A Cruise Ship Vacation can offer a stress free way of experiencing exotic and foreign destinations but is it for you?
I've never personally been on a Cruise so I can't write from experience on this one.
I do however have many friends who are great fans of a cruise and I have drawn on their experiences.
It seems that once you've been on a cruise they assure me you will be fully converted to this stress free way to see the world.
People seem to like cruise ship vacations for a variety of reasons. They appear to offer great value for money because the fares include nearly everything you'll need for a fantastic trip: food, accommodations, daytime and evening entertainment and transport between travel destinations.
If you're Looking for luxury? Upscale lines are even more inclusive, with alcohol and soft drinks, gratuities, shore tours, onboard spending credits, and even flights often bundled into the base price. It is important to check what is included in the package before you commit yourself.
What appeals to me is that on a cruise ship vacation, you unpack once and your floating hotel takes you from city to city or from island to island and there’s no need to mess with train or ferry schedules, or lug your suitcase along cobblestone streets.
I like the idea that every morning, you'll wake up in a new
place. You can choose an itinerary that takes in your favourite places
and you can choose the length of time you want to be away by having the
choice to join the cruise at different destinations.
A cruise ship vacation appears to offer great flexibility and choice. There are cruises to suit all age groups and occasions from honeymooners, families with children, over 50's, and even singles.
Don't think that a cruise isn't for you if you have mobility problems. There are cruise ships specifically designed to cater for passengers with restricted mobility.
If you don't like flying you can choose to sail and return from
one of the main ports or you can choose to fly and cruise by either
flying out and joining the ship or flying back. There are even packages
that offer to pick you up and return you to your home.
Today's cruise ships are designed to keep everyone happy.
You can choose to be pampered at the spa while your spouse hits the casino? Or lounge in the sun reading a book while your family plays basketball. You can go to an educational lecture, a wine tasting, a computer class or a dance workshop; paint pottery, play bridge, learn a language or do yoga; dine at a casual buffet, a fancy sit-down restaurant, a sushi bar, a diner or a steakhouse.
There is always plenty of entertainment on a cruise ship vacation. You can watch a movie, a comedy routine, a song-and-dance show or live music performance. And if all you want to do is nothing while the ship sails from port to port you can do that, too.
If like me you're concerned about being stranded in the middle of the ocean, relax. I've been reliably advised that cruise ships are like floating cities with everything you could possibly want onboard. Today's vessels are outfitted with Wi-Fi, cell service and satellite TV so you can stay in touch with the real world during your cruise (if you even want to).
Onboard shops sell the toiletries you forgot to pack, medical centers can provide meds or a doctor's services if needed, and laundry facilities let you wash your clothes mid-cruise so you don't need to over-pack. Of course, there's also the fun stuff like gyms, multiple restaurants, movie screens, spas, swimming pools, theatres and discos. And in the rare emergency, there are always enough lifeboats for everyone onboard.
A cruise ship vacation is one of the best ways to see the most exotic and foreign destinations in this world in an easy way without having to worry about not being able to speak the language or worrying about the local customs.
Itineraries offer calls at major cities and picturesque villages, all of which will be regional highlights, so you don't have to do the research. You can rest assured that they will seek out the best places to visit in each destination.
If you're uncomfortable with independent sightseeing in a new locale, simply take a ship's tour with English-speaking guides, or team up with the more experienced travellers you meet onboard to share a cab or private guide.
If you enjoy meeting new people then there are plenty of opportunities. You'll meet people at your dinner table, at the piano bar or by the pool. The person seated next to you might be from Paris, Texas, or Paris, France; London, Ontario, or London, England.
Of course cruises have a reputation that if you're looking for Mr. or Ms. 'Right' there is proof that many long-term relationships begin during a vacation at sea.
Cruise ship vacations come in all shapes and sizes and not all Cruises are on the ocean.
All you have to do is decide what kind of cruise you fancy. To help you narrow your choice down and answer any questions about cruising you may have here are some useful links.
www.cruisecritic.co.uk is an excellent all round site. It covers just about everything you need to know about cruising.
Check out this section cruises for people with disabilities if mobility is a problem.
cruise.com is one of the internets largest cruise specialists offering cruises to suit just about everyone.
cruisemates.com is another comprehensive site which offers a complete online cruise guide and an online community where you can chat about your experiences and even arrange to meet them onboard if you wish.
If you're looking for a cruise ship vacation that is a little different, perhaps you want to celebrate some special anniversary or perhaps you are craving adventure and seeking a cruising experience with a bit of a challenge then take a look at these two companies.
The first is Uniworld Boutique Cruise Line The world's only authentic boutique cruise line.
They have the most luxurious fleet of ships, all of which are uniquely designed and elegantly decorated and appointed with the finest furnishings, inspiring original art, and modern luxuries.
Their Award-winning, anticipatory, and distinguished hospitality is built on the premise of “no request is too large, no detail too small”. World-class cuisine prepared with the freshest ingredients and an outstanding selection of wine.
If I win the lottery this is the one that I'll try!
The second one is for those seeking adventure.
These ships are for savvy sailors looking for a one-of-a-kind seafaring experience. Clear skies, blue seas and billowing white sails add up to a romantic fantasy voyage. Although itineraries are mapped out in advance, the Captain follows the whim of the wind when it comes to the actual time you arrive in and depart from port. Flexibility and new experiences are what the Star Clippers fleet is all about.