Cruising is the most amazing way to see the world. Once considered the travel method of choice of ‘older’ travellers, cruising’s popularity is now growing exponentially among younger travellers. There are so many reasons why. Consider a holiday where:
- You only have to unpack once, into ample storage space.
- Your bed is turned down every evening, often with a chocolate or an animal made from a towel left on the bed especially for you.
- The food is world class – some of the cruise lines employ Michelin starred chefs onboard. And most of the food is free. If you want to try a gourmet specialty restaurant, they are subsidised too.
- There is never a dull moment. Whether you like to relax and sip cocktails by the pool, play arcade games, race in a simulator, whoosh down a thrilling waterslide, or take in one of the endless daily organised activities (from crafting to exercise classes to bingo to dancing lessons), spend a dollar or two at the casino, or shop at duty-free prices at the onboard gift shops, there is always something happening onboard, especially on sea days.
- The entertainment (usually nightly shows in the main theatre) is included in the price as well. Now I can’t honestly say most cruise lines have ‘world class’ entertainment. But it’s a fun way to spend an evening if dancing, drinking, clubbing or gambling isn’t your scene. The shows are well put together and are definitely entertaining!
- The staff are incredibly friendly. If you have children with you, your wait staff would have memorised their names the first night and every time they see your children around the ship they’ll be greeted by name.
- You get to see the most incredible fruit art lovingly carved by the chefs each day
- There are professional photographers onboard and ‘formal’ nights are a great opportunity to get some wonderful portraits done with no money changing hands unless you’re happy with the photos. They are a fraction of the cost of having portraits done at home.
- The décor and furnishings are incredibly over-the-top and opulent, think Swarovski crystal encrusted staircases and enormous chandeliers
- Some cruise lines offer free 24 hour made-to-order wood-fired pizza and soft serve ice cream (can anyone say oink?).
- Most cruise lines offer free kid’s clubs, some (like MSC) even offer a ‘kids cruise free’ promotion! On a lot of cruise lines there is an adults-only area for the grown ups to relax kid-free.
- In some locations (like the Mediterranean) there are no sea days at all. Every day is spent in a different port, with the ship moving from one port to another while you sleep. Having the opportunity to see so many places in so many countries so fast is simply outstanding for time-pressed people.
- A whole industry has been spawned around ‘shore tours’ – tour operators that will meet you at the ship, show you only the best and most interesting parts of the city/port, and deliver you back to the ship in plenty of time for dinner. There are cruise line-sold shore tours, then there are the ones I can hunt down for you. They cost around the same, but instead of being bussed around with 80 other people, you get a personal customised tour just for you, based on what you are specifically interested in (I can recommend some simply outstanding tours for families with children too).
Have I convinced you yet? How about if I tell you that I’m especially talented at finding ‘secret cabins’ aboard ships? Cabins that are regular-priced but have balconies double, triple or quadruple the standard size? These cabins exist, but it takes detective work and a lot of luck to nab them. I can definitely help you with that, as well as finding the right cruise ‘fit’ for you (eg if you don’t like kids Carnival probably won’t be your favourite cruise, but if you have kids oh my gosh! They’ll have the BEST holiday ever, as will you, because happy kids = happy parents, right?)