Thursday, April 18, 2024

What Is The Best Cruise To Take

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Best For Cruisers On A Budget

The Best Cruise You Can Take // Nile River Dahabiya

Carnival: Carnival is known for its fun, family-oriented and budget-friendly sailings. Of the major cruise lines, it includes the most in its fares, from entertainment to dining, meaning that you get the most for your money and don’t need to spend anything extra to enjoy your sailing.

MSC: MSC’s fares are comparable to Carnival’s, but they feature more for-fee extras and tiers of service from which to choose. Despite the similar price tags, expect a totally different onboard vibe that’s less party and more preppy.

Norwegian: NCL tends to tack on extra fees for lots of things, but it’s still possible to have a great time onboard without spending an extra cent. Plus, there are generally great deals to be had on some of the line’s older ships.

An Overview Of Cruise Lines

As noted above, there are dozens of cruise lines out there. At last count, I had sailed with 40 different cruise companies, and I still hadnt hit every major brand despite it being my full-time job for years to test cruise ships.

One thing to understand right off the bat is that the lists of cruise lines that youll find here at TPG and at other travel sites include companies offering an incredible range of experiences.

When you think of a cruise ship, you may think of the giant floating megaresorts operated by the likes of Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line that you see in television advertisements the kind of ships that carry thousands of passengers and have all sorts of gee-whiz amusements on their top decks. But the world of cruising also includes companies that operate far smaller, more intimate vessels that carry just a few dozen to a few hundred people and have a completely different vibe. Theyre more like small boutique hotels that happen to float from place to place.

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In addition, youll find adventure-focused expedition cruise companies that offer yet another completely different kind of cruising one that involves heading to off-the-beaten-path places like Antarctica on small, hardy vessels designed for exploring. There also are cruise companies that specialize in ships that travel on rivers and even lines that just operate sailing ships.

Related: A line-by-line guide to 20 top cruise brands

Best Large Cruise: Royal Caribbean

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

  • Ship: Ovation of the Seas
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Itinerary: Alaska Inside Passage, Juneau, Skagway, Victoria

If youre looking for a cruise to Alaska with all the theme-park-like attractions, then the Ovation of the Seas will not disappoint. Built in 2016, Ovation is currently ranked as one of the 10 largest cruise ships in the world with onboard features like a skydiving simulator, a cocktail bar tended by robots, aerial performances in the theater, and the North Star, a moving observation pod with surreal views. The first two days of the voyage are spent at sea so theres plenty of time to explore the ship and try different activities. Or, dine at specialty restaurants like Chops Grille, Royal Caribbeans iconic steakhouse Wonderland, an eclectic array of dishes, or Giovannis table, a favorite Italian restaurant.

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Large Ship Line #: Royal Caribbean International

Though Royal Caribbean is perhaps best known for its mega-ships, it has quite a number of large ships, toothe 3,100-passenger Voyager-class ships, for instance, were once the worlds largest, until Royal Caribbean debuted the larger Freedom class and subsequently the Oasis class. Each class had its own series of firstsVoyager of the Seas was the first ship to have an ice rink and a rock-climbing wall, while Freedom of the Seas introduced the first FlowRider surf simulator at sea.

The Grenadines Windward Islands Cruise

Cruise Vacation Package

The Grenadines are internationally renowned as a yachtsmens paradise, an exclusive sailing ground made up of more than 600 islands, divided between the nations of St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Grenada. Windjammers cruises provides the opportunity to sail this breathtaking area via a tall ship that was originally designed to transport cargo in the 19th and early 20th century. The ships are among the most beautiful sailing vessels available for cruising today. Island Windjammers offers a 6-night journey, with departure dates throughout the spring, bringing passengers to idyllic islands like Bequia, Carriacou, Mayreau, Tobago Cays and Union Island. This is a great opportunity to experience a more authentic, real Caribbean, without the touristy feel, basking on white, powdery sand beaches, snorkeling through crystal clear, warm waters and shopping tiny, unique boutiques featuring local art.

