Saturday, January 21, 2012

To Cruise or Not to Cruise, That is the Question

To Cruise or Not to Cruise, That is the Question

For the past week I've watched Facebook, Twitter, blogsphere, chatrooms and forums buzz with talk about cruising. There has been a lot of chatter about cruises and safety since the Costa Concordia sank in Italy. Many people who have never taken a cruise are saying they either don't want to go on a cruise ever or they will think hard before going. This includes going on the Disney Cruise. For those who have been on a cruise the majority say the tragedy of the Costa Concordia will not stop them from cruising.

I had never been interested in going on a cruise. I felt they were overpriced and way too grandiose for my taste. I also heard of the drinking, gambling and Vegas style shows on the ships and was not interested. Then Disney got into the cruise industry with the Big Red Boat. The Big Red Boat intrigued me and I started thinking it might be fun. Finally in 1998 Disney came out with their own ship specially built to Disney Demanding standards. Now I had something for my "bucket list"!

In 2005 I took my first ever cruise on the Disney Magic and crossed a Disney Cruise off my bucket list. From the moment I got onto the ship I was dreaming of future cruises. Not only was I thoroughly entertained and completely pampered I felt undeniably safe the entire time on the ship. We felt so safe onboard the Magic we took a trip in 2011 on the Wonder to Mexico. We did not feel safe off the ship in Mexico but we felt very safe on the ship.

I felt safe on the Disney Magic and Wonder because as soon as we boarded we were informed there would be a lifeboat drill and told we had to be at our assigned locations at a certain time. There was no wiggle room in this at all. We had to go and we had to watch a short video on our cabin TV before we went so we knew what to bring and what was expected of us. The crew was not lax and it was obvious each crew member knew their job. All were unhurried, relaxed but intent on making sure all guests on board knew what was required in case of emergency.

Another reason my family chooses Disney to cruise with rather than any of the other cruise lines is the type of guest that chooses to cruise Disney. I don't know about you but I'm not into drinking and I don't like being around people who are drunk and out of control. Too much of a good thing can lead to problems. If you do a youtube search you will find many videos of guests aboard other cruise lines acting drunk and stupid. You will find very few videos of this behavior on Disney Cruises. On our two Disney Cruises we saw very few people that were obviously drunk and only one that was acting anywhere near inappropriate. Even that one was not too bad just loud, annoying and obvious.

The majority of safety issues anywhere can be limited, resolved or cleared up with communication. If a guest walks up to a crew member on a ship and points out a problem or a crew member mentions behavior that could be dangerous to a guest and the advise/warning is listened to.

What can you do to be prepared for an emergency on any cruise? Take a flashlight and batteries. Maybe even take one of the emergency style flashlights that does not use batteries. If the ship were to lose power it would be very hard to find your way through darkened cabins and halls. When you get on the ship get a map of the ship and get a good idea of the layout in your mind. Make sure you know how to get out of your cabin and to the deck even with the lights out. Make sure you and everybody in your party knows where they are to go to get into the lifeboat should the need arise. If someone in your party is disabled and may need help in an emergency situation make sure the crew knows about it. Make sure someone that is able bodied knows to watch out for the person with the special needs.

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