Frommer Watch: Death To The Cruise

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


In anticipation of the maiden voyages of the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas, two of the largest cruiseships ever built, Frommer’s setting the record straight on his view of cruises: they blow. Especially these two behemoths, whose seven-day “trips” spend half their time at sea, and the other half dumping there 5,000+ passengers at three, uniquely bland ports.

Art wonders in his blog, why even bother leaving the dock? Could not the same experience be had and much fuel saved by staying in port in Ft. Lauderdale?

So these are the farthest-removed imitations of a travel experience ever devised. The average passenger will perhaps decide to spend all seven days simply on the ship. And the question therefore arises (I’ve posed it several times before): why must the ships leave Fort Lauderdale? Why don’t they simply remain docked in Florida? Would any passenger know the difference?

The craziest part to me are those defending the idea of the cruise in the comments section under his post. It’s a mystery to me too Arthur.

My own reasons for disliking cruises, in no particular order: Mediocre food, cramped rooms, little to no exposure to other cultures, tourists, shuffleboard, Norwegian sailors, mirrored hallways, karaoke, itineraries, gift shops, buffets, low water pressure. The list could go on and on, don’t get me started.

  • Jeffrey

    Matt are you out there Matt- Still waiting for your response…I didn’t think so!!!

    Anyway who cares.

    My wife and me just returned from a week on the Allure of the Seas and it was absoultly fantastic, and I would recommed it to anyone.

    • Anonymous

      Well, maybe it’s just not for everyone. If you enjoy yourself, who am I to say otherwise? Myself? I can think of several ways I’d rather spend my money traveling, but, like I said, to each is own.

  • Ddtgcddd

    I love the whole experience of the cruise… it just really depends on the ship. The oasis is fantastic with 5 star treatment. I love the food, the service, the activities and shows. I really enjoy waking up to a different island every morning. I’ve been on 4 royal caribbean cruises and on Norwegian. The Norwegian one was awful and we never left our room… but on every RC cruise we’ve been on, we hardly spent any time in our room. We can’t wait to do it again!

  • Jim

    When I first started reading this, I thought I would move on because clearly these people don't like cruises. But it definitely has gotten better toward the end. I think cruises are the BEST vacation. Good food. Maybe not the BEST but for the price, Good. They definitely take care of you, clean your room every day. Lots of stuff to do on board, especially the new ships. The ports have some bad stuff but you can just go to the beach! Not sure what Matt's problem is.. He doesn't state what he thinks is a GOOD vacation. We booked the Allure in April. Will, I'd love to get your reactions after your trip in Feb. Post if if you get a chance.

  • Will

    Sometimes you want to walk alone along the street of a lush Thai village. Sometimes you want to see the world through the lens of the EPCOT "International Lagoon." I'm booked on the Allure for February and picked this cruise simply for the ship, not for the ports. But I wouldn't be at all satisfied if it remained in port. So much of the delight comes from the isolation, losing cell reception, pulling away from the skyline and into the vastness of sea – with room service. It's just a matter of taste, which is entirely subjective, and even our own is constantly mutable. Primarily, I'm just grateful for a vacation. Not looking for an adventure.

  • Jeffrey

    Wow Matt…your cup will always be "HALF EMPTY". Now that you have gone into why cruising is so boring, tell us in detail about your last exciting vacation…and exactly how much it cost? I have run into folks just like you on cruises, and there is nothing or nowhere that could ever possibly make them happy, and stay as far from them as possible.

    What cruises have you been on? If you do not answer this question we all assume you have not been on one!!!

  • Cathy

    I have been on 14 cruises and LOVED each one. I've gone with my four children on some, friends on others, and even a singles cruise. If having fun, meeting different people, making new friends for life, seeing different places, having an extended menu of activities, that are sure to please everyone in your group, and not having to pack and unpack two or three times during your vacation, is not your "thing" then a cruise is NOT for you. As they say "Whatever Floats Your Boat". I'm a cruiser for life.

  • Ann

    I say to Matt and the others out there that feel this way about cruising – DO US ALL A FAVOR AND DON"T BOOK ONE!!!!!! It leaves more room for those of us that love it and by the way I'm not old or boring!!!!!

  • I think cruises are especially good for older people, who aren't as quick on their feet as young travelers, and thus require a more comfortable (albeit potentially sheltered) travel experience.

  • Amanda

    I've been on 16 cruises and have never once seen a mirrored hallway or met a Norweigen sailor. I've enjoyed the food on all 16 of them and have traveled to some of the most unique places in the world. I'm 26 and have 2 more cruises booked for this year. As far as traveling with the family it is a great way to introdue other places to my children while not breaking the bank. I don't see the sense in visiting an all-inclusive unless your goal is to drink enough to justify paying that much money to go to a beach. While the rooms are small, the only thing I ever do in my room is sleep as there is so much offered on the ship there is no reason to be in your room! I started cruising when I was 10 and agree that cruising has gotten much better throughout the years, for a family of 4 you can't beat the amount of activities for everyone as well as the opportunity for education for my two young kids.

  • Leslie

    I generally agree with your conclusion that cruise vacations are deplorable, although I take exception to your list of reasons why you dislike cruises. Norwegian sailors, mirrored hallways and karaoke sound like elements of an awesome party to me! Hang out on W 4th St during the next NYC fleet week and you'll see what I mean…

  • Rob

    I agree with Dan.

    Hey Jon,
    Cruising when you were younger and cruising now is quite a difference. In the last 10 years ships have come along way. I was not excited when my wife planned our cruise and to tell you the truth was almost dreading it! Well, in the end I came away witha new respect for cruising and enjoyed it more than Maui and the Sandals (Jamaica and St. Lucia) resorts.

  • Dan

    Stupid ignorant comments,cruising is the best and have enjoyed every cruise(including the largest cruise ship in the world). Ports are enjoyable,if you don't enjoy yourselves that is because you are boring, Do yourselves all a favor,go to all-inclusives and drink all day,you'll probably enjoy that much more,leave the cruising to us who know how to enjoy ourselves.

  • pete

    i must say it all depends on what you want to do. i recently have gone on an alaskan and panama canal cruise and found those to be fantastic! you are correct tho about the living quarters being cramped, and the food has definitely gotten worse since i first started cruising. but then again it comes down to, what do you want in a vacation? $1200 and your food, room, fairly good but not great entertainment, a pool and a different place everyday or the same place day in and day out, no food, some type of entertainment that you have to pay for, and a hotel room. pretty much cost the same, sounds the same, just the difference is you arent in the same location everyday.

  • Sara

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  • Zach Everson

    I can't imagine a worse way to travel than a cruise.

  • Jon

    Good post… aren't all cruises basically the same? 'Uniquely bland ports' hit the nail on the head. I went on a few different cruises when I was youngster, but now that I'm older, I feel they are next to sterile as far as traveling goes. On the other hand, they do serve their purpose, just not mine.

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