How would you imagine a cruise? If you are like me before, you would probably think of a luxury ship with rich retirees and pensioners lounging around while leisurely sipping drinks and taking in the scenery around them. Not exactly the scene for young backpackers.
That was what I thought, too, until I went on one. And the fact that I went on a cruise only registered for me after the experience, as it was entirely different from what I thought a cruise would be.
Halong Bay cruise
Below are some common misconceptions on cruises that I have found to be untrue through my and my friends’ experiences.
1. Cruises are only for older people.
Certainly there are cruises targeted for older people enjoying their retirement, but there are cruises for younger people too. I even stumbled upon a “YOLO cruise” around Greece while I was browsing online.
On the overnight cruise I joined in Halong Bay, Vietnam, I noticed that the people there are mostly in their 20s or 30s – definitely in my age bracket. Also, the activities we did were all right up our alley, like caving and kayaking.
Caving in Halong Bay
Cruises are actually for all ages, and you can look through different cruise packages to find the perfect one for you.
2. Cruises are expensive.
Some cruises are certainly expensive, but there are budget ones, too. For example, for the Halong Bay cruise, I paid less than US $100 for an overnight package that includes round-trip transfer from Hanoi to Halong, a nice room I share with another person, meals, and of course the tours. There are even overnight Halong Bay cruises that go for lower than US$50, though my Vietnamese friend told me that the facilities and tours are not as good. But if you just want to see Halong Bay in general, why not?
We had a nice boat and tour for a budget price.
Some cruises also have an off-peak season price, so you can also look into that to further cut down on costs.
3. You spend most of the time at sea and not enough time on land.
For cruises covering different countries, you might indeed spend a significant amount time at sea. If you don’t like this, you can easily go for cruises that cover shorter distances, like the Halong Bay cruise I took. There are also river cruises. I actually saw a Nile River cruise offering online. Now that sounds like an interesting trip!
Besides, even if you end up in a cruise where you spend a lot of time at sea, you’ll get a spectacular and unobstructed view of the sky – stars are clearer, and sunrises and sunsets light up both sea and sky in a seemingly endless expanse.
Spending plenty of time in open sea gives you plenty of opportunities to see spectacular skies like this. No, this sunrise was not taken during a cruise, but I spent overnight on a boat and woke up to this.
4. Cruises are boring, especially when you’re mostly in the water.
You don’t need to just stare out at the sea, eat, and sleep, while on a cruise ship. Many cruise ships have onboard facilities for entertainment. A friend who recently went on a Southeast Asian cruise said their ship had restaurants, shopping centers, and other facilities. There are even performances every night.
Bigger cruise ships like this usually have ample onboard entertainment facilities. Photo from Pixabay
While the cruise I went on was a budget cruise and thus have no such sophisticated facilities, I enjoyed my time on the boat as I made friends with other travelers. At night, our tour guide also attempted to teach some of us fishing. One lunch had a cooking demo and we even helped make spring rolls.
So, yes, cruises can definitely be fun. You just need to pick the right one for you. Happy cruising!
Known for its rich cultural heritage, art, and cheap, delicious food, Penang Island is also part of some Southeast Asian cruises. It was actually part of the cruise my friend recently joined.