Cruise Ship Vacations: Expectation vs. Reality

by Owen Chase

We all want to have a certain taste of luxury in our lives and many people have turned to cruise ships in the hopes of getting a part of it. Even though everything might look really glamorous in the ad for the trip, as well as the fantasy that you have built up in your mind, everything will not always be what you expected when you get on the actual cruise. We are going to show you a few examples that might still encourage or perhaps put you off going on that cruise you've been dreaming about for some time. We leave the decision up to you. For now, read on. 

All Aboard – Expectation

Imagine yourself walking down that aisle when you finally board the cruise ship of your dreams. You have been waiting for this for quite some time, perhaps even started daydreaming about it during your office hours. Now the dreary, monotonous rhythm of your daily life is about to be replaced by lots of sunshine. You finally get to wear the designer shades you bought a while ago.

You might even have selected the perfect outfit you were going to wear only for that moment when it was time to board the ship. In your mind you have now painted the perfect portrait of yourself looking back towards the city as you hear the seagulls circling the ship far above you.

All Aboard– Reality

But it doesn't always turn out the way we want. In our minds we have sort of forgotten the fact there's a whole bunch of other people hoping to live that same dream, and you might find out that the line to that luxurious vacation you've been looking forward to is taking quite longer than expected. Being in a long line with other people doesn't really resemble your fantasy, right?

If that isn't enough you might also be faced with other less pleasing factors, like screaming babies, grumpy elderly people arguing because the husband wants to sit down but there are no chairs anywhere. Then of course, the people with way too much baggage taking up the entire aisle.

Chilling In The Pool – Expectation

But how about the pool? This has after all, become the iconic setting when on a cruise ship, as seen in movies, the Loveboat and in ads! We all long for that perfect set-up where the crystal-clear water is combined with a cool tropical drink in your hand, and you start to feel that you have really arrived at the vacation you've always wanted.

In your fantasy, you've probably even imagined a water slide or two, and of course the seemingly endless row of sunbeds covering the entire topside of the cruise ship, with toned bodies tanning on each. And as you are lying there in the sun one of the good-looking serving staff approaches you to ask if you'd like another piña colada. Or maybe a margarita?

Chilling In The Pool – Reality

But once again you get smacked with the reality that cruise ships do their best to get as many people onboard as possible. If you take a look at the photo, then you'll have a vague idea of what it may just be like on the top deck. Not exactly the serene environment you had been picturing, is it?

Now even if this wasn't the scenery that you were hoping for you might still look at this from the bright side. Having many people around you will give you new opportunities to get to know some of them as well, and before you know it you might have found new friends for life.

Hot Tub Fun – Expectation

So, what about the hot tub then? The queen jewel of the cruise ship which all the visitors want to take a dip in and chill out. This is a scene that is often portrayed in a glamorous way in the ads where people toast drinks with little parasols and seem to have non-stop fun. It's one of the images that entice one to go on a cruise.

In the background you can see some cool chairs where you can lie back and listen to some lounge music that puts you right into vacation mode. Everyone is relaxing, everyone looks happy to be in the ship. Some people may have broken into cozy twosomes and flirting. The entire thing feels like one big intimate, sophisticated, and fascinating party.

Hot Tub Fun – Reality

Unfortunately, your dreams are about to get dashed once again. The other guests on the ship have also been imagining pretty much the same thing as you while tapping away in their cramped office cubicles hoping time goes faster than it actually does. And guess what? You are going to run into all of them in the cruise and very likely, the hot tub.

Now instead of having that serene environment with soothing lounge music in the background, you get generic pop music blasting from the speakers as well as the constant chatter of the other people sitting around you. And just when you think you can deal with all that racket, a screaming baby pierces your eardrums.

Room Accommodations – Expectation

Different rooms come with different levels of comfort of course and all of that depends on how much you are willing to spend on yours. But the view which we often imagine is seeing that perfect, golden horizon from the ultimate comfort of bed while surrounded by immense luxury.

