I Hate Cruises
Leah Walker April 19, 2012

I’m sure the title is going to cause a whole legion of cruise connoisseurs to take up arms against me, but that’s ok. I’ve taken exactly two cruises in my lifetime, not counting cruises to Alcatraz or Milford Sound. No, I’m talking about real cruises with shows, buffets, and bingo. I went exactly thirty five years without cruising, but in the last two I’ve been twice.

I never really thought I’d like a cruise in the first place, but my dad was going by himself (again) and paying the price of two people (which I think is complete BS, but that’s another post). I decided to tag along. After all, it wasn’t costing him anything more, and we could keep each other company. We left out of Galveston for a five night trip with stops in Progresso and Cozumel, Mexico. The second trip was this past New Year’s. For our Christmas presents, my dad sent my brother, sister-in-law, two nieces, my husband, and me on a four night cruise to Mexico that included a single stop in Cozumel.

Cruise1Hanging with my family was the best part of cruising.

Before you think I’m sounding like a big-ole spoiled brat, I want to say that I am VERY appreciative of my dad and his generous gifts. I may hate the cruise concept, but I love my family. That’s why I went, and I’d go again if they wanted to. I had a great time with my family. We laughed, spent valuable time together, and ate a whole bunch. In a family effort, my husband was even crowned the sports trivia champion of the ship. Both cruises were wonderful in regard to time spent together, and they gave us memories to last a lifetime. For those reasons alone, I’m glad I went.

I just wouldn’t choose to take a cruise for one of my vacations.

And you know what? That’s just fine, because it takes all kinds. Some people loathe the idea of hopping on a plane for twenty hours and spending a month exploring. I think it sounds like heaven.

So what exactly is it that I hate about cruising?

I feel stuck: I like to blaze a trail when I’m on a trip, and walking from the ship’s pool to its casino isn’t the same. Wandering the streets of a city or hitting the open roads and exploring the countryside are the things I love about traveling. The short port-of-call stops just don’t cut it for me.

Cruise4Standing in line to get back on the ship isn’t my idea of fun.

Cheesy Entertainment:  Look, I love a good Broadway show as much as anyone, but I just don’t see the entertainment value in a cruise. I’m not expecting Tony Award winners taking the stage, but really, come on. When I look through the day’s itinerary and the only thing that jumps out at me is the hairiest chest contest, it’s pretty bad. The dance contests, scavenger hunts, karaoke, miniature golf, and trivia contests all feel like a middle school slumber party. This probably explains why my nieces had such a great time.

Cruise2There’s only so much miniature golf one can play.

The Hustle: I know cruise ships have a simple goal, which is to make as much money as possible. I get it, but I don’t like it. Every little thing seems to have some sort of money-making goal behind it. An art auction? Really? Announcements come from the speaker proclaiming it time for the free wine tasting. Everyone hears “free” and “wine” but wind up spending a pretty penny when it’s all said and done. And while I’m on the subject of alcohol, geeze, I hate the idea of being at the mercy of the cruise ship when it comes to the cost of a drink. Their high prices and strict guidelines have turned otherwise honest people into boat bootleggers. Give me a neighborhood store in Rome where I can take a gallon jug and fill it up with red wine for 15 Euros. Not only do I get more bang for my buck, but I also get an authentic Roman experience.

Cruise4Cruise ships make a ton of money off of booze.

Fellow Cruisers:  For the life of me, I have no clue what makes some people lose all coothness when they get on a cruise ship. Just because the buffet is near the pool doesn’t mean it’s ok to get your Caribbean jerk chicken, black beans, and fried plantains while not wearing shoes or a shirt. Seriously! Rudeness abounds everywhere, but it seems to be magnified more on a cruise ship because you’re confined to such a small space. It doesn’t help that you have to see the same damn people every day. I particularly loathe this when it comes to the casino. I fashion myself an excellent blackjack player, and simply come unglued when players sit at my table and play crazily. With so few tables, it’s hard to find a place without such people. I can’t stand floating around with drunk, belligerent, or inconsiderate people who are only concerned with themselves and have no regard for others. I realize that I will and do encounter these people in all forms of travel, but on a cruise I’m stuck with them for the duration of the trip.

Cruise10Yes, those are balloon penises on their heads.

No Culture: Probably my favorite aspect of traveling is experiencing other cultures and immersing myself in them. Whether that be finding locals-only restaurants, hitting the markets, or just walking the streets, I don’t want to spend my trip with Joe Blow from Houston. I’m from Houston. I didn’t take time from work and money out of my bank account to rub elbows with somebody I could have met at home. And I seriously don’t like being herded like cattle through duty free shops while docked.

Cruise11Is this supposed to be a taste of Mexican culture?

Cozumel7Nothing says “Mexico” like a sombrero, tequila, and vanilla, right?

Cruise3Passengers in Cozumel must walk through a duty free shop to board the ship.

I’m sure I’ll get comments about how not all cruises are like the ones I describe. That there are European luxury river cruises that I’d surely love  or that some ships stay in port overnight and stuff like that. Here’s the deal. If you want to put your money where your mouth is and send me on a cruise in an effort to change my opinion, I’ll gladly accept. Besides, it’s not like I want to hate cruises. It’s just that I’m not going to spend my precious vacation days or dollars on a cruise.

Did you know that this post led to an interview on BBC? Check out, “A Brush with Fame:  BBC & My Cruise Contempt“.

Leah Walker

Leah's a luxury travel and food writer who has as many stories as she does shoes. She documents her experiences whether that's in the lap of luxury or riding through a swamp in an airboat. Leah freelances and has contributor/editor roles with The Daily Meal, The Daily Basics, Luxe Beat Magazine, Forbes Travel Guide, and is a travel ambassador for Atout France USA. Leah's thrilled to call Paris home after being awarded the coveted three-year Compétences & Talents visa from France, though her talents don't extend to speaking French. Yet.


    1. I’m glad you think so, Lola. Like I said, to each his own. I just don’t happen to love cruising and that’s ok. I don’t have to. Although, being a boat bootlegger would be fun. 😉

  1. As a travel agent I think cruises are great for certain types of trips. I agree that travel should be about losing yourself in culture & finding that great locals spot,but there are times when I just want to relax & be pampered. Cruises are great for that! I think it’s all about the type of trip you want to have :)

  2. Exactly CruiseOne Sheila Malone. I agree 100%. Cruises were a great way for my mom to travel when she was sick. They can be as low key as you wish them to be. My dad loves cruises too. I don’t fault anyone for liking them, they’re just not my cup of tea.

  3. Honestly, I’ve never been on a cruise. The closest I’ve been to a cruise was taking a high-speed ferry from England to Holland. I thought it was pretty cool, but it was only a few hours. I confess, though, if the opportunity presented itself, I’d take an Alaska cruise.

    1. The Alaskan cruise is the only one that ever tickled my fancy even a little. Still, I’m not sure if I can get the bad taste out of my mouth from cruising with the masses. I’m glad I tried it though. What if I’d loved it? I’d never know if I didn’t ever go. Give it a shot, I say.

