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Cruising, The Perfect Holiday

Joanna Hall

Travelling by ship is a romantic throwback to a bygone era, where the salt air, the open ocean, and the anticipation of a new port of call come together to create a unique experience. While the romance of high seas still exists, cruising today is no longer a mode of long distance travel; among savvy travellers it’s a popular holiday option, with more ships and itineraries to choose from than ever before. Part of the appeal of cruising for many is the ships; like floating resorts, they offer a stylish way to visit several destinations in a single trip, with no packing and unpacking required. Cruising can also be exceptional value for money, with meals and entertainment included in the fare, and with ships ranging from basic to five-star, there is one to suit all budgets. 

Another big draw is the destinations, and the experiences on offer. On a cruise it’s possible to go snorkelling one day, explore ancient ruins the next, and round each day off with a cold beer watching the sun set. And for mature travellers especially, cruising is an ideal way to travel in a safe and hassle-free manner. Even if you’re not light on your feet, you won’t have to worry about getting from A to B, and if you have a health condition there are doctors on board. Choosing the right cruise is important for everyone, so what do you need to consider? Top of the list is setting a budget, and having an idea of where you want to cruise and when, remembering that some destinations are seasonal. Another key decision is choosing the right ship, so here’s our pick of the best for adults and couples. 

Five Star 

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, Crystal Cruises

Today’s five-star ships have celebrity chef hosted alternative restaurants, elaborate spas, and accommodations with perks such as private butlers. Cruise on Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager and every stateroom is a suite with its own private balcony, while on Seabourn you’ll be dining on cuisine inspired by celebrated chef, Thomas Keller. Most luxury lines also have all-inclusive fares, so you’ll hardly pay for anything else after boarding. 

Luxury Lite

Oceania Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises

This is hybrid category which sits somewhere between premium and five star, with plenty to offer anyone who enjoys affordable luxury. Ships are generally small to mid-sized and stylish, with open seating dining, alternative restaurants at no extra charge, or for a nominal fee, and perks including complimentary shuttles in port and bottled water.

Large Ships

Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Princess Cruises.

If you love to be busy and well entertained on holiday, it’s hard to look further than some of these cruise lines. Their liners boast a gamut of facilities as standard, from big-production Broadway-style shows and cooking classes, to destination spas and golf simulators. They often have unusual features too. For example, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 boasts the only full-sized planetarium at sea, which is housed in its Illuminations theatre, while the three newest Princess ships have the signature overwater SeaWalk feature, a long, glass-bottomed walkway which cantilevers the ships' sides.


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