The lighting is also another thing which we often imagine ourselves to be perfect. Not too bright and not too dim – rather a level that doesn't wash us out and makes taking photos a breeze so you can upload them and make anyone who sees them and not on a cruise green with envy. Comfort, luxury, flattering lighting, beautiful photos –how much more perfect can things get?

Room Accommodations – Reality

The rooms however are not always as expected, as the lighting you are faced with often time seems more like something that they would install in a makeshift emergency room than a room in a cruise ship. And if you were expecting some luxe interiors then this will be another source of slight disappointment for you.

If you were expecting a room with lots of spaces as promised in those brochures, you'll soon discover that suites in cruise ships aren't anywhere close to the size of a room at the Hilton. Many people need to be fitted in the ship in order to recover the company's expenses for the trip so what you're actually paying for is, well, discomfort.

Seasickness: Expectation

Some people could just be prone to seasickness but if you believe the cruise ship ads then you would be convinced that everyone in the entire trip never experienced it, let alone heard of it. They have people smiling, laughing, people who look like they're having best time of their lives and had never once felt sick while on deck as the boat moves from side to side.

So, we get models who never spilled a single drop of their cocktails, never teetered in their high heels because the ship was actually anchored. Which means they never dealt with any discomfort due to motion as well. Convincing imagery to say the least but the fact of the matter is, the real world can be a little bit more rough around the edges.

Seasickness: Reality

But after a few weeks on the cruise, you probably start to notice that there are some members from a group, like among friends and family, who tend to be absent more than others. When they do, their partner might begin looking anxious because they are wondering if their significant other will ever come out of the bathroom.

And you can almost count on the sight of a dad with a plastic bag ready for one kid or two for an emergency. If you didn't know better, you would at this point have started wondering if you weren't part of some strange experiment that has been going on for several weeks, if not months.

Ka-Ching! The Casino – Expectation

Some people on the cruise aren't for sitting in the hot tub for a while and would rather go check out the casino and gamble away some of their hard-earned money. Sure the price of the trip is already expensive enough but gambling—the roulette, blackjack, even just the slot machines—they can be fun!

So, you head down to the casino dreaming about slot machines pinging loudly and spilling coins or clearing out the house in blackjack. You imagine Baccarat crystal chandeliers, the ladies in slinky dresses, and the men in tuxes, like James Bond in Casino Royale. You expect everything to be just like in the movies, because where else have you seen gambling in cruise ships outside of a brochure?

Ka-Ching! The Casino – Reality

We regret to inform you though that you will once again be disappointed by the ship's actual gambling facilities. The tables, the chairs—they're not brand-new, they're modern, but designed with function in mind rather than decoration. There may be a dress code but don't expect to see a lot of gentlemen in white jackets.

Plus, there might not even be enough machines and games to accommodate everyone at all times. So, if you aren't already having a bad day dealing with disappointment, it might just get worse losing money in the only game or machine that's available for you to play because nothing else is.

The Entertainment – Expectation

Not everyone comes for the suites or for the hot tubs, as there are also people who really long for the opportunity to see some really famous bands playing on board. I mean, you paid quite a bit for this ticket right, so it would make sense that the company used some of that money in order to hire a performer you're at least familiar with.

I mean, maybe it isn't Rihanna or Drake or someone like that, but maybe an artist in the middle tier who also knows how to get the crowd going and let loose. That's why you're on a cruise. You want to relax. You want entertainment! You don't want to concern yourself with how you act because you're on vacation and a concert by an awesome artist may just be the answer.

The Entertainment – Reality

The artist, however, does at times turn out to be someone who almost had to pay to be able to perform on the cruise instead of getting paid themselves. And if you are really unlucky there isn't any real artist at all, just some rando next to your suite blasting “Who Let the Dogs Out” nonstop.

Prior to booking your ticket to the cruise, give the entertainment roster a closer look. Are the performers the actual band, a tribute band, or just, well, a band you've never heard of? It's always a good idea to make sure, especially when forking over several months' savings worth of money for the cruise of your dreams. If you're okay with just about any band or performing act, then that's fine. Otherwise, you might just be wasting money.

