Expectations Vs. Reality: What Cruise Ships Are Really Like - The Delite

Expectations Vs. Reality: What Cruise Ships Are Really Like

Cruises can be a fun vacation option. Considering how much they cost and how they appear in popular media they would seem rather luxurious. While they can be quite nice, one still needs to temper their expectations to avoid disappointment. Here’s the reality of going on a cruise ship.

Boarding The Ship

When you watch something that involves a cruise ship, they often skip the boarding part. Either that or they just have them walk right onto the ship. Well, that’s not what it’s really like boarding a cruise ship. There’s a long line as everyone’s trying to get onboard. Not to mention, since you’re probably going to be leaving the country, you’ll need to go through customs and get your passport stamped too. It’s just an overall un-fun thing to do.

The Pool

It’s funny how that, despite people being surrounded by water while on a cruise, they still really want to get in the pool. There’s the idea that you can just chill around the pool and relax. Well, you can’t really do that on a cruise ship pool. Even if the water itself isn’t too crowded, the area around it will always be full of people. That’s the deck where a lot of people get food and eat it too.

Hot Tubs

A hot tub can be a nice place to just sit back, relax, and enjoy yourself. However, the hot tubs on cruise ships are a little bit harder to get into. They’re never as crowded as the pool, but they’ll often be full of senior citizens. And sometimes entire families. It’s definitely harder for small groups of people to get in one without feeling some form of discomfort.


When you think of a luxury vacation, you probably assume your cabin on the ship will be like that of a five-star hotel’s. In truth, cruise ship cabins aren’t that large. You have enough room to sleep and get dressed in, but not much else. They’re small so that the ship has more room for other supplies while also promoting more activity from a guest on the ship as a whole. A lot of rooms don’t even have a porthole or balcony for looking outside. Those rooms cost extra.

The Entertainment

What kind of entertainment do you think is on the average cruise ship? Do you think a big band plays on a big stage every night? Or perhaps some other performance puts on a show. Well, that’s incorrect. While the people that put on performances are professionals, they aren’t exactly famous. There will be stage play, musicians, and mock game shows, but nothing that will make anyone swoon. The most famous person on your ship will probably be the comedian, if you ship has one.


The restricted space on a cruise ship really influences the size of the casino. Some casinos on ships can be nice, but don’t expect anything as extravagant as the attractions in Las Vegas. Some cruise ships dress up their casinos a bit more, but they’re mostly small and unimportant.

The Actual Ship

A lot of cruise ships have elegant names. That helps to sell the idea that these are luxury vehicles for luxury vacations. However, the ships themselves aren’t quite as elegant as their names may suggest. Sometimes the image in the brochure is a lot older than the ship and doesn’t accurately show what it looks like now. Fortunately, once you’re onboard, you won’t be looking at it much.

The Age Of The Other Passengers

TV and other ads seem to portray cruises as the chance to meet a variety of different people. You expect there to be at least some people your age. Instead, the most common age group on a cruise ship are seniors. There’s nothing wrong with older people, but it might not be conducive to the party setting you were expecting.

The Dining Hall

When it comes to eating, you may expect the dining hall on a cruise ship to be an extravagant, five-star restaurant. What you get is a buffet. There’s nothing wrong with buffets, especially since you’re given quite a few food options. It’s just not the fine-dining you’d be expecting. Although, when you get served for dinner on most cruise ships it’s a little bit more luxurious.

The Weather

In every picture you see of a cruise ship it’s sailing on a sunny day with people laughing and smiling. Well, they probably wouldn’t sell as much tickets if they just had a photo of a cruise ship caught in a storm. It’s rare for a major hurricane or something of that effect to strike a cruise ship during its journey but other storms are not unheard of. The problem really lies in that, if it starts raining, any activities above deck suddenly become impossible to do.


Cruise ships frequently offer a lot of activities on board to keep you constantly entertained. If you’re the sort of individual who gets bored of spending hours by the pool simply lounging around and sitting idle, stress not. Cruise ships guarantee an assortment of adventures like water skiing, cinemas, and even indoor skydiving.

You most likely didn’t have the foggiest idea about this, yet cruises are a competitive business, and most ships offer similar activities, tours, and facilities. This puts them under a lot of pressure to come up with unique ideas.

Onboard activities can be very costly and they are often booked out instantly. This makes it essential for passengers to plan ahead and book the things they want to try. Otherwise, there’s little else to do but take part in the less popular activities, like watermelon carving.

Carving fruit creatures doesn’t sound as invigorating as surfing or indoor skydiving? Even when a passenger books the exercises ahead of time, they usually still need to stand in line, and that is hardly an ideal way to spend a trip.


Nothing says “getaway” like a relaxing spa. We travel to unwind, loosen up, abandon our difficulties, and leave work stress behind. There’s no greater method to unwind than a decadent spa day and a soothing massage that leaves you invigorated and revived.

The ambiance in the spa alone is enough to put a person in vacation mode. We feel the cruise ship spa ought to be as luxurious as a five-star hotel. Given the nature of this list, however, we’re doubtful as to what we’ll actually find.

This spa doesn’t look like a calming place. In fact, it looks like the opposite. It seems like it would make us considerably tenser. Those lounges look like they’re made of stone.

In addition to the questionable ambiance, the spa often doesn’t get the ventilation it really needs, making the rooms muggy and tacky from all the steam and treatments. After a big day of the cruise activities, it’s the last spot you’d want to be.

