Cruise holidays are bigger than ever, with cruise ships offering an extensive range of facilities for all types of travellers and a huge number of destinations. Despite the fast-changing pace of the industry, some of the old myths still prevent people from trying a cruise.
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That's why we spoke to our friends at cruise review site and online cruise community, Cruise Critic, to dispel some of the top myths and put your mind at rest...
Myth: "I'll get seasick"
Reality: Cruise ship stabilisers help reduce the rocking motion. Selecting a large cruise ship and a cabin close to the ship's balancing point (low and centre) can minimise the risks of motion sickness. Royal Caribbean has some of the largest ships in the world and Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Cunard can also be good options. Select a window or balcony cabin to look out of as this can reduce sickness. Travellers can also use patches, bands or pills for seasickness. Failing that, a river cruise can be a wonderful alternative. Try: A seven-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise with Royal Caribbean on board Allure of the Seas.
Reality: When travellers aren't waking up to a new destination each day, there's so much to do on board, particularly on the larger ships, with activities such as spas, fitness centres, theatres, bumper cars, enrichment programmes and cookery classes. Try: A seven-night Northern Europe Cruise with Royal Caribbean on board Independence of the Seas.
Myth: "There's not enough time to explore the destination"
Reality: While some of the larger ships stay in port for one day, many lines, and particularly smaller ships, stay overnight. Extended immersive port experiences offered by lines such as Azamara Club Cruises, enable you to spend two or three days enjoying the local culture and landmarks, while Celebrity Cruises offers overnight stays on many Caribbean sailings. Try: A ten-night Greek Isles & Cyprus Voyage Cruise with Azamara Club Cruises on board Azamara Journey.
Myth: "Cruises are too expensive"
Reality: With more ships and, therefore, more competition, prices are being reduced and some are equivalent to package holiday prices. Factor in all the inclusive extras, such as endless activities, world-class shows and entertainment, free kids' clubs, multiple destinations and an abundance of food, and it delivers good bang for your buck. Some UK-based lines, including P&O Cruises, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines and Cruise & Maritime Voyages, even offer mini-cruises of two- or three-nights for as little as £200. Celestyal Cruises won Best Value in the Cruise Critic Editors' Picks Awards and offers all-inclusive fares, which include both drinks and selected shore excursions - all for less than £175 per day. Try: Thomson Cruises' seven-night Spirit of Iberia cruise on board Thomson Celebration.
Myth: "I'll feel claustrophobic"
Reality: Some of the megaships are equivalent to the length of three football pitches, with vast public spaces and some even include shopping centres, waterparks, sports decks, promenades and even parkland. For those who plan to spend a lot of time in the cabin, a balcony option will extend personal space. Try: Celebrity Cruises' 14-night Western Mediterranean cruise on board Celebrity Eclipse.
Myth: "I can't cruise solo"
Reality: The single supplement historically meant that solo cruisers pay a large excess, however, this can be avoided with research. Certain lines cater particularly well for solo travellers - Fred. Olsen, for example, offers more than 200 single cabins fleet-wide, regular solo supplement promotions and solo hosts and events on board. Saga has a large number of solo cabins (25 per cent), almost all of P&O Cruises' ships include single cabins, while Voyages to Antiquity reports that more than 35 per cent of its UK passengers travel solo due to its competitive pricing. Some of the smaller ships may offer a more sociable experience for solo cruisers; however, larger ships may accommodate those travelling alone by offering specific events and areas for solos. Try: P&O Cruises' 12-night Mediterranean Cruise on board Ventura.
Myth: "I'll gain weight"
Reality: With delicious array of food available, some people fear weight gain but as with an inclusive land-based holiday, it's about applying a balanced approach. For those overindulgence days, cruisers can try and burn some calories with activity. It's simple to clock up daily steps, especially for those who take the stairs. Cruise ships offer plenty of opportunities to be active and that's before considering the state-of-the-art fitness centres and active excursions available. Gyms on some of Royal Caribbean's ships feature Gravity machines and Activio Cycling, while cruisers can attend dance events on lines, such as Holland America. Try: Holland America Line's 14-night Indonesian Discovery on board Volendam.
Myth: "I won't enjoy the canteen-style food"
Reality: For many, food's a key ingredient for a positive cruising experience and cruise lines work hard to deliver high standards. From hot dogs at the Royal Caribbean Dog House or sushi by Michelin-starred chef Nobu Matsuhisa on Crystal Serenity and Symphony, there is so much to choose from. Many of the cruise lines have top chefs on board and relentlessly strive to innovate offerings to match (or better) the high standards of on-land dining. Larger ships have outstanding choice, with multiple restaurants. Dining is also more flexible than years past, with fixed table plans and meal times in the main dining room becoming less popular. Try: Viking Ocean Cruises' 15-day Viking Homelands Cruise on board Viking Star.