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Are you weighing up the pros and cons of a cruise holiday or wondering if you’d like them at all? In this post I share five advantages and five disadvantages of booking a cruise to help make the decision a little easier for you…

Room service on Viking Cruises on a private veranda

1. Slow travel is easy

Cruising is a very relaxing way to travel the world, most of today’s large modern ships have stabilisers to reduce the rolling motion so it’s easy to forget you’re almost always on the move. If you opt for a no-fly cruise the check-in process is usually a lot smoother and quicker than an airport, plus there’s no baggage weight limits to worry about.

Rain showers at sea

Sail away from Lisbon, Portugal

2. The weather can be changeable at sea

The weather at sea can be a little more challenging to forecast and the conditions can change by the hour when you’ve set sail. Even though places like the Mediterranean is more reliable for light winds and hot weather, there’s sometimes a sea breeze up on deck that can make it feel noticeably cooler than nearby land.
There’s also a small chance you’ll encounter rough waters or a sea swell (even in the summer) which may unsettle those who suffer with motion sickness.

Further reading: Emma Cruises shares her experience of dealing with seasickness on cruises

Sunset in Cannes, France, Cruise Sailaway

3. You can explore lots of places – and only unpack once!

Cruising allows you to explore many places in a short space of time, opening your eyes to places you’ve not thought about visiting before. Thanks to cruising I’ve visited destinations like Palma de Mallorca, Lecce (in Puglia) and Corfu that I’d be interested in returning to on a traditional fly-holiday.

Further reading: 5 cruises sailing from Southampton in 2022 (opens in new tab)

Europe Cruise to Lisbon

4. The stop overs can be short

The flip-side to seeing all these places in one holiday is the short amount of time you get to spend in them. Some ports of call may only be for 6 or 7 hours which is not really enough time to immerse yourself in the local culture, particularly when you add any transfer time to and from the ship.

Buffet dessert selection on Independence of the Seas

The Chefs Table dining experience on a Viking Cruise

5. Cruise calories don’t count…

…Wishful thinking! One of the first things many passengers will do once onboard a cruise ship is sample the ship’s cuisine. The food on cruise ships is a big highlight with a variety of bars and restaurants for all tastes, some cruise lines even offer round the clock room service.

Further reading: Cruise bloggers share their must-try dining experiences at sea

Sailing away, pool area at aft of ship on P&O Ventura

6. Some areas of cruise ships can get busy

Though there’s always somewhere to relax on a cruise ship, there are certain areas that can get quite hectic. You may find the breakfast buffet on a sea day is very congested with empty tables hard to come by, and the queues on and off a ship can also be a little testing, particularly if you’re required to take a tender boat into the port.

7. The entertainment is good added value

The ‘cheesy cabaret’ style that dominated the early days of the cruising industry is being replaced and refined to appeal to more age groups with Broadway and Westend shows, TV hypnotists and established singers and comedians. For example, past passengers on select Royal Caribbean ships have been able to watch the stage productions of Grease and We Will Rock You.

Further reading: A Western Mediterranean Cruise on Independence of the Seas

Shore excursion from Nice to Saint Paul de Vence

Entertainment Theatre on MSC Cruises

8. The shore excursions are usually extra

A cruise holiday in peak season can be quite pricey for a family (if you’d like to snag a bargain book well in advance for any early bird rates or travel off-peak), but when you add on the price of some shore excursions then the overall cost can really rocket.

Once you’ve decided on a cruise, research the ports of call and see if they’re easy to navigate yourself by foot or using local transport. Some luxury cruise lines include shore excursions with the fare you pay, even though it will probably cost you more upfront you won’t have to put your hand in your pocket so much (if at all) during the cruise.

Further reading: What to do in Vigo, Spain on a cruise

Anthem of the Seas docked in Vigo Spain

Helsinki, Finland

9. The cruise ship innovations are exciting!

The cruise industry is booming so bigger and better ships are always in production to compete for your loyalty. The things you’re able to do on these new ships is mind boggling – from ice skating and indoor sky diving to dodgems and drinks in an ice bar, far more than you’d find in your average holiday hotel!

Anthem of the Seas Sports Room with Dodgems

10. Cruise itineraries can get repetitive

Even though larger cruise ships have more to offer onboard, their size limits the destinations they’re able to dock in meaning you’ll likely end up cruising to the same destinations on your favourite ship, or compromising on the ship for different ports of call.

Roman Forum with ancient ruins

Food on cruise ships

For many avid cruisers the ability to visit many places and only having to unpack once whilst enjoying lovely meals and entertainment in-between makes cruising a one of a kind experience that cannot be fairly compared to a traditional land/fly holiday. If you or a family member are still unsure, consider booking a short ‘taster’ cruise (around 2-4 nights) and seeing how you feel about it.

Ready to start searching for a cruise? Begin here.

Further reading: 5 cruises sailing from Southampton in 2022 (opens in new tab)

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