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Cruising is the travel industry’s brightest star and last year around 11 million people enjoyed a holiday at sea. There are many misconceptions when it comes to cruising such as it being boring with nothing to do, tiny cabins or a constant feeling of seasickness. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
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Cruises are great value for travelers
Cruising offers incredible value and there has never been such an exciting and wide choice of ships and itineraries. For one price, just about everything is included - your cabin or stateroom, all meals as well as all your onboard activities and entertainment. You will also get to see a whole host of wonderful destinations on one itinerary, waking up to a new port of call almost every day whilst only having to unpack once.
Who are Cruises for?
Cruises are suitable for singles, couples, families and honeymoons. You can choose from full facility superliners where the action never stops, to small, relaxing cruise ships where the onboard atmosphere is similar to that of a private club. Activities and Kids Clubs onboard are tailored to various age groups and mostly included in the price.
Types of Cruises
There are different cruise holiday types to choose from. There are fly-cruises which include flights to meet up with your ship in its port or if you don't like flying, more and more cruise lines are now basing ships in UK ports, USA ports and other European ports allowing you to sail round-trip to such destinations as the Mediterranean, Europe, Baltics, Norwegian Fjords and even the Caribbean.
Multiple Cruise Destinations
With over 300 ships, 1800 ports and an unbelievable collection of places to see, you’ll visit new fascinating destinations almost every day and you can cruise to all corners of the globe from the sunny cruise ships of the Caribbean or Mediterranean and to the dramatic scenery of the Norwegian Fjords or Alaska. You’ll only have to unpack once rather than packing and unpacking again and again to take many flights on a similar multi-centre land holiday.
Cruises are Great Value
Cruising is great value and is relatively inexpensive compared to other types of holidays. The price of cruises usually includes accommodation, 24-hour meals and snacks, nightly entertainment and most onboard activities, plus flights and transfers where applicable; it can easily be compared with Club Med or better!
Dress Code for Cruises
Few things create as much confusion for first time cruisers as to what to wear for dinner and evening. The dress code onboard really depends on the cruise line that you choose to cruise with. The daytime dress code onboard is always casual. However in the evening the dress code can vary from one cruise line. Many cruise lines assign daily evening dress codes which are usually one of three styles - Casual, Informal / Smart Casual or Formal and applies from 6 pm.
There is a wonderful range of cruise ships from which to choose, from large superliners to floating resorts, to small more intimate yacht-like cruisers. On-board cruises you'll find an amazing range of facilities and amenities from state-of-the-art fitness centres and spa to nightly entertainment and glamorous casinos plus an incredible range of formal and casual dining venues to suit.
Your Cruise Accommodation
Today’s cruise ships are mostly all one class, however, prices are charged according to the cabin size and its location on the ship. Inside cabins/staterooms are the cheapest and don’t have a window. Outside cabins /staterooms have either a porthole window or a large picture window whilst Balcony cabins / staterooms offer window doors which open out onto your own veranda.
Although a growing number of cruise lines are now offering open seat dining, meaning you can turn up to eat when you like, most cruise ships have a main restaurant with fixed early and late sittings where you’ll be seated with fellow passengers each night. Many ships also have speciality restaurants with menus often designed by celebrity chefs but with an additional charge for these menu.
Currency on board of your Cruise
Cash is never used onboard cruise ships. When you first check-in you will be issued with a Ship ID swipe card which you will require to embark and disembark the ship in each port of call, and use for all your onboard purchases which will be charged to your cabin/stateroom to pay at the end of the cruise.
Cruise onshore Excursions
The cruise lines organise a selection of optional excursions at each port of call. They have been specifically designed to enrich your time fully whilst in port so often are the best way to see the destinations you visit. In addition you will get a tour guide, transfers if required, and you can relax in the knowledge that they'll get you back to the ship on time, whereas if you choose to go ashore on your own and you’re late making it back to the ship, it won’t wait.
Tips & Gratuities during your Cruise
Some ships will include your tips in the fare, whilst others will charge you a compulsory service fee. Some cruise lines still expect you to tip your cabin steward and restaurant waiter on the last night, but the cruise line will tell you if this is the case so you don't need to worry about tips for your Cruise.
Misconceptions about Cruising and Cruises
People do have a lot of reservations about taking a cruise with concerns as to whether such a holiday will suit them. There are a number of common misconceptions associated with cruising which often turns people off, but it is worth noting, for those who do take the plunge and decide to try a cruise holiday, nearly 80% make repeat bookings. Below we have highlighted some of the most common myths and the truth behind it.
I’ll be bored during my cruise
No one should ever be bored on a cruise as there’s so much to do. Whilst onboard or during days at sea there are fantastic facilities and activities to keep you fully occupied so you can choose do as much or as little as you please.
I’ll get seasick during my cruise
Seasickness and motion sickness are very rare onboard today’s modern liners. They are extremely sophisticated machines, each fully stabilised and aided by specially designed computer equipment to minimise the amount of rolling and pitching.
I’ll get a stomach illness during my cruise
Gastroenteritis and other bugs can be found almost anywhere where lots of people are in close proximity, not just on cruise ships. Simply washing your hands can decrease your chances of contracting an illness and most cruise lines have anti-septic soap dispensers throughout the ship to encourage this, particularly at the entrance to dining venues.
Cruising is too regimented
This definitely used to be the case but nowadays you can choose formal or informal cruising or even a mix of the two. Whilst some cruise lines still offer a sophisticated and traditional experience with features such as formal dining and assigned times and tables, more and more cruise lines are starting to meet the high demand for a more laid back and relaxed cruising style. Cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, NCL, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Lines offer a more informal experience including such features as open seat dining, meaning you can dine when, where and with whom you like and no compulsory requirement to dress formally every night.
Cruise ships are over-crowded
Although there can be a lot of people onboard today's modern cruise liners it is always possible to find a quiet corner somewhere on board to be alone. Ultra-luxury cruise ships generally have the highest space to passenger ratios in the industry offering plenty of spacious common areas.
Cruising is for older people
As ships continue to include more and more variety, cruising really is appealing to a younger audience and the average age of cruise passengers is decreasing every year. It may surprise you that the average age of first-time cruisers is now well under 50 and whilst it does still appeal strongly to the older generation due to its safety and ease, cruising is appealing to younger cruisers more and more.
So when you add it all up, it’s easy to see why people choose to cruise time and time again and if you've never been on a cruise before, now is the time to try one out.
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