The Spa: Expectation

When you imagine a spa at a cruise ship you often tend to visualize something that is a little bit more high-end like in this photo. You join your significant other in a room where well-trained staff will give you a couples massage and other heavenly treatments that will leave you smelling like a rose garden.

And the oh-so-soft benches you lie down on smell and feel clean, and the towels fluffier than cotton and yes, also look and feel new. But hang on, do you really think the staff went to all this trouble after you purchased that discount ticket to the cruise you found in the local paper? Not!

The Spa: Reality

Waking up at the spa in the cruise ship after your massage feels more like waking up from cryosleep in space as in the movie Alien. True, there's no bloodthirsty monster after you but, shall we say, the air is redolent with the smells of people who may not be as inclined towards hygiene or even perfumes like you. It can certainly ruin any post-massage romantic moment you've been planning with your partner.

And as you try to avoid looking at the half-naked stranger to your left who has no business being in that state in public and in your opinion, even in private, you can't help but think that things aren't as clean as you thought they should be. On top of that, there's no way of unseeing the half-naked stranger.

The Age Demographic: Expectation

The ads do not always do justice when it comes to the actual age demographic of the people who tend to go on cruise ships. But youth always sells and what better way to sell wonderful, luxurious vacations in the sea than with images of young people with glowing skin, huge smiles, partying the night away?

They're not only young but like, really, really attractive. They may not be supermodels but again, they're young, stunningly beautiful, and look like they have the money to burn on a cruise. Now, if you only follow what the ad is telling you then it might seem like a dream, but if you are a bit more skeptical you might start to wonder if all of this really holds true.

The Age Demographic: Reality

But as you come aboard you might notice that the lines are not only the ones for checking in but on faces. Many, many faces with many lines. The age group you thought were going to encounter on the cruise appears to be more advanced than expected. So, you start to wonder if this is the sexy cruise promised in the ad or some very expensive floating senior home.

Maybe as you walk through the crowds you spot a few silver foxes. But yeah, they're few, and chances are, aboard with a significant other. Slowly, it dawns on you that this isn't the floating Ibiza party you thought it would be. Rather it's starting to look like the entire senior population Fort Lauderdale will be calling this ship their new home for the next couple of weeks.

The Vessel Itself – Expectation

We tend to get fascinated by those majestic pictures of cruise ships we find online, and somewhere in the back of our mind we hear a little voice saying that all cruise ships are roughly the same size, and that the ship you are going to board will be just as big and glamorous like all the ones you have come across during your Google searches.

It is easy to get gobsmacked by all those long lines to rooms which can be seen on the side of the ship, thinking that it looks like an entire floating city. On many cruise ships this might actually be the case as the destinations you come across often have a smaller population than the vessel you are actually traveling with. Well, those islands certainly feel like it!

The Vessel Itself – Reality

But reality can also turn out to be quite different, since cruise ships do come in different sizes and some of them kind of look like ferries and not so much as something which would be able to cross the Atlantic without anything suddenly falling over due to the heavy waves experienced during the ride.

And as you approach this thing which is starting to look less and less like the ship in the ad and more and more like that little boat you found at the bottom of your cereal box this morning, you might start to wonder if a refund should be in order. This thing looks like it might have to be towed back for repair after the slightest storm, to be honest.

Dining: Expectation

Okay, so far the expectations have been rewarded with crushing disappointment but there must be something in this vessel that at least resembles even just a little bit of what we have been promised about the cruise, right? Well, then let's have a look at the dining room. Surely you can't go wrong here.

Prior to this, your mind has been filled with images of crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, a menu filled with all the gourmet choices your stomach could ever want and your waistline doesn't care about. The servers wear elegant uniforms and always serve with a smile—that's if they haven't already anticipated what you wanted. So, you wonder, does this fantasy go hand in hand with the reality onboard?

Dining: Reality

The fact of the matter is that the real dining room in a cruise ship might look more similar to a school cafeteria, or a mess hall than anywhere close to the glamour and elegance you've always thought are the only things that should be found in a cruise ship. As you approach the dining area, you can't help but wonder if in fact you're on a luxury cruise or some rough research expedition bound for the Arctic.

