We bet you've already imagined common reasons that may make everything go wrong. For example, bad weather, seasickness, norovirus, the arrival of flight on the day of departure, too much alcohol, etc. However, we are not talking about that today. This time we'd like to tell you the stories from real life of cruise lovers which they kindly shared with CruiseBe.
We hope this information will be useful and will help you avoid negative experience in the future.
So, sit back, relax – and let's go!
We suppose this point is self-explanatory. Finding out that you are on a ship on the high seas with nothing, to put it mildly, is depressing.
"Luggage is checked in at the airport and supposed to be delivered to the ship and your cabin," James Ian from Travel Collecting said. "You don't find until after you've sailed that the airline lost your luggage. Luggage is usually delivered to the next port, but if you don't want to wear your travel clothes to the pool and formal night, pack some things in your hand luggage just in case."
Shanita Moore from Tour This World told us her story: "On one family cruise, my sister and her boyfriend overpacked to the point that there was no room for the luggage and the travelers. We had to make all sorts of crazy luggage on top of roof configurations in order to make it to the port with everyone in one vehicle. This was due to the fact that each packed one suitcase per person with nothing but shoes in it. I mean how many pairs of shoes does one need on a cruise? The kicker was they wore the same pair of shoes the entire cruise!"
Consider the weather, activities, and cruise tours you choose for port days. Do not overpack to keep yourself and your fellow travelers calm and happy.
Missed or changed port/ports, changed time of arrival/departure, a shortened sailing... In fact, it's all about the same thing – about the change in your plans. No matter whether this was caused by bad weather, technical issues or political situation in the port of call, etc. Any changes to the planned itinerary are disappointing in most cases.
Yes, we should remember that a decision to change the itinerary is usually made to provide the maximum comfort and safety for the passengers. However, here's what happened to Elisse Clark from Elkhorn Inn & Theatre:
"We've had Caribbean cruises miss ports twice - and although it was blamed on the weather (so they wouldn't have to compensate anyone), the reality both times was that it was due to timing miscalculations by the staff - and everyone on board knew it. That was a disappointment, and for some, it truly ruined the cruise, as those were the most important ports for them, but that is one of the risks you take when you cruise..."
Elisse Clark also shared a useful tip: "When we book our private tours we always ask about the cancellation policies in case the cruise bypasses the port, and get it in writing by email with our confirmation - we've never had a problem getting refunded."
When your itinerary is changed, bad communication may cause a nightmare.
"We had an experience in which this happened and had booked a particular ship and itinerary as we hadn't been there before," Nicole Ratner from Cruising with the Family started her story. "One port stays the same, YET the excursion is canceled due to the weather even though it's sunny and gorgeous. The part that ruins it all is the line not informing us the excursion was canceled, leaving us NO time to rebook one that we would want to do."
"So, long story short what can really ruin a cruise is bad communication," Nicole Ratner concluded.
"We have cruised many of times all over the world, both with larger and smaller lines and ships, and have had only one bad experience," Elisse Clark from Elkhorn Inn & Theatre began. "I think the reason it was so terrible was that it turned out to be a drydock cruise, right before the ship went in for repairs. And not only was the ship literally falling apart, the crew truly did not give a hoot about anything - they not only sat in the bar cursing and hooting at night, and bragged constantly all week about being able to leave the ship, security was non-existent, the excursions were nightmares, and the staff were so insulting that they literally had me in tears on three occasions."
"We now ask - and avoid all pre-drydock cruises," Elisse Clark finished her disappointing story.
... without specifying details of such travel.
That's exactly what Amanda Emmerling from Toddling Traveler faced with:
"I discovered just before our cruise that our son wouldn't be able to use the pool since he was only 13 months old and not potty trained, and our ship didn't have a baby pool. I was initially upset that our travel agent didn't give us a heads up before booking, but it ended up not being too bad since he could still stand on the edge and we at least knew beforehand. There was another family that didn't know about this policy until the lifeguard told them to get out of the pool, and they were really angry about it. "
By the way, we have several tips for cruising with your baby. You can check them via this link.
