Cruising vs Sailing: Are they really the same thing?

Cruising vs Sailing: Are they really the same thing?

A lot of us have looked into cruising, whether short breaks, expedition, small ship or luxury, but how much do you really know about the different options out there? I thought I was all over cruising, I mean I’ve been on five cruises, seen 10+ different ships and talk about them every day. However, it wasn’t until I experienced sailing that I could really tell the difference.
Cruising is all about the ship as a destination and the entertainment – casinos, production shows, theme nights, trivia and bingo. Whereas sailing through the Mediterranean last week I did not see one trivia night, bingo game or otherwise. Yes, they had entertainment, but after spending all day ashore exploring the French Riviera we were greeted with local folk dancing and stories, not dressing up for a Gatsby night. Sailing is shorter distances, flexible itineraries and really not that much time spent onboard. 
Let’s have a look at the pros and cons of each:

Cruising pros

  • So much entertainment – you have a different activity on the hour every hour so there’s no stressing about how you are going to keep the kids entertained on the two sea days on the way from Noumea.
  • With over 50 new ships to be built between now and 2020, there will definitely be one to suit your taste and style.
  • Bigger ships mean more options for dining, shopping and cabin types and most modern cruise ships are also disability and wheelchair friendly.
  • Cruise ships are a destination in themselves with many ships doing cruises entirely at sea with no ports of call. 

Cruising cons

  • Bigger ships mean more people travelling with you. There’s not much intimacy when you’re travelling with 5,000 other people!
  • Destinations are limited to capacity regulations for mega ships in ports.
  • Limited time in the ports you do visit because it takes time to load and unload ships of such size.

Sailing pros

  • Unique adventures that you really can’t experience without sailing: climbing the rigging, sitting out on the nets, or paddle boarding off the ship marina.
  • Small, intimate and charming are the three words I’d use to describe the beautiful Royal Clipper. With 227 guests we were greeting each other and sharing the events of our day in no time.
  • You are closer to the ocean (literally) and feel the soothing rocking of the ship that stabilizers in larger ships suppress.
  • You can reach everywhere! We would spend our morning on the beaches in Corsica, snorkelling and kayaking, and our afternoons in the little fishing village further up the coast.

Sailing cons

  • If you get seasick I would suggest stocking up on some tablets because those small ships can rock!
  • The Royal Clipper has one dining room, there’s no hiding when you don’t turn up for breakfast!
  • Sailing ships need deep water, most ports are tender ports so if you have mobility issues, this can be a real challenge.
As you can see, both options have drastically different points of view and some people just don’t suit one or the other, however don’t rule out all by just dipping your toes in the water. Whether you’re looking at a bucket-list expedition, exploring the charm of the French Riviera, celebrating a milestone or just need a break, there are so many options for both cruising and sailing. 

I have decided I love both, it just depends where the next one goes! Where do you want to visit next? Comment below and share your favourite destination or ship.


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