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I hate cruises (and other vacations I won’t take)

I hate cruises Jeremy BranhamI hate cruises.  I’ve never taken one.  I don’t really have a desire to take one.  And the recent Carnival Cruise disaster only reaffirms my position on cruises.

And I am not alone.

I hate cruises – a growing trend?

After the recent disaster with this cruise, I decided to revisit this post I wrote over two years ago – 3 vacations I won’t take.  At the time, there were a few people that left comments (see below) that agreed with me.  Now the “I hate cruises” momentum is building.

After the Carnival Cruise Triumph fiasco, I asked people about cruises on this Facebook post.  Seems I am not alone when it comes to the “I hate cruises” crowd.  Many people agreed.

However, the anti-cruise crowd has grown in recent years.  Last year, Leah shared her thoughts on why she hates cruises.  Her rant was enough to get her on BBC radio to talk about the “I hate cruises” perspective.

Many people may take issue with me ripping cruises when I haven’t even taken one.  However, the idea just doesn’t appeal to me.

Here’s why I don’t like cruises and two other vacations I won’t take.

I hate cruises (and other vacations I won’t take)

I love to travel.  However, each of us has our own taste in travel and not all of us are the same.

While travel is exciting and fun, there are some vacations people don’t enjoy.

Grandma might not enjoy extreme rock climbing adventures (but grandma might enjoy this ziplining adventure).

A young family might not want to try white water rafting down class 5 rapids.

The twenty something backpacker might not enjoy a bus tour loaded with senior citizens.

I have traveled to many places in the world many different ways – groups, tours, solo, backpacking, camping, outdoors, hiking, planes, trains, automobiles, buses.

However, I hate cruises – and a few other vacation ideas.

I hate cruises 

Carnival Cruise I hate cruises

I hate cruises – so do many others on Carnival

I don’t understand paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to rent a room on a floating city and hotel while seeing nothing but water for days.

Every once in a while, you get to stop for a few short hours to see a major city and deceive yourself that you experienced Venice or Barcelona or the Bahamas.

Upon returning from the mainland, you go back to your ship where you eat too much, gamble, dance, drink, and see shows – all of which could be done at home for much cheaper without wasting your time aboard a ship in which you are paying to be entertained.

Some people may like this but these are the reasons I hate cruises.

In high school, I skipped a cruise to play baseball.  And yes, I loved baseball more than anything when I was younger.  But I don’t regret missing that cruise at all.

To be fair, I can’t rule out all cruises.  After doing some research, I like the idea of river cruises even if it’s still not the way I want to travel.  You get to explore a country or place, taking in local sites, and learn more about the place you are visiting at a much slower place.

This is why I think a river cruise is better than an ocean cruise.

And if anyone wants to give me a cruise to try for free, I may consider it.  But since I hate cruises and the very idea of them, I won’t pay for one.

I hate large, organized bus tours 

To be lumped together with a busload of tourists with their fanny packs, cameras, touristy outfits, being shuffled around like a herd of sheep is such a turn off.

I will admit that I’ve done the tour group thing with Rick Steves (and even appeared on his radio show – at the 33:48 mark) – small, organized tours, less than 25 people, with lots of free time for independent travel.  Even then, I hated being seen with a big group.

It has its benefits but large tour groups, organized tours, gift shop purchases, and hordes of people crowded around paintings and sculptures are just things I don’t enjoy.  I want to blend in as a tourist and connect with the locals, not stand out as a tourist in a foreign country.

Small tours are OK (at best) but a large tour group is more painful than having the word “Tourist” tattooed on my forehead.  Large tour groups are great and many people love them.  However, they are not for me.

I hate themed vacations

I am not interested in a food and wine tour or a week long cooking class in Italy.  I’m not interested in a “most haunted places” tour or a literary tour.

I would definitely take an evening wine tour or maybe even a cooking class.  However, I am not going to travel on a themed vacation.  The closest I would ever come to doing something like this would be a tour of baseball stadiums, college football, or European soccer.

Um, well, you see….  

OK so I’ve done a college football tour with Expedia, a tour of a baseball stadium and other stadiums, and would love to go to Europe for a football tour.  However, I did much much more than just go to games or see a stadium.  I explored the cities and culture as well.

Vacations need variety – different cities, sights, people, and cultures.  Even a vacation at the beach isn’t a theme.  Granted, I am not big on beach vacations.  However, skip the themes and let me enjoy the diversity of travel.  I am just not interested enough in any one thing to make a vacation out of it (except that sports thing).

I am sure I am not the only one who doesn’t like some of the vacation options out there.  Some vacations aren’t for everyone.

I’m Jeremy.  And yes I hate cruises (and other vacations).

Are you one of the “I hate cruises” people?  Are there vacations that you won’t take?  

Credits: tour group (Flickr: Andrea Schaffer), Carnival Cruise (Flickr: Jesus & Kristie), Cooking school (Flickr: Gamerscore Blog)

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  1. Vacations where there is lots of girls and beer. I spent every day being sick with a hang over and because everyone just wanted to party, I never saw the sites!

  2. dragojac says:

    Organised coach excursions – the horror, the horror. Memories of bland food… nay, appalling food, tour reps’ fantasy location information and being herded away from the interesting bits to the areas that were going to put a commission in somebody’s pocket. Never, ever again.

    And as for cruises, why do so many people when a ship docks in port make for the nearest beach when they’ve spent most of their time lying beside a pool on board ship ?

    Totally agree about river cruises. Completely different animal.

    • You and I see very much alike. I’ve done small coach tours and it was alright. There were only about 25 people and it was a bit more intimate. Also, no commission or tips for the tour guide and the tour was focused on culture and connecting with others and not just being hoarded through a museum. Having done a tour like that and still feeling too much like a tourist at times, I abhor the thought of a huge busload of tourists with fanny packs, cameras, and commissions for the tour guides. No thanks!

