Once a cruiser, always a cruiser. The results of the recent cruiseline.com and Shipmate Member Survey are a testament to this. Of 5,000 respondents, 98.8% reported they intended to embark on another cruise within the next year. Another staggering result from the survey was that, of these respondents, nearly half already had two to four future cruises booked, and 33% already had their spot secured on one.
There’s no doubt that a cruise holiday offers perks that a traditional holiday simply can’t compete with. Read on for a look at eight reasons why everyone needs to experience a cruise at least once in their lifetime.
Do What You Want, When You Want:
There are so many activities on board:
- For the foodies: Speciality restaurants allow you to travel the world with your taste buds.
- For the adrenaline junkies: Cruise lines like Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) promise various thrills while on board, from go-karting racetracks to the largest ropes course at sea. NCL’s iconic ThrillPlex activity zones are extremely popular amongst children and adults alike.
- For the wellness-focused: Most modern vessels boast a built-in spa, offering various restorative treatments, saunas, steam rooms, and much more.
- For families: Any reputable cruise line should offer a kids’ programme for kids and teens of all ages. There’s also plenty of choice regarding activities for family bonding, including rock climbing, bowling, waterslides, pools, arcades, and sports.
- For couples: Honeymoon cruises are rising in the ranks, and there’s lots for couples to enjoy onboard, such as relaxing hand-in-hand strolls along oceanfront promenades and luxurious stays in The Haven if cruising with NCL.
- For the risk-takers: Try your luck at the casino, where you can play your favourite games and socialise to your heart’s content.
- For the big spenders: Yes, you can even shop on board. Boutique-style shops feature everything from clothing to souvenirs – keep your eyes peeled for excellent deals on duty-free must-haves, like jewellery and perfume.
“There’s something for everyone on a cruise ship, which is why cruise holidays are so popular for multigenerational holidays. Plus, NCL’s Freestyle Cruising concept grants cruisers the freedom to choose – whether it’s what time they dine or when they participate in onboard activities – to truly make their holiday their own,” comments Kevin Bubolz, NCL’s Vice President & Managing Director Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA).
Themed Cruises for Unique Interests:
Beyond the standard cruise, there are many themed cruises catering to specific interests. Whether it’s a jazz festival at sea, a culinary voyage with celebrity chefs, or a cruise dedicated to stargazing and astronomy, there’s likely a specialised cruise out there that fits your passion.
Cultural Immersion with Local Experts:
Many cruises employ local guides for their onshore excursions. So, instead of just visiting a place, you get to understand it through the eyes of a local. These guides share stories, traditions, and insights that ordinary tours might miss.
Overnight Port Stays:
Some cruises offer overnight stays in ports, allowing passengers more than just a few hours to explore a city. This allows cruisers to experience the nightlife, local events, or dawn views of places like Venice or Santorini.
Stargazing on the Open Ocean:
Away from the lights of urban areas, the ocean offers some of the clearest night skies – great news for stargazers and star-bathers. Some cruise lines even offer guided sessions, allowing passengers to witness celestial events and constellations in all their glory.
Experiencing Remote Destinations:
Certain places are particularly challenging to visit—like Alaska’s Inside Passage or the Norwegian Fjords. Cruises provide a comfortable means to explore these remote and often untouched landscapes.
Culinary Journeys with International Flair:
Cruise ships often source local ingredients and adjust their menus based on the region they’re sailing in. This means passengers get to taste authentic dishes prepared by expert chefs, experiencing a culinary journey as they sail from one port to another.
Learning Opportunities with Onboard Experts:
Many cruises feature guest lecturers who provide deep dives into topics related to the voyage—be it marine biology for a trip around the Galapagos or ancient civilisations for a Mediterranean cruise.
Your FAQs, answered
Why should I choose a cruise over other types of holidays?
Cruises offer convenience, variety, and value. On a single trip, you can visit multiple destinations, experience world-class entertainment and dining, and only unpack once. Plus, with everything in one place, it simplifies travel planning.
Isn’t cruising just for older people?
Absolutely not! In fact, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, 73% of Millennials and Gen-X travellers have indicated they’re keen to embark on their first cruise in the near future.
How do I know which cruise itinerary is right for me?
Think carefully about the type of holiday you’re after – be it cultural experiences, relaxation, or adventure—and there’s likely a cruise tailored for you.
What’s included in the price of a cruise?
Generally, your accommodation, meals in the main dining areas, entertainment, and many onboard activities are included. Some cruises also include beverage packages, gratuities, or shore excursions. Read the fine print when booking and consider spending a little bit extra on onboard packages to add value to your experience. Options available include internet packages, dining and beverage packages, and spa packages.
I’ve heard cruises are expensive. How can I get the best value?
Cruises often work out significantly cheaper than most traditional holidays. That’s because many expenses are bundled, making it easier to budget. If you’d like to maximise value, consider cruising during off-peak times, booking well in advance (many people book their cruises years in advance to secure the best rates), or keeping an eye out for special promotions.
Is it easy to meet new people on a cruise?
Definitely! With communal dining options, group excursions, and social activities, it’s easy to mingle and make new friends – hence why solo cruising has skyrocketed in 2023.
“NCL is still trailblazing in the solo category. We’re introducing new Solo Inside, Solo Oceanview, and Solo Balcony cabin categories for sailings departing 2 January 2024 and beyond,” comments Bubolz.
What if I have dietary restrictions?
All cruise lines cater to various dietary needs, whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, or have specific allergies.
I’m concerned about seasickness. Is this a common issue?
Modern cruise ships are equipped with stabilisers that greatly reduce motion, making seasickness less common. Additionally, there are over-the-counter remedies and precautions you can take. Most passengers sail without experiencing any discomfort.
Ready to set sail? As the December and January holiday season edges closer, now’s your chance to turn the dreaming into doing and start planning your first at-sea adventure. It’s sure to be one to remember.