Saturday, October 13, 2012

Misconceptions and Myths About Cruising (Part 2)

In this post, I'll continue with some myths.

Myth #3 – I’ll Get Seasick or Norwalk Virus
There are some people in this world that suffer from motion sickness. A good friend of mine gets motion sickness in a car and on an airplane. That doesn’t mean that she never gets in a car (she does every day) nor take an airplane ride (she takes several trips each year). What it does mean, is that she takes preventive measures that help counteract the balance problems. By the way, she has been on several cruises and once again took precautions and was able to enjoy the vacation.

Modern ships are very stable thanks to the stabilizers which prevent side to side and up and down motion. Except in the roughest of seas, someone that is susceptible to motion sickness will be fine as long as they utilize one of the preventive measures that are available. Consult your doctor before your cruise if you have any concerns – they can make a recommendation for a remedy that will work for you. You can also check with guest relations onboard the ship should you start feeling the motion.

I’ve been cruising for over 20 years and haven’t personally had motion sickness, even in the roughest seas. A secret that I’ve used is to be sure to drink plenty of water and eat regular meals.

There’s been lots of press over recent years about Norwalk Virus. A ship isn’t the only place where this illness can strike, but cruise ships often make big news when the virus occurs. Cruise lines take as many precautions to prevent this disease as possible, the rest is up to the passengers. When you board the ship don’t be surprised if you are asked to complete a medical declaration. 
You’ll also find sanitizers (as shown in this picture) spread throughout the ship. On my most recent cruise, aboard NCL Pearl, the crew took this very seriously and had someone stationed by the gangway every time we boarded. Also, there were sanitizers by all dining venues and a crew member manning the door to make sure everyone used the sanitizer. The secret to avoiding this illness is to be sure to wash you hands often during the cruise.

One thing to note – should you become ill, you need to report it to the doctor onboard. Failing to do so could put the whole ship at risk. Often people get upset that the doctor confined them to their quarters when they were sick, but the alternative would be to have hundreds or thousands of people sick. It’s no different than children passing various illnesses at school. A little prevention goes a long way.

So, don’t worry about these possible problems ahead of time. Simply take the necessary preventive measures and odds are you will not have any problem.

Myth #4 – All There is to do is Eat – I’ll Gain Weight
Granted food of all varieties is available onboard the ship, but that doesn’t mean you need to gain weight on your cruise any more than it would if you were at home. Cruise lines offer a variety of menu options and can also assist with special diets. If you have special dietary requirements, be sure to let your Cruise Specialist know when you book your cruise so that they can inform the cruise line.

Even if you find yourself eating too much there are very simple measures you can take to combat gaining weight. A simple step I take is to use the stairs instead of the elevator as often as I can. When booking your cruise you may even consider location on the ship to optimize the chances of you using stairs or walking to get to public areas.

If you want something more formal, than simply walking the stairs, there are several options including fully equipped gyms, jogging/ walking tracks, basketball courts, swimming pools, rock climbing walls, and various formal classes (such as aerobics). Of course, that’s just onboard the ship. You can plan your shore excursions so that you get some exercise doing one of your favorite activities.

So as you can see, by eating sensibly and adding some exercise during your cruise, odds are you won’t gain weight. I’ve actually had several cruises where I’ve lost weight and believe me, it wasn’t from skipping meals. Your Cruise Specialist can recommend a ship that has the activities that you will enjoy and be more likely to participate for a healthy cruise.

Myth #5 – Cruises are Too Expensive
Too expensive as compared to what? Unless you are a hermit I’m sure you’ve noticed that the US dollar is not very strong in Europe at the moment. If you were to plan a land-based trip to Europe, I can easily bet you’d spend more than you will on a cruise visiting the same locations. There are several reasons why this is the case. First, if you book early, you lock in the price for your trip regardless of any price increases by the time you leave for your vacation. Secondly, your room and board, all meals, and lots of entertainment onboard the ship are included in the price of your cruise price.

The money you save on meals alone will give you extra money to spend in ports on shopping or other activities. On a recent cruise to Norway earlier this year we had two BLT sandwiches and Cokes for approximately $50 US. That was our option and there were less expensive meals that we could have eaten. We had a choice in this case, but if you were on a land-based trip, you might not have options.

With the value of the dollar declining, do you avoid going to Europe? I hope the answer is no because it is a wonderful place to go to experience your family roots, culture, history, scenery, etc. What better location to take your children, as they study world history, then to the site where history was made. I’ve traveled to many European destinations that I would never have seen if it had not been by ship. Here’s a secret: look at a Repositioning Cruise (sometimes called Trans-Atlantic) since these are often a very good value.

To get the best value for your travel budget, I encourage you to work with your Cruise Specialist. We can provide you with advice that you can’t get from any internet price list. The biggest secret to saving money on your cruise vacation is to plan ahead and be flexible if possible. Prices can vary from week to week even on the same cruise. If money is a concern, a little homework will go a long way.

I’ve covered a few of the more popular myths that I’ve heard over the years. This is not an exhaustive list. If you have others that you’ve heard and would like me to comment, either comment here or contact me via email and I’ll be happy to do so.

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