With National Cruise Week (19-26 September) sailing over the horizon, it’s only natural that we would want to mark the occasion by celebrating all things cruise. Boasting a loyal following from crown bearers to celebrities, read on to find out why there’s more to cruise holidays than cabaret singers and deck shoes.
1. A-List Status
Everyone from the Queen to, er, David Cassidy and Enrique Iglesias have graced the deck of a cruise ship, which automatically makes cruising cool, or at least something well worth thinking about. It’s not hard to see why life on the ocean wave attracts society’s so-called finest, given that luxury and quality are synonymous with this type of travel. Don’t assume however that you have to be rich, famous, or part of the hoi-polloi in order to fit in on a cruise holiday, as these days it’s not all about formal dressing and routine dining. Greater freedom on a number of cruise lines (like NCL’s Freestyle Cruising concept for example, where passengers can take dinner any time between 5.30pm to 10pm and choose accommodation encompassing suites, studios or villas), means that cruises are now attracting passengers from all walks of life.
2. Value For Money
They may seem like a costly option on the face of it, but cruise holidays actually offer great value for money when compared to a land-based holiday offering the equivalent – some reports claim by up to 30%. Accommodation, meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and usually a range of special dining options like afternoon tea), entertainment, ports of call and most onboard facilities such as the pool, sauna, hot tubs, tennis courts, games room and more are all included in the price. Once you’re on board, anything additional that needs paying for (expect to pay for bar drinks, spa and beauty treatments, casino chips, gratuities and even child care services) can simply be put on a card and then paid for at the end of your voyage to keep everything simple. All you need to do is sign for your expenses and you’ll get an itemised bill to your cabin the night before you disembark.
Not a word usually associated with cruises, but contrary to former cruising belief, cruise holidays nowadays offer a range of diversity, with a plethora of destinations, cruise lines, experiences and types of voyage to suit anyone – including families and young people. Gone are the days when passengers were controlled by regimented dining hours and stuffy dress codes only allowed for formal attire. With a huge choice of mini cruises, river cruises or ocean cruises, passengers can enjoy ports of call from the Canaries to the Caribbean, the Amazon to Antarctica. Whether you’re on the heels of Shackleton or the toe of Italy, there’s a voyage or destination to suit.
To spice it up even more, 21st century cruising can offer an epic experience not dissimilar to the kind of surreal encounter you’d find in Las Vegas. Ships these days aren’t just floating vessels; they’re mega resorts of the seas. Forget billiards and reading, on the newest ships you can expect to find shopping malls and ultra lounges, aqua parks and outdoor amphitheatres with their own micro-climate. Still not sold? How do you like the sound of revolving climbing walls and zip wires? And if you don’t fancy the thought of staying in a cabin, you could always go for a stylish loft apartment or villa. A-maz-ing.
4. Well Being
According to research, cruise holidays have a higher percentage of satisfied customers than any other holiday type. Fact.
Not sold already? Since most cruises stop at a range of countries over a course of days, the logistics of conducting such an operation by air could potentially be mind-boggling. Just think of the potential minutes spent hunting down lost luggage and queuing for security. The beauty of cruises is of course that you only have to check in and unpack once, meaning you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your journey. It really is that simple.