  4. Thank you thank you thank you! I have never been on a cruise.. and this is exactly why! I knew I wasn’t alone. And get me on a 20h plane journey anytime.. and even better if *up in the front*

    1. I’m not trying to discourage anyone else from trying a cruise. It’s just not for me. I’m not sure if it’s the entire concept of a cruise or the ship/company/clientele with me on my cruises. I’m not closing the door completely to cruising. I’m just not spending my money on it. 😉

  5. I have never been on one myself. I have wanted to go I must admit. But can’t seem to find it worthy of my time. Its hard to say I would hate it when I have yet been on one. But I too feel like I would go postal on some folks. I know many who go on them religiously and though some are quite pleasant and have manners and morals instilled in them. Most of them I would dump overboard within 30 minutes of setting sail. So since you are a worldly traveler and have been on two of them, I will say I will take the advice of My Wanton Wanderluster and stick to non cruise travel endeavors.

  6. If you’ve wanted to go Tamara Foreman Byars, then you should give it a try. You might love cruises. You do make a valid point; you might dump a few overboard before the boat departs. So on second thought, perhaps you ought not cruise. LOL!

  7. I have cruised probably a half dozen times as an adult (once on the Triumph pictured above), and I have enjoyed them less each time. The ports are pretty unimpressive when you’ve been all over the world, and like you say, putting up with the people is a difficult task. I have found an approach to cruising that works pretty well for me. We always get a balcony stateroom, and I tend to sit out there for hours on end reading. We often skip the ports and use that as our pool day, because everyone is off the ship. In a nutshell, they are great for a long weekend, but beyond that I’m not a big fan anymore…

    1. Did you take the Triumph out of NOLA? It just moved from there to Galveston this winter, I believe. My dad rarely steps foot off the boat anymore, and even then it’s just to check out the duty free. I had a great time in Cozumel because my family and I made it fun. We got off the tourist track and found a market five or six blocks off the main road. We ate lunch and walked around. I hear you about using the days at ports as pool days. I used them as spa days. I’ve found that they’re willing to give discounts on those days for spa services since most people are out and about. It’s a different world when everyone is off the ship. I quite enjoyed it then. Great idea on the stateroom. I would imagine it is a pleasant place to relax and read.

  8. Remind me not to tell you about the time Gerard and I took a cruise.. and liked it. LOL. I quite enjoy the cheesy entertainers. But I totally hear you. My mom said the same thing when she went to Cozumel. We went to the Mediterranean so I think it’s a different experience. :) Hilarious post btw. Haha

    1. I’m glad you did! It’d be a shame to spend your time and money on something you didn’t enjoy. There is something to be said for cheesy entertainment. But don’t pour water down my back and tell me it’s raining. What I mean is, don’t try to sell it as the best thing since Wicked on the Broadway stage. I know better. LOL! BTW, I do have a feeling that a Mediterranean cruise would be a bit different than the ones I went on. My mind isn’t totally clouded by the vision of over-priced umbrella drinks. 😉

  9. I’m struggling with this issue now as I decide how to visit Alaska. The whole family wants to come and we want to see it by boat. If it were just my sister and I, we’d be taking the public ferries and camping on the decks (THAT sounds like an adventure). But my parents aren’t really into that kind of thing and are interested in a cruise. I’ve never been on one before – your article didn’t make me feel much better about it!

    1. Don’t let me put you off, John. An Alaskan cruise might be different that ones to the Caribbean. I’m not sure about the size of the ships and the amount of time at port for Alaskan cruises, but look into that before making up your mind. If your parents want to see it that way, then do it. I promise you that the time you spend together will outweigh any sort of bad feelings you have about being on a cruise ship. You know what they say, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Well, I did. Twice. It’s just not for me, but I’d go if my family wanted to go.

    2. For all I know, you’ve already been on your family Alaska cruise or decided against going. We went on an Alaska cruise with a group of 10 family members whose ages spanned 77 years. There was definitely a herding cats aspect to the experience, but we all agreed it was a fine way to travel with multiple generations of family. The truth is that there are some places in Alaska that you have to fly or boat to (including the capital, Juneau?). I’m not sure how Leah feels about commenters linking to outside posts (she can always delete it), but here’s a link to the guest post I wrote about our cruise on another blog:


  10. I’ve never been on a cruise, but you just confirmed what I feared they would be like :) Some biology friends of mine (very independent travelers) did an Antartica cruise and loved it and a friend of mine from Germany years ago did a cruise on a sailboat with maybe 30 people in the Carribean. So, I think there are exceptions. But by and large, I think I wouldn’t like a cruise either.

    1. Now, I think you have to put Antarctica in a completely different category. And as far as the sailboat, that might not be so bad either. But as for the megaships, I’m not a fan. If the price was low enough, it might be worth your time to take a ship out of Galveston to see for yourself. But by and large, most independent travelers aren’t the biggest cheerleaders for cruises.

  11. I’ve never been on a cruise, but most of the reasons you list for not liking them are my reasons for never having booked one! If you find one worth doing though, I’d like to hear about it.
    PS. I’m impressed with your family’s jumping ability!

    1. I would think that a cruise that docks longer, doesn’t have as many days at sea, and is on a small boat would be more enjoyable than the megaships. Like I said, I’m willing to give another shot if someone wants to try and change my mind. :-) And yes, I come from a long line of outstanding jumpers! LOL! Thank you.

  12. I love cruising – if you tried a line other than Carnival, on an itinerary with ports that excite you, you might see the attraction. The things you like to do, “Wandering the streets of a city or hitting the open roads and exploring the countryside…” are possible on many itineraries.

    1. I haven’t tried another. Like I’ve said in some of the other comments, I’m not sure if it’s the cruise line or the entire concept I don’t care for, but I think it’s the latter. Being in such close quarters for an extended period of time with the same people is something I don’t care for. I’m not sure changing cruise ships would help in that regard. I am more than happy to travel alone (and do often), so traveling with 30, 300, or 3,000 others is not my idea of fun. In addition, I really don’t like being tied to a specific itinerary. If I’m in a place I love, I don’t want to have to leave it. Or on the flip side, if I hate a place, I don’t want to have to stay. I want to be able to go with the flow and a cruise ship doesn’t offer that for me.

      As I said, I don’t judge or fault others for loving and taking cruises. I just have not enjoyed my experience with them.

      1. Every word you have written could’ve come from my keyboard. A cousin of mine from New Zealand came to SF and visited me for 10 days, then took a CRUISE home! Oh my. It took 3 weeks I think, and the itinerary read ‘At Sea’ most days.

        If someone asked me to envision hell, that would pretty much be it.

        Puzzled, I continued probing for the attraction, and ‘being fed’ didn’t quite resonate. I told her, ‘You know how many exquisite dinners you could have at home for 5K? – and afterwards you sleep in your big bedroom vs your balcony-less teeny stateroom.” It was 5K because she was travelling solo.

        I’m exactly like you. I take off on vacation without an exact itinerary, and go where the wind takes me. Except for extraordinary circumstances, I travel without reservations because that sort of boxed planning doesn’t work for me, and in my 63 years haven’t slept in the street yet :)

  13. I was anti-cruises until I went on one. And I’ve been on only one, but I had the best time. Yes, I wish we could have stayed longer at certain ports, and that I could have experienced more culture, but it was an overall positive experience. Now, when making travel plans, is a cruise the first thing we consider? No. In fact, it’s been ten years since my first, and last, cruise. I’m not entirely ruling out another one, though.

