There’s a certain thrill in being amongst the first few to enjoy a new experience, so it’s no surprise that many vacationers jump at the opportunity to be on a new cruise ship’s maiden voyage. But does that mean it’s actually a good idea? While it can be exciting to set sail on an inaugural cruise, you may also have to contend with a few kinks in the service, entertainment, and maintenance departments.
For some cruise passengers, a few setbacks are a small price to pay for being able to experience a brand new cruise ship, but for others, it may be much more relaxing to book a trip on a seasoned cruise ship. It ultimately comes down to an individual preference.
We’ve outlined a few of the disadvantages and advantages of going on a cruise’s maiden voyage to help you decide for yourself.
Disadvantages of a Maiden Voyage
Cruise ships undergo all kinds of tests before they are ready to operate commercially, but as a passenger on a maiden voyage, you will still be a sort of “test subject.” Crew members may not be used to the routines of the ship, and some areas of the ship may not even be operational yet. For instance, some passengers on the maiden voyage of the Norwegian Breakaway complained to Cruise Fever that the service they experienced was subpar because the crew members were getting used to the new ship.
Some passengers on the inaugural voyage of the Carnival Sunshine had more than lackluster service to contend with. Several of the ship’s new spa cabins were out of order due to issues that included no air conditioning, no electricity, and faulty plumbing. Those are all issues that should have been resolved during initial testing, but according to the CEO of Carnival, an act of shipyard vandalism meant that staff members were unable to stress-test the cabins, and paying passengers were the first to experience the problems.
Advantages of a Maiden Voyage
For all the things that can go wrong on a maiden voyage, there are also plenty of things that can go right, and many cruise-goers say that their experience on a maiden voyage was one of their favorite vacation memories. Cruise lines often offer certain perks on maiden voyages because they want to generate positive word-of-mouth advertising, so you may receive a free souvenir gift, access to special menus, and the opportunity to participate in activities that may not be available on later cruises.
There are also silver linings to some of the downsides of a maiden voyage. Because cruise operators typically expect that they will still be working out some issues on the first commercial voyage, they may offer discounted “introductory pricing.” The ship’s staff is also likely to be more flexible as they work out the ship’s routine, meaning that you may get more personal attention than you would otherwise.
If you consider yourself to be someone who can “roll with the punches” and find a positive side even when things don’t go exactly the way you thought they would, a cruise ship maiden voyage might be a great experience for you. If, however, you are easily stressed out by unexpected disruptions and a schedule that is not set in stone, consider booking your vacation for about three or four weeks after a cruise has been operating commercially. And remember, if you do experience any kind of incident on your cruise that results in your injury, contact a cruise accident lawyer. If the accident was caused by the cruise line’s negligence, you deserve compensation.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of The Law Office of Andrew Winston. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”—an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state—and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”