If you had asked me a few years ago whether I would have gone on a cruise, the answer would have been a resounding no.
The thought of spending time wandering around a ship with nothing to see for miles apart from open waters whilst surrounded by stuffy, pompous individuals who thought that their elitist lifestyle afforded them a luxury cruise far beyond the means of many, did nothing for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the finer things in life, but not at the cost of my own sanity.
Now I know there are going to be thousands of cruise-lovers out their screaming at me for my stereotypical view of cruising and for that I do apologise. I understand that this view has been borne out of very little knowledge, with just the likes of Titanic and Carry On Cruising as my reference point, and whilst years ago a cruise was seen as something you did after you retired as long as you had money in the bank and a wardrobe full of ball-gowns I now understand that holidaying aboard a luxury cruise ship is something very different.
So Should People Consider a Cruise?
Over the past couple of decades the face of cruising has changed considerably with the introduction of Disney Cruises aimed at families, Easy Cruises aimed at those who wanted to experience a cruise on the cheap, River Cruising for those not quite ready for the open waters and Luxury Cruises designed with relaxation and indulgence in mind.
So I think it is fair to say that, no matter what type of person you are, there is definitely a cruise for you out there. Whether you fancy visiting somewhere hot and exotic in the Caribbean or somewhere chilly and scenic like the Norwegian Fjords, no destination is now out of reach. For the really adventurous out there, you may even fancy a cruise to Antarctica, a place still very few have ventured.
Cruising has in fact become a very accessible and enjoyable way to spend your time, away from the stresses of work and everyday life. Who wouldn’t, after all, want to spend their days relaxing by the pool sipping a cocktail before heading to one of the numerous restaurants now often found aboard ship for a night of fine dining and dancing?
What Can You Expect to Find On Board a Cruise Ship?
#1 Luxury Rooms and Suites
Whilst every cruise ship is different, the traditional room categories remain – whether you would prefer a inside or outside cabin, a balcony stateroom or a veranda suite there is something for all tastes and budget.
However, unlike that film made famous by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, there is no ‘Cattle Class’ third class, as there have once been. Now, each room, even at the most basic level comes fully equipped with en suite bathroom, a sitting area, TV as standard, whilst if you fancy splurging some ships, including the Celebrity Range by Planet Cruises, have a Concierge Class Stateroom which includes indulgences such as 24 hour room service, private mini-bar, Priority Check-In, Preferential dining times, Pillow menus, fresh fruit, Freshly cut flowers and so much more.
#2 Award Winning Cuisine
Just like with many hotels, most cruise ships have not one but many different restaurants to choose from serving up foods from across the world.
For those that enjoy the sophisticated lifestyle of traditional cruise dining you will always find a chandelier lit dining experience where a more formal dress code usually applies. Complete with black ties and ball gowns, grand sweeping staircases and a seating plan enabling guests to socialise together, this is long-established impression people have of cruise-ship dining.
However, today you will also find a mixture of Speciality restaurants – Italian, Asian, Japanese – to tempt all taste buds often featured in a less formal setting where all the family can relax and enjoy a meal together without the pomp and ceremony those often imagine to find onboard a ship.
#3 Evening Entertainment
Have you ever been to a hotel where they have offered a nightly show only to be disappointed with the outcome – dancers not in time, staging falling down, singers that can’t really sing. Yeah, we have all been there.
Well now imagine heading out for a night at the West End; the professionalism, the costumes, the grand performances. This is what cruise ships have become famous for and rightly so.
I once had a friend who was head of entertainment on-board the QE2, who spent hours each day rehearsing, making sure that everyone knew their steps, their words and their cues with the expectation that each night the shows would run like clockwork and be good enough to move straight to Broadway – there was no room for customer disappointment.
With each evening comes a different show, musical or spectacular so whether you are cruising for one week or three, chances are there will be a different show to see each evening.
And for those that prefer a somewhat quieter evening, there are also numerous bars to explore – maybe taking in a wine tasting event, singing along to karaoke or just finding a comfy spot for a good old-fashioned natter.
#4 On-board Facilities
No two people are the same – some like to relax on a sun lounger, read a book and sample a cocktail or two, others like to do something more adventurous like climb a wall, surf or shoot an arrow or two on the archery field before spending the afternoon playing mini golf with the kids or take a dancing lesson to impress their other half.
Whether you like to laze around, unwind and de-stress or prefer to take a risk, believing that you are more of a thrill-seeker there is something for everyone, young and old.
#5 The Thrill of Seeing New Places
This, for me, is what really appeals when I think about going on a cruise. There are places I want to visit, sights I want to see but struggle to decide where to visit next.
The wonderful thing about a cruise is that you get to see multiple places within the space of a few days. OK, so some people prefer to travel slowly but for me, cruising means that you can potentially find new places that you would want to return to for a longer period of time. If you are unsure about whether or not you would like to visit a specific place, cruising gives you the opportunity to almost ‘try before you buy’. Why spend two weeks in a place you may not like? At least this way you will get a feel for the country.
Likewise, there may be some places that you have always wanted to visit, and whilst stopping off to explore on-board a cruise ship you may realise that you would not like to spend too much time there after all.
Whatever your travel style, it seems that cruising has become more and more popular in recent years, with trips varying from a few days to half a year at a time, to all manner of destinations across the globe. Cruising provides you with the opportunity to travel to many different places without having to pack and repack every day or two and gives you the freedom to choose whether you have a day out sightseeing or whether you would prefer to relax on-board, perhaps trying a new activity for the first time.
Whilst I do appreciate cruising may not be for everyone – if you enjoy fine things, luxurious surroundings, wonderful food and the opportunity to explore new and different lands then perhaps a holiday on-board a cruise ship is something you should be considering.
Have you ever been on a cruise? We would love to hear other people’s thoughts regarding this type of holiday.