Cruising has been a popular method of travel for over 100 years and is the perfect alternative for holidaymakers who do not want to fly. But, due to some common misconceptions, many myths have been created that might deter you from taking the initial plunge. So, here are a few that you may have heard of along with the reality of what you can expect.
The most common mistake that non-cruisers are lured into is the idea that cruising is boring. Thankfully, this is only a myth. Whether you are sailing to the snow-capped mountains along the Norwegian Fjords or relaxing on sandy shores of the Caribbean, the world is your oyster when it comes to which destinations you want to explore.
While you are on board, you will be lost for choice with what to do, including everything from bumper cars and indoor sky-diving to surf simulators, race tracks and climbing walls. This doesn’t even include entertainment such as west-end musicals, casinos, cookery classes and spa facilities to help you settle into the cruising atmosphere.
On the surface, cruising may seem like it costs more than your average holiday, but when you consider what you get for your money, you’ll start to see it’s actually brilliant value. For a start, you are likely to get more out of your experience while sailing on a luxurious mega-ship. Plus, the fact that you will be seeing multiple destinations means you can tick more off your bucket list.
Once you start to add in different factors you will start to notice how cost effective cruises are. Currently, you can get a seven-night European cruise with Royal Caribbean for as little as £499 per person. As with most cruises, this includes all your activities, your food, health and fitness programs and entertainment. You can also look forward to fantastic service that you would expect in a five-star hotel or top-end restaurant.
If you were to ask this question 50 years ago, you might have been right. But the cruising industry is developing quickly and more cruise lines are looking at creating cruises to suit all. You will also be surprised to hear that the average age for a cruiser has dropped to 46 and was only 56 in 2002.
This has led to a growing surge of younger cruisers and many cruise lines now offer great incentives for families; some companies are even specifically targeting millennials. You can see that things have changed when you step on board too. Many ships have shifted from the formal nights to a more casual feel, added bionic bars and sound systems, and even taken inspiration from children.
Depending on which cruise line you choose, how long you will stay in a particular port will vary. Larger lines tend to give cruisers the day to explore (usually around 8 am till 9:30 pm), but if you are to choose a smaller vessel, you are more likely to get overnight ports where you can enjoy drinks out and late-night meals.
All companies tend to stay at larger cities for longer as many cruise lines understand that you can’t see a whole city in a day. Cruising is the perfect way to get the right amount of each destination. With addition of shore excursions, you can quickly get to see the best elements of each port of call.
Many Cruise companies pride themselves on their food, and for good reason. Depending on how large your ship is, the number of dining venues you will be able to choose from will differ. For example, Symphony of the Seas holds a monumental 19 different dining venues (seven complimentary and 12 speciality), while other ships may only have two.
Each venue is intricately designed to allow you to sample flavours from a distinct part of the world. Whether you want Mexican, Italian or Spanish cuisine, you can savour delicious delicacies amongst like-minded cruisers. Plus, with plenty of Michelin-starred chefs, including the likes of Thomas Keller, Atul Kochar and Marco Pierre White, adding their own unique touches to specific venues, the food has never been better on board your favourite vessel.
Lastly, there’s the notorious myth that you can’t cruise solo. Over the last couple of years, single cruisers have been receiving more attention from the cruising community and the dreaded single supplement has been re-examined. Now solos are paying close to the same amount, if not less than couples due to special offers and brand new single cabins that are targeted towards the solo traveller. The best part of single cruising is you can meet new people and explore the world exactly how you want to.
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