  14. Our family has gone on 5 cruises and quite enjoyed them, although I will admit that the two that were in the Caribbean didn’t have the most interesting ports of call. We went on a multi-generational cruise to Alaska on Princess which I think is a great way to see the state if you are traveling with kids and/or seniors. We have also sailed on Princess in the Baltics (Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo, St. Petersburg, Gdansk, and Tallinn) and Celebrity in the Mediterranean (Rome, Santorini, Athens, Mykonos, Istanbul, Kusadasi, and Salerno). While the limited time in port didn’t allow us to thoroughly explore these places, it did give us enough exposure to know whether or not we would like to return there on a land-based vacation. Another plus for us is that our kids love cruising because it gives them the opportunity to spend a little bit of time away from us and with other kids in the evening or on sea days. The atmosphere on the ships that we have cruised on has been far more subdued than what you experienced and I’m not sure that anyone in our family would enjoy cruising on any of the so-called “party ships”.

    1. I agree that cruises are a great option for families. My dad took my two nieces on one and he didn’t have to worry about keeping up with them that much, plus the kids had lots of stuff to do. I think all three of them enjoyed the experience. You’re about the 100th person to mention how great an Alaskan cruise is. I’ve been telling my dad to go on one of those. Cruises were especially were good for when my mom was going through chemo. She could go back to the cabin any time she needed rest or didn’t feel good. I don’t think you could go wrong with the Mediterranean in a dingy. Haha!

  15. I have never been on a cruise for many of the reasons you say you hate them. I would die not being able to get off of the boat and shake up my itinerary by going somewhere else.

  16. Are we long-lost sisters? Because I agree with you on all these points :) I want to get up and go exploring and not have to wait in line to get off a boat and then be restricted by when I have to get back on. We made the most of our last cruise and planned our own excursions, but I still said the next time I actually cruise again, it might be a river cruise in Europe, but we’ll see. I would rather spend a couple weeks seeing everything I can in ONE place.

    1. We sure might be long-lost sisters. Haha! It seems that people have very strong feelings in either direction when it comes to cruising, either love or hate. I guess it boils down to being told what to do and when. I never did care much for that, and I certainly don’t want it for a vacation. To each their own though. I’ve had lots of people tell me about other cruises, and I think there are some better options than the ones I took. However, I don’t think it solves my fundamental issue with cruising. And that’s ok!

  17. I never took a cruise, and if it would depend on only me, I would probably NEVER take one. Reading this post, I can already feel the kind of atmosphere on a ship like that… I liked the “Love Boat” show on TV when I was a kid, but I think the reality is a lot less flashy and enjoyable. Minigolf on a boat? Seriously? :)

    The only kind of cruising I do is on my motorcycle, along the beaches of Brazil… free as a bird to go where I want and do what I want, without tax free shops.
    I’m pretty sure I would be bored to death on the second day. Maybe if they give me a guitar and put me on stage I could have a good time, but I doubt the audience would like my songs :)
    Great post… like your way of telling the story.

    1. Ok, so you’re cracking me up, Raf. I’ve never heard you sing or play the guitar, but it might be more entertaining than what I experienced. At the very least I’d get a good chuckle. I can see how this type of vacation would drive you mad. It seems that you’re happiest on your bike exploring. Hell, you live in Brazil! Why would you need to go anywhere else anyway?

      1. I think cruises are worthy if you are taking a river cruise (no other way, correct), either in Europe, the Yangtsee, the Amazon, the Mekong, etc. Cruises are also perfect as people mentioned if you go to Antarctica or Alaska, but one area that hardly no one has mentioned is that high-end Cruises are something completely different, starting from the size of your room, and everything free inside (of course, you already pay with the high cost of the ticket for those high-class amenities). Traditional big ships lines such as Carnival, Holland, etc. can be quite claustrophobic after a while, being also a pain the distances you have to walk to go to the pool, the restaurant, the casino, etc. I have taken only one cruise for a week to the Caribbean, it was fun, and was enough for 10 years. Hopefully the next one will be to a place like the ones mentioned in the beginning of my comment. I rather travel in a different mode of transportation, where you can either plan your trip or travel ans stop wherever you want for the time you want.

        1. I’m in 100% agreement, Joaquin. High-end cruises seem to be on a completely different level. Of course, the same could be said with high-end hotels. In the same city, I’ve stayed in a five star hotel and a three star hotel. I feel that I had an overall better experience staying at the five star hotel. You get what you pay for, that’s for certain, and cruise ships are no different.

  18. Interesting to hear different points of view on cruises. I’ve never gone as a guest but I’ve been working on cruise ships for the last 2.5 years.

    To be honest, it doesn’t appeal to me at this stage in my life. But if I had small children or was old and retired, I’d probably love going on board as a guest.

    1. It’s interesting that you work on cruise ships. The one thing I really enjoyed about cruising was talking to the people working on the boat. Everyone seems to be from such diverse places, and I really liked hearing how they ended up on the ship and what they are looking forward to by going home. It really is fascinating to hear all the stories.

  19. I have never been on a long cruise but a recent three hour long harbor brunch cruise made me shudder at the thought of a real one. I would hate it for all the reasons you’ve listed above and I’ve always been a spontaneous and free wheeling traveler so I would really hate the restrictions and the regimented schedule. I also have some very bad experience and impressions of certain cruisers. I was laying on a very nice pristine beach at St. John, VI, with a friend just enjoying the quietness and beauty of the Caribbean sea. All of a sudden a crowd of about 100 or more people came hurdling down the beach like a stampede, all running into the water while screaming and talking very loudly. It was like paradise just turned into a Walmart, complete with kids hitting at each other and parents yelling at them to stop hitting at each other. We realized the cruisers have crashed so we packed our stuffs and went to the beach bar and waited out until they leave so we can enjoy the beach again. An hour later someone sounded a whistle and everyone came hurdling out of the water and picked up their stuffs and start filing out with the guide. The moment the last one of the left I can hear the birds chirping and the waves came slapping at the sand. It was paradise again, only it was littered with all sorts of trash and plastic bags those cruisers left behind. We were so disgusted, so spending a week with 3000 people like that in a confined space at sea, yeah I am afraid I will jump overboard before the ship docks.

    The only cruise I will ever consider taking is the Antarctica one, just because there aren’t a lot of options getting there.

    1. I’m laughing so hard at your Walmart analogy! I referred to one of my cruises as Walmart on the Water. It was awful. At lest you were able to resume your lounging in paradise after they left. I’m sorry your day was ruined by a bunch of rude people. I can see why you have a bad taste in your mouth.

  20. Cruising on a large scale has never particularly appealed to me, for most of the reasons you’ve mentioned. In fact it sounds like all the worst aspects of travel shoved together on a boat. Frances Mayes has a chapter on a Mediterranean megaship cruise in her memoir A Year in the World, which is hilarious at moments and pretty much confirms my apprehensions.

    In fairness, my grandmother’s done a few that sound a bit better (Alaska and New England coast) and she and my mom spent a week on the Queen Mary II from New York to Southampton in 2010. They really enjoyed it, and I might be tempted to go one day if I ever have the cash. The ones I would consider doing at this stage in my life are a river cruise, like along the Danube, or maybe an Adriatic coast cruise (STA keeps sending me emails about them, and it’s hard not to be tempted). Definitely think a smaller boat is the way to go–we did the overnight cruise on Milford Sound, which was limited to 38, and that was a great experience.

    1. Thanks for the tip on the book. Sounds like something I would enjoy reading. As you mentioned, there are some exceptions to my broad generalization. I think the Alaska and Queen Mary II would be fantastic, along with the Danube too. BTW, I didn’t know they did an overnight cruise on Milford. I looked into the one on Doubtful, and it looked wonderful. Ultimately, I decided not to do it though.

