what cruises dont tell you

When you think of a cruise, you might envision luxurious accommodations, endless entertainment, and breathtaking destinations. While all of these things are certainly part of the cruise experience, there are some aspects of cruising that you might not be aware of. In this article, I’ll uncover some of the things that cruises don’t tell you, from hidden fees to potential health risks, so that you can be fully informed before embarking on your next adventure at sea.

1. The Truth About Extra Fees

While the initial price of a cruise might seem like a great deal, it’s important to be aware of the extra fees that can quickly add up. From gratuities to onboard services, and excursions, these additional costs can significantly impact your overall budget. It’s essential to carefully read the fine print and consider these extra fees when planning your cruise vacation.

1.1 Gratuities and Service Charges

Many cruise lines automatically add gratuities and service charges to your onboard account, which can result in a substantial additional expense. It’s crucial to understand the tipping policies of your chosen cruise line and budget accordingly.

1.2 Onboard Services

While some onboard services are included in the cruise fare, others come with a price tag. From specialty dining to spa treatments, it’s essential to consider these added expenses when planning your onboard activities.

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2. The Reality of Health Risks

When traveling on a cruise, it’s easy to be swept up in the excitement of exploring new destinations. However, it’s important to be aware of the health risks that can accompany cruising, including the potential for seasickness, norovirus outbreaks, and limited access to medical care.

2.1 Seasickness

Many first-time cruisers are caught off guard by the onset of seasickness, which can put a damper on the entire cruise experience. It’s crucial to be prepared with motion sickness remedies and take precautions to minimize the effects of rough seas.

2.2 Norovirus Outbreaks

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that can spread rapidly in close quarters, such as those on a cruise ship. While cruise lines take precautions to prevent outbreaks, it’s essential for passengers to maintain good hygiene practices and be mindful of potential risks.

2.3 Limited Medical Care

While cruise ships generally have medical facilities and trained staff onboard, the level of care is often limited compared to onshore medical facilities. It’s important to consider your own health needs and potential risks before embarking on a cruise vacation.

3. The Impact of Environmental Concerns

Cruise ships have come under scrutiny for their impact on the environment, from air and water pollution to the destruction of marine ecosystems. While efforts are being made to minimize these effects, it’s important for passengers to be aware of the environmental concerns associated with cruising.

3.1 Air and Water Pollution

Cruise ships emit air pollutants and produce large amounts of wastewater, which can have adverse effects on the environment. It’s essential for cruise passengers to be mindful of the environmental impact of their vacation and support efforts to promote sustainable cruising practices.

3.2 Marine Ecosystem Destruction

The anchoring and docking of cruise ships can cause damage to marine ecosystems, including coral reefs and coastal habitats. It’s important to consider the environmental consequences of cruising and seek out eco-friendly excursions and activities while onshore.

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4. The Realities of Onshore Excursions

While onshore excursions are a highlight of any cruise vacation, there are some aspects of these experiences that are often not readily apparent. From crowded tourist attractions to potential safety concerns, it’s essential to be aware of the realities of onshore excursions.

4.1 Crowded Tourist Attractions

Popular tourist destinations can become overcrowded when multiple cruise ships dock in the same port, leading to long lines and limited access to attractions. It’s important to plan your onshore activities carefully and consider off-the-beaten-path experiences to avoid the crowds.

4.2 Safety Concerns

While cruise lines prioritize passenger safety, onshore excursions can present their own set of risks, from petty theft to transportation mishaps. It’s crucial to be aware of potential safety concerns and take necessary precautions while exploring new destinations.

5. The Importance of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is often not emphasized by cruise lines, but it can be a critical component of a worry-free vacation. From trip cancellation coverage to medical emergencies, travel insurance provides peace of mind and financial protection in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

5.1 Trip Cancellation Coverage

Unforeseen events, such as illness or natural disasters, can lead to the cancellation of a cruise vacation. Travel insurance can provide reimbursement for non-refundable expenses and help mitigate the financial impact of unexpected cancellations.

5.2 Medical Emergency Coverage

Onboard medical care and evacuation can be costly, especially in the event of a serious illness or injury. Travel insurance can help cover these expenses and ensure access to necessary medical care, even in remote destinations.


In conclusion, while cruises offer a wealth of exciting experiences, it’s important to be aware of the aspects that are often not readily disclosed. From hidden fees to health risks and environmental concerns, being informed is key to having a successful and enjoyable cruise vacation. By considering these factors and taking necessary precautions, you can ensure a memorable and worry-free cruise experience.

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1. Are gratuities included in the cruise fare?

Gratuities are often added to the onboard account as an additional expense. It’s important to review the tipping policies of your chosen cruise line and budget accordingly.

2. How can I minimize the risk of seasickness?

There are various motion sickness remedies, such as medication and acupressure bands, that can help minimize the effects of seasickness. It’s also helpful to choose a stateroom in the middle of the ship, where movement is less pronounced.

3. What should I consider when booking onshore excursions?

When booking onshore excursions, it’s important to research potential safety concerns and consider the crowds at popular tourist attractions. Additionally, considering off-the-beaten-path experiences can provide a more authentic and enjoyable exploration of new destinations.

4. Is travel insurance necessary for a cruise vacation?

While travel insurance is not mandatory, it can provide critical coverage for trip cancellation, medical emergencies, and other unforeseen circumstances. It’s important to consider the potential risks and benefits of travel insurance when planning a cruise vacation.

5. How can I support sustainable cruising practices?

Supporting sustainable cruising practices can include choosing eco-friendly shore excursions, being mindful of energy and water consumption onboard, and advocating for environmentally responsible practices within the cruising industry.