      As for the ocean cruises, I don’t get it either. Don’t see the appeal. At least I’ve found one person who sees things the same way as me! :)

  3. John says:

    Aww, you don’t like those haunted vacations? I don’t know, I find them very fun. They are especially fun if you experience them as if you were a local…i.e. staying in a vacation rental But to each their own. I do agree about the rest of your list though.

    • Sorry John, I’ve never been big on anything scary – movies, haunted houses, etc. It’s not just the haunted vacations but themed vacations in general. I just like a little more variety when I travel. I completely agree about experiencing things as a local. So I don’t mind a haunted house or a special themed event but I just wouldn’t want to make it a vacation.

      Thanks for your thoughts and glad you agree with me on the rest! :)

  4. Leigh says:

    I agree with two out of the three points. Forget the bus tours, forget the cruises but there are occasional themed vacations/trips I would consider. I love gardening and would happily head to Italy or England or Japan for a week of gardening tours – if it was a small group with an interesting itinerary and the places were hard to acces on my own. Otherwise I’m happier just exploring on my own.

    • Leigh, of the three on my list, the themed vacation is the one I have the least amount of problems with. It’s not for me but for people who have a passion for something, I could totally understand that being a part of their travels. As I stated, I could almost do a sports themed tour. And honestly, my words on this may come back to bite me one day as I might do this! :)

      However, each of us is different and that’s a good thing in travel!

  5. Juno says:

    I’m with you on #1. There’s no point. I’ve done that few times from school organized travel, but I can hardly remember the detail. Where we went, what I ate, what I saw. One of the worst way, in my opinion.

    • Thanks Juno. I do think there is some merit to tours as it can give you a lot of information that is hard to get on your own. So I am not knocking them completely. However, large,organized tours which are there to pack in as many people as possible, put money in the tour guide’s pockets, and teach you from a script without any push to experience culture aren’t worth it.

  6. Jeremy,
    TOTALLY agree with you!!

    we have friends who keep raving about cruises, but to me, they just seem like mass gluttony (of all varieties)…NOT the way I’d spend my hard earned money and precious little time away~ :)

    I AM a chef and a “foodie” so a cooking/tasting/food trip appeals, but I would want to see the sights, soak in history and local culture…not JUST focus on one thing!

    One thing I like to do with our trips is to make an effort to try one great French restaurant and one local coffeeshop in each new city or location we visit.

    My mom (who is single now) is talking about going on a 2 week european vacation with a huge tour group! Horrors!! my hubbie and I are trying to talk her out of it!

    • Thanks for your comment Ann Marie! Hopefully, you get a chance to educate your mom! :) I’ve been on two tour groups and enjoyed both of them. However, there were only 25 people, tour guides got no tips or commissions, we were encouraged to connect with people, and we had a lot of time on our own. It was a good balance. A big tour group I could never do.

      As for cruises, I don’t get it. I never will. You hit the nail on the head with that one! :)

  7. Hmmm, just slam the culinary traveler here! LOL I almost felt like you were talking directly to me with #3!

    Despite what you may think after the comment I left on the River cruise article, I am not a huge ocean cruise person, but I think there are times when they make sense. Like my French Polynesia cruise – you have the opportunity to see much more than you would if you just sent to one place for a week ….and it was cheaper. A room in Bora Bora could run 2K a night – we paid 8k for a 2 week balcony suite with all inclusive gourmet food, top shelf liquor and wine, and gratuities included. Had we booked a room in Bora Bora itself like was an option, we might’ve been out money since we wound up down there in the middle of 4 cyclones- one of which did some considerable damage to many of the over the water huts.

    I will not do a big cruise again, I will do not big giant ones – blech. But the luxury cruises with less than 300 people are the way to go. We only had one day at sea, which is almost inevitable and we were at port much longer than most cruise ships are (we had several overnight stops).

    The one upside I see to some cruises is the ability to see places you might not otherwise visit. My Mediterranean cruise was a perfect example of that – I ended up at a few places that were not on my “dream destination” list and I ended up loving those places as much, if not more, than the places that were. Getting that little taste of islands like Rhodes in Greece will bring me back an day over the crowded, overrun places like Mykonos and Santorini. Again though, I picked an itinerary that included 1 day at sea – I have no desire to waste my vacation with 4 or 5 days at sea during an Atlantic crossing or whatever.

    Sometimes though, a cruise is truly the best way to see certain areas like French Polynesia, but most especially places like Antarctica, Alaska, Panama Canal, etc. In those instances, you really do not have a choice. Alaska there is a road/train and cruise option, but there are still elements you can only see by boat. Prior to my Mediterranean cruise, I was strongly against cruises, probably stronger in opinion than you are. But, I was given an opportunity to go on the med cruise as a gift so I decided to go with an open mind. There were definitely pros and cons and the giant size of the ship confirmed I will never do a cattle cruise like that.

    One reason I do like the cruise though is the different scenery each day. Coming into old European ports that are fort walled cities, or leaving Venice perched high above the towers so you can see all the ones that are leaning, or cruising by the Amalfi Coast, or waking up with Bora Bora as your view – those are experiences you would miss traveling by land.

    JMHO…..now off to plan my next wine and food themed trip. LOL

    • No, honestly I wasn’t. If there was anything of the three that I would be most likely to do it would be #3. I think all of us have our interests and passions so we could easily pursue those in travel. I listed a few I would be tempted to do and I understand why some people do it. It is just not for me. I have a much harder time understanding why people do #1 and then #2.