The menu choices could disappoint as well. Don't get us wrong. There are times when the food is gourmet and it's certainly palatable but you do wonder if the cruise ship menu was copied straight from the local YMCA back home.

The Activities on Board: Expectation

The different facilities and activities on the cruise ship do not always align with what you might have expected either. Perhaps you are picturing yourself taking part in something like in this photo or having endless fun on the water slide while your significant other waits below to catch you. What could be a better way to enjoy your time away from work, right?

When it comes to the water slides the cruise ship companies often make it seem like they are larger than life, and maybe even looks to be larger than the ship itself, regardless of how implausible it is. But if it seems a little too good to be true, then there might be a good reason for that.

The Activities On Board: Reality

As can be seen in this photo, the actual leisure activities available onboard are incredibly more lame than you could have ever imagined. Rather than a fun romp under the sun or hours spent on the water slide or the cooler surf simulator, you're carving fruit. Putting faces on fruit. As if you're back in some elementary school arts and crafts class.

While you wonder how on earth you were convinced to spend your savings just to carve fruit at sea, other people in the class begin to stand up and walk away in a huff. Perhaps steam comes out of their ears as they storm back to their closet-sized rooms. Staff don't have to take a closer look to know guests are furious and on a war path. And so very politely, though slightly panicked, they leap out of the way.

Dolphin and Whale Watching: Expectation

Okay, so you wanted to go on a cruise, not because you had the urge to sit in the pool while having semi-uncomfortable conversations with someone old enough to be your own grandpa. No, you wanted to see the orcas and all the happy dolphins because you really can't get over seeing Flipper even after all these years.

So you stand on the deck at the magic hour, and eagerly wait for the dolphins and perhaps even whales to emerge from deep under the sparkling blue sea. You ignore warnings to not lean over too far from the railing as you strain to have a first glimpse. You wait. And wait. And wait.

Dolphin and Whale Watching: Reality

But soon you start to realize that the main attraction is a no-show. Of course, you're miffed. You want your money back even though the brochure made no promises. But still—where are the jumping orcas? What about the dolphins that twirl on their tails on command? And then you realize that the creatures at Sea World are very different to the ones out in the wild. For one, they do those stunts because they're forced no, not because they're naturally inclined to twirl and flip as wished.

You remain on the spot, however. Even as the minutes tick by confirming Flipper and Willy will never show up, you still don't want to go. Maybe they'll still show up. Maybe the dolphins will sense you want to see them! Why not, right? On a side note, I once knew this guy who was working in a cruise ship, and a guest asked why the humpback whales hadn't shown themselves yet, as if they had some kind of schedule.

Beaches: Expectation

Whenever we are browsing the web it is easy to get blown away by all the wonderful beach photos that pop up our screens. Some of them might be places where the cruise ship will anchor, and some just random, unknown islands in the Caribbean that are just as incredible, or at times, even more.

Who can resist a beach with all that fine white sand, that clear blue water, the sun—who can resist not wanting to start their vacation a little ahead of schedule? No sane person would not want to lie on a beach, relax, and hear nothing but the quiet breeze of the wind and the gentle waves of the ocean, wishing for the moment to never end. Oh, yes—you have the beach all to yourself, by the way!

Beaches: Reality

However, more often than not, the beaches where cruise ships tend to stop are often not that untouched, and fantasies of being able to sun and relax in peace will not go beyond that. The beaches tend to be already-crowded tourist areas which may have also lost both their glamour and whatever marine life biodiversity it had since the latter has probably found its way, most unwillingly, into barbecue grills.

Anyone who's been to the beach also knows that when it's sunny, everyone has the same idea about getting a tan or splashing around. As a result, it gets crowded in the water and on the sand. If you don't want to get disappointed by the fact that your beach visit will be spent not trying to accidentally step on somebody or worse, you might need to lower your expectations.

The Weather: Expectation

No cruise ad would ever include the image of bad weather because it's just not good for business. Anytime a cruise ship company promotes trips—or anything, really—what you will always see are rainbows and sunshine, clear blue skies. You'd wonder if rain even exists!