Gift Shops

Bringing keepsakes back for our loved ones when we travel abroad has become a social tradition, and it’s now viewed as impolite not to do as such. More often than not, these keepsakes are cheap, useless trinkets that end up gathering dust.

While on vacation, we hope to return with a bag twice as full as the one we took. There’s something delightful about hunting around, hoping to track down mysterious local shops with classy, extraordinary, one-of-a-kind items with which to wow our loved ones. This photo shows exactly the kind of store we’re talking about.

As it turns out, the gift stores most people find on their cruise leave a lot to be desired. What they tend to find are cheap clothing stands on the street, with tacky shirts and shabby dresses that never get worn again once the cruise is over. More often than not, the ship carries you to worn-out tourist traps that all sell similar, overpriced items.

As much as we disdain these shops, we can’t return home empty-handed, thus we purchase those pricey shirts and feel bitter about it. At least it supports the local economy, right?

Ocean Tours

Maybe the greatest benefit of a cruise is the opportunity to be out in the midst of the ocean where we may be able to catch a brief look at its mystical untamed life. While there are no guarantees, we’re trusting that if we invest sufficient time on deck, we may see sharks, dolphins, and other ocean animals that we don’t frequently encounter.

It probably isn’t the fundamental reason why individuals go on cruises, yet recognizing the staggering diversity of marine life is certainly a reward. Then there’s the tantalizing promise of being able to swim with dolphins. Do cruises really deliver on such encounters with ocean creatures?

If a passenger is hoping to see fascinating fish on their trip, they will likely be in for a whole lot of disappointment. Odds are they will not see dolphins perform their mesmerizing acrobatics. Indeed, they are highly unlikely to experience any novel encounters. From high up on the deck of a cruise ship, a person has little hope of being in the right place at the right time to witness a sea creature breaking the surface.

What passengers do get to witness is miles and miles of endless ocean, with nothing to break the monotony. Of course, this is amazing in its own way, but after days of seeing no land and no animals, it’s easy to get a little stir-crazy. Again, going on cruises is absolutely not what we anticipate that it should be. However, we must say, the sunrises and sunsets are spectacular.

The Beaches

Having a mixed drink under the sun on a white, sandy seashore seems like the ideal getaway. If that is the sort of thing a person is looking for, however, the last thing they should do is book a cruise for their next vacation.

Even if everything works out as expected, and the seashore truly is as marvelous as it looked in the brochure, passengers have tight time restrictions. They’re lucky to get two or three hours on the seashore before the ship takes off, and with other things to explore in the location, that gives people precious little time to relax.

When we think about the perfect getaway, many of us envision an abandoned seashore with a brilliant beach and clear, turquoise water. However, this fantasy rarely comes true because of the multitude of other people crashing the party.

Harmony and quietness are the last things on offer at a tourist beach. Remember how a cruise ship can hold thousands of travelers? They’re all disembarking at the same stops, and they all want to appreciate the amazing beaches.

Motion Sickness

Travel sickness is a genuine possibility, though they generally neglect to mention it in the cruise commercials. It doesn’t happen to everybody, but it’s much more common than many people realize. Those stepping onto a ship for the first time often have a rude awakening waiting for them.

When we’re on dry land, it’s easier to do something about nausea when it strikes. If it’s the motion of the ocean getting a passenger sick, there’s much less they can do to remedy the situation. It’s not like anyone can ask the ship to stop rocking!

Some people are more sensitive to the endless rocking motion and are more inclined to experience seasickness. In the most severe cases, medication doesn’t work, and the poor passenger experiences headaches and nausea throughout the entirety of the cruise.

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but everybody is susceptible to seasickness. We’ve even heard about voyages in which so many people suffered from seasickness that they had to abort the journey.

The Crew

We expect the luxurious ship’s crew to be similarly dignified and accommodating. Their sole reason, to us, is to serve the passengers, and we like to think they make the most of their job.

Most of us assume it must be pretty enjoyable work – they get to appreciate the tours, see the wonderful views, explore different countries, and get paid instead of forking out cash like the passengers. What’s not to love?

We’ve revealed how minuscule the passenger rooms can be, so it should come as no surprise that the crew’s living quarters are even tinier. They don’t get lavish rooms, and on top of this, they’re usually housed deep down in the belly of the boat.

Cruise ship crews work nonstop, so they don’t have the opportunity to appreciate the facilities and activities. While passengers lounge by the pool and complain about small inconveniences, they’re serving drinks, scrubbing floors, and keeping the massive ship and all its facilities running.

The Bathroom

When thinking about a restroom on a luxurious cruise ship, this is the picture that will enter most people’s minds. We fantasize about being surrounded by windows overlooking the sea, in a bright room, ideally featuring a private hot tub to relax in.

Despite the power of our fantasies, few cruise ship bathrooms resemble this one. For this level of luxury, a passenger needs to be prepared to pay for the most expensive room on the most expensive cruise ship. However, we still think the bathroom should be presentable.

Most passengers find their bathroom to be uncomfortably small. They’re lucky if they get a tiny portal window, but the view is the least of their problems. It’s difficult to do everything you need to do in such a cramped space, and for couples, there’s no hope of being able to take showers together.

We can fantasize about having a hot tub, a sink each, and a fantastic view of the ocean. However, if we wish to make that dream a reality, we’ll have to save up the big bucks in order to secure the most deluxe cruise ship room ever designed.