New to cruising? Not to worry. We’ve tackled some of the most basic questions asked by first-time cruisers to get you on your way.
Like anything you’ve never done before, if you’ve never been on a cruise ship, you probably have a lot of questions. Don’t worry — the cruise lines have heard them all, and some of those questions they hear multiple times a day. To take some of the work off your plate and to give you an overview of what you can expect on your first cruise, we rounded up some of the most commonly asked questions and tried to answer them as thoroughly as possible here.
QUESTION: Are all cruise ships alike?
In a word, no. Cruise ships can be as diverse and unique as the various ports you’ll sail to on your vacation. There are ships for the adventurer in you, the part of you that just wants to sit back and unwind, the person who is looking to book a vacation for the whole family — in fact, there are ships that cater to all of these needs and more. Ships these days have to accommodate a wide variety of needs and interests, and so the assortment of activities and amenities you’ll find on board might just blow your mind.
QUESTION: Is cruising for “newlyweds and nearly deads”?
There’s that myth again — that unless you’re honeymooning or living out your golden years, you don’t belong on a cruise ship. There was a time when there was some truth to that myth — but not anymore. Cruise ships are accommodating all sorts of demographics. Ships catering to families offer children's programs, onboard water parks, teen discos, family centric activities, excursions and more. Those traveling solo can connect with others at communal meals and guided shore excursions along with singles meet and greets on board. LGBT guests have their own meet and greets, frequently travel in organized small groups, and organize mixers on board. Health-conscious and athletic travelers, cruisers who can only get away for a few days, people who cruise like it’s their occupation and people who have never stepped foot on a ship before in their lives — today, there is something for everyone.
QUESTION: Will I get bored?
For those more active cruisers who thrive on adventure, cruise ships are a great way to stay active all the time. Royal Caribbean® takes the cake. Only on Royal Caribbean can you experience the RipCordSM by iFLY® skydiving simulator on Anthem of the Seas®, Rock-Climbing Wall on all ships, the FlowRider® surfing simulator on several ships including Freedom of the Seas® and Allure of the Seas® and the zip line onboard Oasis of the Seas®, Allure of the Seas® and Harmony of the Seas®.
QUESTION: Will I get claustrophobic?
Cruise ships come in various shapes and sizes, with some so large you’ll often forget that you’re out on the ocean. While wandering around the ship, chances are very slim you’ll have trouble with claustrophobia, but if you are someone who is prone to get scared in enclosed spaces, book a stateroom with an Oceanview stateroom or a balcony. Even interior staterooms are a good option on certain ships because select staterooms have a virtual balcony.
QUESTION: Can I stay in touch?
On most cruise ships, if you have a wireless device with wifi capabilities, you won’t have a problem. Most ships have Wifi access throughout the ship as well as in your stateroom that’s so speedy, you can stream video or Skype — if you must work while you’re enjoying the ocean, you can. For example, as of May 1st all Royal Caribbean® ships offer access to VOOM, the Fastest Internet at Sea. VOOM allows you to surf the web, share photos and videos on social media and stream movies. You'll also find onboard computer centers where you can sit at a computer desk with the backdrop of gorgeous ocean views. You’ll also have access to some cable news stations in your stateroom. And of course, when you’re off the ship and exploring different ports, depending on your cell phone plan, you can call all over the world. What all this means is — that myth that once you board a ship you’re off the radar until you get home is wildly outdated.
QUESTION: Can I cruise alone?
Not only can you cruise alone, it can actually be a ton of fun. If you’re someone who likes meeting new people and experiencing new things, a cruise ship is a perfect place to do it. From meet and greets and singles mixers (they even have some that are LGBT specific), you can make great friends from the moment you step foot on the ship.
QUESTION: Are cruises all-inclusive?
They can be, and in many cases, it’s a wonderful way to travel so that you don’t have to think about anything. The trick here is in knowing just what “all-inclusive” means. Don’t think that just because you’ve booked an all-inclusive cruise you’re going to leave the ship without a bill. Spa treatments, shore excursions, alcohol and more aren’t necessarily included in your package, so be very clear about what your trip includes when you’re booking.
QUESTION: Will I have enough time at every destination?
It’s true — when you’re on a cruise ship, you can’t completely stick to your own schedule. You have to be back on the ship when you have to be back on the ship. But because cruise lines are in the business of pleasing any number of different personality types, between pre-planned shore excursions and your own innate curiosity to get off the ship and explore, you’ll be surprised how much you can pack into a day. And hey, if there’s something you miss — there’s always the next vacation.
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