How Much is Weather a Factor in Your Cruise Ship Experience?

Are you considering taking your first cruise? You might have concerns about the weather. Perhaps you remember the introduction establishing the premise for the 1957 TV series Gilligan’s Island? I would like to make the case weather is not going to ruin your cruise.

  1. Progress has been made since the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria set sail. Those were Columbus’ first ships. As we learned in school, he sailed in 1492. Today’s cruise ships are bigger and are designed by marine architects and engineers. They have state of the art population and stabilization technology. Some can even act as icebreakers.
  2. Your ship is not at sea all the time. OK, it might be if you are crossing the Atlantic. Most cruises hop from port to port, often sailing at night. The ship is docked at a pier for the length of a business day. Unsettled seas should not be an issue when the ship is tied up.
  3. You are on a floating resort, not a sailboat. Perhaps you watch the Bravo series Below Deck Sailing Yacht. You think activities might be limited if it is raining. If you are on a cruise ship, your vessel is the size of a small town. There are indoor pools, a gym, theater, night clubs, shopping, spa and much more. You can have as much fun onboard as you might have in a huge shopping mall on a rainy day.
  4. The captain is not a storm chaser. A better description is a storm avoider. The captain has knowledge of weather patterns and where storms are headed. They can attempt to steer around them.
  5. Am I going to get too hot? You will be out in the sun. The ocean is a reflective surface. There isn’t much pollution to filter out the sun. Yes, you can get a sunburn, much like you would at the beach. Here is the big difference:  Your ship is moving 15-25 mph when sailing. There is a continuous breeze keeping you cool.
  6. Am I going to get sunburned? Probably yes if you do not take precautionary steps. This involves using sunscreen, limiting your time in the sun (my wife prefers the shade under the lifeboats) and wearing a shirt and hat to at least partially cover up. If you run out of sunscreen, they sell it onboard.
  7. What if I get seasick? Hopefully rough weather doesn’t last too long. The gift shop should sell those wristbands. I have found them helpful. The medical center onboard should carry seasickness pills.
  8. The rocking can be pretty cool. Let us assume your ship sails at night. Maybe the seas are a little unsettled or you can feel the motion. It is very relaxing to be rocked to sleep through the night.
  9. I do not want to take any chances. Ever wonder why cruise lines decided Alaska was a good destination? The ship spends lots of time in the Inland Passage. I have found it pretty calm. River cruising is an option too.

You will find the many positives of cruising outweigh the negatives unsettled weather can bring.

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Cover Photo: Grand Princess, ©Dennis Cox/WorldViews


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