If you think that cruising is not for you, you may want to think again! There are so many choices – from ships that offer a ‘country house afloat’ experience to ships with real grass on the putting green and a climbing wall!
A little investigation will reward you, so pop into your local travel agent, do some research and see just what cruising might have for you. However be warned, once you have been you will be hooked, don’t say we didn’t warn you!
As with many things, size matters. Royal Caribbean have an ever growing fleet of larger ships which offer a dazzling array of dining options, themed bars and amazing entertainment with stunning shows and even an ice theatre, so for families this is a great option and the ships are wonderfully designed so that you never feel that you are sharing with the full complement of passengers – a very clever feature indeed. www.royalcaribbean.co.uk
For a more low key, intimate feel with superb, award winning service Fred Olsen are hard to beat – in fact they have just winning accolades and as many of these are voted for by the public it gives you an indication of the high esteem in which they are held. The ships really feel and look like ships and being smaller can dock where larger ships can’t – a big plus in a place such as St Petersburg where you sail past the bigger ships out at anchor and moor alongside which makes for very interesting people watching! www.fredolsencruises.com
P & O www.pocruises.com and Celebrity www.celebritycruises.co.uk offer great destinations too and there are also low budget options with Thompson www.thomson.co.uk/cruise and even Easy Cruise www.easycruise.com
River cruising is yet another option, smaller ships and quite a different experience but a fantastic choice for an unhurried and fascinating holiday www.travelrivercruises.com.- and some of the regular smaller cruise ships such as MS Baemar from Olsen also venture up some of the rivers- am joining Braemar myself in September 2016 for some French river exploration!
Hurtigruten offer the chance to cruise the Norwegian fjords right up to the Arctic Circle on a working ship but in great comfort – a truly wonderful experience and one which I can wholeheartedly recommend having taken the round trip twice, once in stunning autumn sun and once in the chill of winter, both fabulous and yes I did see the Northern Lights on the winter trip – amazing! www.hurtigruten.co.uk
Now we hope you have booked – so here are a few tips which may further enhance your trip.
For those of you who, like me, could get seasick in a deep bath those nifty wristbands are a fabulous solution – I lent mine to a ships lecturer who was turning green on a lumpy Bay of Biscay crossing and made a friend for life!!
Shore excursions are optional and you may choose to do your own thing, which is great where you have the option and knowledge, but if you are new to a country or want to do something specific, trust me, shore tours are great – they have been there, done that and got the tee shirt and why would you want to haggle with a taxi driver or find your way to the museum with a map and a prayer!! Shore tours offer some amazing options too, there are some really fun and funky trips as well as the more usual but nonetheless interesting city and countryside tours – I have canoed up the Orinoco, quad biked to the Russian Border, taken a helicopter trip over Bergen and watched pink river dolphins as dawn came up over the Amazon.
So what are you waiting for, get out there, pack your glad rags and see you on board!