      As for cruises, I can’t do it. As you know, I am not a big beach person so it is a waste to float on a ship for days and then see a beach. As for your example of the Mediterranean, why not explore Venice on your own? To me, a cruise is about the ship much more than it is the destination. Some cruises cater to the luxury traveler and while those are smaller and more appealing, I am not a luxury travel type of person and I probably never will be. It’s another reason why cruises don’t appeal to me.

      With that said, each of us is different. And for travel (and many other things), that is good. There’s nothing wrong in there being different types of travel for different types of people. Just don’t expect me to like all the choices. :)

  8. Each one has its own choice related to the travel.I like travel where i can enjoy trekking , adventure,camping,food beaches,night life and many more things.I prefer to go for the trip Solo rather than in group.Camping and trekking is my Favorite . Thanks for sharing your experience. Good post.

  9. The only group tour we’ve ever done was through Club Med. We went to Coba, Uxmal, Tulum and Chichen Itza. It was only for a few days and we managed to cover much more ground that we would have on our own. Luckily our guide was not at all offended when we chose to repeatedly wander off and take photos/soak it all in while she explained the history. Not that we’re not interested in the history of the places we visit, but not to that extent or depth.

    The silver lining to the whole experience for us – and the major reason we signed up to begin with – was that the tour was in French. So it was a great opportunity for us to use a language we rarely get to use. Ok, it’s a little weird to go to Mexico to practice your French, but… We live in California and get plenty of opportunity to practice Spanish! Not to mention that naturally, we spoke with plenty of people in Spanish while we were there.

    • I took 3 years of French in high school. I know only a few words and phrases now but I enjoy French much more than Spanish. Very difficult though. However, I appreciate the your desire to experience some French in Spanish speaking California.

      I’ve actually taken two tour groups. Both were small and I had a lot of independent travel time which is what I like. Not all tours are bad but the large, organized bus tours, guides on commission, and that type of travel just turns me off.

  10. Renee King says:

    I second, third and fourth your assessment of cruises. I tried it…had to at least prove to myself that I hated it…but I am glad that I did because otherwise I wouldn’t have been absolutely sure. I actually wrote about my experience on my blog. It’s definitely a trip option, but as you so eloquently expressed, not all things are meant for all people. I think it’s because I love to plan my activities myself and I don’t like the feeling being held hostage with no where to go.

    • You summed that up nicer than I could and you have an experience! I don’t get it. Never will. Why pay for a floating hotel with nothing to see or do that you couldn’t do at home? And then when you do get to get off the boat, you pay for those excursions or have so little time to see places. Yet you fool yourself into thinking you really experienced Greece, the Bahamas, or Barcelona. Nope, not for me and it seems like many people like you agree! :)

  11. inka says:

    I went on a cruise once…and never agin. I agree with what you said.

    • It’s good to hear other people’s thoughts from those who have been versus me who doesn’t even want to try it out :)

      • jayrice says:

        It’s good to try it just once to remove all the “what if ” in your thought .” I did it and now I am at peace with myself. I am willing to explore other ways of touring . Life is more exciting if we continue the quest of exploring.

    • jayrice says:

      I did the same thing. I took a cruise ( thank God it is a small scale ) first time in the Bahamas . It is definitely not for me . The sea was rough ( I ended in bed for the most part) . Too much food – ( not good for me cause i am a diabetic. The land tour was short and expensive . I wanted to spend more time in the beach but it seems like a rush trip . Probably an hour or 2. Just enough to wet our bathing suit and eat lunch.I could have done this on my own without the hassle.Never again . I calculated , even if I spend a hundred dollars on food , i will not consume such amount of food unless i am a glutton so why waste money ? It just confirm my first impression I am planning to go to another trip but I want to explore different option. So now I have some ideas.

      • Thanks for sharing your experience. Seems my issues with a cruise were all too true for you. I want to explore when I travel. A ship, food, and floating city of activities is not my idea of travel. However, I do see the appeal of it for people that just don’t want to relax and plan. I think there is definitely a market for it. However, your experience speaks to the fact that cruises aren’t for everyone.

        I am not saying I will ever do one (although the title suggests that) but I only say that because “never say never.” Only cruise I would consider is Alaska. However, cruises don’t appeal to me because of the reasons you mentioned. I would rather spend my money in other ways (plus I am not a big food person when I travel).

  12. I am totally with you on the bus tours and and ocean cruises…I’ve actually never been on a cruise (except overnight cruises), and think the only cruise I would really even consider is an Alaska or Norway cruise. I doubt I would do a “themed” vacation, although I do have an interest in eating all of the food rtw…so in that sense, most of my travels have a sub-theme of food. I am also highly interested in the traditional arts/crafts of most cultures, and spend much time searching out good pieces for my collections, and learning the history behind the items.

    • Alaska is probably the only cruise I would consider. I think it’s a great way to get a look at the state but it’s still quite touristy. Like you, I’ve never done an ocean cruise because nothing about it appeals to me. It’s Vegas on water – if I want to party and do activities, I can do that at home. I travel to see places and a few hours in a port just doesn’t cut it.

      Each of us has our own unique things that interest in when we travel. I completely understand that. For me, food isn’t one of them. This doesn’t mean I am not excited to try stuff when I travel because many times I am. However, food in general just doesn’t excite me. It’s a means to an end. Every time I have traveled to places, I actually lose weight because I am on the go, don’t eat as much, and am always exploring. For me, sporting events are fun when I travel (much like art and crafts are for you). We’re all different but a food themed vacation is just a waste of time for me! :)

  13. Agreed…that’s pretty much how I feel about cruises as well. Stuck on a boat with a few hours at a port of not my choice sounds so horribly treacherous that I would never consider it. Much in the same way I hate being on group tours for that reason…I have been known to pay for a tour just to get easy entry into one specific site (ex: Colosseum), and then ditch the group.
    I’m very much the same regarding partying…it’s not something I do much of at home, so I don’t take it up in excess when I travel either.
    I think it is natural for men to lose weight while traveling, and for women to gain…unless you’re me, and you never gain weight for some freakish reason.

