Reflections from My Cruise Adventure

The Good, the Bad, and the Dark Sides of Ship Cruises


5/31/202310 min read

cruise ship
cruise ship

Ahoy there!

Grab your life jackets because I'm about to share my reflections from my recent cruise adventure. Join me as I navigate through the good, the bad, and the dark sides of ship cruises.

Everything You Know Is Wrong (by Mark Hanson)

1. A Case of Mistaken Ferries

Picture this: My wife and I confidently strutted to the Harbourfront ferry terminal, assuming we had the boarding process all figured out.

To our horror, we discovered that the cruise ship's boarding area was at Marina South Jetty instead.

Cue the panic as we embarked on a wild goose chase across Singapore's public transport system.

Lesson learned: always double-check your facts or risk ending up on an unexpected ferry ride to confusion.

2. The Not-So-Stable Moving City

Ah, the allure of a grand cruise ship! I thought being on a massive vessel would shield me from the woes of seasickness. Boy, was I wrong.

As the rain poured and the ship rocked, I realized even the mightiest of ships can't save you from feeling wobbly.

I couldn't help but ponder why, as babies, we find cradles soothing but as adults, even a slight sway turns us into seasickness champions.

Despite not feeling the urge to vomit, I spent the entire cruise in a state of constant wobble, like a human Jell-O. It's been three days, and I still can't shake off the dizziness.

Maybe it's a post-cruise hangover or simply my inner pirate struggling to find his sea legs.

Embracing Personal Responsibility

1. A Reluctant Adventurer Awakens

Confession time: I usually leave trip planning to my better half, my wife.

However, the boarding location mishap slapped me with a reality check. I had neglected my personal responsibility to double-check important details. Instead of blaming her, I should have taken charge.

Once I donned my responsible adventurer hat, we managed to find a quicker route and reached our destination earlier.

Note to self: don't shun responsibility, especially when it involves boarding a ship to avoid walking the plank of delay.

2. Acting Maturely

Ah, the joys of marital bliss mixed with childlike antics.

Picture this: I, the self-proclaimed adult, threw a temper tantrum when my wife insisted on visiting an uninspiring location in Phuket. I mean, what's a pirate to do with nothing to plunder?

My frustration escalated into a quarrel, and there we were, two grown-up pirates bickering in front of our little buccaneers. Talk about setting a grand example.

Note to self: When playing the role of Captain Grumpy, remember that parents fighting can lead to a mutiny of problems for the kids. I should have known better than to let my inner child take control of the ship.

From feeling scared and helpless to becoming eating disorder and antisocial, the impact on the little ones is no laughing matter. It's high time I learned to navigate conflicts with calmness and open communication.

After all, it's hard to be a respected pirate captain when you're squabbling like a scallywag.

Appreciating My Amazing Wife

Let's give it up for my superheroine of planning, my wife! She had a knack for turning our cabin into a floating oasis of convenience.

From cloth clips for balcony laundry sessions (who says pirates can't be tidy?) to magnet hangers for our walls, she had it all covered.

And let's not forget the ingenious lanyards to hold our name cards, ensuring we never misplaced them in the sea of fellow cruisers.

She even had the foresight to pack earplugs and eye masks for my beauty sleep, as if she knew I'd be sharing a room with a chorus of snores.

With her uncanny ability to navigate the ship like a seasoned captain, she left me in awe once again. Hats off to you, my planning maestro!

Perception Is Everything

Ah, the magic of perception. Who would have thought that a simple balcony could transform the entire experience?

As I stepped onto our room's balcony, I marveled at the natural light and the vast expanse of the sea. Suddenly, our humble cabin felt like a grand palace. It was like Alice stepping through the looking glass into a world of infinite space.

We had initially considered an interior room to save some doubloons, but the thought of feeling claustrophobic with children made us opt for the balcony upgrade.

Wise choice, indeed! The kids were thrilled, and I even had a private corner to read, meditate, and imagine myself as the captain of a floating empire.

Honesty and Getting Your Way

Now, this tale takes us on a daring journey through the realms of honesty and rule-bending. I was eager to secure a bumper car ride for my youngest daughter.

Alas, the age limit restricted her from the thrill of the bumpy adventure.

The mischievous pirate within me contemplated stretching the truth, for who would really check, right?

