Cruising is a 100 billion dollar industry, and the fastest growing sector in travel. While the majority of passengers will be pleased with their experience, others won't. Why? Here are 10 things cruise lines never tell you that you'd best watch out for.
1. Shipboard Casinos Don't Play by the Rules
These floating âentertainment centersâ operate on international waters with no gaming commission or governmental agency overseeing the action. Insiders talk about tampered decks, rigged games and tighter-than-usual slots.
2. Careful or You Might Miss the Boat
It is written in the small print - if you're not punctual, the ship sails without you. It seems fairly obvious, but there are often a few tardy passengers who lose track of time or don't leave sufficient time to get back to port from far-flung excursions.
3. Cruise Ships Aren't Immune to Crime
Theft, sexual assault, missing persons, murders, piracy, port robberies and the like can and do happen, just like anywhere. Cruise lines don't like to talk about it, naturally, as it's bad for PR.
4. That Private Island Might Not Seem So Private
Just know that when a ship of 3000+ passengers descends upon that slice of paradise, you won't be living out any Robinson Crusoe fantasies. You might not also be the only ship docking there either so there could be quite a crowd on the beach.
5. The Environmental Impact of the Cruise Industry is Alarming
The 16 major cruise lines generated over 1 billion gallons of sewage in 2014. One cruise ship alone can produce 13 million cars worth of CO2 in a day. These enormous vessels often overwhelm small ports and undermine the natural beauty and culture they're trying to sell.
6. You Might Skip that Port
It doesn't happen often, but cruise ships sometimes have to change their itineraries on the fly. It's usually due to weather or issues that impact safety. Just be aware that there will be no compensation for this change in plans.
7. Crew Are Somewhat Exploited
About 3/4 of a typical cruise ship's staff are from developing countries and are locked into contracts where they have minimal time off and never see their families. Some also have to pay back a âcrewing agentâ who signed them up for the job.
8. Don't Expect to Get a Seat by the Pool
These coveted deck chairs are often snapped up by early-birds who stake out their territory before you've even thought about having your morning cup of joe.
9. Sickness Can Spread Like Wildfire on a Ship
When you're trapped on a ship in the middle of the rocking ocean, there's nowhere to go to escape contagions. You don't have any control over the hygiene practices of your fellow passengers, crew or kitchen staff. Fast spreading illnesses like norovirus are common on these âfloating Petri dishes.â
10. People Do Go Overboard
Don't worry, falling off a cruise ship is a rare occurrence, but it does happen. It's often the result of an alcoholic mishap or a suicidal impulse. For obvious reasons, this is something cruise lines never tell you in their marketing material.