You picture yourself lying under the sun working on your tan, wondering why you hadn't thought to go on a cruise prior to this moment. You think about all the Instagram updates you'd be posting in your feed showing off your tan, the exotic locales where the ship is docked for the day. You feel sorry for everyone back home, stuck behind their desks, while you're on a floating adventure of a lifetime.

The Weather: Reality

But anyone who has ever been exposed to tropical weather will know that it can be quite literally sunny one minute and in the next, a storm so strong you wonder if you should also put pairs of animals in the ship, much like Noah in his ark. If you think sailing to northern areas would mean calmer weather, think again. You can't always expect the warmest welcome.

You might not even be able to see the horizon since it's foggy on deck. Or when it rains so hard and the waves quite strong that passengers are forbidden to come on deck. So, you find yourself looking through the window wondering when the rain will go away, just like you used to do while sitting in your cubicle back home.

Souvenirs: Expectation

Some people must absolutely buy things for the sake of buying, not exactly because they want to bring them home to friends and family after the trip. Personally, I totally despise people like this because they so often tend to spend more time in the shops instead of going around getting to know other places in the island where the ship has dropped anchor.

So, if you're one of those people who would rather shop instead of taking in the sights or getting acquainted with the local culture then by all means, do so. Shopping can still be some sort of tour. It's still a way of immersing yourself in a culture. But maybe do try to bargain the price of that artisan work you want to bring home to your mother-in-law. Chances are she will still hate it, but at least, you got the seller to knock down the price a bit.

Souvenirs: Reality

The souvenirs you actually get to purchase seem more like something that you would find in a tacky, worn-out shop downtown back home than something that can labelled authentic, let alone special, and thus not at all worth keeping and passing down as an heirloom someday. The exotic, unique work of art you're looking for more often than not is in example of something that is. . .well, not really worth much.

Then you have the t-shirts. Bright, colorful, hanging in the rack of some beachfront store as they sway in the breeze. They look cool so you buy one, wear it, and end up looking like a billboard ad for the island you're visiting—along with everyone else in the cruise ship.

Bathing Accommodations: Expectation

We are not sure why photos of restrooms in luxury vessels look like this, let alone why they're designed like this. Of course it looks great but with all the glass that can be seen through, what happens if you know, you have to go, like really have to go, but there's a boat nearby or other people are hanging around and can easily see whatever business you're up to in here.

But as long as you are far out at sea then you will be able to spread your wings and enjoy a relaxing moment here after a long day of having nothing else but pina coladas and shrimp cocktails without any problem. That said, this doesn't look like the standard bathroom every guest in the cruise will have. . .

Bathing Accommodations: Reality

Because the bathroom most guests will find in their cabins are more likely to look something like this. Behold, your very own mini bathroom where you don't have to get up from the toilet to wash your hands! This is where your hard-earned money for the luxury cruise went. If I were you I would start to reconsider my life choices right about now.

Because the space is small, then everything else must be teeny so you can still squeeze in. This is proof, however, that the people who design these things have adapted their schematics after something they found in Smurf village. How can anybody fit in here and feel relaxed at the same time?

“I'm Flying, Jack!”: Expectation

Everyone remembers that scene from Titanic. Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) takes Rose (Kate Winslet) by the hand, asking her to trust him and keep her eyes closed. When he tells her to open her eyes, Rose, now standing at the bow of the ship with her arms spread like a bird, gasps, “I'm flying!” It's a special, iconic scene, indeed.

If you are ever on a cruise ship you will be tempted to recreate this particular scene. But if you decide to do something like this, do take care. Be cautious so you don't fall overboard or something. Safety is always the most important part of any trip, whether by air, land or sea.

“I'm Flying, Jack!”: Reality

Even if you do manage to recreate this iconic scene, keep in mind that filming it for the movie involved a lot of preparation behind the scenes. So if you thought that in reality you could just go up on the deck and recreate for a photo opportunity, we are sorry to inform you that you are a bit mistaken.

We all want to be able to recreate certain scenes and become one with the movie, but in this case it might be best to just leave this to the professionals. And if you literally go and lean out too far then security will probably have a few questions for you. Better to keep it safe like this woman in the photo.