But, behold! The ghost of integrity whispered in my ear, reminding me that honesty should steer my ship. We confessed her true age, and she missed out on the ride.

However, our determination couldn't be silenced. We rallied and tried again, this time with a strategic fib about her age.

But alas, the cruise staff had wised up and implemented an age verification checklist. The lesson here? Sometimes opportunities only come once, but it's essential to find a way to get what we want without compromising our moral compass.

In a surprising twist, my resourceful wife took matters into her own hands. She approached the host, sharing our predicament and our little one's burning desire for just one exhilarating ride.

Miraculously, the host agreed to give her a special pushing ride during the intermission.

A triumph!

We got our ride with truth spoken, proving that honesty can indeed pave the way to fulfilling our desires, even if it requires a little extra effort.

parked bumper cars
parked bumper cars

All Things Come With Double Sides

silver round coin on snow
silver round coin on snow

I quickly realized that there are always two sides to every coin, and this truth became particularly evident during my cruise experience.

Just like flipping a coin, the cruise had its shiny and glamorous aspects on one side, but it also revealed its darker and less appealing side on the flip side.

It's a valuable reminder that even in seemingly perfect situations, there are underlying complexities and trade-offs that deserve attention.

Shiny Sides

Ah, let's take a stroll down the glimmering deck of positivity and explore the bright side of the cruise experience.

1. Royalty Interior Design

Imagine a floating orchard of opulence where you can shop and showcase your alpha male status by spoiling your partner with luxurious goods.

The ship is a marvel of design, offering a delightful variety of spaces to indulge in tea, visit pubs and bars, and immerse yourself in different themed environments.

It's a glamorous wonderland where even the shops are bustling with excitement on the last day. Who can resist the allure of retail therapy amidst the waves?

2. The Service

Prepare to be amazed by the friendly and proactive staff. They provide hospitality that surpasses some of the finest hotels.

The taps in public toilets even dispense warm water, ensuring a cozy and comfortable experience.

The crew is constantly drying the decks near the swimming areas, ensuring your safety and convenience. Leave any food or plates you have outside your cabin, and like magic, they disappear.

Housekeeping swiftly tidies up your room within 15 minutes while you're out enjoying other activities.

And let's not forget the adorable towel animals that greet you on your bed each day, adding a touch of whimsy to your floating abode.

3. The Food

Ah, the gastronomic delights that await!

Food and drinks are conveniently available every 50 meters from any point of interest on the ship. You can pack as much food as you desire and bring it back to your room or indulge in room service.

The options for dining are vast, particularly at the main dining area, where you're spoiled for choice.

The buffet-style restaurants like Windjammers and 270 Cafe offer a wide selection, though the first day seems to have the most mouthwatering options.

And don't forget about the 24/7 pizza service – a dream come true for late-night cravings. Who needs a clock when there's always a slice of heaven available?

4. The Performance

Prepare to be dazzled by the spectacular shows that grace the cruise ship's stages. Talented singers, mesmerizing visual effects, and magical performances keep you captivated.

The magician's tricks have the children and even some adults scratching their heads in awe. And the Silk Road performance leaves everyone spellbound.

The energy and power of the performers' dance routines are infectious, as they give it their all for a whopping 45 minutes. The kids onboard are constantly entertained, with the Adventure Ocean staff taking care of them until late at night.

The only downside? They might call you sooner than promised if your child becomes inconsolable, but hey, they're trying their best!

Dark Sides (What The Cruise Industry Don't Want You To Know)

Now, let's set sail into the shadowy depths and explore the not-so-glamorous aspects of the cruise experience.

1. Wastage

Oh, the excess!

There's an overwhelming amount of food and an unfortunate consequence of pollution. The buffet-style dining encourages guests to take more than they need, resulting in considerable food waste.

Cups and plates cannot be reused, and the waitstaff assures us not to worry since the leftovers will be fed to the fish.

However, marine life doesn't exactly have a taste for human cuisine, and the excessive waste poses a threat to their ecosystems.

And let's not forget the plastic waste generated from disposable cups and plates. It's a reminder that our indulgence comes at a cost to the environment.

2. Pollution

The dark clouds of reality descend upon us as we consider the environmental impact of cruise ships.

These colossal vessels emit copious amounts of air pollution, with smog raining down upon us as we walk under their towering chimneys.

The continuous burning of fuel releases pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, contributing to air pollution. Cruise ships consume a staggering 150 tonnes of fuel daily, running their engines 24/7, even while in ports.

