Cruising combines ease, value and choice. It’s a mix of benefits that sees cruise holidays become more and more popular every year.
Nearly two million Britons booked their holidays on cruise ships in 2013 – a rise of 5% over 2012. There’s a similar trend across Europe too, and with good reason. So why are cruises becoming ever more popular? What makes cruising the best kind of holiday?
You only unpack once.
Backpacking holidays are a great way to travel light and see lots of different places in the same trip. The downside, of course, is that you’re limited to whatever you can carry in a backpack. If you’re cruising, you can pack everything you need to take and everything you want to take too, just like a hotel stay. The only difference, of course, is that your room and all your things travel with you to every destination – and you’ve only unpacked it all once for the entire length of your trip.
Depending which kind of cruise you go for, you don’t even need to worry about laundry or pressing either – this can all be taken care of along with your room service. Any tips and gratuities can be included in the price you pay when you book, too, so there’s no need to fish for change in your pockets while you’re trying to head down for dinner.
No surprise costs.
How many holidays have you been on where the extra little costs jump out and surprise you? It could be an overpriced taxi fare, an extra couple of drinks, or even a day trip that you hadn’t expected to cost so much. Nobody wants to think about their dwindling spends while they’re trying to enjoy themselves – it can put a real dampener on a rare experience.
On a cruising holiday you can pay for meals, drinks, entertainment and facilities when you book, and any extra costs for shore trips, speciality dining, spa treatments or enrichment courses are set by the cruise line and made clear before you buy. On a cruise you can enjoy the freedom to customise your holiday as you go along, with nothing taking your bank account by surprise.
You can pick your adventures.
With a hotel stay, you’re limited to wherever people have built hotels. You’re less likely to find a five-star establishment along the Antarctic coast, for example (penguins aren’t well suited to the hospitality industry, despite their best intentions). On a cruise ship however, you’re essentially staying aboard a floating hotel that can take you to the places you’ve always wanted to see. Cruising on smaller ships, you can even reach places that larger ships are too big to sail – so you could be enjoying some adventures in locations that are really off the beaten track.
Shore excursions give you a huge choice of adventures once you leave the ship and head out into your cruising destination ports. You could tour the classic landmarks and see the ancient monuments you’ve always wanted to – or take off on a helicopter tour, a scuba dive, or a trek in the desert or the jungle. Head ashore for a wine tasting tour, or stay on the ship and relax by the pool in the sun – it’s that wealth of choice that sets cruise holidays apart.
You can pick your ship facilities.
You’ve found the perfect resort in the perfect location. There’s a beach on the doorstep, chefs you want to take home with you, and day trips that give you the overpowering desire to get lost here for days. Except… the hotel has no gym. No movies. No spa, no library, and only one place to eat all your meals. There’s one pool for an army of holidaymakers, and there’s barely enough room to set down your bottle of sun cream.
If you opt for cruising, you can pick the ship that best reflects how you like to relax. If the kids are obsessed with swimming pools, you could book a stay on a ship that has three to choose from. If cinema trips are akin to a religious experience, you could try a cruise where you can watch the latest big-screen releases out on deck under the stars. Relax with a full spa treatment, or take a class in web design. Give it your best robot on the ship’s dancefloor, try your luck at the casino tables, or book a very different cruise that favours reading and wine tasting. With so many ships boasting so many different facilities, you can pick a ship to suit you and the way you like to relax – or let our trained concierge staff help you make the choice.
Tailor your holiday to suit you.
The massive appeal of cruising is, in a word, choice. It’s the choice of ways to enjoy yourself, and tailor a dream holiday exactly how you want it. You could book a stay in a five-star hotel with a thousand other rooms, or a quiet B&B with two other families staying there. It’s the same with a cruise holiday – there’s enough choice in terms of ship size, facilities and passenger numbers that you never need to settle for a cruise you won’t enjoy.
There’s a misconception that cruising breaks are one-size-fits-all holidays. With over 280 cruise ships operating around the world, however, there’s a huge choice of different ways to travel. You could book a family-friendly stay on a ship the size of a resort; or escape to a secluded island, just the two of you, on a much smaller ship with as many crew as there are passengers. There’s so much choice on modern cruises that you can effectively tailor a holiday exactly to your preferences – and get just the kind of holiday you want.
Article images courtesy of B. Powder; D. Jarvis; Photopin.