Tiffany Humfeld from Peace Love & Wine shared a story of her friends who have just "experienced a bit of a cruise fail:"
"It was spring break. They didn't know. They wanted a simple stress free family trip with their 4-year-old. It wasn't relaxing because people were barfing in the pool and the pool got shut down. That's enough to ruin a cruise trip."
Well, school holiday, hurricane season, a national holiday in a port of call, etc. – all this can make adjustments to your plans.
For example, visiting the port "on a wrong day" is an unpleasant situation, as happened to Amanda Emmerling from Toddling Traveler. Her cruise had only one stop, and it was a national holiday on the island.
"This happened to us in Bermuda, and we weren't aware until getting off the ship," Amanda Emmerling told CruiseBe. "There was limited transportation, and many shops were closed (which was a bummer in Hamilton especially.) We honestly made the best of it, but getting back to our ship was a comedy of errors with trying to get public transportation home via ferry and bus and ultimately taking a taxi van all the way around the island.
"If your ship is leaving port at an all aboard time, you typically want to get back around half an hour beforehand," Max Robinson from WeSwap Travel told us. "I found this out the hard way - accidentally leaving it far too close to the all aboard time and having to sprint up the pier to make it in time! There were a few chuckles from my fellow passengers as I stumbled onto the boat all flustered, but I just consider myself lucky to have actually made it in time!"
We suppose you've already heard the term "pier runners." If you haven't, you can find a full explanation, as well as several other terms that can be understood only by cruise addicts, via this link.
By the way, we also made a compilation of insightful videos of pier runners. You can check it here. To avoid joining their ranks.
Ilana Schattauer from Life Well Cruised claims that "cruise ship "comparisons" is something that can spoil a cruise vacation from beginning to end!"
"I've been there," Ilana Schattauer said. "Several years ago, after cruising with Royal Caribbean a few times and of course growing accustomed to that experience, we tried a different cruise line.
Well, from almost the moment we got on the Princess ship, we started looking around and comparing EVERYTHING! The cabins were different, the ship layout, activities... After about a day of this comparing, which was leading us towards some complaining, we decided to put a stop to it! Honestly, if we had continued, it would have ruined our cruise."
"Instead of comparing," Ilana Schattauer continued, "we changed our attitude and embraced the new things, realizing comparing just keeps you from enjoying the cruise experience you're having at the moment.
End of the story... of course, we loved our Princess Cruise and have sailed with them several times now. We've also cruised on several lines, and although we have our preferences, we know each ship has its pros and cons."
10. Pushy street vendors, taxi drivers, tour guides
"When you visit islands that struggle with poverty," Emily Porter, a writer at House Method, said, "it can be intimidating when someone comes up to you and tries really hard to convince you to buy something from them. You feel bad not buying it, but at the same time, you don't want to buy something you'll never use."
Have you ever faced with a problem of pushy taxi drivers who surround you as soon as you leave your cruise ship? Or of annoying guides who impose their services? In your opinion, what is the best way to avoid such "attacks?"
11. A surprise cell phone bill after returning home
Yes, some things can ruin your cruise even after you thoroughly enjoyed it.
"Do the cell phone plans that you have with your carrier (for all of your tablets and cell phones) cover cruises?" asked Jacqueline Hugo from Hugomatica. "Typically, the answer is no because when you are cruising, your location is an ocean, not a country. So, even if you have a list of countries covered by the $10 per day, per device international plan, cellular data on cruises, is typically charged above and beyond that."
By the way, such surprises may also happen with your onboard account. Carefully check what services are not included in the base fare. Plan your onboard expenses ahead of time. Check your cruise line's tipping policy. Generally speaking, do your homework before you set sail.
Have you ever been in situations like that? Please share your stories and cruise tips on how to avoid them.
Don't let anything spoil your cruise vacation!