When my husband sat down to dinner the other day and said, “I just read the dumbest article on reasons not to cruise,” my curiosity was peaked. When he said it was on MSN, I had to check it out. Sure enough, I found an article called, “11 Reasons You Should Never, Ever Take a Cruise.” Now, I love going on cruises so I read it wondering what I had missed. Apparently, I didn’t miss anything. The writer of this article assumed that when one is cruising, one packs a swimsuit but leaves one’s brain at home! Here were the 11 reasons:
- Dangerous Fellow Passengers – Yep. It’s true. There can be “bad guys” on cruise ships. You know what? There are also “bad guys” everywhere else you go. Apparently, using this reasoning, I shouldn’t ever leave my home. There are probably dangerous people in my neighborhood! We’ve even had arrests at WalMart so I guess I can’t go there, either! All kidding aside, if you wouldn’t wander late at night alone or let your kids run around without you, you shouldn’t do it on a cruise ship, either. It’s not a reason to avoid them, however.
- Unhealthy Eating and Drinking – I have never, ever seen a cruise line employee force a passenger to eat or drink something. Never. Just like McDonald’s does not force me to go through their drive-thru. Unhealthy eating and drinking options abound in our everyday lives. Fortunately, the cruise ships I’ve been on also offer healthy choices. I’ve seen egg white omelets, salads, fresh fruit, etc. Just because it’s offered, doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I eat like I normally would and have yet to gain a pound while cruising.
- Food Poisoning and Norovirus – This has seen a lot of media attention lately, but by the article’s own admission, one in six Americans get food poisoning each year. Digging further, one will find that most of those cases are NOT from a cruise ship. In fact, the one time I was part of an outbreak was in my college dorm. I don’t see anyone cautioning young people to not go to college! Anyway, the most recent cruises I’ve been on have taken food sanitation to the next level even handing out hand sanitizer wipes before entering a dining room. You don’t get that in a regular restaurant! Again, do what you would do at home. Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. I also bring anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down my room and bathroom.
- Mechanical Difficulties and Their Consequences – It is an unfortunate fact that cruise ships can have systems that break down. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen that often. According to cruise expert Ross Klein when testifying before Congress, there were 79 cruise ship fires between 1990 and 2011. Most were so small that the media didn’t even report them. Using this logic, I should never get in my car because it might break down causing an accident and I certainly should never get in a plane because it might crash. If you are one of the unlucky few who experience a cruise ship malfunction, then that’s terrible, but it shouldn’t stop you from cruising any more than you stop riding in any other vehicle.
- Unqualified Doctors – This is the one in the list that I might agree with for those people with potentially serious, life threatening issues. No one wants to get sick on vacation, but it does happen, and the cruise ship is out to sea with the nearest emergency room hours away. I think of the cruise ship’s infirmary as the equivalent of an urgent care. We have used the infirmary for an ear infection and another minor issue and the ship’s doctor was great. They can take care of the minor issues like ear infections, motion sickness, etc. and even have medications on hand to help, but if something major happens, one either has to hope that a medical helicopter can assist in transporting to a hospital or wait until the next port.
- Too Much Fun in the Sun – Really? Do I even need to comment on this? People, if you’re going to be out in the sun, wear sunscreen and pay attention to your body’s signs of getting too warm or sunburned, whether you’re on a cruise ship or just at a local pool.
- Cruises Rock – and Roll – Yes, they do. They are ships after all. I have been on cruises where I hardly felt the ship moving other than a nice rocking motion at night to lull me to sleep. I’ve been on others where I’ve seen people have to hold the hand railings to get down the hallways. I spent much of one cruise nauseous, but then I was also in my first trimester of pregnancy so may have been nauseous anyway. What I can say is that if you are prone to motion or sea sickness, then a cruise may not be the vacation for you, but you probably knew that already.
- Your Bed Might Bug You – This is a possibility, but according to traveltruth.com, “You are far more likely to get bed bugs in a hotel room than a cruise ship cabin. This has a lot to do with twice-daily crew cleaning practices, use of safe pesticides, and the changing of beds and mattresses on a scheduled basis during dry dock.” Even the nicest of hotels can get bed bugs so if you’re willing to stay in one of those, you should be willing to stay in a cruise cabin. Use the same precautions – check the mattress before getting into bed and never unpack your suitcase on your own bed at home or on a carpeted surface.
- Nothing to Sneeze at – I’m really not sure what this one is getting at. Allergies can act up anywhere. My husband’s allergies are actually better on a ship because he’s away from allergens like pet dander, grasses, and pollen. I suppose the dampness of a cruise ship could make mold more likely, but, unfortunately, mold can grow anywhere, even in homes (or hotels) here in the deserts of Arizona where I live.
- Mental Health Challenges – This is a tough one. I can see that the party-like atmosphere of the ship could make a depressed person feel even more alone just like being at a resort or even a local gathering could. Again, there are limited facilities on board so just like with serious physical health issues, I would encourage those with serious mental health issues to have those issues well-controlled and to consult their doctor before boarding a cruise.
- Well, while the article has 11 in the title, number 11 appears to be missing. There are 12 slides and number 1 is an intro and number 12 is “How to Have a Happy, Healthy Cruise,” which leaves 10. Apparently, the author couldn’t even come up with another bad reason for number 11.
Cruising isn’t for everyone. As previously mentioned, those with serious health issues should consider not cruising or at the very least, consult their doctor. Those prone to motion sickness should also consider not cruising. In addition, a fear of water or fear of not being able to see the shoreline may also prevent one from having a terrific cruise. The majority of the reasons in the article, however, are definitely not reasons to avoid cruises. In fact, this is probably one of the worst articles I’ve read regarding reasons to not cruise. I can’t believe MSN would even include it in their health section.