Repeat Traveller
Celebrity Solstice in Sydney Harbour. Source: Celebrity Cruises
Source: Celebrity Cruises

Common cruise fears debunked

Australians have taken to cruising like ducks to water, with more than a million of us opting for a holiday on the high seas each year. But, despite having the highest market penetration per capita, there are still a lot of us who are unsure about whether a cruise is right for us.

Finder.com.au recently did a poll of more than 2,000 Australian travellers and discovered a) we’re a bunch of scaredy cats, and b) we really need to stop watching re-runs of Titanic.

In the poll, 15 per cent – the equivalent of 2.8 million adults – said they would avoid a cruise because they’re afraid of pirates, 12 per cent listed hitting an iceberg as a deterrent, and 11 per cent said the risk of falling overboard was just too high to overcome. The most common fear was food poisoning, with 37 per cent saying it would stop them going on a cruise altogether.

However, when you examine the facts, are any of these fears warranted? Let’s have a look.

Fear #1 – Food Poisoning
According to US data, gastro cases have made up only 0.18% of the 73 million passengers who cruised between 2008-2014. Unless you’re really unlucky, it’s fair to say that you’re not going to encounter too much trouble on your multiple trips to the buffet.

Fear #2 – Being shipwrecked
More than one in five (22%) wouldn’t book a cruise because they were afraid of big storms, yet there have only been two cruise ships that have sunk in the last 10 years.

Fear #3 – Piracy, me hearties
15 per cent of respondents said they would avoid a cruise because they’re too afraid of pirates. Although pirates do exist in the world, the number of attacks on cruise ships are few and far between. According to the latest ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) piracy report, there have only been two incidents involving passenger ships in the last five years.

Fear #4 – Man (or woman) overboard
11 per cent said that the fear of falling overboard was too great to justify cruising. Falling from a cruise ship is a rare occurrence, with only 19 recorded incidents since 2010 – the majority of which were intentional. If you use common sense and don’t lean too far over the bannister rail, you should be fine.

Fear #5 – Icebergs, dead ahead
12 per cent of Australians would avoid a cruise because they’re afraid of the ship hitting an iceberg. However, there have only been ten ships in the last 100 years that have sunk as a result of hitting an iceberg, and there haven’t been any fatalities since the 1950s. Plus unless you’re planning to do a cruise in the Arctic/Antarctic regions, you should be fine.

Cruising isn’t for everyone but, given the likelihood of any of the above fears actually coming true, it’s worth giving cruising a second look. They’re cheap, convenient, and they allow you to get a sampler of multiple destinations without the hassles of multiple flights.

Chris Ashton

We’re Chris Ashton and Simon Ceglinski, two Aussie travellers with a love of exploration and adventure, and the odd bit of luxury thrown in. We seek out street art, street food, and scuba diving wherever we go, and prefer the road less travelled over well-worn tourist paths.

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