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Florida Guide > Other Activities

CRUISING - WILL I FEEL THE SHIP MOVE?

There are many things to think about when booking your first cruise, and it is probably inevitable that questions will be raised about how much movement will be experienced at sea. For cruising ‘newbies’ the prospect of feeling sea-sick is often something which causes them some anxiety, but generally it is not worth worrying about.

First of all, if your only experience of being at sea is on a car ferry, for example, then you will find the movement experienced on a liner to be very different, and normally imperceptible. Ferries are generally small, often with a shallow draft, and are usually pretty top heavy, tending to wallow in the sea. They are also designed to get from A to B in the shortest possible time, so the ferry will be sailing ‘flat out’ as time is money.

A cruise ship is a completely different ‘kettle of fish. ’ For a start, they are considerably larger and have stabilizers, which can be used if necessary to help reduce the motion of the ship in inclement weather. These huge fins are normally retracted, but should sea conditions warrant it, then they are deployed to give a more comfortable ride – they do what they say, and help stabilize any possible movement. There is generally plenty of time to get from port to port, so unlike ferries, cruise ships are not being operated at maximum speed, and much sailing will be done at night. Because of the lower speeds the ship experiences less movement. The other thing, of course, is that cruise ships go out of their way to avoid bad weather. If there is any chance of stormy conditions, then the cruise ship will divert to a different area – for example, during the hurricane season in the Caribbean there has never been an incident with a cruise ship. They simply re-route to a calmer area, and swap the itinerary around. Many will compensate you for the change in ports, too.

Remember that cruise ships are designed for cruising, and if they made passengers uncomfortable they would not be very successful. In our experience of many cruises on a variety of ships, unless the sea is pretty rough we have found that you cannot feel the ship moving AT ALL. It is incredible how stable most ships are - with a few exceptions - I have to admit that ‘Splendour of the Seas’ had a particular 'roll' and would be one I would avoid as a first timer - but it did not stop us going on her several times.

The huge super-liners, because of their size, are extremely stable, and you really are unlikely to feel the movement of the ship at all - it is amazing. One of our favourite pastimes is to stand right at the very front of the ship - particularly on the large Princess ships, where you are able to stand right over the bow of the ship - and it is completely stable and awesomely quiet. The ship just cuts through the water with no perceptible movement at all. All you can see is the horizon ahead of you, and just a whisper as the ship moves forward.

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Page added on: 21 October 2007
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