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7 reasons to avoid booking a cruise with a lot of ports

20 Sep 2023
Elizabeth Wright

Some cruisers prefer itineraries that visit a lot of ports, claiming the ship is more of a mode of transportation rather than a destination.

Serenade and Mariner of the Seas docked in Cozumel

Others, however, much prefer itineraries that include more days at sea. Who needs to spend every single day ashore when you have some of the most exciting vacation activities onboard your ship? 

Before you book a cruise, you need to consider whether you are someone who would like to visit more ports or spend more time on the ship.

While there is no inherently wrong answer, you do not want to book an itinerary that you will be unhappy with. It is your vacation, and you deserve to spend it exactly how you want to.

If you are unsure, here are 7 reasons to avoid booking a cruise with a lot of ports. 

Fewer days docked in port means that you have more time to explore everything exciting the ship has to offer

Zip line ride

One of the most compelling reasons to spend more days at sea is because you will have more time to explore the ship.

If you are sailing on an Oasis or Icon Class vessel, for instance, there's no way that you will be able to see, do, and eat everything onboard during a port-intensive cruise. 

On these larger ships, it is quite possible that you will exhaust yourself if you spend long days ashore and come back onboard itching to try all the activities, like zip lines, FlowRider surf simulators, water slides, rock climbing walls, and more. 

Flowrider on the back of Odyssey of the Seas

Who knows, maybe you will feel like taking advantage of a class that is offered, such as cupcake decorating or sushi making. There will be tons of other onboard programming on sea days, too. Port days tend to have less going on since most people are not onboard.

More time onboard means that you have a reason to justify spending money on a nicer stateroom

Balcony room on Serenade of the Seas

Sometimes, it is enticing to want to save a pretty penny on your cruise fare and book an interior room. This gives you more money to spend on cruise add-ons, like drink packages, wi-fi, and more. 

If, however, you are spending more time onboard, it is likely that you will also be spending more time in your stateroom.

Perhaps this means you will sleep in just a little bit later on sea days or wake up earlier than you otherwise would to enjoy the sunrise from your personal verandah before enjoying a leisurely breakfast in the Main Dining Room.

4 bedroom suite

Whatever the reason, an itinerary with more sea days is a perfect time to splurge on that dream stateroom that you have always wanted!

Read moreThe 5 best cabin locations on a cruise ship

You can get some much needed R&R

Pool deck on Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Let's face it, life gets busy. There is no better time to catch up on your rest than on a sea day; just because you have more time on the ship does not mean that you have to be busy every second of it.

With sea days, you do not have to worry about waking up early to get a tender ticket or be the first off the ship to make your shore excursion time. There is a lot more flexibility in that you can decide exactly how you want to spend your day. 

You do not have to waste the day sleeping in your stateroom (unless you want to!).

Spa facial

Maybe this means reading by the pool, watching the ship's wake while you work on the perfect tan, or treating yourself to a pampering day at the spa. Whatever R&R means to you, utilize your sea days to return home feeling refreshed!

Make the most out of your drink package

Martini Bar on Celebrity Crruises

Royal Caribbean's Deluxe Drink Package is not for everyone. Some like the convenience of not having to worry about racking up a large bar tab, while others cannot fathom drinking that much during a vacation. 

Whatever side of the debate you fall on, you cannot deny that cruises with more sea days are the ideal time to purchase a drink package because you will have more time onboard to utilize the benefits. 

Imagine that you are on a 7-night Western Mediterranean cruise with only one day at sea. Five out of the six full days will be spent ashore exploring culturally and historically rich destinations. You will need that one day to recharge!


Plus, you will really only have the evenings to indulge, and you do not want to wake up with a headache because you had one too many drinks the night before knowing that you have a full-day excursion. 

Read moreI spent $600 on Royal Caribbean’s drink package. I had a total of 36 cocktails in one week, and I think it was worth the cost

Opportunity to try more onboard dining, perhaps even splurging on the Ultimate Dining Package 

Wine being poured

On European cruises, one of the most exciting aspects is trying the local food. You cannot visit Italy without trying some fresh pizza and pasta! 

With more days at sea, you can take advantage of all the delicious dining options onboard. There's more than just the Main Dining Room and Windjammer! 

With more than one package to choose from, Royal Caribbean's dining packages are a great option for those who want to try as much as possible and save some money along the way.

Playmakers on Oasis of the Seas

Maybe you just want to eat in specialty restaurants for three or four nights of your cruise, or maybe you are someone who would rather eat at Playmaker's for lunch everyday before indulging in a delicious steak, Hibachi, or seafood dinner. 

The largest ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet boast so many dining options that it is nearly impossible to try each one during a weeklong vacation, especially if you are eating while ashore. If, however, you are spending less time in port, you will be able to cross more venues off of your list.

Read moreThe Ultimate Guide to Royal Caribbean's Unlimited Dining Package

Kids will have more time to enjoy Adventure Ocean programming and make lifelong friends

Revamped Adventure Ocean

Royal Caribbean is a family-friendly cruise line, meaning that there's something for everyone to enjoy onboard their ships. Parents (and kids) will love the Adventure Ocean youth programming.

There is nothing better than knowing your kids are having supervised fun while you get to sip on a cocktail and enjoy some much needed adults-only time. 

It is important that you take time on embarkation day to get your kid(s) registered, so you do not have to worry about it later.

Mariner of the Seas adventure ocean

This is a great time to meet the staff and take a tour of the facilities that your child will be hanging out in. Plus, if you have any questions, you can get them promptly answered. 

While Adventure Ocean is open while the ship is docked in port, it is unlikely that you'll want to leave your child behind-- it is a family vacation, after all! That being said, you will have less adults-only time, and they will have less time to make friends in Adventure Ocean. 

The casino is open longer on days when the ship is at sea

Casino entrance

Do not be surprised when you board the ship on the first day to find the casino closed. In order for it to be open, the ship has to be in International waters. If you are someone who likes to gamble, you will appreciate the longer hours of the casino on sea days.

You can, of course, gamble at night once you have gotten back onboard; however, you do not want to stay up too late and not feel rested for your next day in port. 

Read moreI gambled enough in Royal Caribbean's casino to get free drinks and a cruise

Why should you avoid booking a cruise with a lot of ports?

Icon of the Seas concept art

In short, a cruise with more sea days offers you more flexibility in how you want to vacation while onboard the ship.

To some, the ports of call are more important. You will have stories about the fun excursions that you did and all the neat places that you were able to visit. Plus, if you are worried about getting seasick, the less time you spend onboard in open waters, the fewer opportunities you will have to feel under the weather. 

The primary reason to consider a sailing with more sea days is if you care more about what is going on onboard. This does not mean that you have to sail on the newest ships, either! Maybe you do not care about mega thrills and will be content hanging out by the pool with a book or playing a few rounds of trivia. 

Avoiding a cruise with a lot of ports means that you think of the ship as a destination, and with everything that you can do, see, and eat onboard Royal Caribbean ships, there's no wonder why they are one of the most popular cruise lines today. 

Read more6 compelling reasons to avoid booking cruises with lots of sea days

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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