  21. I feel you on your reasons for not liking cruises. Aside from travel to Canada and Mexico, a cruise to the Bahamas via Orlando was my first international trip in 2009. I loved it at the time but now that I have more countries under my belt, I realize how boring cruises are. You have to stick to their tight schedule and do all the things they think you will have fun doing. I know some ports are better than others, particularly on a Med cruise, but still, you have to constantly watch the clock and make sure you are aboard the ship when it is ready to go.
    The food buffets are really the only plus side. The cruises get into your pockets with the alcohol and gambling charges.
    I think the only time I’d take a cruise again if it was on a singles only cruise and the ports were worth seeing.

    1. All very good points, Fidel. I think a cruise would be a great introduction to international travel. It gets one’s feet wet, so to speak. I hate to admit it, but I’m kind of fond of a buffet, too. That is, as long as everyone in the buffet line has their shirts on.

  22. Your writing is very generic. You use every over-used phrase known in the U.S. and for someone who praises autheticity, you cleary don’t have a genuine opinion. You are just writing because you think its cool and maybe someone will give you attention. Just limit yourself to taking pictures and giving them titles, and leave the ”real” writing to actual people who have talent.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Josh. While I appreciate your comment, I’m not sure what it has to do with cruising. And please don’t take offense when I say that I don’t put much stock in the opinion of someone who misspells two words and misuses another when criticizing my writing.

  23. Leah, I love your writing and your stories! Josh cracked me up, but to each his own. I can’t go on a cruise because my husband watched some stupid show about rogue waves. I had other issues as well, so you helped me answer some of my issues because you went. I won’t rule out a cruise but…probably won’t happen.

    1. I don’t know about these rogue waves, Jody. Good thing I didn’t when I actually went on a cruise or I’d been paranoid. As for the less-than-glowing review of my writing ability, it’s like water off a duck’s back. Whoops! That just might be one of those overused phrases I apparently use. 😉

  24. As an “actual” person who has made real money writing real stories for real editors of real publications for more than 15 real years, I give Leah all the real credit in the real world for launching a real blog that offers readers a real insight into real places most other real people will have neither the real time nor the real money nor the real guts to visit.

  25. I hate cruises, I been on this got’dang cruise for almost 4 weeks now with another week to go and, I aint seen any liquor. This damn ship don’t even move…lol.
    (Hope my grammar is correct)

    Leah your writing is great, wish I can travel all around and see some of the places you have seen.

    1. You’re way too funny, Navin. I know you’re ready to get off that giant boat that never moves. Thank you, and I know you’ll see the world. You’ve already seen parts I’ll probably never see.

  26. I wrote my comment on a whim, didn’t take it too seriously to spell check. Forgive the 2 misspelled words, I know you enjoy your time nit-picking everything and finding a complaint to attach everything to. 90% of your writing is complaining about something, get laid and enjoy a moment; furthermore, you don’t seem to do anything adventurous and out of the ordinary in your travels. Your writing there for is nothing special, a Triple A Travel Guide would give a more accurate description. The truth is, I skimmed your article and drew an assessment of your personality… Arrogant, megalomaniac and simply put “bitchy.” Trolled a reaction out of you and I’m satisfied with my finding. I’ve traveled the world already in my younger days, 29 now and working as a RN in pediatric care, and if I had complaints I wouldn’t remember them, I just always thought traveling was a luxury and to be appreciated. I went to Zimbabwe in 2008, and helped show kids what America was like, and I gave my sandwich to a kid each day I was there, and you’re complaining about “Scavenger Hunts and how much booze cost,” your nothing special.

    1. Thanks for stopping by again, Josh. I’ve been meaning to thank you for doubling my traffic on Saturday. And I’m so excited that you were able to come to the conclusion that 90% of my writing is complaining. That means you’ve read every single post! I guess I should thank you again for increasing my numbers. Perhaps you should subscribe to my site so you won’t miss a post.

    1. Oh, Raf, there’s enough of Josh to spread around. Perhaps he can give you some constructive criticism on your writing, blog, or how you live your life. Better yet, since he’s a pediatric RN, he can offer you a psychological review of your psyche. Surely he’s qualified, right?

  27. I’ve just read his post and your replies – and replies to Raf to everyone in the office – we are all crying with laughter now!! Thanks Josh for making us laugh with your ridiculous comments!

    1. I’m always about finding the silver lining in situations. Perhaps you should go back and read the article you glanced over. The positive I mentioned was spending time and making valuable memories with my family. To make it easier on you, I’ll tell you that it is found in paragraph three. And thanks for stopping by again. Yesterday, the traffic on this particular post exceeded my newly-published post.

  28. The kids a work with don’t get a chance like you and that make me sick because I know that they’d enjoy any moment we could provide them, you and your followers seem to think its all fun and games. Try doing something outside yourselves for a once day in and day out, I do and the people I work with have less complaints in a year than you do in this single blog. Bring on the sarcasm!

    1. Oh, Josh, it’s really hard to hear you from that high horse you’re on. You really are making yourself look more and more silly with each stroke of the keyboard. If you knew anything about me, you’d know that I was a teacher for a decade. I’ve helped thousands of kids both in and out of the classroom. I’ve given food, clothes, and money to those that didn’t have any, even though it wasn’t part of my job description. I could go on and on about the things I’ve done “outside” of myself, but I think it cheapens my efforts. So, my dear Josh, instead of belittling my readers and me, why don’t you take a look at yourself and ask, “Am I setting a positive example with my words to the children I’m claiming to help?” Remember, when you point the finger there are three pointing right back.

  29. You’ve pretty much summed up why I also have no desire to go on one of these big cruises. I think I’ve heard most of those who go say that it was the only way to travel together and afford it as a family. I guess those of us who have options are blessed.

    1. Anyone who has the chance to travel is blessed for sure. It’s pretty easy to get a deal on a cruise, especially if you live near one of the port cities. I can see why you’ve heard that statement about group travel. Often the actual cruise is reasonable, but getting their from Indiana can be costly. There are lots of people who simply love cruises and I’m just fine with that. I’m not going to tell them not to go. It’s simply a matter of taste, and that’s a subjective thing.

  30. Leah, I grew up going on long road trips with my parents and then when I was in high school and college they started touring the world. My parents taught me travel was exciting and something to be savored. Six years ago my dad finally realized he had enough money saved for their retirement and he needed to spend a “little” of it. He took the four of us on one last family trip to the Mediterranean for a posh class 12 day cruise. I’m so glad I didn’t back out and tell him I didn’t want to go because I’m not a “cruise person”. My memories of climbing to the top of the Parthenon, and sitting quietly with my mom (she was very ill) and watching the gorgeous Croatian coast from the observation deck are memories that even the most intrepid, exotic vacation filled with harrowing adventure and solo challenges can never replace. And really, isn’t that what travel is about? The experience?

    Your post was thoughtful and you paid great respect to your family and your dad’s generosity. Perhaps you can persuade him to join you on a backpacking trip!

    1. First off, I’m sorry to hear about your mom. The reason why my parents started taking cruises is because my mom was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer. Even when she was in remission she was weak, so cruises were great for her. She could go rest anytime she wanted.

      It’s because of the loss of my mom that I wanted to go on those two cruises. At nearly 40 years old, how often does one get the opportunity to vacation with their family? My brother and I haven’t been on a trip together in probably 25 years. I wasn’t going to let that opportunity pass me by. I’m so glad you went, too. And you are exactly right. Travel is about the experience. And in our cases, those experiences made lasting memories with our families. Good for you and thanks for stopping by.

  31. He sure is a desperate troll! I bet it’s a jealous woman making up stories. An pediatric RN who gives out sandwiches in Zimbabwe? Gimme a break.

