When considering vacations in Europe, there are several places that get tossed around most frequently when soliciting recommendations for a relaxing, seaside getaway. One often considers Barcelona, Nice, or southern Italy as a warm and sunny place to fly.
For cheaper options, both Greece is incredibly popular, especially from within Europe, as well as increasingly, Croatia. Albania, however, is the best up and coming beach destination on the continent.
The small, Mediterranean country is nestled in between the better known Greece, and the surprisingly popular Montenegro, but since its beaches are relatively unknown, they’re infinitely more pristine.
The countries third largest city, Vlorë, sits on the beautiful Vlorë Bay, where the Adriatic and the Ionic seas come together. While Albanians have long been aware of the draw of their country’s beaches, outsiders, however, are mostly clueless.
European tourists especially should be singing the praises of Albania’s beaches, especially given their proximity to the country. Given that it hasn’t yet become as well known of a tourist destination as other locales, you should expect prices to be correspondingly lower.
Of course, the accommodations may not be quite on the scale of the usual five star dotted destinations, but the lodgings that do exist are more than adequate. The country’s government has also realized just what an asset the pristine coastline is, and has begun to invest more heavily in developing their young tourism industry.
Nevertheless, the high end resorts are in development along the coast, hoping to start luring in an increasing number of tourists in the next few years. Alongside the resorts are intricate villas, which can house your entire extended family should you choose to coordinate your vacations.
As for other attractions, Albania is chock full of history, boasting nearly as many ancient ruins as Italy can. If you’re looking for a unique week in the sun, Albania is certainly the place to go.
Going on a cruise is an item that’s found its way onto many people’s bucket lists. A sea-cation is an enchanting way to travel. But, as the popular saying goes, ‘All that glitters is not gold’ — and the same applies for cruise ships.
You’ll Find Plenty of Dangers
On your cruise, you will encounter two types of danger. It won’t take you long to realize which one of these dangers is more severe in nature. As per a CNN report dated July 2019, 18-month Chloe Wiegand fell out of a cruise ship window while being held by her granddad.
Every Ship Is Vulnerable
Every ship, irrespective of its size, is vulnerable to some degree. No ship is completely immune to danger. While we’re all aware of Titanic’s fate, there are several other incidents that largely go unreported or underreported.
This picture is proof, as it features a sinking cruise ship. After one look at this, we have so many questions about the safety of the passengers and the crew. Who would want to watch their vacation end like this?
They Are Not Pest-Free
When we said pests, we didn’t mean nosy and annoying co-passengers, although they can be defined as pests too. Because a cruise ship carries passengers from different parts of the globe, pests such as bed bugs, lice, and cockroaches are a common sight on cruise ships.
Bed bugs, as you can see in the picture, are known to multiply faster than the speed of light or sound. Additionally, they cause many skin-related problems and infections.
A Painful Backstory
This seemingly innocent image has a terrible backstory. On the surface, this picture is of a ship elevator with some caution tape. But, there’s actually more to it. As per WGNO, this particular image is a still from a video made by a passenger on the cruise.
In the video, the doors of the elevator can be seen opening and closing randomly due to a technical error that resulted in the tragic end of an electrician, who was trapped inside the elevator.
Safety, What’s That?
The sea is normally considered to be safer than land, right? Wrong! This image, which was taken by a passenger on board, will make you reconsider.
The cruise ship is only a short distance away from a New Zealand volcanic eruption. As per the Coast Mountain News, the photographer had initially assumed that the volcano was actually just smoke being emitted from some factory.
Sea Traffic Is a Real Thing
The traffic at sea can be pretty daunting and just as unnerving as traffic on land. And, every cruise is expected to observe the traffic rules and abide by all the traffic regulations.
If you don’t believe us, here’s an example of an accident. In 2019, a cruise ship captain was arrested for breaking the traffic rules. His misjudgment led to a nasty crash resulting in the loss of over seven lives.
Cruises are one of the worst environmental offenders, as they significantly contribute to the pollution levels in the environment. So, if you’re a green traveler, a cruise won’t fit in line with your philosophy of travel.