    • As I stated, I’ve done tours – two of them. I loved the convenience of traveling on a bus but there were only 24 people so every person got a row to themselves. However, there were times I got tired of doing the group thing in places and just walked off and did my own thing. The other thing that I liked about a small tour group is that we had days to ourselves to do our own thing which I never saw another member of our group. So for a small tour, I loved the balance but MUST have a lot of independent time. Great idea about buying a tour to get into sights earlier though!

      Cruises suck, are a waste of money, and are more about having fun, shopping, and eating than they are traveling.

      However, the women comment – I didn’t know most women gained weight. Didn’t know most guys lose. Do you know why that is because I am clueless!

  14. Talon says:

    I’m not sure you said “I hate cruises” enough times. :)

    I can’t stand large tour groups. Not fond of the smaller ones, either. I want to do what I want, see what I want, leave when I want, etc. The only time I enjoyed a group was when I was staying in a lodge in the Peruvian rainforest. Excursions were done in small groups (3-5). That was fun, and it was nice to share memories with people. I’m still in touch with 1 of people I met. Other than that, they suck.

    I have absolutely NO desire to do a cruise. A river cruise possibly interests me only because you have more time to explore and don’t have 2-3 days of just floating. I keep hearing how fun cruises are, how the food is so wonderful, and there is so much to keep me busy, but I don’t want to be “kept busy,” and I don’t find gambling or sitting by the pool particularly thrilling. Furthermore, I’ve done far more exciting things than the overpriced excursions in areas, so I’ll stick to my style of travel.

    • Seems you and I are completely in agreement on the cruise thing. You hate it for all the same reasons as me. Yes, I am intrigued by river cruises for the same reasons you mentioned. Seems more intimate – both on the cruise and the destinations. A river seems so much more interesting than an ocean because there is scenery. I will reserve judgment on that one until I take one but it’s more appealing than the ocean.

      As for tour groups, I just did one recently to Yosemite – sort of. I went with 13 other people. However, other than a dinner and a two hour bus tour through Yosemite (which was actually great), I did other things and didn’t hang out with the group at all. So the bus ride (and not a bad sized group) and a couple of things was a good mix for me. I did two other larger tours years ago (24 – 28) and it was OK. I loved that we had entire days to ourselves. There were times I completely got sick of the group experience (nothing against the people or guides – I am actually friends with one of the guides) but I needed to do my own thing.

      As for themed vacations, eh. Yes, I do the sports thing and yes they do have a theme. However, only 25-30% of my football series trips are actually spent on games. The rest of the time is spent exploring the cities and towns and doing other stuff.

      So guess I didn’t succeed in pissing you off because you agree with me :)

  15. Miruna says:

    :) I hate cruises too! I also hate all inclusive holidays, but probably at one point (when I’ll be old)I would try a themed vacation:). Car trips are my favorite!

    • Yep, that’s another one that I probably should have included. I don’t like all inclusive vacations. I actually feel uncomfortable when people carry my luggage or try to serve me. Just leave me alone and let me do my own thing. Guess I am independent like that :)

      Car trips are OK when there isn’t a lot of traffic. Here in California, it’s not as fun as other places.

      I don’t think I am succeeding in pissing people off with my rant :)

  16. Jeremy,

    I’m not offended at all. In fact I praise the good message you preach.

    I fear that the all inclusive, tour taking, photo op crowd are the majority in the holiday market of today. The good people of the 9 to 5 world think they have no time to research their destination and search for the best airfare and hotel deals and so pay someone else to plan their itinerary.It might appeal to some but it’s just not for me.

    We’ve been nomadic for the past two years and have never been on an organised tour. Perhaps we’re missing out on the joys of spending time with unfamiliar tourists in confined spaces. Perhaps we aren’t appreciating the grandeur of the locations we visit because we don’t have a tour guide reeling off facts and figures….. or perhaps not.

    Everyone chooses to spend their time and money in different ways but I would argue that both are better spent on a trip tailored specifically to your taste. We’ve travelled through six countries in the past two years and have managed to purchase and re sell transport, navigate to points of interest and soak up as much of the local culture and heritage as possible and all without the assistance of 60 tourists, a bell boy and a floating city.

    I think you catch my drift. I’m onboard, pardon the pun. I should stop ranting now. People might start getting irritated!

    • Thanks for your thoughts Charli.

      I do understand the appeal of tours, inclusive vacations, and cruises. Your comments revealed a theme in all three – people don’t want to plan a trip but have everything taken care of. That’s true for all three. Maybe with the 9 to 5 jobs, stress of life, and families, people just want to relax, pay their money, and have someone else take care of them. Every day, mom and dad, grandparents, etc spend time taking care of everything else making sure the daily tasks are done. They have no energy left to plan a vacation and no desire to take care of the daily tasks on a trip too.

      That actually makes a lot of sense and helps me understand the other side of it a little better. However, that’s just not for me. With all the discussions on Twitter and here about this, I understand myself a little better.

      What bothers me about all these vacations? I can’t explore on my own and enjoy time away from people. THAT is a vacation for me. Whether it’s my own travel style exploring and going where others aren’t or a relaxing vacation where I go hike, find peace and quiet in nature, or leave the world and people behind me, my type of travel just doesn’t involve a large group of people where I don’t have opportunities to do what I want.

