If you were asked to choose an area of the travel industry that has undergone rapid change in the past decade or so, then cruise would probably be a good place to start.
Even as little as ten years ago, a cruise holidays was something that might have been seen as the reserve of the older traveller; those who wanted to make the most of their retirement to set sail and see the world.
It’s certainly not something that you’d have wanted to consider if you were a young couple looking for romance, and certainly not an option if you were looking for an overseas break with the children in tow.
But the modern day cruise industry is a world away from what it once was – or what many people may have perceived it to be…
The reality is that cruise has become one of the real success stories of the travel industry in what have been pretty challenging times in recent years.
The number of people electing to book a cruise holiday continues to rise, with data from the Cruise Lines International Association showing regular year-on-year growth as travellers become ever more open to the delights of a holiday at sea.
That growth is also reflected in the investment being made by the major cruise lines in new vessels that are a match for anything that the best resorts around the world can throw at them.
So should you consider swapping sand for sea in search of the perfect holiday?
Realistically, there are now options that are suitable for any manner of traveller so there really is no excuse not to consider a cruise for your next holiday.
As a prime example, recent years have seen most of the major cruise lines embrace the solo traveller; those who want to see the world but find themselves travelling alone for whatever reason.
In some cases, it’s been a move as simple as creating new, smaller single cabins but in others, cruise lines have included areas that are reserved for solo travellers who can meet like-minded individuals.
Perhaps the key thing is that the much maligned solo supplement is now largely a thing of the past, ensuring there is no punishment for travelling by yourself.
It’s also fair to say that the cruise industry is now geared much more towards the family market than it once was.
Previously, the thought of taking a small child on a large cruise liner might have filled parents with dread. Quite simply, how would you entertain the youngsters whilst sailing at sea to prevent boredom from setting in?
Now, cruise lines have embraced the family market, with a wide range of special activities that are very much focused on the younger guests.
From children’s swimming pools, to special teen discos, water parks, character visits, game arcades, bowling alleys, cruise lines have gone all out to provide for those who have the children in tow – and have been rewarded with an ever increasing number of families who have decided to forego the traditional holiday in exchange for something different.
Special family friendly accommodation and dining options also help.
Of course, there is still plenty for couples and friends who want to holiday on a cruise liner, which only serves to drive home the fact that there is no longer such a thing as a ‘traditional’ cruisemaker.
If you need further persuasion to consider a cruise, then how about out top ten reasons why you should take a holiday at sea?
1: Value for money
The amount you’ll pay per night for a cruise is often less than you’d pay for a night in a traditional hotel, once you’ve taken into account some evening entertainment and your meals. For that, you’ll have the added bonus of an ever changing view from your window and the opportunity to explore much more than if you’d restricted yourself to a traditional resort break. Which leads us to…
Sometimes even a week in a resort can seem like too long once you realise that you’ve done everything there is to do and have seen everything you want to see. That’s not an issue you’re going to have to worry about on a cruise, with something new to see and somewhere new to visit almost every day.
3: All about entertainment
You can’t fail to be entertained when on a cruise, with something to suit all tastes and all ages. No matter whether you want to catch a show, dance the night away, enjoy the big game, be educated, sample a new sport or simply have fun, you can do. And all in one place.
There’s plenty to see if you take a trip to Barcelona, whilst Rome is a city where you can marvel at thousands of years of history. It’s a similar story in Athens, whilst the millionaires playground of Monte Carlo is somewhere that has to be seen to be believed. But why book four separate holidays when you can see it all on a cruise?
5: Social scene
A cruise is a great way to make friends, with the opportunity to meet new people and share experiences with like minded travellers from around the world.
When you book a cruise, everything is sorted. Just choose the ship, where you want to go and you’re ready to go. There’s need to worry about transfers from place to place as you’ve got that covered and you also only need to unpack your bags once…
7: All shapes and sizes
If you are a family, you might want the latest megaship packed with facilities and things to do. But if you’re travelling alone you might prefer a smaller and more intimate vessel. It doesn’t matter – there’s plenty of variety in the cruise industry to cater for everyone.
8: You don’t have to hit the ocean
Like the idea of a cruise but worried about the possibility of feeling sick at sea? Then why not consider a river cruise, which offers the same experience but on a smaller scale.
9: Fine dining
You’ll enjoy stunning fine dining when you embark on a cruise, with the kind of variety that you’ll struggle to find elsewhere. Cruise lines tend to focus on a food that reflects the area in which you are sailing to provide a more authentic experience, with top chefs like Marco Pierre White, Michael Schwartz, Jacques Pepin and Geoffrey Zakarian amongst those to have a presence on ships currently in operation.
People who head off on cruise holiday tend to then book another – and with good reason. High levels of service across the industry and first-rate experiences that will live long in the memory mean satisfied customers keep coming back for more…
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