Cruising – the very word brings to mind a carefree, smooth experience either on ocean, sea, river or docked in one of the world’s great metropolises. 2019 should be the year when you discover the delights of the cruising life for yourself.
We present 20 reasons why 2019 should be the year you embark on a voyage of discovery for yourself!
1. Facilities and activities
There is so much to do on a modern cruise ship. Whether it’s keeping fit in gyms, attending lectures, watching a movie or lecture in a dedicated theatre, taking a yoga, pilates or pin class, going to an onboard water park, zip lining, rock climbing, or even just taking a stroll or jog around the deck.
Alternatively you can use the 24/7 restaurant and food and drink facilities or just lie in your cabin and watch the world going by…
2. Escape the winter
There’s no better way to beat the winter blues than to take a cruise to sunnier climes in the dark months. Any destination including the Caribbean, South Seas, New Zealand, the Far East or any of the Indian Ocean islands will let you build your tan and cut down on your heating bills!
3. See the sights of Europe
A Baltic cruise can let you take in the capitals of a lot of countries that are very close together in a minimum amount of time. If you visited Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania then you could easily visit Helsinki, St Petersburg, Riga, Wismar, Visby, Tallinn and Copenhagen within days. Some cruises will allow you to spend extra time in some of the nicer locations and visit museums or attend events like concerts.
4. Chase the wind
Not every cruise ship is a towering behemoth of glass and steel. You can still sail on a traditional vessel with sails and crew quarters. Sailing between Central America and the Caribbean or across the Mediterranean between Africa, Europe and Asia in one of these crafts will give you an appreciation of the art of seafaring with the luxury of relaxing too.
5. Avoid the airport
Leaving the UK by air for an international destination can often see you leaving in the dead of night to travel hundreds of miles for the privilege. Many cruises firms allow users to pick their closest point of embarkation including Liverpool, Bristol, London, Tilbury, Southampton, Belfast, Edinburgh and Newcastle.
6. In Shackleton’s footsteps
If the idea of idly spending your days at sea doesn’t appeal then you could give your brain a workout instead. Several science expedition cruises allow passengers to have access to their onboard labs where they can conduct experiments and examine ice crystals and meteors under microscopes.
7. Gatsby Glamour
Imagine sailing into New York harbour at dawn, watching the sun rise over the most famous and distinctive skyline on the planet with Gershwin playing in the background. The right cruise ship can evoke the hedonistic glamour of the 20s and 30s with the right surroundings.
8. Booze cruise
Many cruises offer exclusive wine tasting on board and access to some of the best collections in the world while some more modern ones are offering craft beer tasting excursions or trips to some of the most reputable vineyards and wine regions in the world for you to enjoy your hobby at first hand.
9. Northern lights
Another advantage of a cruise is that you are far away from land and man-made light so you can stargaze in near perfect conditions. A cruise further north to the arctic circle and Norway will let you see the aurora borealis in all their glory as well as being able to sample the delights of Scandinavia on any stops including off the beaten track destinations such as Greenland or the Faroe Islands.
Tributes have their charm but you can never beat the original and if you are a fan of German brewing then a river cruise through Austria and Bavaria will sate your thirst for quality beer, amazing food, beautiful scenery and the warmest hospitality.
11. Utter luxury
If money is no object then the pinnacle of cruising perfection can be open to you. Horsehair beds costing upward of £100,000; the finest carpets, cushions and soft furnishings, gold plated bathroom fittings, marble loungers, exclusive balconies and apartments, penthouse quality views and facilities. Cruising can certainly be done on a budget but it can also bring you the most luxurious travel surroundings in the world.
12. Barge in
Cruising doesn’t have to be through oceans and rivers. If you like the shipboard life you can easily stick to smaller waterways and canals and go on a barge holiday. Sleeping up to 20 passengers depending on the size of the barge, you can take your time exploring the countryside and cities of the lowlands or Britain.
13. River life
We think of the main rivers of Europe as waterways or backdrops to our lives but the Thames, Seine, Danube, Rhine and many others can be cruised upon. These trips will let you discover new perspectives on places that you might be very familiar with.
14. Start them young
Cruising isn’t just for adults or seniors. Children are enjoying the cruise lifestyle and there are several ships and activities just for them. There are cruises to the North Pole to meet Santa in person; there is Jedi training to help prepare young padawans to face the Empire when they grow up and of course the mighty Disney cruise ships that sail the Caribbean. These cruises from Florida around the main Bahaman island and other chains are the perfect family holiday experience.
15. To boldly go where not many people have gone before
Cruising allows you to visit places that are far off the beaten tourist track and you would not think of casually visiting such as Papua New Guinea; the Galapagos Islands; Cape Horn; Australia’s Kimberly Coast; the Far East of Russia; Aldabra and Greenland. Make sure you get to them before every travel magazine starts naming them as the next big undiscovered destination.
16. Cruise into Christmas
The ideal way to visit traditional European Christmas markets and towns is to take a special yuletide themed cruise. You can sample mulled wine, real gingerbread men and women and the alpine spirit from the range of winter markets that are popping up all over the continent. Whether it’s by river or sea, a cruise at winter will never be forgotten.
17. You take the high road
A cruise around the rugged coasts of Scotland’s highland and islands will appeal to the adventurous spirit but is within easy reach of anybody. Whether it’s wanting to see puffins or dolphin pods or see the waterways between Mull, Oban, the Orkney or Shetland Isles and inlets made famous by Para Handy and the Vital Spark, the price and distance mean this cruising experience is closer than ever.
18. Dance yourself dizzy
As well as being able to cruise and visit some of the most romantic cities in the world and the best ballrooms, some cruises are offering specific dance themed experiences. Whether it’s daily Zumba classes on board or ballroom dance themed cruises inspired by Strictly Come Dancing or The Voice, you will discover your inner diva the moment you hit the dance floor!
19. If not now, when?
Life ticks by and when we take stock we realise that time disappears even more quickly as we get older. Maybe we don’t have the time to do everything we wanted to do but we do have the time to see the places we really want to. Why not take that cruise to Australia or the Far East? Why not head to Florida and the keys this winter for a perfect New Year break? Why not see a real Hawaiian volcano with your own eyes? Memories last forever but you have to make them first.
20. To Russia with love
If you have been inspired by great Russian romances like Dr Zhivago or the historic sweep and splendour of War and Peace or the works of Dostoyevsky then a Russian cruise taking in the Hermitage at St Petersburg and the splendour of Moscow and Red Square will help you understand this much misunderstood and mysterious country even more.