Are there any good reasons for visiting the Caribbean “the normal way” instead of taking a Caribbean cruise? Found out below…
Caribbean cruises have a lot of appeal. They appear to be spectacular all-inclusive floating resorts. However, there are plenty of downsides to cruising as well. So many, in fact, that most people will enjoy themselves so much more by visiting the Caribbean “the normal way”. Here are some reasons why you should skip the cruise this year and book a hotel or villa instead:
1. You’ll be “nickel and dimed” till it hurts
Yes, you may think that your Caribbean cruise is just like an all-inclusive resort, but there are actually a lot of things missing from your fare. Although some luxury liners do include it all, the mainstream ones leave out quite a lot– drinks, laundry, activities, concerts, internet, and even food. Wireless internet on board generally costs around $24 an hour or $0.60 to $0.75 per minute.
You’ll have to pay additional fees for both essential and non-essential items, and the worst part is that you may not even know how much things will actually cost until you’re stuck on board. Worse still, some cruises are cashless, meaning everything gets charged to your card. You might end up spending much more than you planned without meaning to.
Your best bet is to read the fine print (if there is any) and bring plenty of cash for those surprise charges. Or, you could simply fly to your destination and book a hotel room instead, and eliminate the possibility of “mystery spending”.
2. No time to spare
Want to spend a little more time at some Mayan ruins? Too bad– your cruise ship is about to sail away without you! Cruise ships are on a tight schedule, and you’ll have to stick to it, or risk getting left behind. So if you’re not used to scarfing down food in a hurry, or skipping an excursion simply because there’s too much traffic to make it back to port in time, it’s better to forgo the Caribbean cruise experience. In addition, sometimes you’ll only be able to visit certain sites and take cruise-sponsored excursions when at a port. Standard port stops vary between 5 to 9 hours only!
However, when you visit the islands the “normal way”, you’re in charge of your itinerary! You can choose where to go and when, and you’ll never have to worry about being “back on time” for anything.
In addition, if you’re late on the day of debarkation, your ship will cast off without you. And there won’t be any refund!
3. No guarantees
One other little detail about cruises that often shows up only in fine print is the fact that cruises may cancel port stops or change itineraries without refunding patrons. This means that your long-awaited stop in Negril, Jamaica may never happen. Things like inclement weather, or instability in a certain city can cause a ship to stay out at sea or substitute a different port destination. You most likely won’t be compensated for any changes, depending on the contract you sign with the cruise company.
4. There’s nowhere to escape the noise
Got some noisy neighbors in the cabin next door? Tough luck! Cruise ships have to accommodate thousands of passengers into teeny tiny spaces, so don’t count on always getting a good night’s sleep. Cruise ship cabin walls are notoriously thin, so you might hear your neighbors snoring loud and clear.
If your cabin is underneath a place where people have to walk, things could be even worse. You can try to choose a room far away from stairways, elevators, and promenades, but with many cruise lines, there’s no guarantee you can choose your room at all.
5. It’s the perfect place to get sick
Besides the fact that seasickness is a thing, cruises are potential incubators for viruses. All those people crammed into tight spaces for days on end creates the perfect predicament for bacteria and viruses to flourish and spread. Lately, norovirus in particular has caused a lot of problems aboard. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 11 major viral outbreaks in 2018.
In 2017, 332 passengers on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship came down with a horrible gastrointestinal illness involving excessive vomiting and diarrhea. Things got so bad that the ship was forced to turn around and head back to Florida. Many passengers received no medical treatment due to lack of medical staff.
Incidents like these aren’t rare. When they do occur, they almost always result in a canceled or half-canceled cruise trip.
6. Your food may not be so fresh
Fresh food is hard to come by on the high seas. Apparently, that’s the case even on expensive cruise liners, too. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 1 in 10 cruise ship passengers came down with a gastrointestinal illness between 2008 and 2014.
7. It could be a snooze…unless you shell out $$$ for the booze
Hours and hours at sea mean guests have to find ways to entertain themselves during that time. They often turn to liquor– which isn’t included in the fare, and activities like shows and concerts. So, you have two options: either shell out extra cash for alcohol and entertainment, or stay in your claustrophobia-inducing cabin for a snooze fest.
8. Accidents do happen…
About 10 people die and 60 people are injured each year because of “operational mishaps” on cruise ships, according to research firm G.P. Wild.
These accidents can be caused by storms, mechanical failures, stranding, fires or explosions, or collisions. In addition, there are around 15 “man overboard” fatalities from cruise ships each year.
Some incidents aren’t fatal, but they can be incredibly uncomfortable. Take the infamous “Poop Cruise” for example. A ship caught fire in 2013, resulting in a power outage and leaking sewage system. Passengers literally reported that sewage was “running down the walls and floors”.
Experience the Caribbean the way it’s meant to be. Let Key Caribe unlock the true Caribbean experience for you!