In certain circles, cruising has garnered a reputation for being something of an older-person’s holiday option, but taking an objective look at what a break on the water can offer reveals that it is so much more.
Forget what you think you know about cruises and you might just discover that they are the perfect holiday choice for most, if not all of us.
Modern travel marketing has taken an interesting turn. While there is still a huge amount of fantastic writing, coming from a place of genuine experience and interest, social media has leapt in to take holiday promotions to a new level.
Instagram has been particularly useful for the cruising world, with travel influencers posting pictures of incredible sights, irresistible food and stunning cabins, all while topping up those picture-perfect tans or wrapping up in the latest must-have outdoor gear. This might sound like a superficial motivation for boarding a luxury liner, but with holiday bragging a serious cause of jealousy on social media, travellers of all ages are trying to get THE picture that will make strangers follow them and friends mute their feeds. Selfies in the Norwegian fjords, sunbathing on the deck and sailing into the Caribbean, all hashtagged #wishyouwerehere and #wanderlust, are proving that cruising is still a popular holiday choice.
Back in the day, cruise excursions were a little less imaginative than they are now. You’d pull into port, jump onto dry land and spend a few hours seeing all the expected tourist sights and, if you were lucky, maybe a market. Today, things are radically more interesting, with scenic and cultural shore excursions allowing cruisers to see as much of every country as possible.
Many cruises are meticulously planned to allow passengers the maximum amount of time on dry land, if they wish to leave the comfort of their cabins. Pulling into port early in the morning, liners are emptied as curious cruisers head out into new cities to get a feel for the local charm and they now spend all day exploring. Booking ahead can open up even more experiences, such as local cooking classes, 4x4 tours and tables at the most exclusive restaurants, but that’s not to say that a lazy day or two on a new beach isn’t a worthwhile pursuit, too.
If the idea of wandering around the same deck for days or even weeks sounds like your idea of holiday hell, that’s because you missed the memo about all the entertainment aboard the best liners now. There’s more to cruising than just sun loungers and shuffleboard.
Depending on which company you decide to cruise with, you will find yourself hard-pressed to enjoy everything that a modern cruise ship has to offer. Numerous restaurants, fitness facilities and evening entertainment are all a given but what about multiple swimming pools, zip lines, yoga classes and cooking courses? Even younger children can be kept amused, when parents want a little grown-up time, as many operators offer kids' clubs that keep youngsters occupied into the early evening.
Think about a traditional holiday and you’ll realise that there’s usually an element that doesn’t quite live up to your imagination. Whether it’s a pool that’s out of action, a hotel that’s less glamorous than the online images, or food that doesn’t quite hit the spot, something often fails to impress. With a cruise, that’s unlikely to be the case.
From bow to stern, cruise liners are designed and built to offer the most luxurious accommodation possible, with nothing left to chance. Even the more modest cabins are fitted out to offer comfort and style, just in smaller proportions and then there’s the food. With numerous restaurants on offer, the dining options on a cruise are incredibly varied, meaning that you’ll always find something to satiate your appetite, whatever your cravings.
Cruising has enjoyed a buoyant few years, with 2017 setting new passenger number records and the trend continuing. If projections are accurate, upcoming years are set to break records as well. The reasons for this are numerous, but multigenerational cruising, where families travel together, an increase in wellness awareness and sustainability are all cited as key motivations.
As more travellers look for thrilling holiday options that leave a smaller footprint but don’t diminish the Instagrammable moments, cruising looks set to enjoy another surge in popularity, proving that wanderlust on the water is anything but over.