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Which Type of Cruise Should I Take?

Joanna Hall

Cruising isn’t all sunbathing and cocktails. With new ships and new places to cruise, there are alluring options to suit all tastes.

Think of what your perfect holiday would involve, and there is bound to be something which involves taking to the high seas on a ship. From expedition cruising, to luxury voyages where butlers ensure you don’t lift a finger, the choice of experiences available today is staggering. Here’s a few suggestions to whet your appetite.

Luxury Cruising

Top Picks: Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises.

Ask anyone who has cruised and they’ll tell you it’s not longer for the overfed or nearly dead. And if you are a discerning cruiser who craves elegance, gourmet cuisine, and high fashion on the high seas, there are several cruise lines which are more than equipped to fulfil your desires. At the luxury end of the cruising scale, today’s true five-star ships offer more than just the facilities of floating resorts circumnavigating the globe. They have celebrity chef lead alternative restaurants, elaborate destination spas, all-suite accommodations with iPod docks, lavish marble bathrooms, and more - the list for indulgent travel goes on and on. Cruise on Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager or Mariner, for example, and every stateroom is a full-sized suite with its own private balcony, while if you hit the high seas with Seabourn you’ll be dining on fine cuisine inspired by Chef Thomas Keller. An with Silversea everyone on board has a butler.

European River Cruising

Top Picks: Avalon Waterways, Scenic, APT Touring, Viking River Cruises.

It’s early on a European summer morning, and your river boat is slipping into its mooring in a new port of call. As you tuck into a hearty breakfast on deck, a day of varied and interesting activities lies ahead of you; exploring a medieval village with a private guide on foot, a spot of wine tasting, and later on a gala dinner featuring locally sourced gourmet food and entertainment. This is a small slice of the river cruising experience, a wonderful way to see some of Europe’s major cities and hidden haunts, as well as taking in the scenery along some of the continent’s famous waterways. It’s a booming area of the market, and for anyone seeking a change from ocean cruising it’s well worth considering. Today’s river cruisers boast all the facilities of their high seas counterparts, from spacious, well equipped accommodations to sun decks and choices of dining venues on board, with some sporting plunge pools and hot spas.

Luxury Lite Cruising

Top Picks: Oceania Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises.

It’s been dubbed “luxury lite”, a hybrid of sorts which sits somewhere between premium and five star. As I discovered on a cruise in Asia, however, it’s a new class of cruising which has plenty to offer anyone who enjoys luxury with an eye for a bargain. The ships of both fleets are generally small to mid-sized boasting a contemporary style, with elegant designer staterooms and suites, some with butler service. There’s open seating dining, alternative dining venues at no extra charge, or for a nominal fee, and a variety of other perks often exclusive to cruises at the top end of the scale, such as complimentary shuttles in port and bottled water. 

Adventure Cruising

Top Picks: Coral Expeditions, Hurtigruten, Lindblad

You’re in crystal clear azure water miles from land, swimming towards a pristine stretch of coral reef. That’s when the wow factor of the Great Barrier Reef kicks in; colourful corals, pretty reef fish, giant clams, and the odd reef shark fusing in a show of nature which is simply breathtaking. This is an example of adventure cruising at its best; a small, specialist ship equipped for explorers, and frequenting remote destinations which bigger vessels can’t. And the good news for cruisers is that there is more choice than ever before for anyone wishing to combine a holiday on high seas, with an adventure to remember. These are cruises where you get up close and personal with nature at its best, from penguins in Antarctica and Komodo dragons in Indonesia, to Norway’s rugged landscapes and the remote rainforests of Borneo.

Mid-to-Large Size Cruising

Top Picks: Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Princess

If you are a cruiser who loves to be kept busy and well entertained on a high seas holiday, it’s hard to look further than some of the larger cruise ships cruising the seven seas. Today’s modern liners boast a gamut of facilities as standard, from big-production Broadway-style shows and cooking classes, to state-of-the-art fitness facilities and golf simulators. Take Princess, for example, a popular line with a fleet of ships ranging from mid-sized to large, packed with facilities and options for all budgets, and cruising the four corners of the globe. Then there’s the perennially popular grand dame of the ocean, the Queen Mary 2, which has just been refurbished, and never fails to wow guests with her tradition and history. And there’s also Celebrity’s stylish Solstice, maiden ship of the popular Solstice class. Also fresh from a makeover, she offers local cruisers a modern twist on the traditional cruising experience, including unique facilities such as a half-acre Lawn Club with real grass, as well as trendsetting cuisine and dedicated spa staterooms.  

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