SHUFFLE OFF, SHUFFLEBOARD
Let’s dispel some cruising myths
Have you contemplated venturing onto the high seas, but not sure if cruising is for you? Given some of the cliches and misinformation thrown out there (mostly by those who haven’t cruised at all, or for years) it’d be no surprise if you were a little apprehensive. Perhaps you imagine shuffleboard, the chance of getting sick, set dinner times and endless buffet queues? You’d be wrong.
Plus, there are so many options available in the cruising world, we can guarantee you’ll find a vessel to suit your tastes. We’ve sorted through the common myths to find some of the things you really don’t need to worry about if you’re taking a voyage, and they’re guaranteed to change the way you think about cruising.
MYTH: I’LL GET NOROVIRUS
Here are the facts. You are more likely to get norovirus, which causes acute gastro, in a restaurant, health-care facility, school or a private residence than on a cruise ship.
According to a study undertaken by US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of getting norovirus on land is about one in 15, while the risk of getting norovirus on a ship is about one in 5500. It found “fewer and less severe outbreaks are likely the result of earlier detection of acute gastroenteritis, along with cruise industry efforts to identify and control outbreaks”.
A little safeguarding goes a long way. Ships offer a generous amount of hand sanitiser on-board, buffets are shielded and should a passenger become infected, they are quarantined so as to not affect others.
MYTH: CRUISES ARE FOR OLDER PEOPLE ONLY
Does the mere mention of cruising conjure up images of shuffleboard, Zimmer frames and meals at 5pm?
Those days are over, there are now options for cruisers aged from six months to 106. Fancy a foodie and wine journey to the south of France with your girlfriends? There are cruises for that. What about a family escape where on-board you can surf, skydive and rollerskate, and on land the family can take an excursion to see the best of a destination? There are cruises for that.
What about hearing the latest music with DJs on the top deck while sipping cocktails? Yep, there are cruises for that. There is no one size fits all in the cruise world; whatever you desire in a holiday can be offered.
MYTH: I HAVE TO EAT DINNER EVERY NIGHT WITH STRANGERS
Gone are the days of enforced seating on cruise ships, unless that’s what you prefer of course.
Back in the day, you’d be assigned a seat with other guests for the entire voyage. Depending on your seat mates you could be in for night after night of boring conversation or make friends for life. It was the luck of the draw. These days, you can eat at any time you desire and sit where you like. On some ships set mealtimes are still available, catering to traditionalists.
MYTH: A CRUISE ISN’T A TRUE CULTURAL EXPERIENCE
You like to think of yourself as a traveller rather than a tourist, so why would you choose to cruise?
It’s all about choosing a cruise with ports that appeal. Look for itineraries offering late departures or overnights in ports. And once in port you can have an authentic cultural experience. You can book into ship-run excursions, or you can book your own, though many ships these days offer bespoke experiences such as following the chef to markets to find local ingredients or having lunch hosted at a local’s home.
Many ships offer cultural enrichment experiences on-board with experts in line with destinations visited. Feeling adventurous? Book an expedition cruise.
Water play with Norwegian Cruise Line caters to families; port calls to places such as Papua New Guinea give cruise passengers a true cultural experience.
EGUM ISLET, PNG