The old stereotype about cruise holidays suggests that only people over the age of 70 with a penchant for shuffleboard can enjoy a holiday on the seas. However, all the major cruise lines have gone to great lengths to secure the custom and loyalty of families and younger couples over the past 15 years.
Since taking a cruise is becoming trendy again, here is my list of 6 things that might change your mind about cruise holidays…
The Ships are Massive
One of the most bizarre misconceptions about cruise holidays is the concern you’ll run into the same people every day. With some cruise ships having a maximum capacity of over 6,000 people, comparable to many popular holiday destinations –there are plenty of opportunities to meet interesting new people day after day (or avoid the annoying couple you met on the first night).
Night Time Babysitting
Parents of babies and young children excited by the prospect of elegant dining, lobster nights and captain’s parties don’t have to miss out or take turns babysitting the kids. Cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Cunard offer night time babysitting services with fully qualified staff looking after your kids in your cabin or a dedicated childcare area. With earlier dinner sittings for kids on certain ships, you can get the kids fed, settled down for the night, and then don your tuxedo or cocktail dress for an elegant evening.
Specialist travel agent, Cruise1st, explains: “Cruise holidays have become incredibly accessible for families with children of all ages. With age-specific kids clubs – the children will have fun and the parents can get a little peace and quiet.
Excursions for Adventurers
Cruise holiday excursions have evolved far beyond crowded bus journeys to market towns and set menu lunches – giving travellers more options than ever. More adventurous cruise guests can plan itineraries taking in geographical explorations around the Arctic Circle or a trip to the Charles Darwin Research Station on the Galapagos Islands – exploring the work started by the godfather of the theory of evolution.
More sedate itineraries are still available, from beach-hopping in the Caribbean to exploring the cultural cities of the Mediterranean.
One of the biggest hurdles the cruise industry has struggled with this past decade is the implementation of fast and reliable internet connections for thousands of passengers when sailing hundreds of miles out to sea. Understanding how reliant many people are on a good internet connection – tens of millions of dollars have been spent trying to find an affordable and elegant solution.
The launch of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas last November may have finally solved this problem. The ship contains an internet connection courtesy of O3b Networks – offering internet speeds comparable to those found on land. Guests aboard the Quantum of the Seas (and sister ships which have received subsequent internet refurbishments) can stream films, video chat and browse the net to their hearts’ content.
Cruising is not the stuffy, highly-coordinated and controlled experience it perhaps was thirty years ago. Passengers can now dine when and where they want on the ship and many of the restaurants and eateries welcome guests whether they are wearing Hawaiian shirt, shorts and flip flips or a freshly-pressed suit.
The larger cruise lines have moved to completely change the cruise experience – offering guests more freedom and choice on the seas. Ships such as the Norwegian Breakaway have more than 20 different venues in which guests can dine – from chilled-out diners to elegant, sophisticated restaurants.
Broadway Shows and World Class Entertainment
If you are concerned the on-board entertainment will be akin to a 1970s stay in Butlin’s with crew members performing cringe-worthy musical covers and variety shows – there is no reason to worry. Modern cruise ships have invested millions to bring the most popular and biggest shows from Broadway and the West End to their stages. This season alone, Cats, We Will Rock You, Chicago and Mamma Mia amongst others will take to the seas – keeping guests entertained and enthralled.
Have you been on a cruise? What did you think? Which lines are your favourite’s? Share your experiences with us.