Working in a Cruise Ship: Expectation

Movies always give us a certain image of the people working at these cruise ships, which makes us believe that they have the simplest of lives and only have to go around casually talking to the guests from time to time. How many times have we seen staff who just seem to be hanging out that we wonder why no one seems to be working?

In the photo, towards the left, you can see them standing in a row and waiting for something to happen and someone to attend to. Now that might seem pretty ideal, but as the next slide will show you, the reality of their working conditions does not always reflect the image that we have gotten used to.

Working in a Cruise Ship: Reality

First of all, you must consider the fact that if you thought your own suite was rather small, then the ones for the ship's staff and crew will probably be smaller. I myself have known people working at cruise ships, and unless you have a special type of occupation on board then you are quite often confined to these types of spaces.

Granted, the crew is there to work and not to go on vacation themselves. But it would be nice for them to have space that is at least a little bit bigger than shown in the photo. Add to that the fact that their working hours are often quite long, which makes them unable to see much of the places where the ship drops anchor for themselves.

Pirates: Expectation

Hollywood has given us a sort of adventurous perspective of what it means to be a pirate. We all remember Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean. This is the type of image that has gotten stuck in our minds, even though we on another level know that reality is not like this at all.

Pirates in movies survive shipwrecks, cursed treasures, go on adventures aided only by a compass that doesn't seem to work—all while making the wittiest quips. The whole portrayal of the classical pirate seems to be taken right out of a Shakespeare play, and sometimes we wonder if there are movie writers who try as much as possible to confuse us with the reality of the situation.

Pirates: Reality

The reality is this: modern day piracy is rampant off the coast of Somalia (see the Tom Hanks starrer Captain Phillips). Though it does occur in other places as well, both cruise and cargo ships have had to put measures in place to ensure everyone's safety onboard.

These involve having gunners on board in order to fend off any approaching pirate boat. In other cases, ships have installed giant water cannons to keep them at bay. So as you can see, being a pirate in real life is really no easy task and you don't even get a parrot.

Shipboard Romance: Expectation

If you embark on a cruise with your significant other you most likely have that perfect sunset in mind. You stand on the deck holding each other, staring into the horizon, wishing to be nowhere else in this particular moment. It's a scene straight out of a classic Hollywood romantic movie.

Stress and pressure from work and home are so far away. You've ditched the cubicle for the sea, your practical loafers for fancy wingtip dress shoes or stilettos for women, a crisp suit or an elegant dress. Add to that some moderately quiet jazz music in the background and you are all set for a voyage that you will come to remember for the rest of your life.

Shipboard Romance: Reality

But real-life cruises are unfortunately nothing at all like in the movies. Tours cater to various age groups, and that means planning activities like this, which will take up a lot of space, as well as loud music. So much for that quiet, sunset moment you're supposed to have with your significant other, right?

Screaming kids, unruly adults trying desperately to have that second childhood, perhaps instructions screamed from the megaphone of the activity supervisor—all these will turn every attempt by you and your partner to have that romantic evening on its head. Maybe just opt for a nice dinner at a restaurant back home instead? That doesn't sound too bad now, does it?

More Tours: Expectation

After having been stuck on the cruise ship for some time we will finally be able to take part in the tours the company has to offer. We might even get a brochure or catalog where we are able to pinpoint the type of activity we would like to include in the trip. Isn't that great?

This type of setting also looks pretty lovely. Imagine being able to just snorkel in the water and not having to worry about a thing. You will probably also be able to see a few fishes. It's the type of serene environment I definitely wouldn't mind going back to.

More Tours: Reality

The reality is, a cruise ship's catalog of activities does not offer a lot of choices, let alone anything that you would consider even remotely interesting. Because of the limited choices, it's often a toss-up between taking the bus for hours to see something that promises to be at least photo-worthy or opting to stay in the ship.

But say you choose the tour to see a pile of ancient ruins or the entire view of the island. Whatever. You hop on but instead of the peaceful, quiet bus ride, you have to endure the horrendous singing of complete strangers egged on by the tour guide.

