A first-time cruise vacation? You are in for the time of your life! Huge decks, clubs and theatres on every floor, varied onboard activities and a chance to make new friends – cruises have something for everyone. Cruise choices can be slightly overwhelming for a first-timer, so we’ve picked a cruise based on what you like (and hate!). No reason to not get booking right away.
- Adventure lovers
If you are yearning to be on the edge, don’t underestimate the power of cruising to give you that adrenaline rush! Most major cruise liners have gigantic ships which are built to host a huge selection of adventure sports onboard. You can indulge in any of the following activities:
- Surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, water skiing: Cruise liners such as The Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Line offer a range of water sports
- Skydiving simulators: Available onboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem Of The Seas
- Indoor sports: Rock climbing, basketball, badminton, a squash court and state-of-the-art gym facilities
- Swimming pools with wave simulators so you can try out some surfing moves
The best destinations for onshore excursions would be the majestic mountains of Alaska and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
- Alaska’s port excursions in Juneau, Anchorage, Ketchikan, Seward are perfect for adventure enthusiasts. Get your skis on with a stunning view, take a private helicopter trip through the Misty Fjords, take in some low-key shopping and feast your eyes on the magnificent Hubbard Glacier. Prices start at US$859 or INR57,000 per person for a 7-day cruise.
- Australia serves as the perfect beach destination as the Great Barrier Reef is a sight to remember! Breathe in the urban culture in Sydney, snorkel and scuba dive, swim with dolphins and see wonderful sea creatures. Most cruises combine Australia and New Zealand together starting from 4 days. Prices range upwards of US$428 or INR28,000 per person.
- Travellers with kids
Kids aren’t the easiest to satisfy; they have to be occupied all the time. Feeding their curiosity is important as parents can have some downtime as well. A cruise is your perfect friend, for your kids can enjoy so much:
- Onboard clubs such as Pelicans which teach kids science activities, arts and crafts, and educational games on board ships of Princess Cruises
- Innovation classes to foster a sense of creativity
- Movie nights, themed dinners, 3D flicks
- A full mission academy/theme ride such as the Marvel Academy onboard Disney cruises
- Specially curated and performed theatre shows
On land, the best destinations for your little toddler or the growing teen would be:
- Singapore: With its night Safari, Universal Studios, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park, Singapore is a great learning destination. You can take a short 2-night cruise such as the Genting Dream for INR19,000 per person
- Hong Kong: The country never ceases to amaze any child with its Ocean Park and Disneyland. After these fabulous sea world exhibits and a tête-à-tête with Mickey Mouse, why not take the kids to the local Zoological and Botanical Garden. Book the 2-night World Dream by Dream Cruises for INR19,000 per person.
Couples need some quality and relaxation time to take all the wedding stress away. A spa, swimming decks with gorgeous views, cocktails with dinner and snuggles are on every honeymooner’s list. Trust a cruise will satisfy those needs in a big way.
- Indulge in one of the many onboard activities like cooking, dance classes or enjoy a couples’ massage together
- Book sunset dinners with stunning views on board the specialty restaurants such as the Aqulaina on Azamara Club Cruises
- Watch a dinner theatre show at one of the many performance venues onboard the ship
- Have breakfast, champagne and roses in bed – Celebrity cruises offer a deluxe honeymoon package for US$249 or INR16,000 with red roses, chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of Dom Perignon and more.
With romance on your mind, how could we not recommend Italy and Greece:
- Italy: Combine the beauty of Italy, Malta and Spain in an 11-night cruise and experience the gastronomy of Italy, the sights of Malta and the exuberant culture of Spain. Walk hand in hand through the nightlife filled streets of Barcelona and sample the wine delights of Civitavecchia! Prices start at US$1,868 or INR1,70,000 per person onboard the Royal Caribbean’s Vision of The Seas.
- Greece: Greece is one of the finest cultural destinations of the world – check out the beaches in Mykanos, soak in the shopping at Corfu and gaze at the majestic sights in Athens! Prices start at US$799 or INR53,000 for 7 nights onboard Princess Cruises.
For senior couples, cruises are a perfect getaway as you escape the hustle bustle on ground and enjoy the calm water with their relaxing views. For you, the journey is more important than the destination itself. A cruise offers:
- A personal butler service
- Guest lecturers who speak on diverse topics – culture, food, lifestyle
- Enrichment programs and classes – wine pairing, cooking, sewing, arts and crafts
- Acupuncture therapy for relaxation
- Special ‘adults only’ evenings
- After dinner excursions to local monuments at each port
Azamara Club Cruises offer special discounts to seniors and has a host of interesting activities for them. As far as the destinations go, here are our top picks:
- The North Cape: With views like no other, this coastal voyage has a lot of ports with scenic and remote Fjords that can be accessed by ferries. It is also the perfect way to soak in the Scandinvian culture and landscape. A 15-day journey aboard the Azamara Club Cruises starts at US$5,699 or INR3,81,000 per person.
- Mexico: This country is so much more than just enchiladas and tequila; its islands and beaches are one of the best in the world! Take a cruise to Cabo San Lucas, Ensenada, Costa Maya or Puerto Vellarta and experience the wonders of the sea. A 4-day Baja vacation costs as low as US$179 or INR11,000 per person.
- Solo travelers:
- You have taken a huge decision – to venture out on your own. A cruise is far from scary or intimidating because what better way to meet people, make new friends, have parties and all around fun? There are plenty of singles’ cruises that specialise in diverse activities such as game nights, cocktail parties, speed dating, theme nights, karaoke parties and more.
- Whether you want to have some contemplative alone time or even get the ship to find your ideal partner – both options are available
- You can indulge in a host of onboard activities such as clubs, shows, buffet restaurants, movie nights, adventure sports, etc.
- Cruises such as Royal Caribbean organise wine pairings, group scuba training in the pool, tasting demos and even a ‘My Time Dining’ policy, which clubs travelers who wish to enjoy some community dining and not eat all alone!
- Norwegian Cruise Line has a special social space – the Studio Lounge complete with flat screens, and bartenders to host special solo traveller gatherings and activities.
When you are travelling single, the world is your oyster, but we recommend these destinations:
- Bermuda: Snorkel, sail in a catamaran, go reef fishing or take a dolphin adventure at Elbow beach and Horseshoe Bay! Take in the legendary stories and the food for as low as US$509 or INR34,000 for a 6-day cruise on board Carnival Cruises.
- Europe: Europe has something for every kind of solo traveler – choose from the whole range of countries such as Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and more. Walk through the streets of La Rambla, take in the Sicilian landscape, cruise the Bosphorus in Turkey and soak in the food of Italy. Prices start at US$1,868 or INR1,70,000 per person onboard the Royal Caribbean’s Vision of The Seas.
Remember, on shore excursions are not included in the cruise fare. Book them in advance to get great deals. And lastly, have fun. You are on your first cruise vacation!