Cruising is a worthwhile way to travel for people from all walks of life. For some, it is the one and only way to vacation, providing endless countries to explore, constant onboard activities, and gourmet cuisine.
For those who have never cruised before, it is not uncommon to fall victim to myths and misguided assumptions. The best ways to dispel these misunderstandings are to talk to a seasoned sailor and ultimately embark on the journey yourself.
My first cruise was a seven-day trip out of New York, New York to Bermuda on Norwegian Cruise Line’s infamous Breakaway. Going into the trip, I had many misconceptions that were thankfully debunked by NCL Gold Member and Mid-Life Road Trip correspondent, Kaelyn Mostafa. Some of our conversations went a little something like this:
MISCONCEPTION: “Dining options must be limited because there are only so many restaurants onboard the vessel.”
DEBUNKED: An NCL cruise ship is essentially a city on the water;
there is enough food and drink variety that you can go an entire week without repeating a meal, and you don’t have to dish out any extra cash. While cruise ships offer numerous “specialty” restaurants for those willing to pay an extra cover charge for a unique and seamless five-star dining experience, there are also many complimentary dining options.
Each NCL ship comes equipped with a cost-free and casual buffet-style option featuring a wide variety of cuisine from comfort food like pizza, macaroni and cheese, and fries to fresh-sliced prime rib and Asian stir-fry. This option is particularly convenient for families with young children and guests who want to avoid the trouble of dressing up. Each ship also has three or four complimentary sit-down restaurants with menus that change every day, so you’ll never run out of options.
MISCONCEPTION: “I am going to gain so much weight on this cruise.”
Stuck in the middle of the ocean for days at a time surrounded by restaurants and bars, you can imagine how easily one could pack on the pounds. If you’re worried about preserving that bikini body, there are lots of ways to stay active on your adventures abroad.
First of all, each NCL ship has gym facilities with cardio and weightlifting equipment in addition to an outdoor track area for those who want to appreciate the sights while jogging or power walking. The cruise staff also offer an array of group fitness classes including Zumba, Yoga, and Pilates. For those who would prefer to stay out of the gym while on vacation, use the stairs! Each NCL ship has at least 14 decks, and using the stairs instead of the elevator is a great way to weave a workout into your otherwise relaxing days at sea. Not to mention, you’re bound to burn calories dancing all night at one of the ship’s lively nightclubs.
MISCONCEPTION: “I will not find anyone my age to hang out with.”DEBUNKED
DEBUNKED: NCL staff work diligently to fill every hour of every day on the itinerary with activities to satisfy all age groups and social spheres, which are outlined in the Freestyle Daily that is delivered to your cabin every evening with the turn-down service. Guests under the age of 18 can register for the Splash Academy (for ages 3-12) or Entourage (for ages 13-17); these two “clubs” feature family-friendly activities that facilitate social interaction among eager young sailors.
The opportunities to meet new people are endless for adults as well; the key is to get involved on the ship. Aside from the nightly offerings of comedy, dance, and musical acts in the ship’s theater, there are also countless other activities: Raunchy game shows, bar crawls, “single travelers” events, wine tastings, Caribbean and Latin dance nights, Bingo games, karaoke, and so much more. Happy vacationers are the easiest people to befriend, and there will be no shortage of places to meet them.
By Rhianna Seferian with Mid-Life Road Trip correspondent, Kaelyn Mostafa