The Age Demographic Part 2: Expectation

Not many people consider the age demographic when it comes to going on a cruise ship. That might turn out to be the biggest mistake of all. We tend to assume that on a tour, people will be just roughly the same age as us, and therefore behave a lot like us, and share our interests or hobbies.

We most likely make this assumption because ads often use models from a certain age group. So, once we sign off paying for the trip, we not only expect everything to go smoothly from that point. You also expect the experience shown in the ad, because how could you not?

The Age Demographic Part 2: Reality

But a scene straight out of the cruise ad often turns out to be the least thing that you will be able to expect once onboard because when the tour caters to family (as they often do), that means kids will be brought along and kids that are hyperactive on land get even more so on the water. They get excited about everything: mascots, people, music, everything.

Bottomline, children who scream on land get louder with all the visual stimuli that includes life-sized, walking versions of their favorite cartoon characters, and will not stop because everything on the ship is new and exciting. But you can definitely conclude that the money you have spent has been wasted and maybe you are better off buying a brand-new TV.

A Career in the High Seas: Expectation

Let's say you're having a lot of fun on the cruise. Great service, good accommodations, wonderful food. But your departure day is looming close and wouldn't it be just crazy to leave? You can't afford to live in a cruise ship for long time but maybe you can work in one. Why not? As part of the staff, you get to travel the world for free while also making money. How hard can it be working in a cruise ship when everyday is a party?

Think of all the places which you will be able to see when working at a cruise ship. You will go from port to port and without having to pay a single cent. That really sounds like a dream job for anybody who is really into traveling. But before you get your hopes up there are probably a few things which you need to consider.

A Career in the High Seas: Reality

Working at a cruise ship means having roommates. Sometimes you will have only one but it can also happen when you'll be sharing living space with more than one person. If you're used to living with complete strangers you'll probably be okay but for some, it takes quite a bit of adjustment.

As it comes with having a roommate that isn't your choosing, you also have to deal with the fact that there's no way of predicting the personality of your roommate, let alone if you will get along. Working at a cruise ship means long hours for everyone as well. So while that can keep you out of cramped quarters, at the end of the day, you'll have to face someone you don't get along with. Of course it's a different story if you two end up as friends. Otherwise, work feels never-ending and on top of that, you literally bump into each other a lot while in the room because of the very limited space.

A Rejuvenating Trip: Expectation

Like a lot of people, you probably spend your day stuck in a cubicle. And when you live in colder climate, you dream about going somewhere warm with a lot of open space. A cruise sounds just about perfect and since it's out on the sea, beneficial for both body and spirit. Plus, you get to visit new places and eat cuisine that's fresh, healthy, and maybe you've never even tried before.

Which is why after another day of filling out mind-numbing forms in your cramped, impersonal cubicle, you picture yourself going to some tropical island, sampling delicious, local cuisine and tasting for the first time certain herbs and spices that get those antioxidants going and revitalizing your well-being. Sounds really nice, right? The benefits certainly outweigh the number of risks.

A Rejuvenating Trip: Reality

Look, it's always great and a must to try out all the local food available on the island. They are delicious. They are fresh. The problem is when your digestive system isn't used to the different spices and herbs in the food, not to mention the new flavors you're tasting. It's a shock to the body and boy, you do end up paying.

So, if you are going on a cruise and will be visiting other places while on the trip, don't forget to pack medicines and maybe even a list of allergens with your bathing suit. Take all the medical safety precautions beforehand. It's advice you won't regret taking—take my word for it. You'd want to be on first-name basis with some cruise hottie, not a tapeworm.

Tours and the Places You'll Go: Expectations

We all want that tropical experience where the cruise ship drops anchor at some unheard village. A place where people say their own version of aloha and where the water has that unique, crystal-clear turquoise color. I've had that experience myself and those are certainly times I wish I could go back to.

You leave the ship, but you feel like you didn't just leave a large vessel to set foot on an island. It feels more like you've stepped into another world. Cool, very fine white sand under your feet. A refreshing breeze from the sea.. It's a world where you live to relax. 