      A cruise, tour, and themed vacation all restricts my ability to relax, explore, and do the things I want to go (sometimes away from people altogether). I guess it helps that my personality is one where I am good with money, like planning, and putting together a trip is actually fun rather than stressful.

  17. Steve Whitty says:

    Cruises are definitely off my list. I would also add all-inclusive holidays. The idea of being stuck in one place does not appeal to me.

    • I think you are and I are similar. We want to explore on our own, not be confined to a big ship with only the sea to look at. With tours, you do get to see more but you don’t have the freedom. With all inclusive vacations, that goes against the idea of leaving me alone and letting me enjoy myself like I want :)

  18. Vera says:

    I have never been on a cruise, just on very big ferries that went on for hours, but I kinda liked that (mostly because for once, everyone else was hanging over the railing with green faces while I felt splendid). I also have watched countless series with the inevitable cruise ship episode, and it has gotten me intrigued, so while I wouldn’t necessarily book a cruise as a vacation, I’d be happy to give it a try should I… win one, or something. I think it would be very relaxing because there’s ‘nothing to do’, and what there is to do, doesn’t run away. Also I like watching the sea. And people. And drag queens. I’d want a cruise with drag queens. I’d also go on a big organized tour with drag queens, and I’d take a drag queen themed vacation. I’m not kidding. But I think I now kinda missed the point because everyone would do any stuff with their favourite people:).

    • OK Vera, you win. Most unique answer on this question for sure. You’re intrigued by it but wouldn’t necessarily book one. You like the idea of people turning green on a ship and watching the sea. But then you think a cruise or tour group with drag queens is ideal. I don’t even know what to say :)

      As for me, I’ve realized the key to why I hate cruises. What is relaxing to me? Peace, quiet, nature, isolation, with very little to do – the complete opposite of cruises with thousands of people, confined to a ship with just ocean to look at, and countless activities. Not my travel style or how I want to relax. No wonder I hate cruises :)

  19. I definitely agree with you on bus trips and themed vacations, but as you may already know, I love cruises. That said, you are 100% right on your assessment of them, even if you haven’t been on one. The reason I enjoy them is they are becoming the only type of trip where I can fully unplug. Whenever I need a break from work and the blog, we take a short 3 night cruise and I sit on the balcony and enjoy the solitude. Yes, solitude on a cruise ship. I’d have a hard time with longer cruises, and I’d never consider the short stops in tourist trip cities as “visiting” a destination, but for the quick recharge they’re great…

    • Interesting that your latest post is about cruise ships :)

      I do understand the appeal of cruises. Unplugging is another aspect to it that I didn’t think about. This post has generated conversations – both on here and Twitter – and it’s got me thinking. People go on cruises to relax, get away, and do nothing. However, thousands of people on a ship, not able to go anywhere, with just ocean as my only scenery doesn’t appeal to me.

      Relaxation to me is the complete opposite – isolated in nature, where I have very little to do (as opposed to countless activities on a cruise ship), and plenty of scenery and beauty is what I need. That’s what refreshes my spirit. Getting away is all about peace and quiet, nature, beauty, with little to do (this is where unplugging comes in as well).

      This is why cruising doesn’t appeal to me at all. Not only isn’t it my normal travel style but it’s almost the complete opposite of what I think as relaxing.

  20. I went on a cruise about 15 years ago and really enjoyed it. The reason I liked it is because it was a no brainer vacation where I did not have to plan anything. It was the right thing at that time and it was easy since I was able to drive down to the port and there were no flights involved.

    I have not been on one since mostly because I don’t like large crowds and would rather explore on my own. I also avoid large group tours like the plague.

    I am going on a small boat cruise later this year (30 passengers) and think that will be interesting.

    • Jeff and I would think you and I are a lot alike. I see the relaxation, do nothing aspect of it that people appreciate. However, I seek that out in nature, escaping from people and finding peace and quiet in the peace and quiet. The more this topic is discussed, I think the better I understand myself as to why I don’t like cruises. All those people on a ship – big crowds with nowhere to go doing things I don’t care about (eating, gambling, etc) just don’t seem relaxing to me even if I don’t have to plan or do anything.

      As for tours, they have their benefit as well. I think that is more a personality thing. I like exploring and being a bit more independent. I say this as someone who has done tours so I really can speak to that experience both the pros and cons. I am not against a small tour or group for short periods of time. But the larger ones? There’s no way I could do it.

      I will be interested to see how you like the small boat cruise. As I stated, I am intrigued by the idea of a river cruise because you have fewer people, more scenery, and opportunities to explore.

  21. Jenna says:

    I wouldn’t say I hate cruises. I went on one to Alaska with my dad when I was about 20 and it was great! Even seeing the ocean for hours and hours was beautiful. We stopped in beautiful places, and the food was amazing. Is it my first choice? Definitely not, but I think it’s good that that option exists. To each his own, and it’s important to be respectful to others for their choices. My Brazilian family loves cruises, and we will be taking one together one of these days. Being able to travel to all the islands off the coast of Brazil sounds nice, even if it means being on a cruise ship. But obviously, cruises don’t mesh with my travel style.

    I don’t like the big group tours but, as you know, I plan to lead tours in Italy one day. I was part of one in school and it was wonderful in every way. I think they can be great if they are done in small groups and by very knowledgeable guides. Laurel of Capturing la Vita leads “immersion tours” in Tuscany, and they sound great–participants stay in the countryside for about 10 days, cook and eat in locals’ houses, etc.

    • Alaska is one I would consider because it is a great way to see the state. It is so huge and with the weather and conditions there, I think this is the way most people do see the state. It’s great that people have that option. However, the extra charges for the excursions and people all stopping in the same ports aren’t exciting. Alaska is hard to explore but that might be the perfect challenge for me to find another way of doing it.

