my bed is pretty cushy. The ship and its crew do everything!

One of the best parts is while you sleep, the ship sails to a new destination. Upon waking, you look out your window to see a different city and country. You have a whole new place on shore to explore. Additionally, it is terrific for multi-generational travel. Our parents were elderly and would join us on some of the shorter excursions and then return to the ship to rest. When we came back to the ship, we shared our experiences, adventures and photos with them over dinner.

And when you are sick, the medical staff may prescribe medicine and look after your injuries. On the Caribbean cruise, I came down with an upper respiratory infection; and ended up taking an antibiotic. While the medicine was going to work, however, the dining crew suggested soothing hot teas and soup. Sadly, serious medical crises occur, too. While sailing to Hawaii, one of our fellow passengers suffered a heart attack. He was airlifted via a helicopter to the hospital on the nearest island. If one is going to be sick, a cruise ship is a nice place to be.   In fact, if you have a specific medical issue, a cruise ship might be the better way to travel.  For some, a cruise ship might make travel possible.  For example, if you have mobility issues and use a wheelchair or walker you might find that the cruise ship is accessible and thanks to stabilizers, the effects of waves are minimal so that you can see countries in a safe and comfortable way.   Amazingly, people with a cane, walker or other device are often whisked to the front of the line at time of boarding.  Attention to details like this, make cruise travel an unusually pleasant way to travel for those with mobility issues.

All told, the cruise experience has much to recommend it as long as you keep a few safety issues in mind that are unique to this form of travel.    Let us know your experience cruising, for good or bad, by clicking on the comments section below.

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