When was the last time you went on a cruise? Was it when you were in primary school, with your whole extended family in tow?
If you're still holding onto impressions from decades ago - playing in the pool with your siblings and cousins, or enjoying kid-friendly activities like crafts and all-day movies - it's time to embark on a new ocean-going experience.
Think of modern-day cruising as a floating resort, with a wide array of entertainment, dining and recreational activities including an indoor skydiving arena, multimedia theatre, and even a high-tech bar serving up cocktails mixed by robotic bartenders.
Royal Caribbean International, for instance, has even pioneered several industry firsts - such as rock climbing, bumper cars and surfing at sea - to appeal to both families and adventure-loving travellers alike.
Since cruises are our best opportunity for an "overseas" trip right now, it's time to overhaul some common misconceptions we have about cruising. And hopefully, by the time we're through, you'll be ready to book your virgin ocean getaway.
Misconception #1: Cruising is for retirees
On a cruise today, you're likely to meet a diverse range of travellers on board, including newly-married couples, groups of friends in their 20s and 30s, parents with young children and even solo travellers.
Much of this has to do with the increasingly innovative offerings by cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean. Its groundbreaking Quantum of the Seas is touted as the world's first smart ship that boasts one-of-a-kind experiences for its guests.
These include the glass-capsule observation pod North Star, which takes guests over 300 ft above sea level for an unparalleled 360-degree view, and the Bionic Bar, where you'll be served by robotic bartenders who can make you anything from classic Cosmopolitans to bespoke cocktails.
Misconception #2: Cruises can be pricey
If value-for-money is your top criteria when it comes to vacationing, cruising is hard to beat, as everything you could possibly need is bundled into a basic cruise fare.
Besides your stateroom, the price of your cruise includes accommodation, most meals, entertainment, some organised activities, as well as the usage of facilities such as indoor and outdoor pools, a rock-climbing wall, Jacuzzis, a fitness centre and a kids club.
In fact, a cruise holiday may be more economical than a staycation at a local hotel or resort. The latter typically costs between $250 and $500 per night for a standard room, and don't include meals or activities.
In comparison, Royal Caribbean offers cruise deals such as 50 per cent off on cruise fares, kids sailing for free and an additional 10 per cent off for seniors (before taxes and gratuities).
Misconception #3: There's not much to do on board
You may not be able to disembark at any port at the moment, but even if you have to spend 24/7 on board a cruise to nowhere, it's far from boring or confining.
Packed with loads of activities to excite any cruiser, Quantum of the Seas promises to be an unforgettable ocean getaway that will transform the way you think about cruise holidays forever.
Looking for some thrills to amp up the fun factor? Ride the waves on surf simulator FlowRider, get in some high-flying action with Ripcord by iFly (the only skydiving simulator at sea) or belt up and take the wheels behind the only bumper cars at sea. At SeaPlex, the largest indoor activity space on the ocean, you can get your groove on with dance classes, or play Xbox games and sports.
Come evening, be entertained by original productions at the Royal Theatre. These feature stunning special effects and world-class vocalists, dancers and acrobats. After that, pop into one of the bars or lounges for an early nightcap to round off a perfect day.
If R&R is your definition of a great vacation, head to the Solarium − an adults-only retreat with pools, hot tubs, a lounge area and stunning ocean views for those IG-worthy snaps (yes, there is Wi-Fi on board to keep you connected!).
Misconception #4: Cruising isn't safe in a Covid-19 world
Cruises today have stringent health and safety protocols to prioritise your well-being.
All Royal Caribbean vessels have undergone ship-wide disinfection, with new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that supply 100 per cent fresh, filtered air to indoor spaces. High-traffic and high-touch areas such as elevators, escalators, stairways, and promenades are cleaned every two hours during sailings.
Every guest is also required to test negative for Covid-19 before embarkation. Sailings are capped at no more than 50 per cent of the ship's usual capacity as well, allowing you more distance from others (and more space to explore all that the ship has to offer!)
The medical centre on board Quantum of the Seas has also been upgraded with rapid testing, more critical care beds and advanced medical equipment. The line will cover certain Covid-19-related costs for your travel party, too, such as on board medical care, quarantine and transport home.
Misconception #5: It's not for people prone to seasickness
"What if I get seasick?" is a common concern for first-time cruisers.
Rest assured that modern vessels, such as Quantum of the Seas, are equipped with excellent built-in stabilisers to reduce the swaying motion (most of the time, you won't even feel a thing!) to ensure a smooth voyage. Courses are also plotted to take the most optimal routes for guests' comfort.
But if you're generally susceptible to getting seasick, consider booking a stateroom on lower decks and in the ship's mid-section where it's the most stable. Pressure-point wristbands and motion sickness medications can be particularly effective as well - just remember to prepare them before you set sail.
Ready to get a taste of life on the high seas? Visit www.royalcaribbean.com.sg to book your cruise holiday. Sailings have been extended till October 2021. New bookings open from April 13.