Ten things you thought were true about cruising… but aren’t

If you’re having reservations about making a reservation, here are a few facts about cruising to set you straight.

From the need to pack a ball gown to the notion that cruise ships only serve unhealthy fried food, we unpick the biggest myths about cruising.

A view on cruise ship CARNIVAL VISTA's promenade deck, whilst maneuvering.

Myth 1: You’ll be bored
Some people imagine being on a cruise means having nothing to do. Very true: you don’t have to shop, cook, wash up or organise anything. But if it’s fun you’re after, plunge down the slides at Carnival WaterWorks™, get into a Hasbro, the Game Show extravaganza, head to the comedy club or interact with characters from Dr. Seuss with Seuss at Sea™. Then there’s blackjack action, pub drinks, deck parties, karaoke, poolside movies with blankets and popcorn included and much, much more.

Myth 2: You’ll be too busy
Like any other holiday, a cruise can be jam-packed with action, entertainment and nonstop socialising. Or it can be about slowing down, de-stressing and escaping the fast pace of daily life. For most, it’s something in between. You have no obligation to participate in anything except the one-off safety drill before you set sail. If you’re after tranquillity, book yourself into the spa for a massage, read your book in the adults-only Serenity™ Retreat or relax poolside.

Myth 3: Ships are claustrophobic
Cruise ship design and layout has improved enormously over the years, and you won’t be hemmed into a crowd while on board – the only crowds will be at theatre shows. Multiple entertainment venues, restaurants, bars and on-board activities disperse your fellow passengers across the ship, and there’s always a quiet corner for those who want “me time”.

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Myth 4: A cruise is just a ship
People who’ve never cruised sometimes worry about being “stuck on board”. In fact, most cruises are a mix of days at sea and days in port. In port, most of the day can be spent on shore, lying on the beach, shopping, trying the local food, kayaking, doing cultural visits and more.

Myth 5: Everyone is old

Thirty years ago we might have agreed that cruise passengers were generally retired, happy with bingo and afternoon tea. These days, people of all ages are cruising, and you’ll find many children and families on board Carnival, as well as lots of entertainment and activities aimed at kids and teens.

Myth 6: You can’t escape the kids
There are children on board but a ship isn’t an aeroplane. It’s easy to get a break from your own kids, and find spaces where you can also avoid other people’s rug rats. The Serenity Retreat featuring a pool, spa, bar, plenty of sun loungers and day beds is adults-only venues, as are the nightclub and casino. Relax with wellness therapies at Spa Carnival or hit the fitness centre. While you’re doing this, the kids will be taken care of at one of three free options: Camp Carnival for ages 2-11, Circle “C” for 12-14 or Club O2 for 15-17-year-olds. There’s also Night Owls, which operates from 10pm-1am for small a fee.

C5N6XK Cruise ship water park and recreation. Pools and splash fun. Passengers sunbathing on the deck in their lounge chairs.

Myth 7: You have to dress up
Some of us just don’t want to squeeze into a tuxedo or ball gown while on holiday. Fair enough. Casual clothing is fine – you can even break out the shorts and thongs during the day! Only the ship’s dining room is slightly more formal, with smart casual attire required in the evenings. On “cruise elegant” dining nights, many guests enjoy dressing up, but you’re not even under an obligation to wear a tie, and always have the option to head to the International Food Plaza or Nouveau Restaurant for a casual vibe.

Myth 8: Cruise food is unhealthy
With a delectable variety of around-the-clock, mostly inclusive food choices it’s certainly easy to overindulge – for some, that’s what a holiday ought to be about. But equally, you can head to the self-service salad bar or deli for grilled tuna or chicken and lashings of vegetables; pick healthy dining options at our Mexican or sushi restaurants; or indulge in the low-calorie lobster tail at Nouveau.

Myth 9: Cruising is expensive
“Expensive” is a relative term, so we aren’t going to argue this one. We’ll just suggest you do your sums. Add up your holiday costs on land, including transport, hotel rooms, meals, dance classes, cooking demonstrations, movies, nightly entertainment, minigolf, pools and waterpark. Once you’ve seen the total, you realise that cruise prices are hard to match.

Myth 10: Cruising is only for “insiders”
Some first-time travellers worry about how cruises work and whether they’ll know the ropes. Bear in mind that everyone was once a first-time cruiser, and that there’ll be plenty of other novices on board. Understanding how cruises unfold and how everything works on board your ship isn’t difficult. Just kick back, relax and go with the flow. Carnival makes it all the more simple with their recently launched Fun Hub App that keeps you up to speed with all the activities on offer each day – you can even save them as favourites and a reminder will be generated for you!