Cruises: Expectation vs Reality

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The apparent appeal of the cruise ship experience is what drives millions of people to book reservations each year. Whether it is a quick weekend trip from a nearby port or a weeklong journey overseas, most first-time travelers have high expectations before the big day arrives.

Here are some of the popular expectations that first-time passengers dream about long before the reality of the actual experience introduces itself.

Expectation: Boarding the Ship is a Dream Come True

Source: Pexels /Andrea Piacquadio

A first-time passenger typically does not have much to pull from when imagining their cruise vacation besides what they saw in the movies. Therefore, they will likely picture boarding the cruise ship as being a luxurious highlight of the trip. Quite a few movies make it seem as if it is a peaceful, private and pleasant experience. Perhaps you may even picture a crowd of people waving you off as the ship pulls away from the dock.

Reality: Battling the Crowd of Other Passengers Can Be a Nightmare

Source: Flickr/MacEnsteph

Think of when you are boarding a plane or even a train. There are typically several hundred other people making their way through the same path as you, right? This is especially the case with the latecomers running behind schedule that simply do not want to miss their ride. Keep in mind that the average cruise ship holds several thousand people – not several hundred. Therefore, the boarding experience can quickly become like animals in a stampede instead of the private luxury experience you may imagine.

Expectation: Award-Winning Entertainers Will Perform Onstage

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The phrase “live entertainment” may immediately generate a list your favorite award-winning singers, songwriters, and musicians. You may check the cruise itinerary to see exactly which celebrities (if any) will be performing during our specific trip dates. In some cases, there is a headlining act designed to draw a crowd and compel more travelers to book reservations.

Even if their names are not listed, you may even still hold out the hope that a surprise performer will make an appearance.

Reality: You Are More Likely to See Karaoke Stars Instead of Billboard Artists

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 3rd Class Bre’ N. Cameron-Smith.

As mentioned, there are some cruises that draw a lot of interest by advertising an A-list celebrity or Grammy-winning performer as the headlining act. What most people forget, though, is that the headlining act is not the only performer. Even in a typical concert experience on land, the lineup is filled more with opening acts and lesser-known performers than the crowd-creating acts. The same is the case with cruise ships. The quality of the “live entertainment” for most of the trip will basically match the same quality you may enjoy during a local karaoke night at your local bar.

Expectation: Delicious Food Galore and New Activities Daily

Source: Pixabay/Gundula Vogel

One of the most exciting parts for most first-timers is planning out the daily itinerary. You may have done the research of what cuisines are available in the buffet line or all the activities available on the ship. They may even make sure that they pack “stretchy pants” just so they can make room for all the wonderful foods and beverages that they will store in their bellies. Those who enjoy creating schedules for themselves may even map out everything they plan to do and eat – expecting there to be an abundance of new and exciting options added to the list daily.

Reality: Overcrowded Buffet Lines and Relatively Short Activity List

Source: Flickr/South Bay Labor Council

Just because there are a lot of options available in the buffet line does not mean you’ll get to stuff your belly with all of them. Keep in mind that there are thousands of other passengers onboard along with you. This means that, at any given time, you may be in a crowded line of likeminded foodies ready to stuff their bellies as well.

In addition, you may find yourself burning through the available options on the activity list much quicker than you expect. This typically leaves you wanting more towards the middle of your trip but having to settle on reruns instead of brand new episodes.

Expectation: All-Inclusive Means You Can Leave Your Wallet at Home

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The phrase “all-inclusive” can mislead more first-time travelers than you may realize. It creates the illusion that everything is covered and paid for as soon as you come aboard the ship. You may even consider keeping your wallet with your belongings and “living it up” as you believe everything your heart desires is included within the initial cost of your purchased travel package.

Reality: ‘All-Inclusive’ Has More Fine Print Than You Realize

Source: Pexels/Nicola Barts

It is true that the “all-inclusive” label may cover a lot of your meals and drinks during the trip. However, there are still plenty of other enticing things that do not come with that label. For instance, gratuity for your service and housekeepers is not included. The cost of premium beverages and first-class entree upgrades may come with an additional price tag as well. In addition, there are the casinos, activity packages, and even gift shop souvenirs that will require you to at least have your payment information handy.

Expectation: You Will Have the Luxury Cabin of Your Dreams

Source: Pexels/Stiven Rivera

The dream scenario for most first-time travelers consists of using their room key to unlock the door to a luxury suite with expensive linens, quality furnishings, and a substantial amount of living space. Some travelers even pack a little more than they initially planned just to take full advantage of the ample closet space that they imagined will be provided in their luxury cabins. You may even picture the high-count Egyptian cotton sheets on a California King bed and feel right at home.

Reality: You Will Only Have a Luxury Cabin in Your Dreams

Source: Wikimedia/Un-Cruise Adventures

The reality is that most of the cabins on a standard cruise ship are much smaller than you may realize. A major misconception is that a huge cruise ship automatically means that each of the cabins within it are huge. You must remember that there are several thousand passengers on a fully-booked cruise ship – which means there is nowhere near enough space available for every cabin to be a luxury suite. You will more than likely have to settle for a king-sized food dish long before you enjoy a king-sized mattress in your cruise ship cabin.

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Charlotte Clad

Written by Charlotte Clad

Charlotte Clad is a brilliant writer who possesses the remarkable ability to craft content that goes viral and leaves an indelible mark on readers. With an innate passion for storytelling and an unwavering commitment to her craft, Charlotte has consistently pushed the boundaries of creativity to captivate audiences worldwide.

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