Friday, November 24

Cruising Myths and Misconceptions

The main reason why cruising is still one of travel's best kept secrets are to do with the myths and misconceptions. Getting someone on their first cruise is the hardest part, but most of the people that do try it, continue to cruise for many years after. All it takes is one cruise before all of the myths are quashed.

Here are examples of some of the cruising myths people believe:

I’ll get seasick
This is one of the more valid concerns, yes, people do occasionally suffer from motion sickness however, today's modern ships are all stabilized to reduce rolling which is the side to side motion, and are designed by sophisticated computer aided design equipment to minimize pitching, which is the up and down motion.
There are things you can do to minimize the chances of any discomfort with many simple and inexpensive remedies like wearing a sea band - little wrist band that features a "bump" that is positioned to affect a pressure point on the underside of your wrist. There are no side effects and the best part is they're inexpensive, you can usually find them in any pharmacy or in the gift shop onboard. There are also several medications and herbal remedies which are also effective, should you need them.

I’ll be bored
Cruising is not the sedentary holiday it used to be, unless that's what you choose to make of it. Every cruise ship publishes a daily newspaper and activity schedule to keep you busy and entertained while on board.
By day you'll find numerous activities (depending on the ship) such as Bingo, trivia games, lectures on topics such as art collecting, politics, world affairs and investing not to mention the ports you'll be visiting and shopping; exercise classes, wine tasting, cooking classes, shuffleboard, card tournaments and good old-fashioned relaxing in the sun by the pool or catching up on all those first run movies you never have time for at home. Then there are other alternatives you'll find on some ships such as golf simulators, miniature golf courses, putting greens, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts. You can treat yourself to a day in the spa or in the ships’ onboard fitness centre, massages, facials, hair and nail salons, a sauna or a session with a personal trainer on the state-of-the-art exercise equipment. (But do watch out for activities that carry extra costs!

In the evenings you have all of the bars and lounges at your disposal for mixing, mingling, dancing or people watching. There may be lavish production shows and cabaret acts, comedians and the late night disco to keep you going into the early hours.

Everyone on a cruise is old

That certainly DID used to be the case and in SOME instances, it still is, but cruising is becoming more and more appealing to younger passengers as it gains mass appeal.
The cruise lines are catering to younger cruisers like never before by offering more and more variety, options and excitement. In fact the average age of cruiser is dropping year on year.

Cruising is too regimented
On the contrary! Cruising has never offered more options, variety, choice and informality than it does today. The cruise lines realise that today's passengers do not want or need regimentation on their holidays because they already have an overwhelming amount of it in their daily lives. Passengers are now afforded the option to choose when, where and with whom they dine, what types of entertainment they partake in and a more varied array of shore excursions besides the normal bus tours. There is an increasing emphasis on passenger comfort in terms of dress and informality in the ambiance.

Princess, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL are all leading the charge and now pushing the boundaries even further in this arena and NCL has just recently announced its new "Freestyle Cruising" concept which will offer open seating dining in the main restaurants, several alternative dining venues and an overall more loosely structured environment to encourage choice and informality.

You don’t need to dress up every night in a tux or attend formal dinners as it had been in the past. But the cruise lines will and still do offer you the choice of a more "traditional" experience complete with assigned seating at dinner, formal nights and an extensive list of scheduled activities if you enjoy such sophistication.

All there is to do is eat!
Once again, this is a very common misconception. It used to be that a cruise revolved around eating. Early riser's Danish and coffee, a light breakfast on deck, full breakfast in the dining room, mid-morning snacks, buffet lunch on deck, hamburgers on the grill, full lunch in the dining room, afternoon snacks, ice cream and cookies, afternoon tea with pastries, hors d'ouvres, dinner, the midnight buffet and late night snacks served every day! You would get bloated just thinking about it.

With the trend towards healthier living and eating habits today, the cruise lines have adapted to this shift. Yes, you may still partake in all of the above offerings, but the cruise lines are also offering the public what they want, which is healthier foods, lighter meals and spa cuisine. You'll now find lighter selections on the menus every night and many even list the calories, fat content, protein and other pertinent information right on the menu.

But should you choose to eat, eat, eat you can work off all of those excess calories by using the fitness centres and climbing stairs instead of using lifts.

Single Parent Family Cruise Holiday Options

Single parents can set sail too - News report 24/11/2006

The second ship to be deployed by casual cruise line Ocean Village is to cater for single parents. The ship Ocean Village 2, which enters service next April, will have 100 specially designed three-berth cabins for single parents with two children.
The cabins will consist of standard twin beds and a specially designed bed which folds away when not in use. The line has seen a 26% rise in single parents travelling with two children in the last year and an 8% increase in families of one adult travelling with one child.

Research by Mintel reveals that work pressures are forcing many families to holiday separately, with one parent taking the children on holiday while the other remains at home, working. A third of holidays taken by a single adult were taken by married couples too busy to holiday together in 2004.

Ocean Village managing director Peter Shanks said: "Our kids' and teens clubs and night nursery give single parents the benefit of much needed "me" time whilst our relaxed style on board and upbeat activities ashore create a very friendly atmosphere for families. "Over the coming years we expect to welcome increasing numbers of single parent families on board and we'll continue to adapt our offering to help cater for them."