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When Is The Best Time To Take A Cruise Vacation

More travelers are opting to go on a cruise. By 2020, its predicted there will be over 27 million cruise passengers. Cruises offer convenience for all travelers.

Most are all-inclusive, including food, lodging, activities, and excursions. There are also so many types of cruises that hit many different destinations. With the options available, anyone can find a cruise that will interest them.

While a cruise always seems like a great idea, there are certain times and seasons to embark on a cruise for the best experience.

When is the best time? This question isnt easy to answer there are so many factors that influence the time you cruise, and every cruise line and destination have different peak seasons. Here is the best time to take a cruise:

Royal Caribbeans Allure Of The Seas

Best For: Those who fear claustrophobia.

Highlights: Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Caribbean, and you may forget you’re on a ship altogether. Practically the size of a small town, this vessel is even divided into neighborhoods with a promenade running down the center lined with shops. Stay active on the ice-skating rink, FlowRider simulated surf machines, zip line, and rock climbing wall, just to mention a few of the activities.

Best For: People who worry that a cruise is too expensive.

Highlights: Think of Carnival Cruise Line as the Target store of cruising: affordable prices, excellent service and a fun experience. Try the Carnival Vista out of Galveston, and swoosh down water slides, see first-rate comedians, and catch a flick at the IMAX theater at sea.

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National Geographic Endurance And National Geographic Resolution

Operator: Lindblad Expeditions.

These Lindblad Expeditions ships may be my favorite all-around picks for an Antarctica cruise. Sailing since July and November 2021, respectively, National Geographic Endurance and National Geographic Resolution each are designed to hold no more than 126 passengers a notably low number that allows for an intimate experience when exploring the White Continent.

Theyre also very stable ships, thanks to an unusual new sloping bow design something that can make a big difference when sailing to and from Antarctica across the notoriously rough Drake Passage.

Lindblad was the original pioneer of tourist trips to Antarctica, and it has years of experience in the region that has helped shape the way it designed these nearly identical vessels, both specifically built for polar travel.

Each of the ships has a polar class rating of PC 5 Category A , allowing them to travel through icy areas with ease. Theyre also loaded with observation areas for viewing the passing scenery. They carry kayaks, snowshoes and cross-country skis for polar exploring in addition to Zodiac boats for landings, and they have remotely operated vehicles just in case you want to see whats going on down below.

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Best For River Cruises: Avalon Waterways

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Why we rate it River cruises have a reputation for being staid, but Avalons contemporary Suite Ships and the activities they offer will quickly convince you otherwise. Most choose the Rhine or the Danube for their first river cruise, as both offer striking scenery and a number of big-name cities . Avalons excursions include hiking, kayaking and cycling tours, while dining on board is open-seating something thats a rarity on river cruises. Theres a focus on local and healthy cuisine, with Avalon Fresh items on each menu created by Austrias Wrenkh brothers two leading chefs in the healthy-eating movement.Whats included Pretty much everything all meals, drinks with meals , excursions, crew tips, fitness classes and activities on board. Bar drinks are extra.Price ££

Saga Cruises Spirit of Adventure

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Christmas And New Year’s Combo Cruises

You can opt to party all week on a cruise that encompasses both Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. There are 10-day cruises that catch both December 25 and January 1 in almost every region of the globe, including the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Asia. Cruise lines transition between the two holidays seamlessly, allowing you to focus on enjoying the fun without the chores of taking down decorations and planning the New Year’s Eve party.

Should I Cruise In The Caribbean During Hurricane Season

Cruising during hurricane season may sound scary, but it is not as crazy as it may seem.

Hurricane season runs between June 1 and November 30, and it is the time of year when we typically see tropical storms form in the Caribbean. The most common months to see hurricanes are in August and September. Of course, that does not mean there is a hurricane every day, nor does it mean when there is one, the entire Caribbean is affected.

First and foremost, Royal Caribbean employs a Chief Meteorologist to track every disturbance and storm out there, and provide guidance to each cruise ship on how to best avoid the storm.

