Cruises are one of the best ways to travel worry-free. Typically, they are all-inclusive and give passengers the opportunity to see numerous destinations within one trip, all while enjoying a multitude of onboard amenities, including world-class cuisine, live entertainment, casinos, organized activities and events, and first-class service. Guests can relax and enjoy a cocktail by the pool while the Captain worries about schedules.
These days, travelers can choose from several cruise lines as well as an abundance of destinations, and we have a Favourite 5.
The most common and inexpensive cruises currently on the market are those to the Caribbean. These are perfect for families, couples, seniors, and even college/university students seeking some down time. The cruises transport travelers to a paradise of turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and warm sunny days for a total relaxation package. Specific destinations including The Bahamas, Cuba, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. More luxurious and exotic destinations include St. Lucia, Barbados, Aruba, and St. Maarten. Caribbean cruises come in two different forms: You can either take the ship to a destination and then stay a few days before embarking the ship once again to head for home, basically as an alternative to a plane; or you can cruise from island to island and spend a short time on each of them. The latter is our favourite option as it provides numerous experiences during one vacation. When you reach these gorgeous havens there is plenty to do – immerse yourself in the culture, parasail, snorkel or scuba dive, swim with dolphins, hike, zipline, and much more. Whether you want to relax on a quiet beach, explore the sea, or explore the land, you’ll get it all during a Caribbean cruise.
An Alaskan cruise is like no other because tourists get to see beautiful landscapes that have little to no human interference, which is a rare sight. The mountains, the forests, the glaciers, and most importantly, the wildlife – such as whales, eagles, bears, moose, and seals – all make this cruise very appealing to travelers wanting something more out of their vacation than just sand and sea. We recommend bringing lots of warm outerwear so you can enjoy side excursions such as snowshoeing, snowmobiling, skiing/snowboarding, dog-sledding, and nature tours. Bring binoculars to enjoy spectacular views of aquatic life and birds, plus glaciers and gorgeous terrain. The purpose of these cruises is to bring vacationers close to nature and experience multi-cultural heritage should you choose to debark the ship and partake in the available activities. But even if you don’t get off the ship, the scenery alone will provide unforgettable memories.
European cruises, specifically river cruises, are the best travel option for those looking to visit multi destinations in the EU. These cruises are beautiful and peaceful, with comfortable cabins that include a private balcony. The food is delicious and the service is usually first-rate. The prices pale in comparison to what you would pay to fly to and stay in each city individually. Destinations can include cities in England, France, Italy, Sweden, Russia, Ireland, Greece, Spain, and many more. These river cruises will allow you to see all the major sights as they dock in the heart of each city, at which time, travelers have the option of debarking for the day to explore the surroundings before returning to the ship. The most affordable and comfortable way to travel Europe is definitely via a river cruise.
4. South America
A cruise to South America can be described in one word: stunning. Whether you are sailing to Rio de Janerio in Brazil, Buenos Aires in Argentina, Santiago in Chile, Machu Picchu in Peru, or a combination of destinations, you are sure to see history, gorgeous landscapes, and lots of wildlife. We recommend stepping off the ship to explore the exotic land, experience the culture, and taste the unique cuisine as it will be an adventure like nothing you have ever experienced before. However, you need to be careful in this part of the world – travel with a friend and don’t split up, especially if you plan to venture into a crowded city. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t take all of your valuables with you. With this in mind, as long as you travel smart, you will be fine and your vacation will be one you brag about for many years to come.
5. French Polynesia
You’ve seen photos of it, you’ve dreamed of going there, then you looked at the price of a flight and hotel and the dream instantly died. Luckily, cruises to the South Pacific oasis known as French Polynesia are much more cost-friendly. For travelers known to get seasick, perhaps this is not for you as these cruises take days to reach the remote islands. However, once you are there, you quickly learn that the long trip was worth it as you gave upon white sand beaches, turquoise water so clear you can see to the bottom, picturesque rainforests, and over-the-water huts that beckon visitors and to relax. The most visited islands are Bora Bora, Tahiti, and Fiji. All have plenty to offer in the way of activities including but not limited to snorkeling in a garden of coral, swimming with dolphins, catamaran tours, rainforest hikes, surf lessons, or just lounging on the palm covered beach and listening to the ocean. French Polynesia is rich in history boasting the Samoan culture so while you’re there, experience the traditions and take in a luau or a fire-dancing celebration. This vacation will create memories to last a lifetime. The island destination is among the most luxurious on earth.
To ensure that your cruise is the best it can be, keep in mind that your cabin selection can make or break your trip. Accommodations that are too small or far too noisy are bound to cause frustration, no matter how little time you plan to spend there. Ensure that you work with your travel agent to select the best cabin available to avoid noise from all-night venues and activities, as well as potential noise from the galley. Ask whether you will have an unobstructed or partially obstructed view, and try to avoid cabins where you’ll need to keep your curtains closed 24/7 due to passengers walking by.
If you’re the type of traveler that suffers from seasickness, avoid Atlantic cruises during the winter months when the ocean is the roughest, and ensure that you book your cabin mid-ship where it is the most stable.
Lastly, smaller cabins are always the least expensive. On the surface, that sounds great; however, once you are on board, size often becomes more of a concern than money. It will undoubtedly spoil your good time if your room is too small to get comfortable.
Lead Photo by By Cristo Vlahos – CC BY-SA 4.0