Disappointing photos show what cruise ships look like in real life

Cruises aren't always as perfect as they might seem.

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Cruises aren’t always as perfect as they might seem.
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Shutterstock

  • Promotional photos of cruise ships don’t show the crowds.
  • The accommodations might be smaller and more cramped than you thought you were getting.
  • The ports aren’t always glamorous, either.

Cruises can be a blissful escape for travelers of all ages. From glamorous cruises of a bygone era to ship itineraries that include volunteer opportunities, aspiring seafarers have no shortage of options.

Cruises can also be the worst for a whole host of reasons.

Here are disappointing photos that show how cruise ship expectations don’t always match the reality.


Boarding a cruise ship is where the fun begins.

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Boarding a cruise ship.
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Katarina Hostovecka/Shutterstock

There are many ways to decide what kind of cruise to take, including based on your zodiac sign.


But sometimes it feels more like waiting in line at an airport than waiting for a tropical escape.

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A line forms as passengers wait to clear through a metal detector before boarding a cruise ship at Port Everglades in Florida.
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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The last thing you want to deal with on a cruise is lots of annoying passengers.


You might be able to board beneath blue skies.

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A docked cruise ship.
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xbrchx/Shutterstock

It would be a great way to start your vacation.


But you might get stuck beneath fluorescent lights.

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Passengers prepare to board a cruise ship at International Cruise Terminal Station in Shanghai, China.
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Aly Song/Reuters

Not as fun.


The pool deck of a cruise ship can be the perfect place to relax and work on your tan.

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A bright, sunny pool deck.
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Solarisys/Shutterstock

Some people use masking tape to get the perfect tan lines.


But you might have trouble finding an open chair.

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A crowded pool deck.
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Andrew F. Kazmierski/Shutterstock

These “floating cities” can be packed.


What could be better than soaking in a hot tub with an ocean view?

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Enjoying a hot tub.
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Katie May Boyle/Shutterstock

London now has floating hot tub boat rides.


Unless other people have the same idea.

Hot tubs aren’t meant to hold crowds.


Sometimes, dolphins play in the wake of cruise ships, making for some spectacular sightseeing.

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Dolphins following a cruise ship.
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Gary Cameron/File Photo/Reuters

There are also more adventurous cruise ship activities for thrill-seekers.


But mostly you’ll be seeing a whole lot of this.

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Endless horizon.
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VGB.Studios/flickr

Time lapse videos of a ship’s travels can be awesome, though.


Your cruise ship accommodations might be spacious, with a sitting area washed in natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows.

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A room on a luxury ship.
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PhotoStock10/Shutterstock

Some people even buy second homes on cruise ships.


Or they could be dim and cramped.

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Cruise ship quarters.
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Christian Córdova/Flickr

Cramming too many people in a room is a common mistake that people make on cruise ships.


Some cruise ships have bathrooms that are on par with those of a luxury hotel.

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A luxurious cruise ship bathroom.
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Gorm Kallestad/Scanpix/Reuters

There are some pretty luxurious cruise ships out there with bathrooms like this one on The World.


And then there are bathrooms that feel more like they belong on a dorm or locker room.

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A cramped cruise ship bathroom.
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Shearings Holidays/flickr

The crew’s bathrooms are even less glamorous. Just ask someone who worked on a cruise ship.


One might think that working on a cruise ship is a glamorous job.

Some cruise ships offer world-class luxury.


But the cabins that crew members live in are usually small shared rooms below deck.

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A crew cabin.
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Bobby Yip/Reuters

See what it’s really like to work on a cruise ship.


When it’s time to disembark, the ship might pull up next to a bright, tropical island.

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A cruise ship in some exotic locale.
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Mia2you/Shutterstock

It’s worth visiting one of the 10 best islands in the world.


Not every port is super scenic, though.

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A cruise ship docking.
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Peter Nicholls/Reuters

You also might not have as much time in every port as you’d like.


Docking at the beach is pretty epic.

Taking a cruise is a great way to visit some of the best beaches in the world.


Until you have to share it.

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Belly flops and beaches aren’t the best mix.
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Gary Hershorn/Reuters

Even famous beaches don’t always live up to the hype.


Your cruise ship dining experience might rival that of a fancy restaurant under the stars.

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A cruise ship at dinnertime.
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multiz12/Shutterstock

Does it get better than outdoor seating in the middle of the ocean?


But usually it will feel more like a cafeteria.

Not all buffets are created equal.


There’s no shortage of alcohol on cruise ships, from glasses of wine to fruity cocktails.

There are some drinks that you should never order at a bar, however.


But some passengers might take the drinking a little too far, turning your experience into a frat party.

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The remains of dinner and drinks.
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Carlos Barria/Reuters

With virtually unlimited supplies of alcohol, things can get messy.


Some cruises bring on famous headliners like Rascal Flatts.

Their hit “Life Is A Highway” is one of 20 country songs you should listen to in your lifetime.


But most of what you’ll hear is karaoke of questionable quality.

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Going for it.
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slgckgc/Flickr

This is no Carpool Karaoke.


Your ship could come equipped with a swanky casino.

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A cruise ship casino.
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Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Slot machines, card tables – if you’re feeling lucky, you can give it a shot.


If not, there’s always shuffleboard.

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Shuffleboard.
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Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

Shuffleboard is a cruise ship classic.


You might not feel seasick at all.

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Having a great time on deck.
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michaeljung/Shutterstock

There are ways to avoid seasickness on a cruise ship.


But seasickness — and even worse, contagious viruses — have been known to wreck havoc and ruin trips.

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Getting sick at sea is no fun.
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Monika Graff/Getty Images

In 2003, an outbreak of a gastrointestinal illness forced a cruise ship to cut its trip short when over 300 people got sick.


You might be tempted to recreate the iconic “I’m flying” moment from the movie “Titanic.”

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Who can forget this?
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Courtesy of Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox

Here’s what the cast of “Titanic” is up to 20 years later.


It probably won’t live up to the hype.

Some things are best left to the silver screen.

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