  32. Yes we must meet! And I agree with Kristin – the “i fed the kids in Africa” line – how very “different” of him. Ugh.

  33. Leah, I was going to post a wise crack, as you know I’m good for it, but that last post “Oh Mylanta” was just too damn funny and I lost my train of thought. Better find Josh for some help and a sandwich.

  34. Starting to feel sorry for the guy here… you should change the post’s title: “I hate cruises… but Josh is great” (you know, for giving away his food and all…) :)

  35. Just had time to read the post, Leah, and loved it! Honest reporting is worth its weight in gold these days.

    I’ve never been on a cruise for some of the very concerns you highlighted, number one being the feeling of being trapped. I’m a walker too, and if I can’t get out and explore – REALLY explore – it’s just doesn’t seem like a vacation. If I come home having not gotten lost at least once, it’s a wasted opportunity.

    I have a feeling when I visit Venice in September, I will be lost on a regular basis. Sounds like a good excuse to find a cute gondolier and have him paddle me home. :)

    Here’s to future great travels, Leah, and keep up the wonderful blog posts. Those of us with maturity, perspective, self confidence and a life are able to enjoy them without the hateful comments.

    1. Yes, yes, yes! Robin, you are going to have the best time in Venice. And I certainly approve of the gondolier plan. 😉 I like the idea of getting lost, too. You never know what you’ll find or what trouble you’ll get into. To me, getting away from a plan often yields the most memorable results. And thank you for the kind words. It really means a lot coming from a great writer such as yourself.

  36. I personally think its very immature to judge someone you have never meet by an article they wrote. So you traveled the world good for you and you fed one kid a sandwich per day over what a 10 day period? I have fed hundreds in soup kitchens. And have given blood, food and clothing and money to the less fortune hundreds of times. Again, where’s my noble peace prize to humanity? Mr Josh, I have known hungry and homelessness. When i was a teenager living with my drug addicted mother right here in America. So I don’t need some self loathing asshole who seems to have had a silver spoon put in his mouth since he’s well traveled at an early age who gave up a f*cking sandwich to a kid for a few days. To belittle me or my friends who have helped more people than I can think of, just because she didn’t like cruises. Again as she stated, she LOVED THE MEMORIES WITH FAMILY.

    Second I have not only known Leah and her family for years and have to say that even though me and Leah haven’t seen eye to eye on some topics, she and her family are good people all around. Her parents where great teachers in and out of school and gave countless afternoons and weekends to help their students.

    Leah, I love reading your blog. It gives me a chance to see the world while staying right at home. I apologize for going off on a fellow reader, but it struck a nerve. For someone who preaches humanity he sure knows how to try and belittle someone. Hypocrite!! Ugh people like him really bring a sour taste in my mouth! Keep writing Leah and am glad this one jerk won’t stop you from reaching your goals!

  37. I know I will be critiqued on my writing.

    Josh I have worked in the medical field and actually know what RN’s make. And if you are in a speciality field you tend to make more money. Nurses make way more than the average teacher. So why don’t you take half your salary and help some of these kids out. Why did you just feed one sandwich to one child a day, why not at least 10 a day? Just asking?

    Let me say this. I am not well educated nor am I well traveled. But I have become successful by my own rite. I don’t live in a fancy house or drive a fancy car. I have 5 beautiful, intelligent, talented kids, that’s my success. I have an adoring husband who provides for us. We have over come a lot. My oldest attends college and majoring in Law. Our other children are well on their way to becoming what they aspire to become as well. I have known both sides of the grass. Greener and dead. And personal can’t stand to see some attack someone they don’t even know because you don’t happen to like what they wrote. Or feel that they are bratty, well to do, pompous rich folks. How dare you? coming on this blog and boasting about showing what Americans are really like? Well you are truthful in that, most Americans are exactly like you Mr Josh. Thinking because they helped few kids they are heroes and are of worth. When actually you aren’t worth the time I am spending to rant to you. COMPASSION IS NOT ABOUT AWARDS, KINDNESS ISN’T ABOUT BOASTING, they are about doing things right because you can wake up in the morning and look at yourself in the mirror and like who is staring back at you. YOU HAVE NO CLUE how many kids, people in general that this woman and her family has helped. EVEN IF IT WAS JUST WITH A KIND WORD. So honestly go screw yourself and your pompous over generic attitude

    1. I am blown away by your passion, Tamara. You’ve shared things that I either didn’t know or had forgotten. I am that much more happy for you and the life you’ve created. I am proud to call you my friend.

  38. Isn’t it amazing what a negative comment can generate? This is how I look at it, I have seen small town newspapers print articles or letters to the editor that generate responses, which helps that small town newspaper sale more papers, not a bad way to increase business but…I say…just ignore it…Josh is obviously a lonely, sad person and needs the interaction he is getting with his negative comments and we can and should defend our precious Leah but if we just ignore Josh, he loses and we don’t lower ourselves to his level.

    Love my travels with Leah, keep taking me with you dear friend.

    1. Good analogy and assessment, Jody. I toyed with not even publishing the comment, but that’s not how I want to run this site. Just because someone doesn’t agree with me or my outlook doesn’t mean that I’m not going to allow them to voice that opinion. Josh was rude, but not abusive or threatening. I know who I am, so his opinion of me was more entertaining than anything.

    1. I’ll go in on half of that troll filter and we can both set off on uninteresting adventures to uninteresting places together…with our better halves, of course. 😉

  39. Leah I love love love what you write. You crack me up and like Tammy said, you allow me to travel while I sit in my classroom getting paid very little to help MANY. Keep doing what you do best. @josh I appreciate that you are there to help those children but please don’t continue to put yourself above those that you don’t even know. Leah and her family have helped MANY, me being one of them. They are good people with opinions that did not hurt anyone. So to write negatively about her shows a lot about your true character. As we teach our kids, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

  40. Kathrine, the passion is that I can’t stand hypocrites! There is so much humanity in humans but way less humans in humanity. Looking back I probably should have refrained from my rant. For I was walking a fine line in being one of them. But to comment on something that has nothing to do with the article is just dumb. Like I said, me and Leah may not see eye to eye on things but to imply she’s not helped kids or people in general is just down right disrespectful.

    Leah you probably didn’t know for you were gone when I moved back. It’s life and for a while I was hardened by the fact that life isn’t fair. But I over came it and moved on. Took me awhile but it can be done.

    Kandice, lol well I ever not be known as Tammy? LOL The passion is that we as humans need to put more into humanity. And stop judging! We tend to judge others based on what we are lacking.

    As I said before, I love reading your blog. If I ever get the chance to travel to far away places it gives me points of references. I love your whimsical style and you never cease to make me LOL while reading about your advantages! I am looking forward to your Go With O series!! Since I did send a picture I kinda feel like I helped so how! Keep up the good work.

  41. LOL Katherine! Well I am planning and hoping to be visiting London and Denmark next year. Thanks to some good friends that have offered their couches. Whoop whoop. I am plan on taking up couch surfing, or at least for a few days. On only on couches I know are not surrounded by sharks. :-) But am really anticipating The Go With O series. Maybe I can stowaway in a crate of Maui Gold Pineapples:-)

    1. haha love it – and you’ll love couch surfing. It’s huge here in NZ and I’ve couch surfed overseas too. Such a great exeperience. If you need help with London locations then give me a shout – I’m sure Leah’s been there though too.

