It has never been a better time to take your first cruise.
Whilst it is still a growing market, over 20 million people take a cruise every year. Annual growth is thought to be at around 6.5% and the total number of people expected to cruise in the year 2020 surpasses 25 million. Cruising is the most affordable and convenient way to see the world and allows you to visit multiple cities, countries and even continents in one trip. What’s more, everything is on your doorstep. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy it.
There are ships to cater for every taste; from those that resemble floating resorts and offer a host of ground-breaking facilities, to smaller, more intimate examples that focus on providing a luxury experience. There is also an itinerary for everyone. With new ports and destinations being added every year, you are sure to find something that inspires the wanderlust within.
Selecting the right cruise for you will depend on what is important to you. Some will want to select the right kind of ship, whilst others will focus on the destination first and foremost.
When you first board your ship, you will be given a room key card (or wristband) and this will permit you to get on and off the ship in each port. This card will also be used for you to sign for charges to your cabin, and then pay this at the end of the trip.
Depending on the cruise line you are sailing with, and whether you have taken advantage of a specific offer, your cruise may include certain things in the price you pay from the start. In most cases prices will cover accommodation, food in the main restaurants, and most onboard activities, including children's programs and entertainment.
Other items that may or may not be covered include:
Different cabins will offer different bed configurations, including the option to convert two singles to a double. There may also be specific cabins available for families, solo cruisers, disabled travellers, and those holidaying in larger groups who want to have connecting rooms. Most accommodation will include a bed, a bathroom with a shower (sometimes a bath or both), a toilet and washbasin, closet, desk area, television and usually a refrigerator. Cots are normally provided free of charge and bed rails can be requested.
Every day the ship will publish a daily calendar of events, and this is usually placed under your cabin door during the night. You can then select the activities you wish to participate in or just sit by the pool, relax and watch the fun!
The cruise line also offers organised excursions and these can range from sightseeing tours to snorkelling, scuba diving or a beach barbecue. You will usually get a listing of these excursions and their prices with your cruise tickets so you can budget for, and sometimes book, them before you leave. However, if all you want to do is explore, shop or visit a beach, then all you need is a map and your own sense of adventure.
With the vast array of cruise lines available it can be a daunting task knowing which line is the right one for you. The good news is with the vast array of cruise lines available you can be sure that your perfect cruise is out there waiting for you. Today’s cruise lines truly to offer something for everyone.
Royal Caribbean’s behemoths of the sea are packed full of activities and are perfect for families and groups wanting to fill their cruise days with activities and fun. Just some of the facilities available on board a Royal Caribbean ship are; zip lines; rock-climbing walls; dodgems, ice skating, roller-skating and sky-diving simulators*. Families can also cruise alongside the characters of DreamWorks, enjoying stage shows, movies and character interaction with the cast of movies such as Shrek, How to Train your Dragon and Madagascar. The wide variety of Kids Clubs and family dining allows adults time to themselves as well as all important family time. Find out more about Royal Caribbean cruises.
P&O Cruises offer a more traditional British cruising experience combined with all the fun of a great family holiday. Facilities on board P&O Cruises family ships include; night nursery; ‘The Reef’ entertainment programmes of age-specific kids clubs, kids dining options and child friendly swimming pools.
Norwegian Cruise Line offer fun for all the family. NCL have a wide variety of waterparks and pools on board their ships. During your cruise your kids can get gunged during an interactive game, join the Splash Academy kids clubs, learn circus skills and, in collaboration with Nickelodeon, party with SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. With plenty of activities to keep kids and teens busy, adults can enjoy some free time to themselves.
If one name says family it’s Disney. Disney Cruise Line ships are bursting at the seams with fun packed activities and facilities for kids and families. Enjoy breakfast with your favourite Disney character, enjoy a Disney film in the 3D cinema, celebrate at a themed deck party, enjoy basketball, volleyball, and mini-golf, or dine in one of the many Disney themed restaurants on board, with every bite based on your favourite movie.
There are a wide range of adults only options available on several cruise lines. Some lines such as Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines have specific cruise itineraries which are adults only. Others such as P&O Cruises have specific ships, in this case Adonia, Arcadia and Oriana, which are exclusive for adults. Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Marco Polo is also only available to people aged 16+. Even the most family orientated large Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line's ships have specific areas, such as bars and swimming pools, which are adult only, so you can enjoy some time away from the kids during your family cruise.
