For many, selecting the optimum vacation can be tricky. Some prefer the luxuries afforded by a city break, such as a weekend of shopping in New York, while others wish to “get away from it all” and find an isolated beach nestled in the heart of the Caribbean for the ultimate in rest and relaxation. However, there is one vacation type which allows the uncertain to mix and match these elements of the perfect holiday, as well as offering a high standard of luxury across the board.
Cruising has become one of the top vacation types of choice in the world, with a multitude of luxury liners on offer to give even the most choosy travelers plenty to do whilst on the high seas. Even better, cruises in general stop at a number of destinations throughout the trip, allowing for whistle-stop tours of some of the most picturesque and cultural international coastal areas. While this type of vacation may not suit those who enjoy exploring cities at their leisure and immersing themselves in the culture of their chosen destination, they are a great way to see more of the world and even shop around for the next land-based vacation.
In order to make the most of your cruise, it is important to identify where in the world a week or two on-board would suit you and your group. This is why we have identified some of the world’s best cruising locations, along with a brief suggestion of which ports to visit if possible.
The Mediterranean is largely known for its sparkling seas, delicious food and temperate weather, yet there is also a wealth of culture to get to grips with which is perfectly achievable even in a limited timeframe. Visiting Venice during carnival, or Carnivale de Venezia, is highly recommended as the festivities and welcoming atmosphere truly bring out the best of this beautiful and unique city. Rome and Florence are two other top Italian destinations, so finding a cruise liner which focuses on Western Europe would be the perfect way to efficiently explore all Italy has to offer. Alternatively, for those seeking a traditional Mediterranean vibe, Santorini is the place to be. With tavernas (complete with plate-smashing waiters!), black sand beaches and wine tasting, this little taste of Greece is set in stunning scenery and is only a relatively short hop from the hustle and bustle of Turkish bazaars.
Last year, the number of holidaymakers choosing to cruise reached 20 million for the first time, with a majority percentage of the total number of passengers coming from Europe and the USA. It is hardly surprising, then, that transatlantic vacations have become a keystone of the cruising industry. For Europeans, the chance to forego a long flight in favor of a leisurely coast across the ocean in order to visit hotspots such as New York and Miami has proven irresistible, while Americans enjoy being able to explore a number of countries from a floating home base – it definitely beats changing hotels every night! Planetcruise.co.uk sums up the experience best, saying; “A transatlantic voyage allows you to indulge in those things you love to do, but never have time for.” From eating pizza in Rome to viewing the Statue of Liberty as you enter New York, transatlantic cruising truly showcases the best that Europe and the USA have to offer.
The Caribbean remains one of the most luxurious vacation destinations in the world for several very good reasons – the sun shines most of the year, white sand beaches are a staple feature and a wealth of cultures come together thanks to the number of international settlers who now count themselves as Caribbean locals.
Bustling market towns allow visitors to mingle with locals and enjoy their renowned hospitality, while quieter ports offer the opportunity to explore lush tropical forests and lie on undisturbed beaches. Barbados is particularly good at mixing these two aspects, while St Maarten and Antigua tend to lean towards the busier sociable side of the Caribbean. For those looking to completely escape the everyday and absorb the good vibes emanating from these islands, the Caribbean is the ultimate relaxing break, teaming luxury with stunning scenery to clear even the most stressed of minds.
While cruising may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is certainly worth experiencing life on board at least once. Give it a go – who knows, the results may even surprise you!