Is a cruise worth it? The pros and cons of a cruise vacation.

Is a Cruise Worth It? {Pros and Cons of a Cruise}

Are you tossing around different ideas for your next vacation and wondering is a cruise worth it?  Cruises are like floating resorts that take you to some pretty amazing places, many of which you may not ever visit otherwise.  But are they for you?  Is a cruise worth it?


In this article we will take a look at the honest pros and cons of cruising to help you decide for yourself if a cruise vacation is worth it.


Is a cruise worth it?  Pros and cons to a cruise vacation


This article contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information please see the Disclosure page.




Is a cruise worth it?

Let’s start with the pros of a cruise vacation.


Pros of a cruise vacation:

1. Onboard amenties

Modern cruise ships, especially the newer and larger ships have some pretty incredible amenities.  Many of which you may never thought you’d see on a cruise ship.

In addition to the standard pools, fitness centers and spas, some of the things you can find on certain ships are:

  • Water slides
  • Mini golf
  • Ice skating
  • Laser tag
  • Rock climbing
  • Ropes courses
  • Surf simulators
  • Zip lining
  • Racetrack
  • Escape rooms

And more.  Just be sure to research you ship as each ship is very different.  Not all these amenities are on every cruise ship or every cruise line.

Just as hotels vary, so do cruise ships.

If you wondered are cruises boring, this article answers that. Wondering what sports you can play on a cruise ship to stay active?





2. Diverse dining

Cruise ships offer a variety of dining options, from formal dining rooms and specialty restaurants to casual buffets and room service. 

Many restaurants are included in your cruise fare, others will have an additional cost to eat there. 

The main dining room is one of the venues that are included in your cruise fare.  This is the perfect spot and time to try something new.  If you don’t like it, you can order something different or head to one of the other food venues.






3. Activities and entertainment

During the day, in addition to the amenities mentioned above, there are several activities to keep you entertained.  Bingo, trivia, pool deck games, basketball and other sport activities to onboard duty free shops.

On a cruise ship you can’t help but have a great time as the evenings are just as fun as the days.

You will find different amazing entertainment options such as Broadway-style shows, comedy clubs, live music, karaoke, night clubs, outdoor movies and of course a casino.    

Carnival Vista skyride






4. Convenience

A cruise is like a floating resort where everything is easily accessible in one place. 

This is one of the great things about cruising.  Not everyone in your travel party has to do everything together.  One person can go to the spa while the other tries their luck at the blackjack table. 

You can grab a drink as you are walking by one bar and take it to another area. 

You never have to plan for a designated driver.

A cruise vacation is extra convenient when travelling with younger children.  If one is hungry or needs to use the washroom or have a nap, all family members don’t have to pack up and solve this issue as a family.  One of the adults can help that child while the others find something fun to do.

A cruise is also convenient from a planning and booking perspective.  You can even book your airfare (sometimes it’s even cheaper) and transfers with the airline.

Having a preplanned itinerary takes away any logistics planning, other than getting to the ship.  Less travel arrangements equals less stress.






5. Multiple destinations

Cruises offer the opportunity to visit multiple destinations in one trip.  Passengers wake up to exciting and new destinations each port day.  Many of these ports of call are ones you may never visit otherwise.  And as an added bonus, there is no packing and unpacking.






6. Relaxation

As much fun as cruises are, they offer the perfect opportunity to relax and escape reality. 

There is something so calming and peaceful about just sitting and watching and listening to the waves.  Cruise sunrises and sunsets are just magical.

One of the best things about a cruise is the opportunity to make your vacation what you want.  If you want to party all day everyday, there is that opportunity.  However, if you want to destress and relax all cruise long you can do that.  Better yet, find time for both fun and relaxation.

Find a quiet outdoor space, the adult only pool area, or splurge on the spa relaxation areas and unwind.

Relaxing in a hammock on a cruise ship






7. Escape everyday life

On a cruise you get a break from cooking, cleaning, trips to the grocery store, chores, meal planning. 

For me, that right there makes a great vacation.






8. Appeals to all ages

Most major cruise lines are family friendly (except Virgin Voyages which is an adult-only cruise line).  You will find activities, amenities, and food that appeals to all ages. 

The cruise lines offer kids’ clubs and teen clubs, broken down into different age groups and offer age-appropriate activities. 

This is a big reason a cruise is a great choice for a family vacation.  The kids will be having a great time and making new friends while the adults get to spend time one their own.  It’s a win-win for everyone.

