For travelers who want to see the world without compromising on accommodations, today’s cruise ships offer the best of both worlds: transportation, adventure, and ever changing views, plus cosseting and comfort via private balconies, fluffy bedding, butler service, gourmet restaurants, and ethereal spas.
There are more than 30 cruise lines in Cruise Specialists portfolio, ranging from mega ocean liners to boutique ships, expedition vessels, riverboats, and even yachts.
No matter how you set sail, let’s count the ways a cruise will float your boat.
1. Hassle-Free Relaxation
Check in and instantly check out from scheduled responsibilities other than planning your next day in port. From Champagne sail-away toasts to walks along open air promenades, on itineraries as varied as transatlantic crossings or island-hopping, breathe in and let the water views work their wonders.
2. Unpack Just Once
Enjoy the secret thrill of stowing your luggage out of sight for the duration of
the trip. Embarkation, i.e., move-in day, is the last time in 7, 14, or 90 days (or more) that you’ll be bothered with your bags. Cruising allows you to settle in without settling for one setting. From the tropics to the poles, oh, the places you’ll go, all while dressing from a closet rather than a suitcase.
3. A Gangway to the World
By river or ocean, cruising lets you hit world highlights – and your bucket list – in each port of call. Float the idea of raising good global citizens by bringing the kids. (Tip: A cruise offers something for all ages, which also makes it an ideal multi-generational vacation with grandparents).
4. The Value Equation
Cruising’s bundled pricing means you avoid nickeling-and-diming, and it can result in some incredible extras, in addition to meals and entertainment. “Crystal, Regent, and some other luxury lines often include business-class airfare, which can be almost double when priced separately, so that’s a very nice deal,” says New York City-based travel advisor Julie Danziger.
“Shipboard credits that you can use at the spa or in the shops are also nice perks.” Depending on the line, shore excursions, alcohol, and gratuities may also be included, further enhancing the value.
5. Wining and Dining
Explore the art of miniature desserts or master the science of high-heat grilling in classes at the Culinary Arts Kitchen, a hands-on teaching facility and the very first cooking school from Regent Seven Seas Cruises, aboard its newest ship, Seven Seas Explorer.
Take a wine seminar on aromas, tannins, or stemware to pair with certain vintages – sometimes with the winemakers themselves – at The Cellars, a Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar, aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Dawn.
Chef’s Table menus aboard AmaWaterways’ river ships have been revamped to include three appetizers, three main dishes, and three desserts. Don’t worry about choosing: You get all nine, in mini portions, served at tables overlooking the exhibition kitchen.
Accompany the chef of Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Star on market shopping trips in Guadeloupe and return to help prepare a three-course meal with the local bounty.
6. Wellness on the Water
UnCruise Adventures shapes up with new shipboard fitness classes on select departures, featuring Life Time Academy instructors, wellness excursions that focus on walking meditation, and core strength development via kayaking and hiking.
Bike, hike, and canoe along the Danube River on new active itineraries between Linz and Budapest from Avalon Waterways.
7. Take the Kids
Whether it’s the kids’ clubs with activities tailored for all ages or the buffet lines with unlimited desserts, we’ve yet to meet a child who doesn’t love cruising. Here are a few new family-friendly programs.
Your kid will come back smarter after participating in Celebrity Cruises’new Anturus Explorer Academy. Connecting science to the real world using interactive activities, group experiments, and outings, the program explores navigation, time, and weather systems. For the artists in the family, Celebrity’s Creation Station offers arts and crafts and the opportunity to create a custom Budsies stuffed animal.
Go on themed scavenger hunts, bake cookies, or belt out karaoke hits at the newly remodeled Fantasia and Waves clubs for children and teens, respectively, aboard Crystal Cruises’ Serenity and Symphony.
Baby on board? Entrust children as young as 6 months to the nannies aboard Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Norwegian Escape, and rest well for an hour or two.
8. Invitation-Only Events
Cruise Specialists is able to offer special perks like shipboard credits, entrée to private cocktail parties and exclusive shore excursions, and more. Gain access to the complimentary extras via your travel advisor.
A sampling of excursions:
Tour the 700-year-old fish market in historic Bergen, Norway, followed by a boat ride to Holmen Island for lunch at the acclaimed Cornelius seafood restaurant with Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and Seabourn.
Explore old and new Shanghai on a private tour that spans a sixteenth century residence, art deco architectural icons, and a forward-looking urban planning museum with Crystal Cruises, Holland America Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Silversea Cruises.
9. Learn Along the Way
Today’s cruises aren’t conga-line clichés – many now offer educational opportunities, workshops by renowned experts, special guest speakers, and more.
Frame up those blue-footed boobies and giant tortoises in the Galápagos Islands with the help of certified photographers aboard Lindblad Expeditions’ latest ship, the National Geographic Endeavour II.A new production aboard Seabourn Encore, An Evening with Tim Rice, takes audiences on a musical journey through the best-known works – including Evita and The Lion King – of the acclaimed theater lyricist. Rice will also make select appearances on cruises throughout the show’s run.
Explore your family tree with genealogy pros from Ancestry.com on a specific themed transatlantic crossing with Cunard.
10. “Wow” Experiences
Living large, immersing yourself in another culture and giving back are just a few of the memories you might make at sea.
- Rent a villa for the day at Great Stirrup Cay, a private Bahamian island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, with 22 private villas with pools on the cay.
- Immerse yourself in the wildlife of the Amazon with Aqua Expeditions. They even give each guest on their Amazon expeditions a complimentary Amazon wildlife and bird list so you can check off each wildlife “find” along the way.
- Jump ship for Royal Caribbean’s multi-day shore excursions, which explore the Mayan ruins of Tikal in Guatemala and Greece’s ancient citadels.
- Take in a belly dancing performance in Tangier, Morocco, or a live concert at Turkey’s Celsus Library in Ephesus during private destination discovery events with Windstar Cruises.
- Work with orphans in Rio de Janeiro or clean a beach in Hawaii with Crystal Cruises’ “You Care, We Care” volunteer excursions.
Our list could go on and on, but we think the point has been made. Whatever you want to do, wherever you want to go, it’s simply better on a cruise.
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