Top 3 Misconceptions about Cruising

By Lori Visser, Travel Specialist


1: Cruise ships are “germ factories”, I’ll get sick on-board.

2: I get seasick; I wouldn’t be able to stay on a ship that long.

3: There’s nothing to do, I’ll feel trapped.

I have realized that there are basically three types of people when it comes to cruises. The first type loves cruising, the second type will never be convinced to cruise, and the remaining type is interested, but not convinced. This last type usually states one or more of the reasons shown above. Let’s take each of those concerns and address them one-by-one with some facts and first-hand knowledge.

Cruise ships are “germ factories”, I’ll get sick.

Facts: First off, you could get sick anywhere. The illness that is reported in the media regarding cruise ships is the Norovirus. Norovirus is easily spread and is one of the most common illnesses around. So why does it seem to be prevalent on cruise ships in particular? It really is not more prevalent on cruise ships. The reason you hear about it is because passenger cruise ships participating in the CDC-VSP are required to report to the CDC any GI illness that affects any passengers before the ship arrives in a US port. No other provider in the hospitality industry has this standard or requirement. So, when cases are reported they are picked up by news sources and reported. Norovirus is actually more likely to be spread within a healthcare facility, restaurant, airplane, school or institutional facility. As a result, cruise ships, unlike some other resorts or forms of transportation feel very clean due to required cleanliness standards upheld through frequent ship inspections. Not convinced? In 2013 there were 1,349 cruise ship passengers with Norovirus reported to the CDC. In 2012, cruise ships welcomed over 20,000,000 passengers. Statistically, your chances of contracting Norovirus while cruising are very low. Of course no one wants to be ill during their vacation so taking standard precautions make sense.

I get seasick; I wouldn’t be able to stay on a ship that long.

Facts: This is an easy one for me to answer. I get motion sickness quite easily and had that same fear before my first cruise. I brought (and still do) some seasickness pills along with me. Not only did I not get sick, at times I forgot I was even on a ship in the middle of the ocean. This was on a ship that was about ½ of the size of today’s most popular ships. During some cruises I have found that I felt some motion, and if I felt a bit unsure about getting seasick, I would have my remedy nearby. I will say I have rarely ever had to take any remedy and the trip far outweighed any temporary discomfort. Mother Nature of course has the final say! My best advice, hey you’re on vacation…just go take a nap!

There’s nothing to do, I’ll feel trapped.

Facts: My answer to this is, you have to try hard to be bored on today’s cruise ships. These are not your grandma’s Love Boat! Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is the length of three football fields. Besides the things that are now common on most ships such as: Gym, fitness areas, pools, water slides, casino, library, movies, spa and kids clubs, there are also new innovations on each ship. Examples range from Royal Caribbean’s Flow-Rider® surf simulator, and Ifly® skydiving simulator, ice skating rinks, bumper cars, full size basketball courts, and zip-line to Norwegian’s Walk the Plank®, ropes course, rock climbing walls and more. There are new gastro-centric dining options and bars on board all ships, and great evening live entertainment shows from Broadway to Blue Man Group, Carnival’s George Lopez Comedy Clubs, DJ Irie school, and Norwegian’s upcoming first Margaritaville® at sea. Oceania offering culinary classes in their demo kitchen and Holland America’s Dancing with the Stars At Sea® are unique. Cunard’s Insights delight with speakers such as author Mary Higgins Clark, actress Kim Novak and singing stars including James Taylor and Crosby, Stills & Nash as well as non-celebrities such as well-known scientists speaking from the only planetarium at sea. Oh, and don’t forget, all this is just to keep you entertained between ports of call! Once you arrive in port you have the option of exploring on your own, or on pre-packaged shore excursions with professional local guides.

I hope this helps clarify any general concerns you may have about cruising. If you have any more specific concerns please feel free to contact me. Wishing you smooth sailing!

About the author

Lori Visser is a Travel Specialist with Cruise Planners. You may reach her locally at (616) 263-1777 or through her website at