Are you considering a cruise for your next holiday, but not sure what to expect? Perhaps you’ve always thought cruising isn’t for you. Or you just want to know more about popular cruise destinations and the best cruise ship for you to set sail on.
Cruising the open waters has long held a magnetic appeal for travellers seeking a unique blend of relaxation, adventure, and entertainment. And there are so many destinations, itineraries, and possibilities available – from the dramatic coastlines of Scandinavia to the iconic cities of the Mediterranean, to ocean voyages that are closer to home.
Embarking on a cruise isn’t just a mode of transportation; it’s an exploration. The vast expanse of the ocean, the luxurious ships designed to be floating resorts, and the diverse activities onboard create an environment that caters to all types of travellers. Whether you’re a couple seeking a romantic escape, a family hoping for a fun-filled adventure, or a solo traveller eager to meet new people, cruising offers an array of options that can fit your preferences.
Keep reading as we take a deep dive into the world of cruising and how you can make the most of your cruise experience.
What are the most popular cruise destinations?
The popularity of cruise destinations fluctuates based on ever-changing trends, cruise line offerings, and passenger preferences. Despite this, several cruise destinations consistently attract travellers, including:
Mediterranean cruises weave together history, art, and culture. Passengers explore iconic cities like Barcelona, Rome, Athens, and Venice, along with charming coastal towns. Viking’s Iconic Western Mediterranean cruise runs for eight days and takes in four countries, with destinations including the French Riviera and Tuscany.
Scandinavia and Northern Europe
Cruises in Northern Europe span Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the British Isles, where passengers can delve into historic cities, cultural landmarks, and scenic landscapes.
Australia and New Zealand
These close-to-home cruises encompass diverse encounters. Enjoy the metropolitan cities of Melbourne and Sydney, as well as the natural beauty of New Zealand with Viking’s 15 day Sydney to Auckland cruise.
Destinations such as French Polynesia, Fiji, and the Cook Islands offer exceptional snorkelling and diving experiences.
Asian cruises encompass dynamic cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Singapore, along with exotic locales like Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
Are all cruise ships the same?
There are many cruise companies to choose from, and each ship has its own bespoke offering. On a Viking ocean voyage, for example, you’ll enjoy a ship that holds just 930 guests, with no kids and no casinos. Everything you need is included, from all meals onboard, beer wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, tea coffee and bottled water 24 hours, and there is no charge for alternative dining.
Plus, there’s unlimited Wi-Fi, a shore excursion in every port, all gratuities. On board ocean and expedition vessels self-service laundries are available at no cost and there is no charge for access to the spa facilities.
How far in advance should you book?
The ideal timing for booking a cruise varies but generally, booking your cruise 12 months in advance is recommended. Booking early can secure your preferred cabin type, itinerary, and possibly discounts. For peak seasons or popular destinations, booking even earlier is advised. However, last-minute deals can also be found if you’re flexible with cabin selection and itinerary.
What activities are on board a cruise ship?
You’ll never be bored on board a cruise! Cruise ships offer a wide range of onboard activities, including live entertainment shows, swimming pools, fitness centres, shopping, art galleries, wine tastings, cooking classes, movie screenings, lectures, and more.
Want to enjoy the freedom of an adults only cruise? Some cruise lines, such as Viking, have no kids on board. Which gives guests more refined and exclusive experiences, such as specialty dining experiences, unique excursions, and spa treatments.
When choosing a cruise cabin, consider these factors:
- Location – Near lifts for convenience or away from noisy areas?
- View – Inside, ocean view, balcony, or suite, all have different costs and amenities.
- Size and layout – Choose a cabin size that suits your comfort.
- Budget – Balance desired amenities with your budget.
- Motion sensitivity – Consider lower decks for smoother sailing.
- Accessibility – If needed, pick accessible cabins with wider doors and facilities.
- Connecting cabins – Ideal for families or groups travelling together.
- Cabin category – Research different categories for specific benefits.
- Itinerary – Choose a side for better views based on the route.
What should I pack, are there any dress codes?
When packing for a cruise, consider weather-appropriate clothing, including swimwear, casual daytime attire, and formal wear for evenings. Pack comfortable shoes for walking and shore excursions. Remember essentials like toiletries, medications, travel documents, and electronic devices. Some cruises have theme nights, so pack accordingly. Check your cruise line’s guidelines for specifics, as dress codes vary.
Cruising ticks so many boxes. A cruise brings an ease of travel like no other; once you embark everything is taken care of. They are cost-effective – especially if you consider that you can enjoy a new destination every day. Smaller ships can give an intimate experience and get even closer to a port. Plus, a cruise offers flexibility and freedom – choose to do as much or as little as you like once on board and in each destination.