Your next vacation will be a cruise, and it will be a relaxing, uninterrupted getaway to paradise, right? Wrong. If you’re thinking about taking a cruise, you might want to reconsider — especially after reading this.
Although you’ve had idyllic visions of lounging poolside without a care in the world, your dream vacation could turn into your worst nightmare. When it comes to sailing the open seas, disaster might be on the horizon. Seasoned cruisers and first-timers alike, it’s time to heed caution. Here’s the awful truth about cruising and why you shouldn’t step foot on a cruise ship ever again.
1. Unqualified doctors
If you’re ever on a cruise ship and you find yourself in the infirmary, buyer beware. Although we’re not suggesting all, or even most, cruise ship doctors aren’t held to a high standard, there have been cases where the professionalism is lacking.
According to Charles Lipcon, a cruise-line maritime attorney in Miami, health care professionals aboard cruise ships could be licensed anywhere. “The cruise line is not responsible for bad medical care as long as they hire a qualified physician,” Lipcon told MSN. Additionally, he’s seen cases where a ship’s doctor was a graduate of a medical school in the Dominican Republic but didn’t actually have a license. Yikes.
2. Flu outbreak
Much like a college dorm, a cruise ship full of sick people is your worst nightmare. One person catches a bug, and it spreads like wildfire. What do you do? Where do you go? There’s simply no escape. Even if you retreat to your uncomfortable quarters, you’re still not out of harm’s way — and your small fortune spent on your dream vacation is suddenly out the window.
Still not convinced? Just check out Fortune’s list of the cruise lines with the most stomach bug outbreaks — in other words, the cruise lines you’d never want to step foot on.
3. There’s nowhere to turn
Remember that Carnival Cruise back in 2013 where everyone was pooping in buckets — or whatever else they could find? Yeah, well, that could happen to you should you choose to venture out onto the open seas. Due to an engine fire, passengers aboard Carnival’s Triumph were stuck at sea for almost a week, proving the ship was more of a failure than a success.
Quite shockingly, though, being dubbed the “poop cruise” didn’t seem to matter much. Business Insider reported the cruise line’s been doing just fine.
4. People vanish
Although it might sound like a pirate’s tale, people do still disappear from cruise ships today. Turns out a suspicious amount of people leave for cruises every year, never to step on shore again. So just how many people are we talking? According to CruiseJunkie.com, a whopping 116 people went missing from 2011 to 2015 alone. It might not sound like a ton, but it’s about 116 more than it should be. Book a cruise, and you might be walking the plank.
5. There’s crime
Imagine yourself in a big city, walking around with your personal belongings in tow. Now, picture the same scenario, only you’re trapped on a boat with no escape from predators. Lounging poolside with a cocktail in hand, thieves have open season on your personal possessions. And even scarier than that, the types of crimes reported go far beyond simple robbery.
Not only are there incidents, such as thefts, but there’s no shortage of sexual assault crimes aboard large cruise ships either. Just take a look at some of the cases documented on International Cruise Victims. Safety should always be a top priority when traveling, but unfortunately being on a cruise ship might offer some passengers a false sense of security.
6. No police on board
Speaking of a lawless land — or deck, in this case — there are no official police officers on board a cruise ship, which means you’ll have to put your faith entirely in the hands of hired security. And as NPR reports, prosecuting crimes committed at sea is often tough for a number of reasons. For instance, crime scenes are often contaminated, and who has jurisdiction “depends on where the ship happens to be located when the alleged crime is committed.”
7. The laws of international waters aren’t crystal clear
Just because you’re sailing through international waters doesn’t mean you’re destined for a criminal free-for-all. But it does mean prosecuting, convicting, and punishing a criminal might be more difficult than you’d expect. More specifically, admiralty law applies in international waters. According to NPR, “It’s up to the captain of the ship, for instance, to decide whether to incarcerate someone suspected of committing a crime.” The FBI will investigate if a United States citizen is involved, but it’s often too late at that point.