Royal Caribbean will absolutely, positively, avoid the path of any hurricane. Itineraries will be flipped, swapped or completely changed to avoid going anywhere near the storm. The cruise line has said time and time again that the safety of its guests, crew and ships are vital, and they will not send their vessels near any hurricane.

In rare situations, entire sailings have been cancelled if the path of the storm rules out any possibility of a ship making it in or out of its homeport.

The top reason to cruise during hurricane season is it will cost you a lot less to cruise during this time of year, and the likelihood of a storm directly impacting your cruise is low. Moreover, your ship will not go in or near any storm.

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Medium Ship Line #: P& o Cruises

The British line P& O Cruises is the oldest in the world, established in 1837 to ferry mail and passengers between the United Kingdom and the Iberian Peninsula, but it began to offer leisure operationsthe very first cruises as we know themas early as 1844. The ships cater to a primarily British audience, and they provide good value for a classic cruising experience. Guests enjoy traditional activities like shuffleboard, dance classes, and pub quizzes. The ships typically sail in Europe, though they also have ports of call in Asia and the Middle East.

Best For Cabin Choice

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Royal Caribbean: Royal Caribbean features a large selection of cabin types. Whether you’re traveling alone, as a couple, with family or as part of a large group, there’s a cabin to accommodate you and your budget. Those with the highest price tags offer jaw-dropping amenities like two decks of space and private kids’ play areas.

Disney: Disney Cruise Line gets a nod for the sheer functionality and thoughtfulness of its staterooms. Done up in nautical decor, they include touches like virtual portholes that make inside cabins feel more open and curtains that can separate kids’ sleeping areas from those of their parents.

Celebrity: With its large number of stateroom choices, dedicated spa suites and chic style, Celebrity offers some of the most well-appointed and functional cabins at sea.

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What About For Shore Excursions

If the cruise will be stopping in other countries and you plan on disembarking while youre there, you probably need a passport. American-run territories like the US Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and Puerto Rico are the main exceptions to this rule.Of course, you can still get off the boat at any port stops in the United States if youre an American citizen.

Italy France Monaco And Spain Cruise

Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

One of the best cruises for couples is a European jaunt around Italy, France, Monaco, and Spain. Start off this seven-night journey in Civitavecchia, a port city located just thirty minutes away from Rome.

Walk hand in hand as you visit historical landmarks including the Pantheon, the Colosseum, and the Sistine Chapel inside St. Peters Basilica in the Vatican. During an intimate lunch for two, feast on pasta, pizza, and a glass of vino before strolling towards the Trevi Fountain, where you can both throw in a penny and make a wish.

In the city of Naples, stay and explore the many archeological sites and historic city center, or board a ferry and head off towards Capri, a dreamy island once favored by Roman emperors. Shop designer items in the town square, enjoy a seaside lunch, and sneak in a kiss inside the famous Blue Grotto, where the suns reflection creates a magical azure glow in the water underneath.

Capri, Italy

After sailing for a day, youll dock in La Spezia, a Tuscan port city located near Florence, Pisa, and Cinque Terre, a picturesque collection of five seaside fishing villages.

Art lovers might decide to head to Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance movement, and the home of Davids Michelangelo and masterpieces by Da Vinci, Botticelli, and more inside the Uffizi Gallery.

Florence, Italy

Luxurious yachts in Monaco

Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes, France

Cathedral of Barcelona, Spain

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What Shore Excursions Are Available In Alaska Throughout The Cruise Season

Many of Alaskas most popular activities can be done anytime from May through September, depending on the port of call.

Glacier viewing is an all-cruise-season activity, with many ways to get to the glacier depending on your preference while in different ports. Biking alongside the glacier, or taking a helicopter to land on top of a glacier, is a memorable and spectacular way to begin a glacier hike.

Other popular Alaska shore excursions include sea kayaking, rafting, craft beer tasting in town, attending a salmon bake, visiting museums to learn about Alaskan culture and history, and going on local hikes you can access from town.

