Are you looking to take a cruise, here’s a guide to help you choose…
A cruise is an adventure, somewhere new every day with the advantage of unpacking only once. Your floating hotel will take you to different places while you sleep or have an easy day at sea.
Your ship will provide you with full board (don’t forget to try the afternoon tea!), in a range of restaurants, allowing you to have it served as buffet or a la carte. You may even have a speciality restaurant which is sponsored by a well known top chef who could even be on board!
Your cabin will vary in size, location and specification, according to your requirements and budget. It’s your personal space while on board.
Inside cabins have no natural light but are cleverly lit to help overcome any feelings of claustrophobia. Outside cabins have portholes or picture windows, balcony cabins have a patio door and outside furniture to give you your own outdoor space. Suites give you much bigger floor space and generally give you a sitting area to spread out in. All cabins are en-suite with in-room entertainment, some offering tea and coffee facilities, fridges and mini bars. Room service is also offered but not always included in the cost. If your budget allows, butlers will unpack and run your bath, make a dinner reservation or book your shore excursions.
Who chooses to cruise
Fred. Olsen, Royal Caribbean, Cruise & Maritime Voyages and all major cruise lines offer single cabins. For the solo passenger cruising is a great way of making new friends. With get together meetings for passengers and dining tables of ten or twelve so you are never put in an awkward position or left alone unless you want a little solitude.
Dance partners are available for those who love to trip the light fandango, tours are a group activity so there’s always someone to have a chat with.
Thomson provide a great starting point for new cruisers who want a charter flight from the local airport. They offer the convenience of 3-3½* accommodation with an informal feel, they have a limited programme of itineraries for each season. Celebrity Cruises, P&O Cruises, Fred. Olsen and Holland America offer 4* ships of various sizes doing fly and cruise options along with UK departures. These lines offer more dining opportunities with formal, themed and speciality options. They have onboard libraries, spa treatments, daily activities, casinos and guest speakers. they have several bars with live entertainers and a theatre with a nightly show. these cruise lines have a rolling programme of itineraries and people quite often stay on and do back to back trips.
NCL Cruises, MSC, Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruises offer the whole family everything they could want to keep everybody happy for the holiday, with flow rider and climbing walls, starlight cinema to karaoke kids, shopping and casino. These 4* ships carry canoes and bikes for land fun when you don’t want the excursions offered by the ship, some will babysit so mum and dad can leave the ship knowing the children are in good hands.
These 5* ships including Regent Seven Seas, Cunard, Azamara, Swan Hellenic are more for couples who love cultural immersion with great land excursions, amazing tutorials and occasions to remember. The culinary food is awesome, with quality wines to match. The accommodation is luxurious and is complemented with staff who seem to know what you want before you do.
This group covers Star Clipper, Wind Star, Oceania and Seabourne. These are the absolute epitome of luxury and leave nothing to chance. Very high end and on my wish list!!
My Personal Favourite
Azamara Cruise lines have two smaller ships which are adult only and all inclusive. They provide an ‘azamazing evening’, on most itinerarys. This is an excursion allowing passengers to indulge in local events and specialities. We were lucky enough to spend an exclusive evening at the oceanographic Museum of Monaco. Violin playing sea serpents, mermaids in zorbs entertained us, whilst exploring the aquarium below and enjoying an amazing selection of wines and gourmet food.
It was a truly memorable evening which I would love to do with my family……. one day!!