We have all been there. We all have that friend or family member that will hear you talking about your love of cruising, only to fly in with “well I heard…”. For all that Anthony Bourdain did to advance the travel industry through his televised culinary and cultural travel, he may have poisoned the well for several travel experiences for Millenials.
I have been in the industry for over a decade, early in my career in hospitality, I was guilty of painting the cruise industry with a broad brush of negativity. I quickly learned that the cruise market is the fastest growing market in the hospitality industry and that a lot of us have been laboring under the notion of some very damaging myths. Today I hope to break some of those myths.
1. Cruising is for “Old People”
Tell that to Virgin Voyages or Celebrity Cruises both are lifestyle brands that cater heavily to the millennial market. Virgin’s entire brand relies on creating experiences onboard similar to that of their already successful Hotel chain.
Imagine a week-long cruise with onboard venues that feel like a wild night out in London’s most exclusive clubs and restaurants, and then actually going to London and experiencing the real thing. That should get you close.
Are there cruises for seniors? Yes, and there should be, but the cruise industry has a brand for everyone and every type of traveler. I have news for guests who still aren’t convinced. Every facet of the hospitality industry has brands and products targeted to appeal to all demographics.
2. Cruise Ships are vile Petre dishes
The CDC didn’t do us any favors with this one, and I will be the first to admit that quarantine ships in Yokohama harbor are a bad look. As we all know the world was completely taken by surprise by the Covid Pandemic and since then no form of travel has been held to a higher standard of safety than the cruise industry. Recently, the CDC removed all additional regulations regarding Covid-19 citing the success of the protocols now being self-imposed by the industry.
3. Cruises are more about the ship than the destination
No cruise is only about the ship, the experience is whatever you make of it. If cruise lines felt like there was a market for a cruise to nowhere there would be tons of them. Currently, the closest to that type of experience would be a repositioning cruise, but any time you leave one place to go to another it is never entirely about the ride.
Do some cruise lines rely more on the onboard experience than others. Yes, but these cruises still go to a port almost every day where guests can enjoy a myriad of destination-specific activities and adventures. A good Travel Advisor can steer you to the type of experience you are looking for after a brief conversation about your interests and match you almost immediately to the perfect brand.
4. I’ll get Seasick if I stay in the forward area of the ship
The vast majority of the research and development budget in cruising is spent on ship stability. Technology like bow stabilizers and the sheer size of some ships make for a stable ride in 99% of cases. The forward of the ship has to climb over waves, but if the motion of the ocean is strong enough to create that significant of an effect, the water conditions are likely to affect you regardless of where you are onboard. Over-the-counter aids like Dramamine or Seasickness patches usually do the trick in these rare cases.
5. Cruises are boring
The wrong cruise for you is boring. If you are not enjoying your cruise, you have most likely selected a brand that doesn’t match your needs. A travel agent comes in handy to avoid this. If you are an academic with the heart of a back-packer, you have no business onboard a 9,000-guest floating theme park, but a Grand European Voyage on a Viking River Ship with only 200 like-minded individuals may be just what the doctor ordered.
Since I started cruising I have experienced everything from indoor skydiving while cruising through the Inside Passage in Alaska to a private evening orchestral performance in the 2,000- year-old ruins of Ephesus. In all the years, I watched Bourdain travel the world I never once saw him step foot on the ice in Antarctica, yet I send people 180 degrees south every day with expedition brands like Ponant and Seabourn.
So why do these myths persist? It is a case of people not being educated on what is available while forming opinions based on anecdotal evidence. It’s not their fault we are all somehow biased against something because of what we have heard versus something we experienced firsthand. The most important thing you can do is remind people to try it out before making judgments, and to call the experienced Travel Agents at Luxury Cruise Connections so you don’t make a silly mistake and end up on the wrong product.