Tours and the Places You'll Go: Reality

But if you didn't already see it coming I will have to inform you that I will once again ruin your dreams. Cruise ships are not always able to drop anchor at every interesting place and the fact of the matter is, some islands demand higher fees for cruise ships. Then there's also the issue of size. Not all ports can accommodate all sizes and types of ships.

So, if your ship is pretty big, then there might only be some ports which are able to handle it. And if we are talking about a really big port then you are most likely not anchoring beside some cool tropical island but rather a big, very commercialized town which will destroy every fantasy you've had of exploring a tropical paradise.

Cocktails: Expectation

For some reason, drinks on cruise ships are often tropical in flavor. It's pretty much what we're used to and have come to expect. Mango, pineapple, kiwi, coconut—you name it, it will find its way in a glass topped with a parasol. Besides looking good in photos, you also get those precious vitamins (well, maybe only in virgin cocktails) while partying or relaxing in style.

The setting where the drinks are served matter quite a bit too—why else would you have a nice cocktail with a gourmet meal if the rest of the ambience doesn't match? So please, pretty please, add some lovely wooden chairs, gorgeous lighting, music. Snacks won't hurt too!

Cocktails: Reality

Unfortunately, that seems to be a bit too much to ask for in quite a few cases, as can be seen in this photo. To begin with we don't even have those nice wooden chairs which gives the entire experience a classic as well as modern vibe. Instead, we have to sit on some simple plastic chairs.

And that selection of refreshing tropical drinks which we so much wanted is not always available, due to various excuses having run out of a particular fruit, for example. Then throw into the mix that late night parties in cruise ships, or anywhere for the matter, tend to result in an aftermath where it looks like some frat boys have been let loose, as shown in the photo.

The Tender Boat: Expectation

Being on the cruise ship and nowhere else for days can get boring. So you can't wait to get on the tender boat and leave the ship behind for a while. You want new scenery. You want to do other things–new and different things! You put on a nice hat and maybe even that outfit you've been saving for a while to show off that not only are you on a cruise but finally able to let the vacation spirit loose.

You start having flashbacks about having watched Baywatch back in the day and sort of figure that the boat you will be traveling in will look something like what you saw on the show. Something that is going to go well with your sense of style and that will of course match the money you spent on this entire trip.

The Tender Boat: Reality

The truth is, the boat that will take you from the ship to drop you off at an island for a few hours is hardly the sleek model designed to glide through the waves. Usually, it looks like something in the photo. It's not awful but you definitely will not feel the wind blowing through your hair in this one. Still, you're off the ship for a while, right? But you were really looking forward to riding something sleek and stylish!

Just as you've convinced yourself you can deal riding in something so, well, so functional because it's only for a few minutes, what comes out of nowhere but a yar of a sailboat that draws everyone's eyes and send jaws dropping to the floor. Think of it as the equivalent of Jennifer Love Hewitt making her entrance in Can't Hardly Wait. The party comes to a halt in the movie, and out here in the sea, as that gorgeous boat crosses your line of sight, so does the rest of the world.

Onboard Safety: Expectation

Safety on board is another important thing that you need to be aware of. You might expect the cruise ship to be like a fortress that will keep you safe from everything. And often times it is a pretty neat place to travel in and the staff is most likely taking all the necessary precautions in order to keep it that way.

On your trip, you will probably be faced with nothing more than a spilled drink whenever you go down to the restaurant and that is something anybody will be able to handle. Apart from that you can lean back and won't have to think of anything else right? Well, that is true for the most part unless. . .

Onboard Safety: Reality

It does happen that people go overboard while on their cruise ship vacation, whether it's because they somehow slipped and tipped over, or thought to realize their childhood dream of jumping into the water from a boat. Whatever the case may be, it won't hurt to be extra cautious.

Enjoy your time while on the cruise and try to make the best of it. But also be aware that you need to stay safe wherever you are and not take unnecessary risks. Some things might seem fun and exciting for the moment but can cause some real trouble if you quite literally go overboard with them. Though the trip may not be what you expected, there are still memories to make and you'd want to look back on them fondly.