Weighing the Pros and Cons of Cruises Before You Book

What are the pros and cons of cruises? Cruising is one of the most popular options when it comes to vacationing. While we cruise addicts sing its praises and how much we love it, cruising still has its faults. 

People are often drawn to cruises because of their all-inclusive nature – you can find anything you want on a cruise ship. However, this can also be a downfall, as it can be easy to get caught up in the value of it all and end up booking the wrong cruise altogether. In turn, ruining what could have been a relaxing and enjoyable cruise vacation.

We love to cruise. The pros outweigh the cons for us. Not only do we feel like we get so much value out of our cruises regarding food and accommodation, but the experiences we have onboard and at ports of call are often priceless. From amazing food to world-class entertainment and everything in between, cruises offer a lot.

But we understand that not everyone is the same. The cons may be enough for you to put you off from cruising. So, before you book your next cruise, consider the pros and cons of cruises.

You may not like the idea of sea days and being on a ship for days at a time (not all cruises have a long stretch of sea days). Or spending only a handful of hours at one destination at a time. Or having to share a small cabin with your kids for seven days means no private time.

Of course, every trip and vacation is a journey and what you make of it.

featured blog image | pros and cons of cruisesPin
What are the pros and cons of cruises? Cruising is one of the most popular options when it comes to vacationing. Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we earn a commission at no extra cost. Please refer to our full disclosure for details.

We’ve compiled a list of the pros and cons of cruising to help you decide before booking your first or next cruise. Perhaps you already cruised once and are unsure if you want to cruise again. This list may help you make that decision.

Pros and Cons of Cruises

Pro: All-Inclusive Vacationing

Cruises are considered all-inclusive because your cruise fare generally covers your accommodations, food, entertainment, and most activities. This can be a great value for families or groups because staying within budget is easy.

Con: Technically, There Are Some Upcharges

You have to be aware that while all the basics you need to have a wonderful vacation are included with your cruise fare, there are upcharges you may not know about.

Spa treatments, shore excursions, sodas, alcoholic drinks, and some specialty restaurants may come with an additional fee.

Let’s not forget gratuities and tipping on a cruise.

Pros: Diverse Itinerary Options

There are now cruises to nearly every corner of the globe. You can find cruises focusing on specific regions, themes, or interests. You can visit the Caribbean, the Hawaiian Islands, the glaciers in Alaska, island hopping in Greece, the Mediterranean, and so much more. The options are nearly limitless.

Read More: Pros and Cons of a Fall Cruise and a Winter Cruise

Con: You’re On A Schedule

With a cruise, you’re on a schedule. Your itinerary is mapped out before you book your cruise, and you only get a certain amount of time at each port of call. Depending on your preferences, this can be a pro or a con of cruising. A cruise may not be your best vacation option if you like to be spontaneous and go with the flow.

Pro: Something For Everyone

Cruise ships have come a long way in recent years and offer something for everyone. There are cruises for families, singles, couples, groups of friends, adults only, and more.

You can find a cruise line that caters to your needs and interests.

Con: The Crowds

Sometimes ships can be overcrowded, and if there are not enough crew members on board, it can be easy to feel like you’re just a number on a ship. This can ruin the relaxation you were hoping to experience on your cruise.

Do your research ahead of time to make sure you’re booking a cruise on a ship that will provide the experience you’re looking for. If crowds aren’t your thing, perhaps avoid mega-ships with over 5,000 passengers onboard.

You have to have patience on embarkation day and disembarkation day. But once you’re on the ship, you forget the lines to get on and off the ship.

Pro: You Can Unplug From Technology

A cruise can be a great option to unplug from technology and disconnect from the world for a while. It forces you to relax and is one of the many reasons we love to cruise.

While most cruises now have Wi-Fi available (at an extra cost) and cell service is unavailable during sailing and will be limited at ports, depending on your mobile service provider and plans. This can be a great opportunity to reconnect with your travel companions and relax on vacation.

Con: You Might Feel Restless

If you’re used to being constantly connected and always on the go, a cruise might not be your best option. Yes, there are always activities on board and things to do on a cruise, but you have to ask yourself if you’re ready to participate in those activities or just want to relax. The choice is yours.

25 Best Things About Cruise Vacations

Why you should go on a cruise? See our 25 reasons why a cruise vacation is one of the best vacations. Start your vacation planning and cruise planning today. Enjoy the benefits of cruising and exploring port destinations around the world.

Pro: No Everyday Responsibilities From Back Home

You don’t have to worry about the usual responsibilities from home when you’re on a cruise. You do no need to cook or clean, and you can forget about work and other obligations. This can be a great way to relax and recharge.

Con: You Might Spend Too Much Money

Cruises can be a great value, but it’s easy to overspend while you’re on board. With so many activities, restaurants, and shops, spending more money than you budgeted for can be tempting. Keeping a budget may be one of the few responsibilities you must worry about while on a cruise.

Pro: The Food Is Delicious & Plenty of It

You will be well-fed on a cruise. There are usually several dining options, and the food is generally delicious.

Buffets are also available with a wide variety of food, so you’ll surely find something to your taste. You can have multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts in the main dining room. Not that you should waste food, but it’s nice to sometimes try that extra dessert or appetizer without it costing you extra.

Con: You May Overeat

You may or may not find this a con, but it’s worth mentioning. With so much food available, overeating on a cruise can be easy. You might want to try everything.

If this is your only vacation of the year, remember that you only live once and enjoy. You can always get right back to routine once your cruise is over.

