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6 compelling reasons to avoid booking cruises with lots of sea days

22 Aug 2023
Elizabeth Wright

When you begin thinking about what kind of cruise you want to take, you have to decide if you want one that is port intensive or one with more sea days in between stops. 

Depending on what type of traveler you are, you may find sea days to be boring, especially if you have two or three in a row. Some people would rather spend their vacation time in a new place each day than lounging on the pool deck with a cocktail in hand. 

That is one of the best conveniences of cruising-- you only have to unpack once to visit numerous different places! Why not take advantage of that on a port intensive itinerary? 

Here are 6 reasons to not book a cruise with a lot sea days.

Fewer days at sea means more time to explore different destinations

Odyssey of the Seas docked in Haifa

If you are someone who values the ports over the ship as a destination, you'll want to choose an itinerary with fewer sea days. 

Plus, visiting multiple places on a cruise is more convenient than doing so during a land-based vacation. You will not have to worry about unpacking and repacking your suitcase or lugging it through multiple train stations and airports. 

It's amazing that on a 7-night cruise, you can visit places like Athens, Rhodes, and Mykonos, Greece; Palermo, Italy; and Valencia and Barcelona, Spain.

If you want, you can even find busy itineraries in the Caribbean, too. If this interests you, look at sailings from San Juan, Puerto Rico. On a 7-night cruise, you'll visit more exotic destinations than you would on a cruise from Florida, such as Barbados, St. Lucia, and St. Maarten. 

Of course, one of the major drawbacks is that you cannot fully immerse yourself in a new culture in a single day.

Europe family

You should think of port intensive cruises as a way to get a sample of what each destination has to offer. That way, you can plan an extended trip back in the future and know what to expect!

I recently took my first European cruise, and while I was a bit disappointed to only have a few hours in cities like Rome and Aix-en-Provence, I learned which places I would be willing to return to and which places I'd skip! 

Fewer days at sea means fewer opportunities to feel seasick 


No matter your itinerary, no sailing is guaranteed to avoid all rough seas.

If you are someone who is worried about feeling seasick during your cruise, booking a port intensive itinerary gives you fewer opportunities to be subject to harsh sailing conditions, especially if you are only cruising overnight!

During the day, you will be ashore exploring new and exciting destinations, and at night, you'll only be awake for a little bit since you will want to get a good night's rest to prepare for another long day. 

Rough sea conditions in the ocean

Other tips to help you beat seasickness include bringing the right motion sickness mediation (i.e., Dramamine or Bonine), selecting a stateroom in the middle of the ship on a lower deck, and staying hydrated. 

In short, you should not be afraid of booking a cruise because you are worried about getting seasick. Booking a port intensive itinerary kills two birds with one stone, meaning that you will have less time onboard and you will be able to cross off more places from your bucket list during a single trip!

RelatedHow to beat seasickness on a cruise ship

Less time onboard means that you can save money on a cheaper cabin category 

Inside room on Adventure of the Seas

Once you have selected the ship and itinerary you want, you have to decide which Royal Caribbean cruise ship cabin is best. On a cruise with a lot of sea days, you might feel the need to splurge on a larger cabin with more outdoor space.

Cruises with more days in port, however, mean that you won't be in your stateroom as much! Rather than spending more money for a balcony or suite, you can allocate it towards fun shore excursions in port. 

All cabins on a Royal Caribbean cruise come with the same basic amenities, including a bed, ensuite bathroom, safe, television, vanity area, and closet. They are all meant to be a comfortable home away from home. 

RelatedWhat are the different types of cabins on a cruise ship?

Even if you book an interior to save a little bit of money, it's not like you will not be able to take in the passing scenery. You can always find a place to hang out on the top deck while watching the ship pull in and out of port. 

Revisit destinations you've already been to

You do not have to stay onboard the ship if you have already been to one port of call on your itinerary. 

On port intensive cruises, especially in places like the Caribbean, you are likely to revisit somewhere you have already been. That is not a bad thing, though! On your last visit, it is very unlikely that you got to experience everything that port has to offer.

This time, you can do something different. If, for instance, you went to Maho Beach on your last cruise to St. Maarten, consider doing something a little bit more active, like zip lining from Pelican Peak or doing an ATV tour. 

You don't have to worry about sailing on the newest ship

Icon of the Seas concept art

If you book a cruise on Icon of the Seas or Utopia of the Seas, chances are that you see the ship as a destination, rather than the ports of call. 

Most of the time, the more unique itineraries are offered on smaller ships anyway, simply because not all ports can handle ships as large as Oasis or Symphony of the Seas! 

On a port intensive cruise, you are most likely choosing the itinerary over the ship. You will not need all the onboard thrills, as you will most likely just want to enjoy a nice dinner and perhaps a show before heading to bed. 

Utopia of the Seas concept art

When I took my first port intensive European cruise, I found myself to be pretty exhausted by the third day. I didn't want to spend too much time waiting for the evening entertainment. Thankfully, I found a great pianist and was able to relax while listening to live music for a little bit. 

That, however, doesn't mean you can't do both! Royal Caribbean sends an Oasis Class ship to Europe each summer, meaning that you can cruise the Western Mediterranean on one of the largest ships in the world. 

If you are a seasoned cruiser who has visited the ports before, you can take advantage of fewer crowds onboard

Kids in the pool on Freedom of the Seas

On sea days, the pool is the place to be, especially on warmer itineraries to places like the Western Mediterranean and Caribbean. 

When the ship is docked, however, all the onboard amenities tend to be less crowded, as the majority of passengers have either booked shore excursions or are off exploring on their own. 

Let's say you want to cruise onboard Oasis of the Seas and don't want to worry about lines for the Perfect Storm water slides, zip line, or FlowRider. If you stay onboard -- at least for a little while during the hours of operation -- you are more likely to be able to go again and again!

Disney and Royal Caribbean in Nassau

Plus, if you want a prime pool lounger, you won't have to worry about chair hogs! Similarly, the buffet lines at lunch will be minimal. 

On sea days, you are almost guaranteed to have a relatively lengthy wait for either of these, unless you are one of the first in line. This is especially true if there are very few sea days during your sailing, as most passengers will use this time to check those items off of their list. 

You do not have to stay onboard the entire day, either. Book an early morning tour that will get you back hours before sail away. You'll be able to take advantage of both exploring a new place and a relatively empty ship. 

Elizabeth graduated from New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute with her M.A. in Journalism in May 2023. Growing up, she had the privilege of traveling frequently with her family and fell in love with cruising after sailing on the Oasis of the Seas her freshman year of high school. She wanted to pursue a career that highlighted her passion for travel and strengths as a writer. 

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