Insurance & you

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Push the boat out

Assume that a cruise just isn’t you? With the world’s waterways at your disposal, there really is a cruising holiday for everyone, whatever floats your boat.

There is a simple explanation as to why cruising holidays have become so popular, with more than 1.6 million British holidaymakers stepping aboard last year, many for the very first time. Source: Passenger Shipping Association – The Cruise Review, May 2011.
Woman on sun lounger on cruise ship
Whether you want to visit a series of places without having to repack or take part in adventures in some of the most remote places on the planet, you’ll find the experience you’re looking for on the world’s cruising calendar.

Embarkation, embarkation, embarkation

So where should you start? The first consideration has to be where, and that partly depends on when. In summer the Mediterranean is the most popular destination for cruising holidays, while in winter you’ll find half the world’s cruising fleet island-hopping in the Caribbean.

If you can’t decide where in the world to cruise, why not do the whole lot? Early in the New Year, several ships cast off from a variety of ports to circumnavigate the globe, a journey that takes around three months.

Why size matters

You also need to choose your vessel with care. Do you want a large ship packed with things to do, or would you prefer something more intimate? Many of the new super-ships can’t even squeeze through the Panama Canal, let alone visit some of the world’s smaller ports of call.

For a romantic sailing experience, consider Star Clippers’ tall ships, which are much smaller than a conventional cruise ship.

Cruise ships work well for multi-generation families, where everyone can do their own thing, as well as spend time with the full clan. If you’d prefer to avoid children altogether, pick an adult-only ship, such as P&O’s Arcadia or Artemis.

Cruise control

Cruise-and-stay holidays – where you can extend your trip at a land-based hotel before or after your cruise – are becoming increasingly popular. You can book an inclusive package through a tour operator or arrange this independently before or after you board ship.

If you’re going on a Mediterranean cruise, Cannes, Barcelona and Venice make perfect stopping spots, but further afield there’s always Sydney, Hong Kong and LA.

Mucking about on the river

Those who have never been on a cruise before often worry about seasickness. You can minimise this by opting for a large ship and taking travel sickness pills, but if you’re seriously worried you might prefer a cruise where the water’s always calm.

These routes also offer more inspiring sightseeing, along such popular historic rivers as the Nile, Danube, Rhine and Seine. Viking offers an excellent choice of river voyages, while Hurtigruten operates within the Norwegian fjords.

If you’re still not sure if cruising is for you, why not dip your toe in the water with a mini cruise – a three- or four-day jaunt from a choice of UK ports? Bon voyage!

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