The cruise ship industry (bar the curse of COVID) has reinvigorated its image in recent years. Thanks to innovations like Virgin Voyages and the frolicking social media antics of companies like Sail Croatia, cruising has shed a little of its old and crusty reputation and gained a little more sheen in the eyes of younger people. But there are still a few downsides to cruising that most cruise companies probably don’t want you to see.
Imagining the ideal cruise goes one of two ways. One: you imagine sunbathing on a spacious deck, swimming in a sparsely populated pool and drinking cocktails in a sedate setting with friends, or your partner. Two: you imagine a suave piss up with your mates (or with new mates) in some Mediterranean archipelago.
But according to various videos posted to social media by cruise ship passengers, cruising still has its grim elements. Besides open ocean swells making those on-deck pools you’ve been dreaming of have waves of their own (read: making them unsafe to swim in) and giant crowds of people milling around ruining that Instagram shot you’ve held for so long in your mind’s eye, there are also such factors as wind and rain.
WATCH: Passenger Shows Off ‘Instagram vs. Reality’ Of A Cruise Ship
Starting off basic, one TikTok user, jimmyhrs, shared the wild, windy conditions he ended up cruising in for his partner’s birthday, and how that differed from his sun-drenched expectations (“it will be fun, they said,” he captioned the video).
TikTok user pautips, for their part, shared footage of pouring rain, and expressed their shock at finding Miami is not always sunny. Ouch. TikTok user werdtravels, for their part, shared a video in which a big swell made the water jump out of the pool on their cruise ship, making it unsafe to swim in.
Insider writer Joey Hadden made a similar observation in July, after going on a trip on the largest cruise ship in the world. Joey wrote: “When I booked my first cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, I expected breathtaking views of the world between relaxing swimming and sunbathing sessions.”
Instead, Joey found the experience wasn’t all that good, writing: “I sunbathed in a loud, crowded pool area when I was lucky enough to find a chair. I spent more time waiting in lines than I had anticipated. And I saw much of the world from behind other people’s heads.”
It’s not all doom and gloom though. Another cruise ship passenger, who goes by the TikTok username polkadotpassport, says there are a number of things that actually exceeded her expectations the first time she went on a cruise.
On a seven-day river cruise down the Danube she realised it wasn’t actually all “oldies.” Though she recognised this may have been because she was on the active and discovery package, she still said “there was actually lots of people our age.”
She also said that she thought being on a cruise would mean missing out on all the delicious local cuisine, but “it turned out the chefs on board made all the local specialities wherever we were stopped and… it was so fricking good.”
Finally, she thought she’d be forced onto walking tours wherever they docked but was pleasantly surprised to find they had the option to “go off and do your own thing and explore at your own pace.”
Maybe the stereotypes aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, after all?