To "clean" their smokestacks, they use scrubbers that dump pollutants directly into the ocean, further harming marine life and warming the seas.

The high levels of air pollution on the ship can also be detrimental to our health, making us inhale toxins that are over 20 times higher than those found on a busy, polluted highway.

Large cruise ships generate significant amounts of wastewater, which can contain sewage, chemicals, and heavy metals. In some cases, these pollutants are illegally dumped into the ocean, causing harm to marine ecosystems.

Carnival Cruise Lines, for example, was fined 60 million US dollars for such illegal practices.

The impact of these actions goes beyond what is caught and fined, as it is difficult to monitor and regulate the dumping activities of numerous cruise companies in vast expanses of the sea.

3. Destruction

As we marvel at the grandeur of cruise ships, we must acknowledge the potential harm they cause to marine ecosystems.

The sheer size of these vessels creates waves and disturbances during docking and departure, contributing to coastal erosion. Fragile coastal ecosystems and habitats can suffer if proper measures are not in place to mitigate the impacts.

Moreover, the anchors and chains of cruise ships pose a threat to coral reefs. If dropped or dragged along the seabed, they can damage these delicate and vital marine formations.

Tragically, accidents have occurred, such as the British cruise ship MS Caledonian crashing onto Indonesia's pristine coral reefs, destroying thousands of square feet of coral and causing irreparable damage.

Additionally, the noise generated by passing cruise ships disrupts the marine ecosystem. The ships themselves contribute to noise pollution through their machinery, but the entertainment activities on board further intensify the noise levels.

Marine animals, including killer whales and dolphins, rely on their sensitive hearing, and the disturbances can lead to their death and disrupt the overall balance of the ecosystem.

4. Meager Pay and Long Working Hours

While we enjoy the luxury of being passengers, it's important to consider the working conditions and wages of the crew members.

The majority of crew members come from countries with lower income levels, such as the Philippines, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, and China (poorer parts).

These hardworking individuals often face long hours, with some working up to 10 hours a day, and their pay may not be commensurate with the effort they put in.

Though there are regulations in place, such as the Maritime Labour Convention, that specify maximum working hours and minimum rest periods for seafarers, some companies may bend or break these rules, subjecting their employees to extended working hours during peak times.

The shortage of skilled labor and the increasing size of cruise ships contribute to lower staff-to-customer ratios, exacerbating the workload and impacting the well-being of the crew.

5. Hectic Working Environment

Imagine living on a ship for seven months, in tiny, windowless living quarters shared with one or two other crew members.

The working environment for the crew can be demanding and cramped, leaving little personal space or time for relaxation. The lack of windows can further exacerbate feelings of isolation and confinement.

6. Unfairness

As we interact with different crew members throughout the ship, we might notice disparities in their level of enthusiasm. Those serving in the main dining areas have assigned room numbers to cater to, ensuring a higher chance of being tipped or remembered by guests.

However, during breakfast and lunch hours, when customers are not assigned to specific servers, the level of service might decline, impacting the crew's earnings.

Some staff members in less glamorous roles, such as those at the pizza area or as lifeguards, may also display signs of unhappiness or dissatisfaction with their work.


While being on a cruise may offer a hedonistic and indulgent experience, it is crucial to reflect on the broader implications and consequences of such vacations.

The temporary pleasure and convenience come at a significant cost to the environment, the well-being of crew members, and the sustainability of marine ecosystems.

Perhaps it's time to consider more environmentally friendly alternatives to cruises. If the allure of being treated like royalty is what captivates us, there are other options to explore.

All-inclusive resorts, for instance, offer similar luxuries without the negative environmental impact and ethical concerns associated with cruise ships.

These resorts provide a wide range of amenities, entertainment, and personalized service, ensuring a memorable and satisfying experience for guests.

By choosing alternative vacation options, we can minimize our contribution to the pollution, destruction, and exploitation associated with the cruise industry. It's essential to prioritize sustainability, responsible tourism, and the well-being of both the planet and its inhabitants.

By making conscious choices, we can make a positive impact on the environment and still enjoy unforgettable and meaningful vacation experiences.

As we ponder the potential consequences of our choices, let us strive to seek balance and find ways to satisfy our desire for leisure and relaxation while minimizing harm to the world around us.

With love.