For all your Alaska shore excursions, youll want to dress in layers, as the weather can change quickly.

Featured May Cruises To Alaska

How to Choose the Best Alaska Cruise

Get to Alaska right when the cruise season begins on an Alaska Northbound Glacier Cruise that departs in May from Vancouver, British Columbia. Youll see something new every single day of your cruise in May, from sailing the Inside Passage to visiting Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Hubbard Glacier, and Skagway before ending your cruise in Seward, Alaska, where you might even be able to see some snow on the ground.

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Best For Young Families: Disney Cruise Line

Why we rate it Disney brings its enchanting shoreside experience to sea on its dazzling and surprisingly luxurious ships. If your kids are fans of Star Wars, Marvel and Disney Pixar theyll be mesmerised and likely hooked on cruising for life. On board theres child-friendly dining, a craft-filled kids club and plenty of Disney characters to meet and greet. Get comfy at the theatre and watch favourites such as Frozen and Beauty and the Beast with productions that rival those on Broadway. Theres plenty for parents, too, with nightclubs, an adults-only pool and at least one smart, adults-only restaurant on each ship.Whats included Most restaurants, all entertainment and kids clubs. Youll pay extra for excursions, crew tips, wi-fi, speciality dining and bar drinks.Price ££

Main photo: Lofoten, Norway

Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas

Cruise Guide For First

Planning your first cruise can feel like an overwhelming undertaking. There are indeed so many choices, from “party boats” in the Caribbean and luxury yachts in the Mediterranean to river cruises in Asia and expedition ships in Antarctica.

You need to put some careful thought into just what kind of traveler you are and which type of cruise vacation you really want, while also factoring in such practicalities as budget, the departure port and the length of the trip.

So how do you figure out if a cruise line’s personality is compatible with your needs? You could ask a travel agent, scan online forums or simply read through Cruise Critic’s handy shortlist of the very best cruise lines for first-timers.

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Best For Active Families: Royal Caribbean

Why we rate it Royal Caribbeans huge, activity-packed cruise ships have come a long way since the time when scaling a climbing wall was the height of exoticism. Active families will be blown away by Royals contemporary ships, which are filled with thrills zip-lining, surf simulators and skydiving simulators being the big-hitters. Youll also find state-of-the-art production shows and gently exhale some serene, adults-only spaces.Whats included A range of restaurants, entertainment and kids clubs. Expect to get your wallet out for bar drinks, crew tips, wi-fi, speciality dining, shore excursions and some of the activities.Price ££

Silverseas Silver Cloud in Poolepynten, Svalbard

The 8 Best Cruise Itineraries

Top 5 Best Greek Islands Cruises to Take in 2020

Heidi Sarna

The best cruise itineraries offer history, culture, or natural beauty, as well as interesting embarkation ports and convenient connections. Pick one of these routes which we consider the best choices in the cruise world and you can explore an amazing destination by ship. Just be sure to pick the right month to travel, when the weather is just right and the crowding is at a minimum. Read on for our favorite itineraries, who goes, and when you should sail there. Bon voyage!

A full week at sea means you can see more of the islands flora, fauna, and landscapes than on a shorter cruise. The best routes sail round-trip from Baltra and call on Bartolome, Santiago, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana and Espanola, and offer plenty of time snorkeling in between.

When to Go: March

Who Goes: Celebrity Xpedition, Silver Galapagos, National Geographic Endeavour II

A full week at sea means you can see more of the islands flora, fauna, and landscapes than on a shorter cruise. The best routes sail round-trip from Baltra and call on Bartolome, Santiago, Santa Cruz, Isabela, Fernandina, Floreana and Espanola, and offer plenty of time snorkeling in between.

When to Go: March

Cruising round-trip from aboard a small ship lets you get into the nooks and crannies of Alaska, and explore remote coves and passages by kayak, skiff, and paddle board. Plus, for a change of pace, this itinerary also includes busy Ketchikan and Wrangell.

When to Go: July

When to Go: July

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