Mention it to one person and their face will light up like a Christmas tree. Mention it to another and they’ll give you a look of utter disgust. No doubt about it, the ‘C-word’ definitely sparks its fair share of debates. That’s why when we say the following, it’s bound to ruffle a few feathers.
Convert or not, there is a cruise to suit absolutely everyone. Yes, everyone.
Don’t believe us? Read on, naysayers, read on.
- The anti-cruiser
If you love the idea of cruising but can’t face the thought of the razzle dazzle, lines like Seabourn will transform your preconceptions. Its fleet of yacht inspired ships are utterly svelte, which means there’s not a garish stage show or crowded dining room in sight. Instead, entertainment is destination focused. Think exclusive concerts, private walking tours and cultural immersions. You’ll even be treated to a Personal Valet Luggage Service which means your luggage is picked up and delivered directly to your suite.
- But wait. I love razzle dazzle!
Love a jazz hand? Swoon over a feather boa? So does Norwegian Cruise Line, a line that treats its guests to a nightly entertainment program of acrobatic shows, magic acts, comedy stand-up, jazz, blues and piano bars. Not to mention Broadway-style productions like Rock of Ages and Chicago.
- The family clan – with tweens in tow
It’s no secret that teenagers are pretty adverse about holidaying with their highly embarrassing parents. But that’s okay, because with lines like Royal Caribbean you can give the kids a sense of independence, and enjoy blissful alone time. From rock climbing walls and ziplines to ice skating, surfing and skydiving simulators, it’s like living on a floating resort. If your little darlings are desperate to be all grown up Royal Caribbean also offers teen-tailored dance parties, spa treatments and ‘no elders allowed’ lounges serving mocktails. Basically, don’t wait up.
- The new parents
Just welcomed a new addition to the family? Sail with Disney Cruise Line and the on-board nursery will look after little tykes aged zero to three. For everyone else, the entire ship is decked out with a wonderland of family friendly play areas. Not only will you get to meet all you favourite Disney characters but you’ll also dine in Disney themed restaurants. Need a break? Not to worry. Disney cruise ships also feature exclusive adults only dining venues, pools and luxe day spas.
- The ‘children are behind us’
“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!”
Braveheart jokes aside, if you don’t have children in your cavalry you’ll be able to unlock access to exclusive luxury lines like Silversea. With small scale ships carrying anywhere from 100 to 600 guests, the staff to passenger ratio is almost one for one. The atmosphere is wonderfully intimate, with elegant décor, first-class amenities and not a wailing baby in sight.
- The solo traveler
Thought cruising was just for loved up couples or hopelessly happy families? Wake up and smell the sea spray lonely heart, because Holland America offers a fantastic line-up of options catering to the needs of solo travellers. From singles only mixer parties to themed cocktail nights, you’re just one drink away from the Dutch courage you’ll need to meet your next holiday fling, soul mate or something in-between. Plus, if you’re sailing for 40 days or longer the cruise line will also hook you up with a male host to accompany single ladies to dinner, or the dance floor! Another singles favourite is Norwegian Cruise Line, which offers studio cabins priced to meet the needs of solo cruisers.
- Cruises for couples
They were made famous in “The Love Boat” so it only makes sense that Princess Cruises is our number one choice when it comes to couples cruising. Promoting everything from candlelit balcony dinners to a chocolate massages, Princess is all about sparking that at-sea romance. If you feel like a little pampering the adults-only Sanctuary spa means you can escape to the sauna for a steamy kiss. Of course, if you’re more of an exhibitionist you can always have a public smooch and try to get on the ‘Kiss Cam’ at the Love Boat Disco Deck Party.
- The doting pet owner
We all love our furry friends but when it comes to holidays they can be a bit of a headache. Whether you opt for a kennels or pay a friend to ‘pop in’ the expenses quickly add up. And let’s be honest, you’ll probably miss Fido like crazy. That’s why we love the fact that last year Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 spent a huge NZ$181 million on renovations and that included new accommodations for pets. Now, QM2 features 24 plush kennels, spacious play areas and a new ‘Owner’s Lounge’ for human visitors. There’s also an expert kennel master on hand to walk, feed and play with each and every fur ball.
- The avid foodie
Gone are the days of mediocre buffets and stainless steel serving stations. Today lines like Oceania Cruises captivate foodies with Michelin star meals that push the boundaries of high-end cuisine. In fact, the only difference between a specialty cruise restaurant and one that’s found in the fourth arrondissement of Paris is that one of them floats. Feeling hungry? French chef and executive culinary director Jacques Pepin will treat you to a whirlwind of beautifully curated meals, from lobsters plucked from the line’s Maine seafood farm to beef that’s been dry-aged in its premier facility. Love a bit of theory to complement your practical? Oceania also features a hugely coveted ‘Culinary Center’ where you can sign up for hands on cooking classes. Or, why not embark on a ‘Culinary Discovery Tour’ where the entire itinerary is focussed on food-centric excursions?
- The creature comfort cruise-goer
Whether you nurse a bad back or balk at the thought of leaving your feather pillow behind, lines like Princess Cruises leave no creature comfort untouched. By 2018 the line will boast 44,000 speciality beds designed by self-proclaimed ‘Sleep Doctor’ Dr. Michael Breus. Meanwhile, both Regent Seven Seas and Silversea employ butlers trained by the Guild of Professional English Butlers, while a Royal Caribbean Star Class ticket will shower you with complimentary fitness classes, internet, in-suite movies, included gratuities, thermal room access, bottled water and more.
- The easy breezy traveller
If you’re all about ease and efficiency you’ll love how Princess Cruises has reimagined cruising. Carnival Cruises is also onboard, with AI-style wristbands that use wireless technology to do all kinds of wonderful things. From opening your stateroom and tracking your whereabouts to purchasing food and splurging on spa treatments, all you need to do is swipe.
- The active relaxer
From educational lectures (think TED Talks) to cooking classes and digital photography lessons, almost all cruise lines offer some sort of on-board enrichment program. Well-heeled cruisers love Cunard’s refined Book Club programme, while both Crystal and Celebrity offer the chance to sign up for whirlwind language courses. If you’re more of a non-stop activity kind of person the Carnival Cruise Line fleet features IMAX cinemas, waterparks, beer breweries and even an aerial bike riding route.
- The anti-inside cabin cruiser
Let’s face it, no one really wants to be cooped up in a windowless room. But oh, the bargains to be had! That’s why we love Royal Caribbean’s amazing internal rooms featuring floor-to-ceiling HD-TV windows that screen real-time panoramas of the ocean and selected ports. Not to mention virtual balconies accompanied by the sound of waves. Dreamy? We think so.
See what we mean? Your cruise enlightenment is now complete, and we’re almost certain that no matter how you like to travel there’s a cruise ship out there for you.