Cruise myths debunked

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The cruise industry is often misunderstood. People who have never taken a cruise may believe all kinds of crazy myths about what life’s like on a cruise ship. Even those who have cruised before may be surprised to learn that some of these cruise facts are actually not based on truth at all.

Read on as we dispel some popular cruise myths…

MYTH: Cruise ships are causing over-tourism

REALITY: Cruise passengers represent just 2% of tourists in the world. Even in a sensitive location like Venice, cruise passengers make up only 5% of visitors.

The cruise industry recognises the importance of tacking destination overcrowding and works closely with communities in key locations to address their concerns.

cruise ship in Venice
Photo credit: Edmund Hochmuth

MYTH: Cruise ships are breeding grounds for gastro-intestinal diseases

REALITY: Illnesses like norovirus are much more common on land than on-board cruise ships.

Your risk of getting norovirus on land is about 1 in 15 each year. However, during a cruise, your risk is 1 in 5,500. Less than 1% of all norovirus outbreaks occur on cruise ships.

Strict practices are in place to help prevent outbreaks of disease on cruise ships. Passengers are screened before they embark the ship with boarding denied to anyone who has recently had symptoms of illness. Regular hand washing is encouraged. Public areas are cleaned very regularly including a top to bottom clean before each cruise.

Read more: Cruise ship norovirus: Vital information to avoid illness

MYTH: Cruise ships operate outside the law once they’re in international waters

REALITY: Cruise ships are highly regulated, even when at sea. They are covered by local, national and international laws wherever they sail.

Cruise ships up to 12 nautical miles from the coast are with a country’s territorial waters and almost all of the laws of that country will apply. Ships between 12 and 24 nautical miles from the coast are within a country’s contiguous zone and that country has certain rights. Ships more than 24 nautical miles from the coast are considered to be in international water and are covered by the laws of their flag state (where the ship was registered).

Cruise lines voluntarily report any serious crime allegation on oceangoing voyages worldwide, regardless of the ship’s location and flag.

MYTH: Cruise ships are crime hotspots

REALITY. Crime rates on-board cruise ships are much lower than on land.

According to data from the FBI, cruise ships are 25 times safer than a typical city in the United States. Cruise ships have high levels of security and allegations of major crimes on-board cruise ships are very rare.

Take a look at the security centre on-board a cruise ship…

Take a look at Anthem's security nerve centre.

MYTH: Cruise ships release untreated sewage into the ocean

REALITY: Cruise ships never ever release untreated sewage into the sea.

Ships have advanced waste management systems which treat waste water to a higher standard than the methods used in many cities.

MYTH: Cruise ships are really bad for the environment

REALITY: The cruise industry is leading the way in environmental advances.

Cruise lines have committed to a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. To do this, the cruise industry is investing $1 billion in new technologies and cleaner fuels to reduce air emissions.

On-board a cruise ship, each person produces less than 700g of unrecyclable waste per day, compared to 2kg on land. This means that cruise ships recycle 60% more waste per person than would be recycled on land. Some ships can even recycle 100% of waste.

This video shows the efforts that cruise lines are making to become leaders of environmental stewardship:

Cruise Industry Environmental Efforts

MYTH: People going overboard on cruise ships is becoming more common

REALITY: Over the past ten years, there has been a 35% decrease in the rate of man overboard incidents. This is despite a 55% increase in passenger numbers.

There have been no known cases of someone acting responsibly who has accidentally fallen over the railing of a cruise ship. Every case of passengers going overboard has been either intentional or the result of reckless behaviour.

MYTH: Cruise ships don’t always have enough lifeboats for everyone

REALITY: By law, every cruise ship must be equipped with enough survival craft to accommodate at least 125% of the number of people on-board

All cruise lifeboats are tested to meet rigorous international guidelines. Cruise ships must also carry enough lifejackets for everyone on-board, although in reality they usually have many more than are legally required.

Related posts:

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How to find your perfect cruise, for cheap

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  1. Know which is the best cruise line for you
  2. Pick a ship with facilities you'll actually use
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  6. Book over a year in advance
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2 thoughts on “Cruise myths debunked”

  1. Hi,
    Already booked and going on my first MSC cruise in July ’21. (After reading report on the “Magnifica” in Trip Advisor not sure if I’ve made the right decision.) Yes you’re right I should have thoroughly researched this trip first but both Cruise Circle and Planet Cruise were offering very good Solo prices for this Norweigan Fiord cruise Dpt 10th July from Southhampton. I am not on any drinks package as I am not a great drinker however I have seen their drink prices but nowhere can I see that 15% is added as an additional charge. (Read this also in Trip Advisor). May also buy a bottle or two of wine to consume in the non premium restaurant.
    Question – Would slacks and smart polo shirts be acceptable in the restaurant for dinner? All MSC talk about is DJ’s and Suits. I am an OAP but that should make no difference eh?

    Many thanks in anticipation,

    • Hi John. That sounds like a wonderful cruise! MSC Cruises have casual evenings and formal evenings. If you wish to dine in the main dining room on a formal evening it’s suggested that you wear a suit and tie, but in reality, a nice collared shirt would be more than acceptable. On a casual evening, you can wear whatever you like. I hope this helps. Jenni

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