We have just returned from our 12 day cruise around Fiji, Vanuatu & New Caledonia! We travelled with Royal Caribbean
on their incredible ship Voyager of the Seas! This was our first cruise and it definitely ticked all the boxes for what we expected, wanted and needed, we had a great experience! Cruising is designed for and should be relaxing. It's easy, safe and has incredible perks. Let's break it down into Pros and Cons....
Pro - No Weight Limit
Unlike Airlines, which is usually 20-30kg per person, there's no restrictions! This means you can pack all of those 'just in cases' you would usually sacrifice on other trips. This is FANTASTIC for families. You can bring toys, endless toiletries and spare clothes.
Con - Cruises generally cater for Families and/or the Elderly
We only saw a handful of couples our age that were also travelling alone. It did get a little bit boring and only a few activities really appealed to us. We usually look for adventure, culture and excitement in a holiday. Cruising doesn't offer that. We took this holiday as one to just relax and catch up on sleep, so it did tick all of the boxes and was exactly as expected, so it was a fantastic holiday!
Pro - All You Can Eat!
The food is non-stop and great quality! We had a fantastic variety from burgers - salads - roasts - curries! Something for anyone at anytime of the day!
Con - All You Can Eat....
After all activities are ticked off, there's really nothing left to do but eat and eat....and eat some more...
It's always there and it's free! Our itinerary went something like this: Wake up, eat, activity, eat, Bingo, eat, Live show, eat, bed. The food is so great it's really not hard to do, but it definitely leads to weight gain and feeling a little bit guilty later on. I almost didn't fit into my second formal night outfit!
Pro - Safety
It's probably one of the safest holidays you can go on! For many reasons:
No dodgy people around trying to rip you off/steal your belongings - you can walk around freely and feel comfortable in any space on the ship. All people on there are either staff or chilled-to-the-max holiday goers.
All types of staff constantly looking out for your well being on board - all precautions are taken to ensure you have a relaxed enjoyable time, no matter the weather.
You can't get lost - families especially! Your children really can't go too far and if they do, their always within someones eye view. Pick a 'meet up' spot for if you ever get separated.
Con - You are stuck on the ship
By the 3rd day i had cabin fever! our first 3 days were moderate - rough seas and raining. The outside decks were closed and so we couldn't breathe fresh air or see the sunshine for 72 hours. If this is the case for part or all of your cruise, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. Same goes for if you get sea sickness, boredom or an unfortunate crowd - No escaping it.
Pro - All inclusive
This does depend on the ship and cruise company you travel with. For our cruise, basically everything was included except for drinks and Bingo. Food, activities, live performances, pools, gym, childcare minding & kids club - ALL included! You can then even compare this to a trip done on your own: Your accomodation and every bit of transport is instantly included.
Con - Things that aren't included aren't usually cheap
Our extras seemed a bit pricey, especially for the averages of our destinations (Fiji, Vanuatu & New Caledonia). 1 Bingo session was US$33, Drinks were between US$8-14, Shore Excursions were all over US$100, Wifi (unlimited for one device only) was US$17.99 per day.
Pro - Ease
This is probably the easiest holiday you could ever go on! And that's what makes it that extra bit relaxing and enjoyable. Staff everywhere, info at your fingertips, nowhere is too far away, one room for the whole trip with multiple destinations, your native language. It's simply a very very easy holiday, no worries!
Con - No culture, adventure or a 'real taste' of your destination
Again this totally depends on your ship, destinations and cruise company. Ours, and most, are centered around relaxation and convenience. There's no real experience of the incredible cultures, people and destinations that you visit on the journey. Which, for me, is an enormously important part of travelling. We did have 'destination talks' on board before each destination which were quite informative, but short. The destinations we went to were only there because of the ship. The people and businesses cater for the western tourists. 'Real' travelling is the opposite. But that's a discussion for another blog....
Pro - Duty-Free Shopping on board
Our ship had a huge range of jewellery, alcohol and designer brands selling at crazy cheap prices! Here I am trying on the most expensive piece on our ship! A Ruby and Diamond necklace ticketed at US$367,098 !!! I couldn't believe i was wearing a house! And i found it more incredible that people have the money to buy such an item while on holidays! But the opportunities are there, so take advantage of the savings!
Pro - One account
You whack everything onto your account which is usually through the form of a swipe card. Everything from drinks, ice cream, activities, shopping, and tips! No need to carry anything around the ship with you, just a little piece of plastic, so easy! We were able to link our credit card to our account at the very beginning check in, so that we didn't have to do anything at the end, except walk off the ship! It just gets bulked and charged after your cruise!
Con - It can add up...
Because it is so easy to spend with your little plastic wonder card, you can rack up quite a bill if you're not careful. Our company offered an unlimited drinks package for a daily amount, so that is one of the most convenient ways to avoid a horror check out bill. Make sure to check your statement daily, for any discrepancies and to keep track of your spending.
Pro - One company
No need to worry about a million flight, hotel, tour, restaurant, transport, entertainment, child minding, recreational companies, it's all under one umbrella!
Pro - You can do whatever you want, whenever you want!
You get an itinerary of all activities running throughout the day and you simply decide which you ant to do. You decide everyday when you want to eat, sleep, play, even go to the bathroom! There's nothing set in stone that you 'have' to do because you pre-paid for it! Most activities run daily too, so you won't miss out on anything either!
Know someone considering their first cruise? Send this list to them, or share it on Facebook!
Happy Cruising! 🙂