Cruise Myths: What's True and What's Not

Don’t let misconceptions stop you from trying your first cruise

If you're like a lot of first-time cruisers, you may be concerned about taking a cruise: Will you feel both bored and stuck on a ship? Will you gain weight from the endless buffets? What if you don't own a tuxedo for the formal nights? Relax, we help you separate fact from fiction.

Myth: I’ll be bored.

Try telling that to cruisers disembarking from Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum of the Seas (pictured above), where they might have skydived in a glass-enclosed wind tunnel.

Today’s offerings go way beyond shuffleboard (although most ships still offer that, too). Most ships provide a daily activities roster that can include lectures, dance classes, quizzes, and cooking demonstrations. Nightly entertainment ranges from Broadway- and Las Vegas-style productions to shows featuring comedians, magicians, and cabaret singers. 

Myth: I’ll get fat.

Along with an abundance of food, most ships offer healthful, low-calorie dishes. Because many of today’s ships feature gyms, exercise classes, and running tracks or promenade decks, taking a cruise is a great way to start or hone a fitness program. And you can always take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Myth: I’ll get seasick.

Ship stabilizers make for more comfortable rides than in the past. If you're prone to motion sickness, check with your physician before your sailing for possible remedies. And, if you’re concerned, choose a stateroom in the ship’s center and lower areas, where the ride is steadiest. Should you experience discomfort, ships have medical centers where you can get help.

Myth: It’s too expensive.

Because your fare typically includes your accommodations, most meals, and most onboard activities and entertainment, cruises remain one of the best values in travel. Except for certain luxury lines, most ships levy additional charges for specialty restaurant meals, shore excursions, alcoholic beverages, and soft drinks; but you can have a fabulous time without buying those extras.

Myth: I’ll have to eat at the same time in the same place every night.

Today’s ships have multiple dining options and maximum flexibility. You can request assigned seating, if that’s your preference, but more often than not you can dine where, when, and with whom you please.

Myth: I’ll have to buy a tuxedo or ball gown.

Dress codes vary by ship, but cruising in general is less formal than it used to be. Most large ships designate one or two nights during a cruise as “formal” nights: You can dress up as much as you want, but typically a jacket and tie or cocktail dress is perfectly appropriate. On other nights, the strongest directive might be to not wear shorts in the dining room. And most adventure cruises are very casual.