Ask some cruise passengers if they’d enjoy spending their shore days doing little more than lying on a white sandy beach, the sun beaming down at them, with a colourful cocktail in hand and an unobstructed view of the blue sea, and you’d be able to see their eyes glaze over as they daydream about the beachside luxury. Others however, could think of nothing worse, much preferring to be on the go, immersing themselves in different cultures, and making a beeline for the fascinating museums, churches, and art galleries in port. Which do you prefer? Are you itching to get to the beaches of the Caribbean and Mediterranean, more keen to explore the Viking history of Northern Europe, or perhaps both? When considering cruise holidays, what is it that you look for?
Beach Cruise Holidays
At this point in the cruise industry, we’re seeing a massive change in focus. Whereas the primary focus of a cruise holiday was once the fabulous destinations, that focus is slowly shifting. The bigger ships that we’ve welcomed to the seas lately, and those that are due to be introduced within the next few years, such as P&O’s Britannia and Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, for example, are redefining sea travel. There’s more to see and do on board than ever before! Some passengers are finding that they’re kept so busy on board, with the fantastic entertainment choices, shopping malls, sporting facilities, superb dining choices and so on, that it’s nice to have a break on shore days, taking the time to relax and chill out on some of the world’s finest beaches.
The Best Itineraries
The best itineraries for beach lovers include stops in beautiful towns and cities located right on the seafront, boasting amazing views, fantastic amenities, and, of course, opportunities to top up the tan.
Is there any better destination in the world for beach lovers than the Caribbean? While there are stunning beaches all around the world (yes, even here in the UK!), the beauty of the Caribbean is that you can travel from island to island knowing that you’ll find a beach equally as breathtaking – or perhaps even more so – than the last. Many cruise lines also boast their own private islands in the Caribbean, creating uninhabited, isolated, secluded desert islands where the only things to do are relax with a Bahama Mama, go for a swim, or dine on fresh seafood – what more could you ask for? Whether it’s an Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, or Southern Caribbean itinerary, you’ll be overwhelmed with the beauty of the beaches in this glorious part of the world.
While the Caribbean may offer spectacular beaches and almost constantly sunny weather, you may not need to venture quite so far from home to experience the lavish beach lifestyle. In fact, the winner of TripAdvisor’s Best Beach 2013 title was awarded to Rabbit Beach, Sicily, which is known for its vibrant contrasting colours of the white, almost golden sands and the vibrant blue tones of the water and the sky. The French and Italian Riviera’s are also renowned for their beaches, so an itinerary taking in the Central Mediterranean would be suit perfectly.
Culture Cruise Holidays
On the other hand, the beach isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. While some see the cruise itself as the holiday, and the ports of call just an added bonus, others see sea travel merely as a luxurious method of transportation – as a way of getting from A to B without the frustration of being kicked in the back of your plane seat, or the person in front reclining just as you’re tucking into dinner. The beauty of cruising is that you can go to bed and wake up each morning in a new destination without the stress and hassle of transfers, waiting for public transport, or carting your luggage for miles. For those that like to fit a lot into just the one trip, cruising is an ideal way to experience multiple cultures, fascinating history, and wonderfully diverse cuisine whilst still enjoying the opulence of cruise travel.
The Best Itineraries
The best itineraries for culture lovers vary depending on the passenger you’re speaking to. The truth is that everyone will have their own favourite destinations and opinions of where they want to go next, so it’s important to relax and just find what’s right for you. Destinations could include exotic destinations with cultures much different to our own, and ancient towns and cities that boast a rich, colourful, and perhaps controversial history. Alternatively, you may not wish to travel overly far and may prefer cruises from the UK to captivating destinations such as the Norwegian Fjords, Baltic capitals or Mediterranean cities.
Baltic & Scandinavia
If you’re not keen on the concept of fly cruising and want to experience a range of different cultures sailing from Southampton, consider travelling to Northern Europe, sailing between historic towns and cities in Scandinavia. St Petersburg, Russia, is usually the highlight of a trip to Northern Europe, with many ships stopping overnight to allow passengers to make the most of their time in the city, such as taking in the Russian ballet or visiting the Church of the Savior on Blood. Nearby Tallinn, Estonia, is also great for culture lovers. The city’s Old Town area is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, with many original features dating from the 15th century. Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm are all examples of exciting destinations when visiting this enchanting part of the world.
To experience culture that’s so far removed from our own that it’s truly fascinating, a Far Eastern cruise is ideal. Itineraries are available which take in fascinating and historic ports in China, South Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam, as well as more modern, almost futuristic destinations in Japan. Visit museums with bizarre twists such as a Japanese noodle museum, watch locals worshipping at shrines, or partake in some of the rituals yourself, such as washing your money in blessed waters to bring luck and wealth. The Far East is a fascinating place for culture lovers, and an excellent region for exploring different beliefs and ways of life.
What Will it Be?
What do you look for in a cruise destination? Relaxation? Busy and bustling cities? Quiet serenity? Educational, eye-opening experiences? Perhaps a little bit of everything? With cruise lines set to release their 2015 – 2016 itineraries any day now, we want to know what you’ve got your eye on – will it be a beach itinerary or a culture itinerary? Share with us!
You may have no idea and you maybe in need of some assistance. This is where we step in. Our expert Cruise Consultants will guide you through the options available, narrowing it down to ensure we find the ideal cruise for you based on the preferences you give us. There’s no need to be confused or perplexed, just give us a call or come see us in person and we’ll find the perfect cruise holiday for you.
There are plenty of exciting options to choose from for 2014/2015. For either cruising from the UK or opting for a fly cruise, take a look at our latest cruise deals.