      As I stated in the post, I understand why people take cruises. It really is a getaway where they don’t have to do or plan anything. They can enjoy and relax. However, even on a relaxing vacation, it’s just not my style of travel. This post led to a discussion on Twitter and I think I got a better understanding of my own perspective through that. If I want to relax and do nothing, I want to do it in nature away from other people. Cruise just doesn’t give me that. So not only is it my type of travel, it’s not even one I would consider when I want to relax and do nothing. Give me a cabin in the mountains, peace and quiet of the outdoors, and a hike. This is what refreshes me.

      That’s why I often go on hikes when I travel. Even in the chaos of going everywhere and seeing everything, nature and a hike are my escape.

      As for tours, I’ve done two different ones in Italy. Both were fine – it had its pros and cons. Some aspects I enjoyed, others wore on me a little and I just needed to break away and do my own thing.

      Again, I shared this from my perspective. This is what works for me. These type of vacations don’t fit my style and aren’t logical to my spending habits or personality. I can appreciate them for what people do like. It’s just not for me.

  22. Agness says:

    Welcome to my “hate cruises” club. I don’t understand paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to rent a room on a floating city and hotel while seeing nothing but water for days either. In some way it’s so pointless and way too expensive. People should put their backpacks on and go somewhere unknown for a month instead and still save a lot of money!

    • Exactly my points. However, I think it is more than that for me. Logically and financially, it doesn’t make sense for the reasons you mentioned. However, it is all about what a vacation means to me – peace and quiet, in nature, away from people, free to do nothing or explore as I want. If that’s not the complete opposite of a cruise, I don’t know what is.

      A cruise doesn’t fit my travel style or relaxation style.

    • Noelfy says:

      Unless you work in any of the cruises, then you get to see many of the destinations for FREE while getting paid (How does it sound 3 Months in Alaska, 6 months in Caribbean, cruise the Panama Canal on your birthday day…

      And when you finish your asignment, you are free to take your backpack and travel around the world…I am still living from the salary of my last contact! (I finished in August 2011…)

  23. Cameras? Touristy outfits (what is a touristy outfit?)? Burn them at the stake!

  24. Ok I am going against the grain because I am actually really keen to try a cruise! We are not group travellers but I like the idea of waking up each morning in a new city and getting out to explore. Then again, I wouldn’t be one of the ones getting drunk and doing karaoke at the ship bars either. Would rather be relaxing in the pool or reading my book! Hopefully we get to try a cruise one of these days then I will weigh in anyway 😉

    • I can see the appeal. With the way the two of you travel, a relaxing vacation on a ship where everything is taken care of may seem like a good idea. For me, I don’t want that at all. If I want to relax, I want peace, quiet, and nature with little to do and away from the crowds. I am sure there may come a time when a cruise may have an appeal. However, it doesn’t fit my travel or relaxation style at all.

  25. Ruth says:

    Hi Jeremy!
    I agree with many of your points but not with others. It comes down to your likes and what you enjoy. Hey, if you are paying a considerable amount of money to travel, you better make sure you are going to do what you love. I would not rule out any of the vacations you are describing (maybe the humongous tour group) even though I am not crazy about them (and they don’t really fit my travel style). Good discussion.

    • Thanks Ruth. That really is the idea of this post – discussion. We are all different types of travelers and I don’t expect us to agree on everything. I stated I don’t like these types of vacations but I do understand the appeal of them for some people. So I didn’t say these were bad – just that they weren’t for me.

      Honestly, the discussion this has generated has actually helped me understand my own opinion on this issue even better than when I wrote this post. My comments to DJ and Jenna sum it up well. People go on cruises because they want a relaxing vacation, where they don’t have to plan, and they have lots of activities that they can do for fun.

      For me, relaxing is peace and quiet, in nature, with no one around, and very little to do. Simple is good for me. A cruise is the complete opposite. So while my travel style definitely isn’t a cruise, neither is relaxation style. Either way, just not a fit for me.

      Again, I have done smaller tours and see the pros and cons. That’s why I can say I wouldn’t do a big one. It would drive me nuts. I do see the appeal of this for some people. Some will agree with, some won’t. However, if the discussion allows of us to better understand or own travel styles and needs then we can all benefit from a discussion like this.

  26. Darron Barksdale says:

    I will say both cruises and coach tours seem rushed! I sometimes have limitations on my day due to my medical condition. I have to sleep more at times. It was like a sin because I had to miss a day at Ayers Rock…..(before condition) with Globusjourneys. One of my big travel goals I will have to cruise for…Antarctica. But that’s a few years off and ill get to spend some time in Buenos Aires again.

    • I will agree on that. Some people want to see as much as they can and are OK with that. I would rather experience a place. I don’t feel cruises or tours give you the opportunity to really explore. They give you a taste. Maybe that’s what people want when they decide whether they want to come back or not. I’ve known a few people that did cruises to Antarctica and Alaska. Those are two places that really are ideal for cruises, especially Antarctica. Maybe I will do one some day to either of those two places.

      Just don’t expect me on one any time soon to a beach, Europe, or the Caribbean.

  27. For 37 years I said the same thing as you about cruises, for the same reasons as you! But now I’m a fan. Sometimes experiences and life can surprise you.

    And what happened on that Carnival Cruise could have happened on a train, bus, or god forbid a PLANE!

    • I do agree about life changing you. I just posted my travel confessions about my mid life crisis. So yes, your perspective can change as life gets older! :)

      However, have to completely disagree with you about the same thing happening on a bus, train, or plane. The cruise ship completely died. It took DAYS to go a few miles at a top speed of 1 mph. Toilets stopped working, raw sewage was everywhere, and people had to sleep on decks and went without food.

