Everything You Need To Know About Cruise Holidays
Planning a cruise holiday for the first time? Ashutosh Mehere tells you exactly what to expect!
If the word “cruise” evokes images of large ships plodding through rough seas, carrying hundreds of people in tiny, cramped lower class cabins, with sit-down dinners and stately cabins in the upper classes, then you’re probably thinking of the Titanic. Until the end of the 20th century, luxury on board a cruise was limited to high society, and most cruises stretched out over 2-3 weeks of seaward journeys.
But over the last 3-4 decades, modern ships have completely changed the cruise holiday experience.
In 2016, Royal Caribbean International will launch Harmony of the Seas, its biggest megaship yet. Weighing 2,27,000-gross tons, it has a capacity of 5,500-passengers, 30 restaurants and bars, 5 swimming pools and a 1,380-seat theatre to enjoy Broadway shows. It is a floating resort. As cruise ships get larger, they are able to accommodate more people, and the operating costs are lowered, so that all these wonderful experiences are available at a very affordable price.
Why It Makes Sense To Choose A Cruise
The ‘great value proposition’ offered by a cruise holiday is unmatched by any other option. A typical package would include the cost of the chosen category of cabin, all meals and entertainment, planned activities, and obviously the cost of transport from one port to another. If you add up the components individually, the cost benefit would be in excess of 30-40%.
Additionally, you have the convenience of:
- Not having to pack and unpack daily for the duration of the cruise.
- The choice of relaxing on-board with day-long entertainment, instead of going ashore.
- Walking straight to the bar or restaurant, and enjoying a host of entertainment options, without having to use local transport.
There is a definite advantage of saving money if you book early, as cabins are available for sale for more than a year prior to the travel date.
How To Choose The Best Cruise Holiday
The selection of a cruise holiday for a traveller should begin with:
1) The region you would like to visit
- The Alaska cruises for the melting glaciers
- Bahamas cruises for the gala fun and frolic on board
- Mediterranean cruises for the food & sun
- European Cruises for history & culture
- The Antarctica Cruises for the adventure of a life time!
2) The date of travel
3) Itinerary (ports of call)
4) Cruise ship and category of cabin
It is only expected that most travellers choose to arrive earlier than their sailing date or extend their stay before or after the cruise to make the most of their vacations.
What Do Cruise Holiday Packages Include?
Most cruises nowadays are equipped with a heath club that includes a spa, steam room & full-fledged gym to pamper you as well as to keep you in shape. The evening entertainment varies from welcome aboard cocktails, Captain’s dinners, and broad-way style shows with a daily change for variation. The choice to participate is entirely yours.
Special mentions about activities for children of all ages, since a majority of the guests include families travelling with children. Remember, there are activities conducted for kids throughout the day by the ship’s staff. So keeping them occupied throughout the voyage should be the last of your worries.
What Kind Of Accommodation Is Available On A Cruise?
You can choose from a variety of cabin categories that start from inside standard (no window), with a window, with a balcony or a suite.
Irrespective of cabin category chosen (except suites), guests can avail of all facilities available on the ship. Most ships even have midnight buffets or snack bars for late night revellers.
Note: It is possible that your plan may exclude access to some speciality restaurants, such as a particular cuisine or fine dining.
Think you’ve got some awesome cruise holiday tips? Tell us. We’d love to know your thoughts!
About The Author
Unusual, frequently outspoken and absolutely fun! That’s Ashutosh Mehere, Sr. Vice President – Alliances & Special Projects at Cox and Kings Group, India.
A globe-trotter in its truest sense, he has over 21 years of experience in the travel & tourism industry. Ashutosh is always equipped with valuable (and quirky) advice for every travel query!