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11 Crucial Things that Can Make or Break Your Cruise Vacation

Are you going on a cruise? Cruise vacations should be fun and relaxing, but some things can easily ruin your cruise.

1. Who You’re Cruising With

When you go on a cruise, the people you are with can make or break your vacation. It’s quite common to cruise with family or friends. If it’s your first time vacationing together, you’ll truly discover if you travel well together during the cruise. 

You might find yourself cruising with another family that is very laid-back, while you tend to be a bit more intense with planning and scheduling. This difference in traveling styles can pose a challenge. 

Therefore, it’s important to make sure that the company you bring shares similar travel expectations when you go on a cruise. Otherwise, cruising with incompatible travel companions can spoil your cruise vacation.

Things that can make or break your cruise vacation

2. The Weather

The weather can easily make or break your cruise vacation. Whether you’re on an Alaska cruise, a Mediterranean cruise, or a Caribbean cruise, you will enjoy your cruise better when there is good weather.

For example, rain can easily spoil a Caribbean cruise where you anticipate a perfect sunny day at the beach, and a sudden cold spell can dampen the experience of an Alaska cruise with planned outdoor shore excursions. Exploring European sights is far less enjoyable in cold and rainy conditions!

3. Getting Sick

Getting sick can easily ruin your cruise vacation. The worst is if you catch something that requires you to be quarantined in your cabin! 

Even minor illnesses can dampen your experience. To prevent this, try your best to stay healthy during your cruise, make sure to wash your hands frequently, and avoid crowded areas, such as packed elevators.

4. Your Cabin

The wrong choice of cruise cabin can really dampen your cruise vacation. Many things can go wrong—you might end up in an interior cabin that feels incredibly claustrophobic or in a cabin located beneath a noisy nightclub, making sleep nearly impossible. 

The key to avoiding bad cruise cabins is to choose it yourself. Don’t book a guaranteed cabin, even though it’s cheaper. It’s worth paying a bit extra so you can choose your own cabin. Study the cruise ship’s deck plan and aim for a mid-ship cabin that’s away from noisy areas such as bars, casinos, and nightclubs.

5. Too Crowded

Your vacation can easily be ruined if you’re on a packed cruise ship. Imagine being on a cruise where you are struggling to find a table at the buffet, waiting in long lines for activities, and not finding seats at the theater for a show. This has happened to me! 

To avoid crowds, it’s best to cruise during the off-peak season. Also, try to avoid school holidays, such as summer breaks, winter breaks, and spring breaks, when cruises tend to be at or near full capacity.

Things that can make or break your cruise vacation

6. Rough Seas

Cruising in rough seas is the worst, it can easily ruin your cruise vacation. It’s scary to cruise in rough seas. And it can trigger seasickness. 

Try to avoid cruises where you know you will be sailing in rough seas, such as Antarctica cruises, where the Drake Passage is notorious for being very rough, and avoid sailing during Hurricane season, where the sea can be unpredictable and rough.

7. Losing Your Luggage

Losing your luggage is one of the worst things that can happen on a cruise or any vacation. If the airline loses your luggage, the chances of getting it back in time for your cruise are slim to none. 

You will find yourself buying clothes from the cruise’s gift shop, dressed head to toe in cruise line merchandise! While this can make for amusing cruise photos, it’s quite a hassle. 

Unfortunately, lost luggage can happen to anyone. To protect yourself, it’s important to prepare for the worst. Always keep your essentials like travel documents, medication, and devices with you as carry-on items. 

If you lose life-saving medications such as EpiPens or asthma inhalers, you might even have to cancel your cruise because it’s too risky to be without them on the ship.

8. Flight Delays

Dealing with flight delays can be the most frustrating part of a cruise vacation. Missing your cruise due to a flight delay can be the ultimate vacation spoiler. 

If this happens, you can decide to catch up with the cruise at the next port or simply head back home. To avoid the stress caused by flight delays, it’s best to arrive at the cruise port a day in advance and spend the night at a nearby hotel.

9. Getting Pickpocketed

One of the worst things that can happen during a cruise vacation is getting pickpocketed and losing your wallet, credit card, and money. Pickpocketing is quite common, especially in Europe, and can happen to anyone. 

When traveling, it’s important to stay vigilant and protect your belongings. I prefer using an anti-theft, anti-slash crossbody bag to secure my wallet and passport.

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10. Skipping a Port

Skipping a cruise port can ruin your cruise vacation. The truth is, it’s more common than you think. Cruise lines can skip cruise ports for various reasons but often it’s due to weather issues. 

If you’ve set your heart on visiting a certain port and it gets skipped, it can really spoil your vacation. The key is to manage your expectations and realize that there is always a possibility of a port being skipped. If you want to lower the chances of ports being skipped, avoid cruising during hurricane season, since there’s a greater likelihood of ports being skipped due to bad weather.

11. Getting Seasick

Getting seasick is another easy way to ruin your cruise vacation. If you know you’re prone to seasickness, take anti-seasick medication, choose a mid-ship cabin for more stability, and avoid sailing during the hurricane season. Getting seasick can lead to a downward spiral, leaving you unable to enjoy anything, even eating. The key is to avoid getting seasick in the first place. Check out my article: Cruise without Seasickness: Genius Tricks You Need to Know

Check out these free cruise printables

Caribbean cruise packing list

Alaska cruise packing list

10 Ways to Score Free Champagne at a Cruise (How to Get Free Drinks!)

 12 Things You Should Never Do at a Cruise Buffet

10 Overpriced Things to Never Buy on a Cruise

I’ve Been on Over 25 Cruises, Here is How Much Extra Gratuity I Give to the Cruise Staff

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