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I remember a time when I thought cruises were a little too laid back and boring for my liking. In addition I had this preconceived notion that they were like floating retirement villages for senior citizens! I couldn’t be more wrong! A cruise can be one of the best holiday experiences ever. It all comes down to choosing the right cruise for you and your particular preferences.
The main advantages of cruises over land tours are you only have to unpack once rather than lugging your suitcase around, there are activities and entertainment to suit everyone of every age group, you can be as active or inactive as you like, everything is taken care of from room service to meals and you get to travel to a different port everyday and chose from a wide range of excursions off the ship.
Cruise ships are classified into 3 different categories:
Resort is a very apt word for these luxury ocean liners. These floating resort hotels feature gymnasiums, day spas, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, jacuzzis, shopping galleries, libraries, internet cafes, hair salons, live shows, casinos, mini golf, coffee shops, rock climbing walls, kid’s games rooms, live musical entertainment, lounge areas, movie theatres, activities galore, indoor and outdoor bars and a selection of restaurants ranging from fine dining to buffet eating. Basically you could spend every day on these resorts at sea and never be bored because there is a list of activities pages long, to enjoy each and every day.
As for the cabins or staterooms, you have a choice of inside, outside, balcony, suite, penthouse or villa. The cabins are quiet spacious, all with ocean views (excluding the inside cabins), ensuite bathrooms, comfortable queen size beds, flat screen TVs, wardrobes, desks, sofa, table and chairs on balconies, mini bars, tea/coffee making facilities, hairdryers, bathroom products and bath robes. You also have your own cabin attendant who is available to serve you day or night. My tip is to be nice to your cabin attendant and reward them well at the end of the cruise because they are absolute angels.
I haven’t personally cruised on a mid-size ship, but I guess if you don’t like the idea of being aboard a cruise with thousands of other passengers, then this would probably suit you. Although they don’t quite have the same features as the large ships they still pack a punch with a good range of activities and onboard entertainment. The other advantage of mid-size ships is that they are well suited to smaller ports, that allows cruise lines to operate itineraries that aren’t accessible by the larger ships.
They also offer the same choice of cabins as the larger ships and because of their smaller size it is much easier to find your way around the ship. The other great thing is that when taking into account the ratio of passenger numbers to available facilities, there are less crowds and waiting queues. We are embarking on a Mediterranean Sea cruise in April on a mid-size ship with the maximum number of passengers being 1900, so this will be a new experience for us.
If you are seeking a more intimate cruise experience with personalised service, a small ship would suit you to a tee. However if you are budget minded, they are generally a lot more expensive than the bigger ships. Boutique ships offer a quieter more relaxed experience with fewer passengers, facilities, entertainment and dining options.
Of course the big advantage of these smaller ships is that they have access to off-the-beaten-track ports with culturally rich and unique destinations on their itineraries. These ships can be anything from coastal vessels, river cruise ships, sailing ships or expedition ships that take you on nature-based journeys. We have for example undertaken a Halong Bay cruise in Vietnam with only 60 passengers onboard, where we sailed between these unique monoliths of the sea.
Cruise destinations are broken up into twelve main world regions:
Each cruise line offers an individual itinerary for each of their ships stopping at different ports. Once you have selected the region you would like to cruise to, my advice is to compare each cruise line and barter with them for inclusions and extras. Request stateroom upgrades, onboard credits, air fare credits, dining experiences, beverage packages or cruise excursions. You will find that most of the cruise lines are competitive with their prices, particularly if they are trying to fill their ships with passengers. Also be on the lookout for re-positioning and last minute cruise deals as they are generally much cheaper.
Lastly, I would recommend that you select a cruise that suits your personality and expectations. There is no point in going on a Disney cruise if you don’t want to cruise with a lot of children and if you dislike crowds stick to the smaller cruise ships. There are several options available with different cruise lines, such as:
Cruising holiday options are endless really. It is all a matter of taste and selecting a cruise that best matches your personality. Cruising these days is a completely different experience to what is was 20 years ago. In fact the number of Australians taking an ocean cruise this year alone has reached a new record of over 1 million, reinforcing the notion that cruising is the ultimate holiday experience.
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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