8. The buffet is far from healthy
Even if you’re committed to seeking out the freshest, healthiest, very best culinary options a ship has to offer, you’re probably not going to be eating as well as you normally do. Although most ships have a whole host of options, you’re still stuck with what you’re given. And no matter what they’re serving, anything that’s whipped up for the masses isn’t likely to be of super high quality. If it’s a top-notch culinary experience you’re after, you’re better off steering clear of a cruise — or at least the buffet.
You’d think by now major cruise lines would have the exact routes of these mega ships pretty dialed. You’d think. Yet still, accidents happen, and the open waters can challenge even the most seasoned of captains and crews. Confident it would never happen to you? In 2012, the Costa Concordia, owned by Carnival, capsized in Italy, killing 32 passengers. And though you might be thinking the same thing about planes — a plane could crash, but you still fly — do all the other cons of cruising really outweigh the pros? That’s your call.
10. Cabin fever
You don’t have to be an adrenaline junkie or claustrophobic to suffer from cabin fever on a cruise. Whether your dream vacation is not having to move a muscle or you prefer to be on the move 24/7, cruise ships are simply a disaster waiting to happen for some folks.
It might seem like you’ll be able to soak up the sun in peace, but think about all the other people who’ve paid to do the very same thing. Suddenly, you’re fighting someone for a pool chair. When you’re ready to leave the overcrowded areas you’d hoped would be enjoyable, your last resort is to retire to your room. And if you’ve never experienced cabin fever before, don’t worry. You’ll soon figure out how it got its name.
11. Cruise ships destroy coral reefs
Environmentalist or not, there’s no denying the serious threats our world is facing. Global warming has been wreaking havoc on the planet for decades, and cruise ships aren’t helping the problem. In fact, they’re doing quite the opposite.
“With their traffic, unethical waste disposal, and their pollution of various other forms, there can be little doubt cruise ships are having a hugely negative impact on the survival of the coral reef and other ecosystems,” Eluxe Magazine says. If this is the first you’re hearing about the suffering of coral reefs, you can learn more about the dire state of them, and other sea life, at ChasingCoral.com.
12. Too many drunk people
So that relaxing getaway vacation you wanted? It’s probably not a cruise, at least not on one of the more commercial cruise lines. The thing about cruises is they have a huge market for people who want nothing more than to party without a care in the world — spring break style. And the trouble is there’s no running from your co-passengers’ obnoxious behaviors.
Getting drunk on a cruise is par for the course, not to mention it’s super easy. Bars abound, and there’s nothing like getting a good day buzz on as you’re baking in the sun. And why should they stop? Cruise-goers can stumble back to their rooms, without having to worry about getting in trouble. But remember that whole no police on board thing? Yeah.
Just like any motel, hotel, hostel, or inner-city apartment building, cruise ships are susceptible to unwanted critters, too. And what are some of the worst bugs anyone could possibly ask for, especially on vacation? Bedbugs, of course. As Cruise Critic points out, infestations, though rare, can and do occur on large cruise ships. And once an outbreak hits, there’s a good chance you’ll be returning home with more than just empty pockets (more on that in a bit).
Even if you can withstand moderate motion on land, your tolerance might be no match for a large ship sailing the open seas. Think you’re not at risk? Think again. According to Medical News Today, “About 33% of people are susceptible to motion sickness even in mild circumstances, such as being on a boat in calm water, although nearly 66% of people are susceptible in more severe conditions.” There’s an entire song dedicated to not rocking the boat — and for good reason.
15. Expensive excursions
Major cruise lines have done a pretty bang-up job with their marketing. After all, who wouldn’t be tempted to take a cruise to the Caribbean for dirt-cheap prices? But be careful what you’re booking. You just might end up spending far more than you had anticipated. In most cases, everything you do that doesn’t require eating at the buffet or tanning on the sun deck will cost you a pretty penny. So again, buyer beware.