  42. Hmmm…have only done one cruise. It was a disaster! I think the concept of sailing around to different islands is great, but having seen the parts of town with all the tacky tourist stalls geared towards cruises, I know it isn’t for me! Thankfully, I didn’t come across the penis heads like your photos…but I don’t think I will be changing my mind anytime soon to find them! I am with you Leah – they aren’t my thing!

  43. If you can call the overnight Harwich/Hook-of Holland a cruise, or or Wellington/Picton , it’s OK. It’s a way of getting somewhere. The other stuff I could never deal with. No adventure is involved.

  44. Josh, get a life — or better yet, write an obnoxious comment on my blog to generate outrage and therefore, traffic. 😉

    Moving on. I’m leaving for a 7 day Hawaiian islands cruise in 4 days. I’ve been on quite a few cruises. I think that even the mass market ones are great for an intergenerational family vacation. We’ve also enjoyed others we’ve gone on. No one forces you to go to the hairy chest contests and I’ve always been able to find a quiet place on deck somewhere to be able to look at the water and read. (If you want peace and quiet, stay away from the pool!) I see you haven’t crossed visiting Mayan pyramids off your “to do” list yet. One of our favorite cruises left from New Orleans (we enjoyed the ride down (and up) the Mississippi and from the port of Progresso, we went on an extensive trip to the ruins at Uxmal which I had last been to in 1974! On the way back to the ship, we explored Merida some on our own. We also visited Chichen Itza from a cruise, and the San Blas Islands off Panama and other Mayan ruins in Guatemala.

    We’re usually quite reserved, but we’ve enjoyed meeting some people we never would never otherwise probably had a chance to speak to at an assigned dinner table on a cruise. It was a cruise that left from Charleston, S.C. (It was a “get me outta here” February cruise (from the frozen, gray NE US). We are blue people from a blue state. I worked as a poll watcher for Obama (both times). Most of our dining companions thought he was a Kenyan, Muslim, Communist. We were the only people at the table who didn’t own any guns. It was good to get out of the bubble and hear what other folks I never talk to think.

    Wow, I apologize for going on and on and on, ad nauseum. Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote about how there’s room for all types of travel. (If your comment policy is no links out, obviously feel free to delete the link.)

    1. Oh, that Josh is something else, right? Thank you for all your insight on cruises and sharing your experiences. I’d be more than willing to give cruising another chance if it were a small ship probably in a foreign country. Honestly, I love airports and train stations. I love knowing that if I change my mind and want to stay an extra few days or leave early then I can. It’s a control issue as much as anything. It takes all kinds and I’m fine with that. I’ll check out your link. Thank you for stopping by and sharing.

  45. Definitely agree with your article. The only problem is getting my girlfriend to understand lol. She is a hardcore pro cruiser, and I’m very much against.

    As a side note though, I’d say you’re probably better off with the manufactured Mexican culture of sombreros, tequila, and vanilla, rather than the trifecta that’s closer to reality of drugs, kidnapping, and murder.

    1. Oh, I think you’re between a rock and a hard place, Ronnie. I guess you’ll just have to alternate trips. OH, and hahaha to the trifecta. On the border it’s sadly true.

  46. My wife and I just got off of our 3rd and final cruise. Your comments ring so true here. The Carnival Magic was like being on a floating shopping mall on Christmas Eve except everyone was drunk and their kids were unattended. Never again!

    1. Oh my… I’m going to have to steal that quote from you about Christmas Eve and the mall. Instead of PeopleOfWalmart.com, I’m going to start a site called, PeopleOfCruiseShips.com. In fact, I’m going to go buy the domain right now!

  47. I just stumbled upon this old post and have to leave my 2 cents :-) I LOVE to solo travel and explore on my own (with my own schedule and NO tour groups). My husband only likes to cruise when he has his vacation time so we cruise once a year together, I actually love cruising but do NOT like Carnival (hate is a little extreme–its not really their fault, just the demographics that cruise with them typically). I would definitely suggest taking a different cruise line and NOT going to Mexico before making a final decision on cruising, I agree with everything you disliked about your cruise experience and I can say that I do not experience those feelings on Norwegian and Princess. My favorite cruise to date was on Norwegian out of NYC to Bermuda (where we docked for 3 days). Sailing from NYC (and past the Statue of Liberty while “I’m Proud to be an American” played was priceless–I am also retired military). I was able to use the ship as my “hotel” with unlimited meals and explore all day ON MY OWN using the awesome transportation system in Bermuda (bus and ferry). A 3 day all inclusive pass was $28. The airfare to Bermuda alone would have cost almost as much as the cruise (not to mention the very expensive lodging and food costs there). I had as much time alone and away from crowds as I wanted to each day. Another favorite port when we cruise Princess is St Thomas, USVI. The best way to describe that gem is by reading my latest blog post on my website $10 to Paradise at http://www.TTsTrippin.com (sorry if its not appropriate to put my site here–just started blogging and website in Feb and still learning the ropes). I am getting ready to write my next blog post on the 3 major cruise lines and why I feel Norwegian is just right (for me). It’s called “Goldilocks and the 3 Cruise Lines”. The entertainment on Norwegian was as good as the shows I had just watched on Broadway in NYC. Carnival is the equivalent to a Middle School Talent Show—–NO comparison. I urge you to give cruising another shot–just talk to me first and I’ll help you pick the best one for YOU :-) I’m not a cruise or travel agent and no one pays me to say these things either, just don’t want you to miss out on potential future GREAT cruise experiences. PS–If you still are in Galveston, I live in San Antonio–we should totally get together for “Travel Tea Time”!

  48. I came across this, because I wanted to know if I was the only one out there who hates cruising. I absolutely love to travel, and went on my first (and last) cruise a few weeks ago, and I hated it. I went with my family and everyone hated it. The biggest problem was being confined. Once you’re on the ship, you’re on it – no way of getting off. Another thing was we’d been told there was so much to do and like you – very little even I got our interest. Last but not least, we loved the ports we went to – Nassau and Key West – but we had very little time there – at least the amount I would have liked. We’re the type of people that when we go on a trip we want to be always doing something, seeing something new, being in different places. The original goal was for us to go on an Alaskan Cruise if we liked cruising and that’s out….looks like we’re going totally on land with a few hours cruising the glaciers. :) A few days after we got home from our cruise, the cruise line called wanting to give us a free cruise (we pay the fees). My Dad told them that he just got home from a cruise and had no interest in spending another week of his life in a 6×6 cell on a floating prison ever again. :) This is the first time I’ve seen your website and I’ll be back often – you’re giving me lots of ideas! :)

    1. Your dad’s comment cracks me up! I really laughed out loud. I think that Alaska by land sounds great. I’ve heard that it’s a great way to see the state. Let me know how it goes.

  49. Sad Face,
    So I just got back from my first cruise, it was not too bad. I remembered this article when I was booking it and said “Hmm, hope it goes ok..lol.” But my girlfriend went before and she said it would be great, and in all honesty, it really was great. Looking back, I think of a cruise as a dessert sampler. We stopped at three ports, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Definitely will be going back to Jamaica for a full length vacation. So, even though you are my go to travel expert, cruising is not that bad.

  50. Thank you! Wonderful. I feel the same. I’ve taken two cruises as well (one to Cozumel out of NOLA, one to Alaska). I have vowed NEVER to take another. You mention three things I don’t often see written about — The hustle, the lack of culture, and the rude fellow cruisers. I had one guy whap into me so hard, he nearly knocked me down. And he ignored it completely, just kept walking. Then there were the men describing their diarrhea in detail at a table right next to me, peppered with liberal F-words. I got up and moved. The lack of culture–I felt so intellectually UN-stimulated. I felt like I was expected to do nothing but party and shop while on shore. I did go on (overpriced) shore excursions so I could see Chichen Itza and the like. That was clearly the best part.

