Spring and Summer Cruises

Q&A with CruiseCritic.com's Carolyn Spencer Brown

(Norwegian Cruise Line via Getty Images)
Friday, January 15, 2010; 2:28 PM

Adapted from a recent online discussion:

Carolyn Spencer Brown of CruiseCritic.com was onboard to answer your cruise questions.


Q. I'm getting dragged, kicking and screaming, on a cruise to the west coast of Mexico in January. I am not particularly social, so don't really care to introduce myself to my tablemates and find all the "cheesy fun" really off-putting. I'm more likely to rob a bank than line dance. Oh, and I'm very afraid I am going to be seasick for the entire 7 days. Is there any hope for me?

Friendship Heights

A. Hate the traditional cruise "set dining, set tablemates" scenario, have hated from the very first day, 11 years ago, when I took my first-ever cruise to write about it for the Post! The good news is that today most lines have made great strides in offering alternatives, so don't let that keep you away.

I get seasick, or at least mildly queasy, probably on three cruises out of 10. A lot depends on where you stay (cabins in the middle and bottom of ship much better than higher up), where you cruise (avoid the Bay of Biscay and North Sea at all costs) and what kind of potion you take (once I pop a Bonine, I'm pretty much set, though ginger, Dramamine and sea bands are helpful). Seasickness is no reason to stay home.

Also, remember that there's a whole other world in expedition cruising. Not so much about the ship -- but about experiences in places like the Galapagos or Antarctica that you can't otherwise have.


Cruise ships often go to ports with great nightlife, Key West, Cabo, etc., why don't ships OVERNIGHT at these ports?

Raleigh-Durham, N.C.

In a nutshell, cruise lines say all the right stuff about overnighting in really great ports of call, but the truth is they want you to be onboard. Late night partying -- casinos, cocktails, shopping -- is a huge revenue generator. Also, it costs cruise lines more to overnight in ports than it does to head out to sea, so there are definitely economic reasons for this.

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