People are attracted to cruises for a variety of reasons; from the chance to get away from it all or the opportunity to try something new, to the promise of a hassle-free vacation or the lure of being constantly pampered. Whatever the reason, a cruise is a great way to see new places, make new friends and try out new activities; or simply do nothing at all. From food and shopping to romance and parties, cruises offer a dazzling array of options. Even better, there are no hidden extras; passengers know what exactly what they’re getting and the total cost, before they even set sail.
A cruise enables passengers to visit a number of different destinations, along routes that enable them to delve deep into a country’s history and heritage. One of the world’s most famous cruise lines and one synonymous with luxury, Cunard Cruises have been crossing the oceans in majestic style since 1840. Transatlantic voyages combine iconic US cities New York, Chicago, Washington and Boston, perhaps with a side trip to see the spectacular Niagara Falls.
One of the most popular American cruise routes is to Alaska and the Yukon, with landscapes that are constantly breathtaking. Whether the traveller plans to stay on-board or take in some overland exploration, a cruise to Alaska is the ideal way to enjoy this great state.
Other regions of North America suited to a cruise include the Pacific North-West, where passengers can follow in the footsteps of explorers such as Lewis & Clark, from Oregon up to British Columbia. Alternatively, they might prefer to visit Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, in the Gulf of the St Lawrence, with its beautifully Victorian capital, Charlottetown, made famous by the book, TV series and movie, ‘Anne of Green Gables’. A short journey south is Maine, one of the most attractive states in the US, known for its fishing villages and grand ocean vistas. Cruise destination Bar Harbor became a haven for wealthy East Coast socialites in the 19th century, who built fabulous mansions and gardens.
What cruise is chosen depends not only on the itinerary, but also on the individual’s personal preferences; formal or casual, luxury or fun? There is a wide choice of cruises available these days and vacations are tailored not only to wealthy seniors, but also to young families and honeymooning couples.
Before booking be sure to check out details such as dress code (formal or informal), the dining arrangements and how big the ship is. Today’s cruise liners range from the petite, Scottish Hebridean Princess, with a capacity of just 50 to the gargantuan Oasis of the Seas, which is capable of carrying 6,296 passengers.
An increasing share of the cruise market is now catering for younger passengers, with some itineraries featuring overnight stays in port, making it possible to sample the local nightlife. The competition to attract families is even fiercer and cruises such as those offered by Disney are becoming increasingly popular.
However, the traditional luxury cruise continues to hold its own and well-travelled guests can still enjoy their vacations on small cruise vessels where experts are on hand to discuss the history and culture of the places being visited.