Choosing a Cruise Type
What kind of cruise should I look for?
Well, that really depends on what kind of holiday you enjoy. Are you a true luxury-lover or are you happy to enjoy the more informal kind of convivial, party-style resorts? Do you want non-stop action and entertainment or quiet, lazy days in which to relax and recharge your batteries? Perhaps you're looking for a cultural experience, epic scenery or just blissful beaches and water-sports?
They are ALL on offer, and ready to provide the perfect tonic to every day, landside cares and worries. For, being on a cruise is all about taking you away from the norm and providing an environment of wonderfully stylish relaxation, be it up-tempo or laid back.
There are state-of-the-art Spas and fitness facilities; magnificent theatres with unique, high-energy stage productions; Las Vegas-style casinos; Martini Bars and Champagne Lounges; throbbing discos and elegant dance classes;bridge competitions and quiz nights; entertaining lecture programmes and even educational lessons.
You just need to take your pick from the huge menu of choice which modern cruising lays out for its pampered guests.
The main categories on offer are:
• Ultra-Luxury (6 star)
• Luxury (4 and 5 star)
• Small Ship/Yachts
• Themed (opera/golf/cricket/cooking/salsa)
What does it all mean?
Big Ships: These are all vessels of 70,000-plus tons, and which feature the widest range of onboard facilities and amenities, with a more resort-style atmosphere. They include Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Disney Cruise Line, NCL (Norwegian Cruise Line),P&O Cruises, MSC Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International and selected Holland America Line vessels.
Small Ships: These are more in the 5,000-50,000-ton range, with fewer facilities, but a higher degree of service, more luxurious accommodations and the finest food. They include Hebridean Island Cruises, Oceania Cruises,Orion Expedition Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Seabourn Cruises, SeaDream Yacht Club, Azamara Club Cruises, Silversea Cruises, Windstar Cruises, and Princess Cruises.
American Ships: The following lines feature a notably American onboard style; Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises , Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Line, NCL, Oceania Cruises, Princess, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club, Star Clippers and Windstar.
European Ships: The following have either a British or Continental flavour: Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Hebridean Island Cruises, Hurtigruten (Norwegian Coastal Voyage), MSC Cruises, P&O Cruises, Saga Cruises, Silversea Cruises, and Swan Hellenic.
River Cruises: These all specialise in river cruises in various parts of the world: Amadeus Waterways, Viking River Cruises, APT River Cruises, AmaWaterways, Tauck, Scenic, American Queen Steamboat Company and French America Line.
Deluxe Cruises: True six-star luxury style is offered by only a handful of operators: Amadeus Waterways, Crystal Cruises, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Hebridean Island Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn, SeaDream Yacht Club and Silversea.
Boutique Cruises: These encompass smaller, individual ships which offer more distinctive cruises although no necessarily in the six-star range: Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Saga Cruises, Star Clippers, Swan Hellenic, Ponant and Windstar Cruises.
Adventure/Expedition/Destination Cruises: This final group features a distinctive adventuring style which offers the 'something different' factor and doesn't readily fit into any rating category: Aqua Expeditions, American Safari Cruises, Sanctuary Retreats, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises , Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions, Orion Expedition Cruises, and Noble Caledonia.