If you are looking for a quieter more relaxed atmosphere for your cruise experience there are a number of lines which will appeal to you. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Princess Cruises, Cunard all offer a more mature experience whilst being vastly different at the same time. Lines such as Cunard, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises offer a more traditional, formal atmosphere and a luxury atmosphere on board a larger ship. Fred. Olsen and Cruise & Maritime Voyages offer more relaxed cruising in a smaller, more intimate environment.
If you are after a livelier, more vibrant atmosphere, Pullmantur Cruises is the line for your. With a Spanish inspired feel on board, you can enjoy tapas, salsa dancing and celebrating into the night throughout your itinerary. The all-inclusive drinks offering from Pullmantur Cruises allows you to relax with the peace of mind that the bill is all taken care of.
Small ship cruising allows you to get into those harder to reach ports which the large ships just can’t access. They also offer a more intimate atmosphere, where you can get to know your fellow passengers and enjoy a more personalised service from your crew.r. Seabourn offer small ship luxury cruising on board their all suite vessels. Of course if you are looking for the ultimate small ship experience then why not try a river cruise, taking you straight to the heart of the world’s finest destinations.
The fear of the single supplement and worries about solo travel put many single travellers off booking a cruise. However, fear not! Many cruise lines have gone to great effort to make sure their single travellers are well taken care of get the same deal as everyone else on board. Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has single cabins available on each of their four cruise ships, whilst Norwegian Cruise Line and P&O Cruises have ample single cabins on several of their vessels.
It doesn’t just stop at accommodation either, Cunard offer gentlemen hosts to accompany single ladies as dance partners. Holland America has a single partner’s programme which offers games and hosted evenings for solo travellers. Fred. Olsen likewise seat single travellers together for meals and provide travel companions during shore visits.
Solo cruising is popular on many polar expeditions. Many expedition operators have schemes in place whereby you can opt to share a cabin with someone of the same sex, and avoid the single supplement charge.
If you are after the luxury experience, where your every whim is catered to, you are served by white gloved stewards and even have the attention of your own personal butler there are many lines available to you.
Oceania offer Michelin starred dining, spectacular destinations and the acclaimed Canyon Ranch SpaClub® where you can unwind in complete bliss. Butler service is available in suites and the atmosphere on board is country, club casual.
Seabourn are luxury all suite small ships with gourmet dining, complimentary open bars and highly attentive staff.
Silversea are synonymous with worldwide luxury voyages on board their small ships which include luxury expedition ships visiting the Polar Regions and the Galapagos Islands. Each cabin has a personal butler and each itinerary has it individual enrichment programme to give you the full benefit of each destination you visit.
Azamara Club Cruises offer two boutique sized ships of up to 694 guests. Each stateroom has two attendants to cater to your every whim and the on board enrichment programme allows you to immerse yourself in your itinerary completely. Itineraries feature more overnight stays in port to allow you longer to explore you destinations and the world’s top chefs will be waiting to prepare your dinner upon your return to the ship.
Regent Seven Seas offer luxury cruises throughout the globe with the added bonus of free unlimited shore excursions in every port of call. You can also enjoy Butler services in Penthouse suites and higher, gourmet restaurants, in suite dining and a welcome bottle of champagne. Every stateroom on board Regent Seven Seas features an ocean view and 97% feature balconies.
If you are after something a little special for that trip of a lifetime or special event there are many options available to you including; world cruises; river cruises; and special cruises such as Christmas and New Year sailings.
Perhaps the ultimate in ‘something different’ is a polar expedition. These once-in-a-lifetime adventures take you to the Arctic and Antarctic regions where you can witness some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes and the rarest wildlife in their natural habitats.
*Facilities available vary from ship to ship. Please check availability before booking.
We understand that you may still be undecided as to when, where, with whom and even if you want to cruise, but we are here to help. You may want to sign up to our newsletter (which can be done on the homepage of this site) so that we can send you all the latest cruising news and offers. You never know, a deal might come along that finally helps you to make up your mind as to where you want to go, or you may even see an offer that causes you to decide that cruising is definitely something for you.
There is also the option to embark on a taster cruise to see if you enjoy it. These are trips that generally last one or two nights and enable you to sample a specific ship and cruise line, or simply get a taste for what cruising is all about. We have listed a selection of forthcoming taster cruises below.
If you have any other questions about what to expect on your first cruise, or you are just looking for some inspiration, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our number is at the top of the page or you can submit an online enquiry via our contact page.