Cruising is a 100 billion dollar industry, and the fastest growing sector in travel. Ships are getting bigger and bolder and are heading to more exotic ports of call all over the globe. Over 23 million passengers are projected to take a cruise in 2015, and the majority will be pleased with their experience. However, there is an underbelly of the industry that you won’t find highlighted on the glossy brochures or promotional websites. Not to dissuade you from ever setting sail, but consumers should be aware of some of the issues, concerns and quirks of cruising before deciding if that’s the kind of vacation they want to sign up for. Avid cruisers are a passionate bunch, and we certainly hear it in our comments whenever we dare to bring up negative aspects of the industry. We’re not anti-cruise, per se, and we welcome your opinions, counter-arguments and feedback. We just want to help you make an informed decision or avoid some potential snafus should you chose to embark on a vacation at sea. Here are 16 things cruise lines never tell you but we think you should know.
1. Balconies are Overrated
Balcony cabins often cost at least 25% more than inside cabins. It’s an up-sell many die-hard cruisers swear by, but others feel is an unnecessary expense. Cruise lines try to persuade you on the fresh air, the view and the extra sliver of square footage, which certainly has some appeal. However, with all the on-board activities and ports of call to explore, consider how little time you will likely spend in your stateroom. If you do splurge on this, make sure your view isn’t obstructed (for example, by the pool deck overhang or lifeboats) or you’re not too exposed to other passengers to enjoy any privacy. You may also be downwind from a smoker which can make things unpleasant (some cruise lines prohibit balcony smoking, but it does happen).