      I’ve been on a bus that broke down in the middle of the countryside in Estonia. Carbon monoxide was leaking into the bus. Me and a few others were falling asleep and others were trying to keep us awake so we didn’t die. We were stranded on the side of the road for a few hours but eventually got a new bus. It didn’t take days and we didn’t have the problems that ship had.

      Same is true of a plane and train. Unfortunately, with a plane you might die if it fails. So cruise ship failure may be better there (unless it sinks). However, conditions on the ship are things you would never face with the other types of transportation.

      As for cruises themselves, I’ve mentioned to a few people why they don’t appeal to me. When I want to relax, I want peace, quite, nature, away from people, with very few activities. The cruise is the complete opposite of that. So even though it doesn’t fit my travel style, doesn’t fit the idea of a relaxing vacation.

      I can see the appeal for families. As I stated, I understand why people like them. After the daily stress of family stuff, you get a relaxing vacation where everything is taken care of and you don’t have to worry about anything. Maybe one day my perspective will change. However, there is nothing that appeals to me about a cruise even though I do understand why others like them.

  28. Jennifer says:

    I couldn’t agree more about cruises! I gave one a try this past summer. In the end, I felt like the days at sea were wasted time I could have already been enjoying Greece on. And time in port felt too rushed. I’d just get a taste and then it was time to get back on the ship again. No thanks!

    I would give a river cruise a try though.

    • Good for you that you gave it a try. That’s more than what I can say. However, there just isn’t the appeal for me. I don’t consider it relaxing. I don’t want to be confined on a ship with thousands of other people doing activities I really don’t care about. If I want to see a place, let me explore. Don’t herd me like sheep through a city on a few hours with a bunch of tourists so I can check off my list that I saw somewhere.

      Again, I might give it a try but it would take a lot for me to change my opinion.

  29. I love cruises! I wouldn’t cruise Europe (as you say, you can see the sites better staying there). But when I want to relax and not think about/plan activities for/supervise my kids, there’s nothing better than a cruise ship! They do their thing. I do mine. We meet up for dinner and a show. RELAXING! I’m always refreshed when we get home.

    • I appreciate the family perspective on this. For adults and kids, I can see the appeal of kids being entertained without having to watch over, plan, or supervise their activities. It’s the complete opposite of what most families have to do at home. Plus mom and dad get a nice romantic vacation with kids but some alone time too. I really do appreciate this perspective. I can’t say that I still want to do a cruise but I may be more open to this as I get older :)

  30. Noelfy says:

    Nice post!

    However, I love cruises. Same as you, I never take one, but I worked 2 years on board of one.

    I agree in many things with you. You dont get to see Barcelona, Venice or Barbados in one day,even if you have overnight, however if you are crew and keep going to same islands, cities, port of call, you do really get to see and enjoy every destination.

    But in my vacations, I never take a cruise, even if it would be very nearly for free for me. I grab my backpack and go hichhiking or couchsurfing everywhere. Only one way, no destination, stay as longer as I want.

    Obviously, cruise ships are not for young people or adventurous traveler. Just think in old citizens, still able to travel and walk around the city, but not able to carry a big suitcase or affor the travel time between A to B destination. They have money to spend. They want everything to be done for them. Easy peasy.

    Obviously is not what the real traveler is looking but I am glad to have visited places that I wasn’t able to put in the map before!

    • I think cruises serve a great purpose and a specific type of traveler. Families and more elderly travels seem to love cruises. They can’t explore and get around like the younger crowd and really don’t want to plan and do all this independent travel.

      For families, there’s something for adults and kids. Mom and dad can get time to themselves while kids can still have fun. Older travelers don’t want to travel by themselves and probably enjoy the company of others.

      So while I shouldn’t say I’ll never do one, it’s definitely not one I want to do at this point in my life. Maybe when I am old and feeble and need time away from the kids, a cruise will be perfect :)

  31. Peter Lee says:

    I hate one thing about cruises and that is – it is a slow travel. You have to enjoy within a limited area. I agree that one should try cruise atleast for once but try to be with good company otherwise you can think to jump.:)

  32. Cassie says:

    Here here, brother! (on cruises and large bus tours, that is)

    I’m okay with themed travel–as you do with your football travel, I still remain aware and explore other things going on at the destination, even if the focus of the trip is food, etc.

    • Themed travel makes me shudder when I think of cooking or wine tasting or art. I can enjoy all of the above – just not for a week. I want to explore too much. Even though I do the football stuff, I would be bored and unfulfilled if the games were all I did.

      For me, theme means lack of variety. And I definitely need that.

  33. Gray says:

    I’m not going to try to talk you out of your POV, Jeremy. I myself have very mixed feelings about cruising. I’ve done it once and would do it again, though, even though it’s not my ideal form of travel. I would, however, like to correct a misconception you have. You don’t spend days at sea with nothing to look at but the ocean. I went on a Mediterranean cruise where in fact, the ship sailed during the night so every day when I woke up, we were already in a different port. I got up and explored a different port each day. We only had one day at sea (and I spent that day feeling pretty seasick). It’s the transatlantic cruises where you can spend a couple of weeks looking at nothing but ocean. Some people choose those cruises as an inexpensive way (compared to flying) of transporting themselves across the ocean. I think the people who love cruise vacations for the cruise itself (not necessarily the ports) are people whose daily lives are a real grind and they just need to “get away from it all” and be waited on hand and foot. To them, it may not be about traveling, it’s just about getting away to relax. (And yes, I agree, that’s a very expensive way of doing it, but to each their own.)