They not only cause air pollution, but also pollute the aquatic reserves by discharging oil, sewage, and non-biodegradable waste into the water. This level of pollution creates havoc for marine life thereby causing a marine imbalance.
Too Many People!
A cruise ship can be your biggest nightmare if you’re an introvert as you’ll see a lot of people virtually everywhere. A cruise ship is often fully booked so expect to see a lot of people on your journey.
A large number of these vacationers are noisy and often uncontrollable. So, be prepared to forgo your inner peace — and embrace the chaos, should you decide to take that journey on a cruise.
A Cruise’s Impact
Cruises have been polluting nature since their inception. Let’s delve a bit deeper into that. In 2017, a humpback whale was found impaled on a Princess cruise ship as it pulled into a port in Alaska.
And, this is not a one-off incident. There have been countless news stories that link cruises and cargo to the destruction of marine life and whales in particular. Sadly, not many people know about this.
The Weather Is Unpredictable
If you’re expecting uniform weather with pleasant sunshine throughout the entirety of your cruise, prepare to be let down. The weather at sea can be quite fickle, especially depending on the area that you’re in.
So, expect indecisive weather or weather that can change at the drop of a hat. All you can do is either mumble about it or take it in stride.
Some Captains Cannot Be Trusted
Some of the ship captains cannot be trusted at all under any circumstances. They will abandon the ship (including you) at the slightest hint of a problem. There have been many instances where this has happened.
During one of these incidents, a captain decided to save himself first after a crash. He fled from the scene leaving the others to fend for them. Captains like him definitely don’t deserve to have such a respectable position.
Some of the cruise ships have horrible bathrooms. The toilets often make a scary sound each time you flush. But, don’t let that dissuade you from flushing after every use. There are other problems that you may face when it comes to using a cruise ship bathroom.
Some may be extremely dirty, others may have strange objects jammed inside the toilet, and then there are those that leak icky things — like this bathroom! So, how about the holiday cruise?
No Showering Is the New Showering
Yes, you will live by the motto, ‘No showering is the new showering’ during your time on the cruise. In most cases, it would be due to the circumstances in front of you. Confused? Read on.
Apparently, the showers do not work half the time — and if they do, they just sputter out enough water to wash your face.
Filth Is Everywhere
Don’t fret — your bathroom is not the only place in the cruise that’s full of filth. During your stay, you’ll discover many places that are filled with copious amounts of filth (we just don’t know where to begin).
This filth can lower your immunity and make you fall sick easily. So, cruises are definitely not for you if you’re someone who loves cleanliness.
Hazards Right Around the Corner
A hazard or two is always lurking around the corner. Some of these hazards are due to the build and poor maintenance of the ship. A few of these hazards can also be attributed to the carelessness of fellow passengers on board with you.
The Business Insider reported one such hazard that took place on a Carnival cruise ship. A fire in the cruise’s laundry room caused a handful of injuries before it could be contained.
There have been a lot of instances in which cruise ships end up getting stranded for days, weeks, and months across the globe. Once a cruise ship is stranded, the living conditions on the ship start worsening, eventually leading to a rather negative atmosphere.
This, in turn, can impact the mental health of the passengers and trigger anxiety, panic, and a host of uncomfortable feelings. When cruise ships are stranded, it often does not paint a pretty picture.
Unfavorable Weather Conditions
As we mentioned earlier, the weather conditions in the sea are largely unpredictable — and ever-changing. Temperatures can change at the drop of a hat. These unfavorable weather conditions can dampen your spirit and play spoilsport during your time on a cruise.
In many cases, violent storms have been known to cut short a trip or even extend the trip by days on account of being stranded in the middle of nowhere.
It’s Not Safe Inside Either
If you think you’re safer inside a cruise ship, think again. As per a news report in Lipstick Alley, an eight-year-old girl fell from the second floor of a balcony on a cruise ship.
She didn’t survive the fall and passed away before the medical staff could even attend to her injuries. If this doesn’t convince you of what we said about safety, we don’t know what will.
No Views Found
There are people who think that a sea-cation on a cruise will help materialize their dreams of coming up close and personal with marine life. We hate to burst your bubble but most of the time, you will be greeted by the vast blue sea.
