Whatever your preferred style of travel, you’re sure to find the perfect cruise.
Travellers are spoilt for choice when it comes to cruise holidays. From the multitude of cruise lines and ships to the destinations themselves, the options are as deep and as wide as the ocean.
Add an impressive array of cruise packages, onboard accommodation choices, and ship and land-based activities, and you’re bound to find just the right one for you.
Before setting out on your dream cruise, consider your preferred style of travel. Here’s a helpful list to help you navigate the many cruise options available.
1. The mega-liner
Cruise lines are betting that bigger really is better, but there’s more to the mega-liner than meets the eye. More like a floating resort, these massive ships offer everything from water parks and adventure rides, to casinos, cinemas, ice-skating rinks and of course, a bountiful array of dining options.
If you’re looking to splash out, try a two-story luxury penthouse. On a mega-liner cruise, the ship is often the main attraction.
While mega-liners accommodate as many as 6,500 passengers, the average small-ship cruise will carry between 600 and 1,000 passengers.
Offering a more relaxed and intimate onboard atmosphere, many small ship cruises focus on immersive shore tours with a cultural twist.
On sea days, expect to find guest lecturers, a focus on local wines and cuisine, as well as top-notch spas. Small-ships can vary from budget and family friendly to all-inclusive uber-lux journeys.
3. Expedition cruising
If you prefer culture and adventure over waterslides and cabaret, then expedition cruising may be for you. Shore excursions could include everything from hiking, biking and diving in the tropics, to zodiac adventures in the Arctic.
Visit a remote village or witness the local wildlife as you venture beyond the typical tourist hotspots. Cruises of this nature are often limited to just a few dozen to a few hundred passengers.
4. Adventure cruises
Similar to expedition cruises, adventure cruises are generally smaller ships that specialise in onboard lectures, nature, culture and history. Enrichment programs are often a highlight, providing a multilayered glimpse into each destination.
Because of their smaller size, these ships can access those hidden destinations with small, tucked away ports, and shallow bays.
5. Luxury cruises
On a luxury cruise, it’s all about you. From Michelin-Star chefs to personal butlers, top-shelf drinks, award-winning spa retreats and extra inclusions such as Wi-Fi, luxury bath products, and even shore excursions, a luxury cruise offers the royal-treatment to each and every passenger. It may cost a little more, but you may find the inclusions are worth the upgrade.
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Embrace your sense-of-adventure and set sail for the trip-of-a-lifetime on a tall-ship. Your dedicated sailing crew are marine ambassadors with a love for the open seas.
These grand sailing vessels cater to a small number of people and can sail where the bigger ships just can’t go. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to cruise on a traditional sailing ship, this may be the cruise for you.
But don’t worry, you won’t be asked to learn the ropes…unless of course, you really wanted to.
7. Family getaways
While most ships are child-friendly, some are dedicated to family fun. Kid’s clubs, elaborate swimming pool areas, babysitting services (a hit with every parent), adjoining family rooms and activities for tots to teens, are all on the family getaway cruise.
Look out for special kids discount deals, and cruise lines with full-time programs for younger children.
On most cruises, you have to pay for items from beverages to shore tours and Wi-Fi. On an all-inclusive cruise, however, most everything is included in the price of your initial fare.
Do you feel like a cocktail and lunch at the pool? How about a 5-star dining venue for dinner? With the all-inclusive cruise, there’s no paying extra for such conveniences. Even things like onboard Wi-Fi and shore excursions may be included.
The up-front fare may be higher, but when you add up all the benefits, it just might be worth the cost.
9. Repositioning cruises
Each season, cruise lines must often reposition ships to a different region or part of the world. Not part of any scheduled itinerary, these cruises can offer exceptionally discounted fares.
Regardless of the length of the journey, or the route, the onboard experience remains the same. What you will find are plenty of long stretches of sea days to really enjoy the ship and its amenities.
Generally lasting from 75 to 100+ days, an around-the-world cruise will venture to many of the world’s top ports. Often the ship will be filled with experienced cruisers and you will need to choose your style of ship wisely, considering it will be your home-away-from-home for months at a time. But these itineraries include many bonus options not normally offered on standard cruise itineraries.