    But the worst part has to be the hustle — being made to feel like a rube. They tell you to come learn about your next shore stop — so they can point out all the cruise-ship owned jewelry stores. Art auctions, really? So they can hustle grannies into thinking they’re making “cultural” investments. Jewelry on board — just save your money until the last day, it’s going to be 80 percent off. And I didn’t go cruising to buy jewelry or watches anyway! BORING! I felt like I was trapped in a shopping mall.

    Most of the food was sub-par, except for specialty restaurants we had to pay extra for on Norwegian. But yes, there’s a lot of it. If you’re an indiscriminate eater, the type who loves buffets, you’ll probably love it. I hated it.

    1. I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I would have been disgusted had I hear that conversation you did. Bleh…just rudeness! Great point on the sale of the jewelry. I forgot about the fire sale the night before docking.

  51. I am always hesitant to say that I have no interest in cruises for fear of appearing rude in front of someone who loves them. But it seems that I have come across the spot that is appropriate to announce my thoughts. I have been on a river cruise with my husband and good friends. We enjoyed it immensely partly because of the nice people we met. Also, my husband was not well and so this was something he could do, see the countryside and have a good time without ever getting off the ship if he didn’t want to. I took the kids and grand kids on a Disney Cruise which was enjoyed by all but, like you, that was more about being with family. That big ship confirmed for me that I don’t want to go on a cruise again.

    I just finished a month in Vienna, Austria with a friend. We think this is the perfect way to travel. We rented an apartment for the month and lived like regular people. We shopped at the markets trying the local produce, meats, and cheeses which the shop keepers were happy to explain preparation techniques. We used the public transportation which is amazing. We rarely waited for more than 3 minutes for the next connection and it allowed us to access all points of interest within the city and outskirts. I was blown away by how friendly everyone was and how helpful. We could take as long as we wanted going through a museum or church instead of being herded by a tour director. By being in the community for a length of time, we learned of events and places that would never be frequented by a tour. We bought tickets to several concerts in advance and heard wonderful productions of interest to us. A month gives you time to put the pieces together of all of the history, art, music and culture to form a more solidified picture of a region. We also made an effort to network before coming over so that we would have some locals to contact with questions or ideas. That proved to add a great deal of interest to our adventure. We have also analyzed the cost and decided after paying for airfare and rent for the apartment (which was about $2800) we didn’t spend much more than we would have spent living our lives at home. I hope to explore some city or region in the world in this way every year.

  52. The brief cruises you took attract the uncouth because they are cheap. Take a three week cruise through the Mediterranean and see mostly older people in their various national dress on formal nights, see local entertainers like flamenco dancers, visit magnificent ports. You get what you pay for. If you don’t like shilling, take a Disney cruise. My husband and I have taken 27 cruises and have enjoyed them all. We also take lengthy land trips. We are headed for 3 weeks visiting Christmas markets in various cities in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, and Budapest in a few weeks. There is room for pleasure in both types of traveling. The ease of roaming the Mediterranean from Istanbul to Barcelona is lovely– no unpacking, no wondering about food poisoning, etc. I think of a cruise as a “sampler.” You don’t have much time in a port, but you can see if you’d like to come back.

    Try a longer, classier cruise. Then your judgement about cruising will have some validity.

  53. I took a cruise to Alaska with my wife, sister-in-law, and her husband this past August. It was at their invitation (though we payed our own way) so I went along with it. After all, who wouldn’t want to see Alaska? Anyway, after reading your account and comparing it with my own, I can only wholeheartedly agree; especially about the “hustle” thing (this is the exact word I used when I described my feelings to my wife). I don’t think I’ve ever felt more blatantly targeted. I knew we were in trouble when we attended a talk put on by the “Director of Shopping” advising us where to shop for “the best deals” (can anyone say kickback?). The shows were mediocre. We live close to Branson, Missouri and can see far better shows for much less cost. Sheesh! I am so remorseful of blowing probably my only chance to see Alaska on such a cheesy experience. The expense far outweighed the value in my opinion. On a positive note, I purely enjoyed seeing the Alaskan country; but when you have to be back on that boat after just a few hours the experience tends to be somewhat wilted. Also, we enjoyed the meals and felt the dining staff took very good care of us. Finally, after our return home, the cruise line sent us an e-mail for our feedback. Although I shared similar opinions with them, I never did hear back from a representative from the cruise line to inquire why I answered their questions the way I did. We only received more e-mails from them trying to entice us into yet another cruise. Parasites!

  54. I have traveled my whole life(now 41) and have never been on a cruise. We have been in many “ports of call” when cruise ships pull up and find it to be miserable as 5000 people disembark from a ship to “experience everything” in 5 short hours. then in the evening when everyone gets back on “the boat” to get their free dinner the area becomes fun again. We spent a wonderful long weekend in Key West, wonderful except when ships came thru. One shop keeper told me that the cruise patrons done seem to ever buy much, but he started carrying these “I love to fart” t-shirts and he sells through tons of these. all the cruisers seem to love them.
    I am thinking about starting my own tshirt line “I refuse to cruise”

    1. I know exactly what you’re talking about, Chris. I was on Maui enjoying a leisurely walk along the beach when the cruise ship rolled in. Ugh…Let me tell you, I’d buy that shirt of yours.

  55. Hi Leah

    Your post says what I was trying to say here.


    I too came away from our cruise wondering why I hadn’t had the time of my life, and I wrote this post to break it down. You articulate a number of the reasons I was disappointed, and I do hope people read this ‘flipside’ post – there are far more articles raving about cruising than stating the negatives.

  56. Even though I disagree with you at least you have taken a cruise. Many judge without going and that’s a mistake. The number of folks I know who changed their mind about cruising for the better were more than those who did not like them.
    Also sounds like you had a small ship. In my opinion the big ships are like a resort hotel.
    It does appear cruising is not fir you. But many people do not like “trail blazing” and just want to relax and be pampered.

    1. I was on a very large ship, and that’s what I think part of the problem was. I’m not a big fan of crowds. I’ll do another cruise again, but it will have to be a better fit.

  57. After doing other research and then reading your comments, I feel I would dislike a cruise for many of the same reasons you mentioned. Thanks for sharing. PS, you might want to edit your first paragraph, not sure what you were trying to say when you wrote: “No, I’m about talking real cruises with shows, buffets, and bingo.” (Did you meant to say, “No, I’m real cruises with shows, buffets, and bingo…?

  58. That’s the best article on cruises!

    I’m so with you on this one! the thought of them makes me feel claustrophobic and bored.
    Who wants to do stupid activities that you can do anywhere and everywhere.
    I love to look at the ocean from the beach, or maybe a speed boat,
    Experiencing a different country and other cultures, just can’t be gotten from on board a big azz boat with people you’re virtually ok, literally trapped with.