Pro: Plenty of Entertainment On Board

If you’re looking for entertainment, cruises have plenty to offer. Most ships have live music, shows, movies, casinos, pools, and more. You can find something to do at any time of day or night.

Con: The Entertainment Might Not Be Great

The quality of the entertainment on board can vary from cruise line and cruise ship. Some cruises have amazing Broadway shows, while others might have cheesy performers or outdated equipment.

Research beforehand to see what entertainment will be available on your cruise.

Pro: Shore Excursions at Every Port

One of the best things about cruises is that shore excursions are available in every port. These excursions can be anything from city tours to beach days or hiking. Exploring the destination or participating in a local adventure is a great opportunity.

Con: Shore Excursions Can Be Expensive

While shore excursions can be a great way to explore the port, they can also be expensive. If you’re on a tight budget, you might want to skip the shore excursion and explore independently, depending on the port of call.

Cruise Tip: You don't have to do a shore excursion at every port. Perhaps some ports are do-it-yourselves while others are best to book a tour.

How to Plan a Shore Excursion

Planning and booking shore excursions for your cruise vacation? How do you book a shore excursion? What helpful cruise excursion tips will help you book and plan them independently? Helpful tips for booking shore excursions so you can save money, make the most of your time in your port destination and make amazing memories.

Pro: You’re Surrounded By The Ocean

view of the ocean from cruise cabinPin

This one is self-explanatory, but being on a cruise ship surrounded by the ocean can be incredibly peaceful and relaxing. There’s nothing like the sound of the waves and the fresh ocean breeze to help you forget your troubles back home. That sweet, salty air ocean is proven to have relaxing properties.

Con: You Might Get Seasick

If you’re prone to seasickness, you may want to think twice. While most people don’t experience any issues, a few do.

Although a few cruise lovers we are friends with still love cruising, even with the occasional seasickness.

Just be sure to pack a few aids to help with seasickness, such as ginger candy or wristbands that apply pressure to help relieve nausea. Some cruisers even start taking ginger pills three weeks before their cruise; however, you can discuss it further with your doctor.

Pro: You Can Meet New People

Meeting new people is one of the best reasons to travel, but it’s especially easier on a cruise because you’re cruising with the same group of people for consecutive days. You can meet people from all over the world and from all walks of life.

If you’re a solo traveler, some cruises like Norwegian Cruise Line caters to solo travelers. Plenty of activities and events specifically for solo travelers, such as meet-and-greets, cocktail parties, etc.

Many other group meetings throughout the cruise allow you to meet new people outside the regular cruise activities, like LGBTQ meetings, Friends of Bill, and others.

Also, joining a cruise roll call is a great way to connect with other cruisers before your trip. That way, you can get to know people before boarding the ship.

Con: You Might Not Meet Any New People

Of course, there is always a chance you won’t meet any new people, or at least not anyone you click with. It can be easy to stick to your own group and not branch out. Just be sure to put yourself out there, and you’ll surely meet some great new friends.

Pro: The Ship Has Almost Everything You Need

The cruise ship is like a floating resort; you can find anything you need on board to enjoy your vacation. The bigger the ship, the more amenities and activities are on board.

Need to buy some souvenirs? There’s a gift shop. Need to get your hair done? There’s a salon. Need to work out? There are a gym and fitness classes. You get the idea.

Con: The Cabins Are Small

norwegian joy cruise ship cabin 9900 | sofa bed, double bed, balconyPin
Balcony Cabin on the Norwegian Joy.

The cabins on cruise ships are notoriously small. If you’re used to staying in spacious hotel rooms, you might be disappointed with the size of your cabin.

And if you’re sharing with your kids or more than just your partner, it can get cumbersome. You’ll want to pack a few cruise essentials to organize your cabin better.

However, most people don’t spend much time in their cabins, so it’s not a big deal. Consider the cabin a place on the ship where you sleep and shower. The ship itself is the real star.

You also have the option to splurge and book a luxury suite.

122 Quick & Helpful Cruise Tips

We’ve gathered 122 of our top cruise tips and cruise hacks to help make your planning process smoother and your cruising experience even more fabulous.

Cruises Pros and Cons: FAQs

What are the advantages of cruises?

The advantage of cruising is that it’s an all-inclusive budget-friendly vacation. Your food, accommodation, and entertainment are included with your cruise fare.

What are the disadvantages of cruises?

The biggest disadvantage of cruises, depending on how you look at it, is that you’re stuck on a ship for a certain period of time following its schedule.

Is it worth going on a cruise?

Whether or not a cruise is worth it is entirely up to the individual. Some people love cruising and can’t imagine vacationing any other way. Others find it confining and prefer to explore different destinations on their own. The best way to figure out if cruising is for you is to take a short cruise to see if you like it. There’s no harm in giving it a try.

How to Plan a Cruise Vacation

Planning a cruise can seem daunting, but if you take it one step at a time and follow these simple steps to plan a cruise, you’ll have a fantastic cruise booked in no time.

Cruising can be a great way to see the world, meet new people, and relax. However, cruising has pros and cons to consider before booking your trip. Weigh the options and decide if cruising is right for you.

What cruise pros and cons of cruising would you add to this list?

Need some inspiration? Check out: 55 Influential Cruise Quotes to Inspire Your Next Vacation

You can also check out these helpful cruise articles:
How to Prepare for a Cruise
What Not to Pack for a Cruise?
What NOT to Wear on a Cruise
Cruise Clothes for Women
20 Tips for First-Time Cruisers


Kathy Ava

Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *