Holidays & Tours

Five facts I learned on my first-ever cruise ship voyage

Tempted to jump on board? Check out these lesser-known revelations about life on the seven seas.

By Alex Lilly
While I've had my fair share of plane rides and car trips, one mode of transport I've never tried on holiday has been riding on a cruise ship.
So when I had the opportunity to set sail on Cunard's luxurious Queen Elizabeth II, I was keen to see what all the fuss was about... And of course, stand at the front of the ship and pretend to be Kate Winslet in Titanic.
However during my three days on board, there were some interesting things that I learned that you don't see in any travel guide.

1. Sea sickness is real

While the majority of people were totally fine, I learned this little fact the hard way.
Passengers and even staff admitted that sea sickness can hit you when you least expect it, one poor masseuse who worked in the spa confessed that during his seven-month stint on board, he'd only gotten over it in the last month!
It may be one of the grossest feelings in the world, but it doesn't have to ruin your experience. There are tablets and wrist bands on board for purchase on most ships should illness strike and rest assured, you won't be the only one who suffers from it.
On Cunard's Queen Elizabeth, we were even offered crystallised ginger as an after-dinner treat and it works wonders for nausea.
WATCH: Watch 9m waves hit a cruise ship in Florida. Post continues...

2. The staff have unique methods when seas are rough

When you're crossing a major ocean or run into a storm, the ship may look big and impressive but it can't withstand all those bumps.
Executive chef Roland Sargunan showed us around one of the ship's galleys and revealed that when they're preparing on a rough day, they use cling wrap and wet paper towels on the benches to prevent dishes and ingredients from slipping and sliding around.

3. If you're keen to travel, get a job on a cruise ship

From Southampton in the UK to South Africa through to Singapore, the staff on board Queen Elizabeth hail from every corner of the globe.
As a staff member on Cunard, the company pays for the uniform, joining flights and medical checks for all its staff and if you're on a particularly long voyage, you get the chance to visit all sorts of countries on your days off.
When you're in such close proximity with other staff members, you're also bound to make new friends. The long-term crew members explained to us that they considered their colleagues to be family and some even found love on board.
She's a big 'un! It's very easy to get lost on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth. (Image: Supplied)

4. There's hand sanitiser EVERYWHERE

One of the things you tend to forget when you're sailing on a ship as big as Queen Elizabeth is that you're actually on a ship and because you're in a confined area, you can't just jump off on a whim.
Norovirus horror stories often float around (pun intended) but cruise ships make an effort to reduce the risk thanks to their many hand sanitiser stations that can be found in almost every room, especially where food is being served.
If you regularly wash your hands and use the hand sanitiser on offer, you have nothing to fear.
Stay away from viruses and apply hand sanitiser when you can. (Image: Supplied)

5. Some people don't leave the boat for months

If you're a fan of being pampered (and seriously, who isn't?) then you never need to leave the ship. And some passengers simply don't.
With facilities including a gym, spa, theatre and casino plus the luxury of having all your meals prepared for you, some people prefer to stay on board when the ship docks at the various ports.
One woman, who had sailed all the way from Southampton in the UK, revealed she had been on for seven weeks and even celebrated Christmas on the ship.