  59. It’s even worse when you’re a teenager, trust me. You’ve outgrown the toys and the games that the cruises offer to the “youth”, and everything that looks moderately cool is only for the adults. Of course, you can bring a laptop, but internet costs a ton of money and most of the computer entertainment today is linked to the internet. You cant work out in the exercise room because they only allow people of 18 and above. There was a swimming pool but it was extremely dull and the boat kept shaking so I wasn’t too happy about that. On night on the cruise, I was up eating and drinking (caffeine) and I couldn’t get to sleep until 2 in the morning. By the time I woke up, we have already arrived at one of the destinations but my family left me behind. When I tried to get off the boat, one of the snooty workers told me: “you have to stay with your parents.” I tried to explain to them that I could call them and find them by myself, but they refused to let me off the boat. The specialty staff, such as piano players, trainers, and bar tenders are all so nice to the adults and the children, but treat the teenagers like garbage. Half way through the cruise, I resorted to playing the piano (the piano players didn’t know I was playing because I would play late at night). I didn’t see any problem with it, there wasn’t anyone in the piano lounge and the people on the cruise (not the employees) even said that it sounded nice. The day after however, I was kicked off because only the staff could play. At that point I was angry because there was nothing to do but eat, drink, read, sleep. After the cruise, I had to go back to school. (And fyi this was on the last week of August) Cruises suck massively.

  60. I went on a 4 day cruise with my partner, we are both middle aged, but he goes frequenlty alone also

    He is retired so has more time. I just felt really out of it, becfause everyone seemed to be so excited about nothing

    There was far too much food and I felt just sooooo guilty about all the wastage and it is definitely not a thing anyone who has a severe social conscience should do…It just seems more like a greed fest than anything else. I can understand why honeymoon couples would want to go on a cruise, that is fair enough.

    The fact that we also had a massive fall out on the cruise but could not escape each other made it much worse.

    We are not together anymore needless to say, but I shall steer clear of anyone who enjoys cruises from now on.

    I am not being or maybe I am being judgemental..I do not care if other people want to stuff themselves and put on weight and get off their face on alcohol every night. Let them do that, fine. I found the dancing and the entertainment very difficult too, and as I cannot dance I wished someone had warned me. I also had no evening wear…..on a cruise!!!
    People just said you don’t need any. Yeah right. The main purpose of the evening was for the females to dress to impress the males. The Captain’s Gala was mind numbingly boring. You keep cruising and enjoy it those who want to.
    I shall be off on a Turkish adventure holiday next year..


  61. I was doing research for one of my articles on Cruise Deals Expert, searched for “why cruise ships are bad” and found your post . :-)

    Your points are valid and I completely understand your concerns. Fellow passengers can greatly affect your cruise trip experience and unfortunately they often ruin it. If you have a nice stateroom with balcony, you can avoid the crowds for some time and you can also choose cruise brands that have a different target market. Smaller cruise ships with a niche cruise location have often better travellers than the big brands that sell cruise package from “top to bottom”.

    Anyway… I hope you will have a better cruise experience next time. Maybe in Alaska or the Antarctic. 😉

  62. Haha! I recently started following you on Instagram, and decided to check out your blog. Love this post. I used to 100% agree with you. I went on a horrible Caribbean cruise when I was in my 20s (friend’s idea), and avoided them like the plague since then (I’m now 45)…until my husband and I decided one year that, with our limited vacation time, it made more sense to see the Greek Islands that way. We did a lot of research on which cruise line would be best for us, and had a spectacular time. It really was one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken, and like you, I’ve been all over the world. Since then, I’ve gone on an Alaska cruise which sucked (UGH to those cheesy Old West small towns, and only one of the seven days was scenic cruising), and a Baltic cruise that I could take or leave. So, I’ve determined that Med cruises, with the right ship/cruise line, are what I like. I get a room with a balcony so I can stare at the sea in privacy. The European ports have enough culture for me (went to Ephesus, an overnight in Istanbul, Santorini, etc.). Plus pre/post cruise in my favorite city, Rome. So, I hear what you’re saying, but I’m now a “love CERTAIN cruises” person!

  63. Completely agree plus:
    1) susceptible to infectious diseases due to being confined?
    2) ocean view gets old pretty fast when all you see around you is waters
    3) bad quality food; the plentifulness is sure to give people a sick feeling as it would be harder to exercise self control in that environment
    4) you come back tired after sensory overload
    5) though visually clean a dirty environment in reality due to lack of regulations
    6) the excitement about cruise vacation is delusional if you deeply think about it

  64. Leah, you summed up perfectly how I felt when I was forced to take a cruise for work purposes. I am the type of person to claim I love all types of travel, from deluxe to dirt paths, guided tours to independent home stays, domestic, international, expensive, cheap, etc. But I met my match on a Caribbean cruise.
    Besides the abject cheesiness (even too much for me, a Wisconsin cheese head), the likes of which you describe so well, I felt unsafe. I, who have hitch-hiked in Africa & Latin America, and chose to go to the Middle East right after 9/11 because the airfare was so inexpensive. Somehow being 9 floors down on a huge ship with people next to me partying all night like rock stars (I know matches and alcohol were involved), I felt safer sleeping on the deck where I could jump off when the fire starts. I’d call my husband and parents and claim that I now know what “depression” means and am quite sure that most mysterious cruise ships deaths are people like me who couldn’t take it anymore. NEVER again.
    I am glad to say I am mostly recovered, thanks to having since then cleansed myself with a culinary trip to Vietnam and several trips to the interiors of Latin America.

  65. Very True! i’ve just came back from a cruise, waiting all year round to enjoy my precious vacation from working so hard and what a waste it was. A cruise ship is basically a giant prison casino and this is coming from a person who won his vacation money back from the casino. Besides that theres nothing much to do apart from unteresting shows, not so funny comedy shows, only one club to go to at night, the restaurants were good but it’s just food that i’m able to do back at home myself. That’s what it exactly is, it’s your home in the ocean nothing is different. 17 floors, but in reality you will only be using 3. The third day i was in the cruise ship i was counting the days that i would be back home while banging my head on the wall. When I got back home I discouraged my friends and all the people i know to never embark on one. The whole point of travelling is either exploring the culture, laying down on the beach and partying. Yes you visit different islands and there are excursions but the prices triple considering that your travelling from the ship, might aswell visit the island itself by plane you’ll save money, trust me i’ve been to couple of places. I have much more negativity to say. A cruise is just for people who want to vegetate and be boring. Worst vacation ever!

    1. That’s almost exactly how I described what I imagine a cruise to be like to GF last night. I said something like, “If you don’t like to shop or gamble there’s nothing else to do . . . also you must have to stand in long lines to eat . . . plus, the pool must be ridiculous. I mean, how are 4,000 people possibly able to comfortably enjoy using just a handful of swimming pools?

  66. Haah :) Very well said and put together. Savi and I stand guilty for liking cruise vacations – we treat them as our getaway after all the hectic travels through the year. Do agree with most of your reasons though – our favourite bit is to sit in our balcony cabin, enjoy the evening dining, and explore the ports of call by ourselves :)

  67. Leah:

    I read your original article (funny!), but only skimmed a few of the comments. Wow! “You need to get laid?” Really? Anyhow, your review confirmed all of my worst fears. A couple of years ago, my dad begged me to go–I refused (he died recently, and I still don’t regret not going).

    Now, my GF wants me to go on a cruise. Your most resonating statement was that you felt as if you had never left America. God, I would hate that. That peculiarly American style of “fake” everything (faux-architecture retail facades, heavily “branded” chain-restaurants, everything in Las Vegas, etc.). When we first met, my GF wanted me to take her to Citywalk in Los Angeles, which is basically a large outdoor food court, attached to the entrance of Universal Studios Hollywood (which actually isn’t in Hollywood). Heck, I work at NBC/Universal and have to shoot events there all the time–why would I want to go to “work” in my free time? I digress. Thank you for your cogent review!

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