    • Gray, I have absolutely no problem with those who like cruises. Not sure if you’ve read some of the other comments and my replies but I definitely see the appeal of cruises for some people. When life is chaotic, you have a family, got a lot going in your life, maybe people want vacations where they do nothing, everything is taken care of, both kids and adults can have fun, and you can just relax and enjoy. I really do understand that.

      I’ve never said cruises are bad – just not for me. I am not a big beach person so that’s another reason it’s not a big appeal. I’m not a big fan of the ocean or beach (I grew up at a very popular beach destination on the east coast so I’ve spent a lot of time at the beach). I also said I would be open to doing a cruise to Alaska or maybe a river cruise.

      Here’s the issue I have with cruises. First, it’s not my travel style. However, there’s the other side of it as well – the relaxing, vacation getaway. For me, I want peace and quiet, beautiful scenery, with few activities, and not a lot of people when I want to relax. That is the complete opposite of a cruise. So that’s why it doesn’t appeal to me – either my travel style or relaxation style.

      With all the opinions on this topic, I’ve never argued against anyone’s opinion or said cruises are bad. I would never tell anyone they are wrong for enjoying a cruise. I am just sharing my opinion on why it’s not for me. Maybe as I get older and my life and perspective changes it may be something I consider. However, for my personality and travel style there isn’t anything that appeals to me regarding a cruise.

  34. I’ve taken a Carnival Cruise and have taken smaller ships. Big cruises are incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment. There are a few cruise lines trying to implement more sustainable practices, but they tend to be higher end. I went on a Carnival Cruise for a family reunion and it was all about being with my family and not about the destination. The cruise ship actually tries to encourage you to stay on board- spa services are 50% off when in port. I prefer small ships- the smaller the better. The smaller the ship, the more focus on the destination and less harmful it is to the natural surroundings.

  35. This may come as a surprise, but I think I would enjoy a cruise. I may not ever go on one, but if the opportunity became available, I think I would have a good time with the right people or the right circumstance. I like to drink and have a good time, and I enjoy people watching, so a cruise might be fun. Right now though, there are too many other things I want to do. I can totally see why it does not appeal too.

  36. Mark S says:

    I think you might want to think about a cruise in a different way.I have been on a few cruises and I think overall the are ok but are convenient in a few ways.

    One you get to see many cities in a short period of time and you don’t have to find a hotel every time you get to a different city.

    The down side is you will only be in that city for a short period of time. However there are two ways of thinking for this, one you can get a great idea if you would like to come back for a long vacation to any of the cities you went to, the other is you could get the feeling from a city that you are glad you didn’t spend any more time in that city and glad you didn’t already book a hotel to stay in a place that before you wanted to spend a lot of time in.

    I looked an some of my cruises as opportunities to discover a great place to visit. My last cruise I spent a day in Barcelona Spain. I had never thought about going there for a vacation but after spending a day there and seeing what a great city it was I plan on going on a vacation to Barcelona in the future. Had never gone there on the cruise I would have never known what a great place it is.

    I know many people look at it as a little old person ish but it was fun and not everyone wants to go rock climbing and doing a zip line and stuff like that, so you should never say no to something you have never done.

    • Thanks for your comments Mark. I do understand what you are saying about getting a taste of a place to see if you want to come back. However, a lot of cruise people (but not all), seem to only enjoy cruises and never get to really see places.

      While I don’t like spending a few hours in one place and thinking I’ve seen it, the cruise itself bothers me even more. I am stuck on a ship for days doing many activities I could do at home. There isn’t a real adventure there and a lot of the views are just the ocean. Gambling, eating, dancing, movies, fun activities for days on a ship – that’s what doesn’t appeal to me. Even though you make a good point about getting a taste for places, it’s the rest of my time that would bother me.

      Honestly, I am a boring person. I don’t do rock climbing and I did go ziplining for the first time recently. However, when I want to relax, I want to escape. Spending time on a ship with thousands of people looking at the ocean, making quick stops in port, with food and activities to fill my time isn’t my kind of fun.

      If someone wanted to take me on a cruise and let me try it, I would. However, just as someone who doesn’t like adventure travel and would never go ziplining, the same is true of me and cruises. I can’t say no if it a cruise was free (well, I have said no to free cruises) but I still don’t want to do it.

  37. Kate says:

    I pretty much hate organized anything, but I do generally quite like walking/bike tours and art gallery tours. Independent travel involves so much decision making that sometimes it’s nice to be led for a couple of hours (provided it doesn’t involve a bus!).

    Since I’m vegan, most organized trips/tours/cruises wouldn’t be a good option for me.

    • I definitely see the appeal of the tours. I’ve been on tours. It is nice to let someone else take the reigns for a while. However, if I want a vacation where I don’t have to do anything I want it away from people and lots of things to do. I’ll go hiking or enjoy nature. To each his/her own but I look at all of these trips as ways people go to relax and do something fun. Those just don’t appeal to me.

  38. Erik N says:

    Only trips I’ll ever take are when I take the 4wd out for a run on one of the many local 4wding tracks. Much cheaper and a lot more fun than sitting on a crowded boat with kids on sugar highs and cranky shuffling seniors.
    Then there’s the general experience of a cruise ship. They are expensive, you get a tiny little room like you do at motels/some trailer parks, there isn’t much you can do apart from the prearranged activities which are as fun as watching paint dry.
    Would not go on any cruise even if someone else offered me the chance to go.

    • That’s awesome – shuffling seniors and kids on a sugar high. Those two reasons are enough to put me off from cruises. I guess I found someone who hates cruises as much as me. You are right though – the tiny rooms and limited activities aren’t very exciting. Next time, try not to hold back though and tell us how you really feel Erik :)

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

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