Our regular column from Andy Harmer, SVP Membership and Director of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) UK & Ireland
With spring just around the corner and the days getting lighter, we can really start to look forward to the warmer weather and even begin to plan those summer holidays that will be here sooner than you know it.
For cruisers, that means something different to each individual thanks to the huge array of experiences and memories that a cruise holiday can offer. From fun family getaways to adventure-packed exploration and the ultimate money-can’t-buy luxury, there really is a cruise to suit all tastes.
There’s no doubt that as a result of incredible innovation, creativity and technology, the onboard experience is second to none, but as always it’s about choosing the right ship for you and your interests.
Where once it was a struggle to find a cruise line that was child-friendly, the challenge now is wading through the bevy of activities that many ships offer for families including surf simulators, rock climbing walls, bowling lanes, IMAX theatres, kids’ cookery classes, flight simulators and much more.
For holidaymakers looking to travel in true five-star style, guests can choose from Michelin-starred dining, gold leaf facials, “caviar in the surf”, private helicopters to and from excursions and even your very own private butler. Not to mention the incredible experiences available for those looking to take a break from the rat race and focus on their wellbeing. Yoga on the top deck, mindfulness courses, personal trainers, as well as dedicated wellness shore excursions to relax the mind and rejuvenate the body are just a few examples.
With so much to enjoy on board, it’s also vital to ensure that you make time to explore all of the amazing destinations that the ships call at. No other type of holiday enables you to unpack once but still get to see at least five or six different destinations in one trip. Whether you choose to explore independently or as part of an excursion there is so much to see and do in each location to suit everyone.
Foodies in particular have so much to choose from on shore. From visiting local vineyards to learning to cook regional delicacies with a chef or sampling dishes at the leading restaurants in the region, there really is a wide variety of choice.
Adventure travellers will also not be disappointed. Alaska, Antarctica and the Galápagos cruises are undoubtedly the best way to see the magnificent parts of the world but Asia, South America and parts of Africa also offer some fantastic off-the-beaten-track cruise itineraries.
With so many amazing experiences on offer as part of a cruise, my advice to everyone would be to branch out and try something new as part of your getaway. I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.