Oceans are notorious for presenting nothing for their visitors but beautiful shades of blue.
Rooms Are Cramped
Most of the rooms on cruise ships are more or less cramped. This means that, if you’ve booked a room with a friend or family, you have to make do with the space you get.
These cramped rooms can be an issue if you’re claustrophobic. And if the room doesn’t have any windows, it’s that much harder to tell what time it is.
Food Isn’t (That) Great
Depending on the cruise line and the package that you choose, food aboard a ship can be absolutely delicious. On the other hand, though, it can also be largely sub-standard and not that great in terms of taste. So, it’s strongly advised to gain a sense of what you’d be eating if you (still) decide to embark on your cruise trip.
The food is normally cooked in large quantities for the guests and crew. This means that because the chef and cooks have to make food for thousands of guests thrice a day, they tend to focus on quantity rather than quality.
You May Catch Diseases
Cruises can cause seasickness if you’re one to get easily squeamish or nauseous. Cruises are also a breeding ground for contagious infections and ailments owing to their contained spaces and a disregard for cleanliness.
This makes us circle back to the previous point we made about the hygiene levels in the washroom and other areas of the ship. If you have a weak immune system, it’s a wise decision to cancel that cruise journey rather than suffer later.
Pools Can Be Unsafe
The pools on cruise ships can be highly unsafe. And no, we’re not just talking about the hygiene levels here. Although that makes for a compelling argument!
But, we digress! Pools on cruises, in general, are one of the crowded areas on the ship — and this can result in all types of mishaps.
Music Line-Up Is Subpar
The strength of any entertainment line-up is gauged by the performer(s) it has. While we’re all supportive when it comes to fresh talent, we feel that it’s better to have a mix of established and new names in the line-up — ya know, just in case.
The sad truth is that a lot of ships have a music line-up that’s often sub-par. Therefore, it’s strongly suggested that you do your research before booking a spot on that cruise.
The Demographic Is Geriatric
For the most part, you will find an older demographic on board with a few millennials and Gen Z’ers here and there. But, let us warn you — the overall demographic on the cruise is predominantly geriatric.
This, in turn, will slow you down, especially if you’re expecting a younger crowd on board. There are other places you can go to connect with a younger crowd.
Cruise ships are known to monitor their guests’ and crew members’ moves by installing high-tech cameras in strategic locations throughout the ship. While this is important, it can make you feel like you are being ‘watched’ all the time. That’s never a good feeling.
According to a 2018 news item published in Business Insider, a couple claimed to have found a security camera installed in their cabin and washroom. This is a blatant invasion of privacy.
Pirates Are Real!
Pirates are very much a real thing and one of the major menaces you can possibly encounter during your sojourn at sea. And they are not necessarily as dishy and flamboyant as Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean.
In 2017, a group of Somali pirates targeted several ships in the Indian Ocean. According to a 2020 report published in the think tank publication The Conversation, global sea piracy at the moment is witnessing an upward trend and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Colliding With Fishing Trawler
The reports of cruises and cargo ships colliding with fishing trawlers have been increasingly common. And often, these collisions result in the loss of human life.
One of such notorious collisions in the history of cruise mishaps was a 1992 collision of a passenger liner with a striking trawler. The incident took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — causing injuries to 70 people on board.
Snake on Board
In one of the earlier points, we talked about the bugs and pests on cruise ships and how they can be a nuisance. There have been a few instances when snakes have made their way onto the ship.
While this feels like the plot of some twisted movie, it has happened in reality. In 2015, a cobra was found on the New Jersey bound container ship and, in 2016, another snake was found on a cargo ship in Aberdeen harbor.
While psychos who slash people make for the perfect protagonist in spine-chilling horror movies, there have been some odd instances when they have made their way onto the passenger ships. Isn’t that a scary thought?
A 2012 Fox News report mentioned one such person named Israel Keyes, who boarded The New Orleans cruise liner. Luckily, no untoward incident occurred and all the passengers were safe and sound except for one. However, it had left those on board quite rattled by the whole incident.