The multi-generational appeal of cruising makes cruises a great choice for a family reunion or other special events like a birthday cruise.






9. Safety and security

Cruise lines take passenger safety and security very seriously. 

Cruises offer great peace of mind especially when traveling to more exotic locations and visiting different cultures.  You can visit these foreign countries and take cruise line shore excursions.  Then you aren’t worried about booking a hotel in a safe area, what to do in each place, is the food safe (you can eat back on the ship), and much less foreign currency is needed as you tour is prepaid.






10. Great value

Considering a cruise vacation includes your transportation, accommodation, meals (some are extra but there are lots of free options), some drinks, the kids’ clubs’ and most activities, it is a good value.

It is important to research your cruise line and cruise ship ahead of time to understand what is included in your cruise and what has an extra charge

 

What is included on a Carnival Cruise and what costs extra on a Royal Caribbean cruise are both helpful articles.

Most cruise lines don’t offer free alcoholic beverages, but they do offer drink packages (both alcoholic and soft drinks) that you can prepurchase which helps with budgeting for your cruise and spreading out the cost of your vacation.

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas dining room is an impressive 3 stories high
Mariner of the Seas main dining room. Photo by Load the Luggage






11. Unique experience

A cruise ship is like floating resort with attentive and friendly crew members who help make your dream vacation a memorable one.

You can have a fun active holiday or a quiet relaxing one all in the same place.  Or even better is balance of both.

From deck parties to movies under the stars as you sail onto your next destination, a cruise offers a unique experience you can tailor to your own personal preferences.  All while seeing different places.





12. Loyalty programs

The large cruise lines reward you for your loyalty to them.  Each cruise line has a different tiered system but often offer perks such as priority boarding, laundry service, internet packages, and some free drinks.

 If you become an avid cruiser, you will definitely want to check out what your favorite cruise lines have to offer repeat guests.



As you can see, there are many pros to a cruise vacation and these pros definitely make a cruise vacation sound appealing. But what are the cons?  As with anything there are a few downsides.  To paint a fair picture of a cruise vacation we have to talk about some of the less appealing side of cruising.





Downsides of a cruise.  Image is a cruise ship pool area



Cons of a cruise vacation

Here are some of the potential downsides to a cruise vacation.


1. Crowded spaces

The larger ships hold thousands of people.  Certain areas, like the pool deck in particular, can be crowded at times. 

Lines for certain food venues and activities on the ship can be long as well.  The good news is that there are multiple food venues and activities to choose from. 

It is a good idea to not wait until you are starving to decide to find somewhere to eat and eat lunch at off times.  Choosing your dining time for the main dining room will help with dinner crowds.

The larger ships carry far more passengers; however, they have more venues.  The smaller ships while they carry fewer fellow passengers, also have less food and entertainment venues.






2. Motion sickness

Since you are on a moving ship, there is the possibility of motion sickness.  The modern cruise ships now have stabilizers which help minimize movement.

If you are concerned about seasickness, there ways to help prevent seasickness that you can read about here.

Luckily for many avid cruisers, they rarely notice the ship’s movement.






3. Limited time in ports

This is a common complaint about cruises, not enough time in ports, especially on Mediterranean cruises.  While you do get to see several different ports, your visit is often limited to a few hours. 

There is no flexibility with the itinerary.

The way I prefer it look at it is, a cruise is a great way to see the highlights of several destinations.  For many places this is enough.  It also allows you to see a place and then decide if it is somewhere you’d like to go back to and spend more time.






4. Additional costs

A cruise, at least on most major cruise lines, is not all inclusive.  There are some additional costs.  Again, be sure to understand before you book what is and isn’t included.

Some costs are in addition to your base cruise fare but are just part of the cruise vacation, such as cruise gratuities, port charges, and off-ship activities.  Be sure to budget for these.

Luckily, many extra cost items are optional, such as spa treatments, specialty restaurants, onboard duty-free shops, and some drinks.




Is a cruise worth the hype?



In conclusion, is a cruise worth it?

As you can see, a cruise vacation offers a unique blend of convenience, diverse activities the whole family will love, and the excitement of exploring multiple destinations, all while enjoying the luxury and entertainment of a floating resort.

However, we can’t ignore the potential downsides such as crowds and a fixed itinerary.

In the end, only you can answer the question, is a cruise worth it?  For me it is an absolute YES.  A cruise is my favorite type of holiday by far.

If you are planning your first cruise vacation there are a few articles that you will find valuable.  55 Cruise essentials on Amazon, Are cruises boring, and what to pack for a Caribbean cruise.