We just finished a 7 day cruise to Alaska and obviously from the title I didn’t love it. Let me begin by saying Alaska was gorgeous! This is not about Alaska, this is about being aboard a cruise ship as a mode of transport to my destination. Here’s why I wouldn’t do it again.
1. LIVING WITH 2300 OF YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS 24/7
Everywhere you went– there they were — for 7 solid days all 2300 of them. Twenty three hundred strangers living in close quarters for one entire week got very old, very quickly.
2. The Up-sell
There was a never ending stream of up-selling; jewelry, perfume, sunglasses, alcohol, cameras, pictures, art, binoculars, souvenirs, bingo cards, sushi, BOTOX, acupuncture, diamonds, Thermage, another CRUISE, it just never stopped.
3. THE GLUTTONY
Most people would think I am nuts if I said all the free food you can eat is the worst thing on a cruise ship. But, there is something about free food that makes people go crazy, including me. At one point, we were eating 2 dinners, just because we could. And…if you’re not eating you are drinking. Willpower, diet, exercise, goes out the window. You get that, “I want to get my money’s worth” mentality and just stuff yourself, over and over again.
4. YOUR DESTINATION IS A VERY SMALL PART OF YOUR TRIP
How can anyone think 4 hours in Ketchikan is sufficient? Yes, beautiful, wondrous, magnificant Ketchikan, Alaska. We got in at 6:00am, got off the boat at 8:30am and had to be back on the boat at 1:30pm. That was pretty much how it went the whole trip. Short jaunts into each port, just to say you did.
5. BEING IN PORT WITH YOUR 2300 FRIENDS PLUS EVEN MORE FRIENDS
Yes, these port towns are full of cruise ships– all at the same time. If you do the math, it can be upwards of 4,000 people.
That’s a fancy term for ‘getting off the boat’. I am not going to speak about all my friends again, because I am sure you get the picture by now–ad nauseam. In fact, look at the picture below and you can see me and my friends getting off the boat. Imagine that at every port! Mad chaos.
7. HIDDEN CHARGES
I can’t even tell you how many ‘hidden charges’ there are. Right out of the gate–there is a 18% service charge (tip) for everything. It worked out to about $300 for 3 of us for 7 days. It’s one of those fine print type things–it was at the bottom of every menu and included with drinks.
We bought an internet package for me –but also wanted to text each other since my daughter was with us. We had to pay an extra $10 each to text on top of my pretty expensive internet package. It seemed odd to me, I had an internet package but had to pay extra to text. It just went on and on like that.
8. PORT TOURS
I would say half of our tours were decent, and the other half were not. Most of the tours are packaged together. For example, we got to see the beautiful Mendenhall Glacier, but it was packaged with a salmon hatchery that didn’t have any salmon and some gardens. I kid you not, the salmon hatchery had no salmon in it.
It was too early in the season, but was sold to us anyway. So we just stared at some empty tanks. There are more tours and combinations then there are people on the ship. You feel obligated to buy the tours. Mainly, because you are guaranteed the boat won’t sail off without you if you take their tours.
But they are over priced and not worth what you paid. And we later found out, you don’t need their tours. These port towns are a finely tuned instrument, they know sail in and sail out times like the back of their hands.
9. NOT ENOUGH TIME TO EXPLORE
You really have to choose between a port tour or the town but both is usually out of the question. So the day we spent in Juneau, we saw the salmon-less hatchery, the gardens and the glacier which was close to a 10 hour day. It was late by the time we got back and close to sail away time—-not time to explore the town.
10. IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS WITH YOUR ROOM–TOUGH LUCK
The 2nd night around 11:30 we heard this horrible knocking sound, like a hammer on a pipe. We found out later, the lady next door thought we were fighting–ha! Anyway, this went on every night around the same time for 30 minutes. I complained, and complained and complained.
But, here’s the problem on a floating hotel……it’s not like anyone is leaving !! Unless someone jumps off the ship, there is no where to move you. You are pretty much stuck in your room. End of story.
In their defense, they gave us $300 credit and Godiva chocolates. I used the chocolates for ear plugs.
Before you veteran cruisers get upset, remember the title says, “….Not For Me”. This is about me, and my opinions.
And to throw my husband under the bus, like any good wife, he booked this cruise. I didn’t really want to go on a cruise. I would prefer not to waste my travel days at sea.
If we decide to go back to Alaska, we would fly there , plan our own itinerary and tours. Even take a glacier cruise.