Archive | Cruises

Smooth Sailing: Top Reasons For Choosing A Cruise Ship Vacation

To the uninitiated, the thought of a cruise ship vacation may seem rather dull. They mistakenly believe that there will be nothing to do and that such a holiday will be boring. They may have fears of getting sea sick. They may think there will be little to see, they think they won’t have enough time or believe the price of a cruise holiday to be exorbitant and prohibitive. These folks cannot speak from experience.

Anyone who has been on a cruise ship will tell you there is nothing better. For them, cruising is the ultimate vacation. They are able to talk at length about how much fun was had, the amenities, the delicious food and the exotic destinations. Their eyes sparkle when they recall the adventure and they yearn to do it again.

We went in search of these seasoned travellers and asked them for their top reasons for taking a cruise ship vacation.

Double the fun, half the fuss!

With a conventional holiday, a lot of time and effort is spent on planning. One needs to plan the route to a chosen destination. You need to make bookings for accommodations and car rentals. You have to deal with unreliable third parties for transport. You have to spend time working out an itinerary. You have to juggle various activities so as to squeeze in as much as possible. Activities for the kids should not clash with activities for the adults.

Hotels may be fully booked. Flights may be delayed or cancelled at the last minute. Conventional holidays can be a traffic congested nightmare, where you hope for this and pray for that. You rush through things at such a frantic pace that at the end of it all, you need to take a holiday to recover from your holiday!

A cruise ship holiday is exactly what a holiday is meant to be; a relaxing experience where you get to unwind. All you need to do is chose your cruise and pack. Everything else is taken care of. Itineraries are prearranged and, with a vast array of amenities on board, entertainment and fun are guaranteed. You are met with a level of professionalism that one seldom encounters with conventional holidays. You get to see and do more without the worry or stress.

Spoiled for choice

From rock-climbing to cabaret, from cinemas to night-clubs and casinos, you will be amazed at the number of amenities cruise ships have to offer.  Leave your little ones at the crèche while you learn ballroom dancing. Go shopping or get a massage. Enter a ping-pong tournament or attend an art exhibition before feasting at a selection of restaurants.

Worried that you may pack on a few pounds? No problem! A fully equipped gym with personal instructor is at your disposal. Mini golf, swimming pools, squash and tennis courts; zip-lining, roller blading and wine tastings; these are just some of the offerings from the likes of Royal Caribbean, Costa Cruises or Princess Cruises.  Daily activities are designed for both young and old. Who knows, you may even meet your significant other!

Value for money

Caribbean Cruise HolidaysWith a conventional holiday, sticking to budget is not so easy. Everything from food to transport, accommodation and entertainment is paid for separately. You can never be certain if your next purchase will be value for money or not. You spend hours cramped up on busses and trains or brave congested traffic in a rented car.  Kids become restless and irritable. As your stress levels increase, you realise you took the wrong exit turn and now you are lost. That is no way to unwind.

A cruise ship offers a very different experience. Meals, transport, entertainment and exotic ports of call are all inclusive. This means you can holiday with peace of mind, knowing that you won’t go over budget. You are guaranteed the finest dining experiences.

Cruise ships provide dozens of themed restaurants to tantalise your taste buds. All entertainment is centralised. You are never pressed for time, scurrying around in a frenzied attempt to squeeze everything in. With activities available 24/7, you can doze off around the pool or retire to the privacy and comfort of your stateroom whenever you like. Now that is a holiday worth having!

A multiple destination station

With a regular holiday, you typically chose one destination for the full duration of your trip. You try to squeeze in as much as possible. With no detailed knowledge of what is on offer, you may miss out on the real gems that are worth seeing.

With a cruise, you get to see several destinations. Why spend a full week at Grand Cayman when you can get to see Cozumel and other exotic Caribbean ports too? Each port of call has its own unique set of delights. If you choose to disembark, you can rest assured you will be experiencing the best of the best. Why settle for anything less?

Travel simplified

A typical holiday involves packing and unpacking every step of the way, carting suitcases around from one hotel to the next, getting in and out of taxis, rushing to catch the next bus or train, over-priced rooms that don’t meet your expectations, arguing with obnoxious personnel and standing around in endless ques of sweaty tourists. Is this what you want to spend your hard earned money on?

With a cruise, you only need to unpack once. You can travel to multiple destinations and still have the privacy of your stateroom. You are never burdened with the need for public transport systems. You don’t have to face hours of traffic. You don’t have to stress about being late to catch a show because on a cruise ship you are just a stroll away from where you need to be.

Is this hassle free method of travel not a far superior option? You bet it is!

 

Royal Caribbean Cruises Norwegian Cruise Lines - Cruise Deals MSC Cruises - Mediterranean Cruises Cunard Cruise Holiday Offers Celebrity Cruise Holidays

Cruising – It’s Not All About Zimmerframes

Cruise holidays are a topic we’ve been passionate about for a very long time. Since the launch of the original game changing cruise ship “Voyager of the Seas” from Royal Caribbean, we felt cruising “opened” up. Cruising was no longer the preserve of the senior traveller. That my friends was 15 years ago. In 1999, Voyager introduced us to ice skating rinks, and a street in the middle of a ship as just two of her innovations. Voyager has 4 sisters which followed, Explorer of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, and Mariner of the Seas. A while later, what we feel are “big brothers” the Freedom Class arrived “Liberty of the Seas”, “Freedom of the Seas”, “Independence of the Seas”. Freedom class was approx 1/3 larger by gross tonnage, and added “Flowriders” – the surf simulators, along with “jacuzzi’s” hanging over the side of the ships……you’ve got to try them! And in recent years, Royal Caribbean added the largest cruise ships afloat – “Oasis” of the Seas and “Allure” of the Seas with a third “Oasis” class ship on the way. However, we’ve just seen the “Anthem of the Seas” and the “Quantum of the Seas” and boys have these two stepped everything up again……..”Ifly” the skydiving simulator……….and a host of fantastic imaginative entertainment and food eateries to “Wow” you! Royal Caribbean really has something for everyone!

Royal Caribbean is joined by a number of other cruise lines in the “Middle” ground. Norwegian Cruise lines who innovated in “Freestyle” cruising – dining as you want so to speak, along with a few more twists. Norwegian also has been adding new ships at a pace – the first of the “innovators” was Norwegian EPIC, one of our all time favourite ships. EPIC added cool entertainment such as Blue Man Group, the Spiegeltent ……..a Cirque De Soleil style dining experience at sea. Norwegian combined the large venues  with cool jazz and brilliant comedy in more intimate settings. In last year or two, we’ve seen Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Getaway. These three ships – EPIC, Getaway and Breakaway are all large, “resorts” at sea……..and are simply fantastic. Again they tend to cater for “all”……

Following on from Royal Caribbean and Norwegian is actually the largest cruise line in the world – Carnival Corporation. Carnival amongst their armada have the Carnival Cruises fleet, “the fun ships”. Again a family staple, And to be fair, Carnival have been adding new ships such as the Breeze and Dream. Carnival have sat more main stream adding dining venues such as “Guys Burger Joint” names after the Food Networks “Guy Fieri” of Diners Drives In’s and Dives fame. Our cruises on Carnival could certainly be described as fun!

Now, adding into the mix of the above which are all “American” based companies, we have a European offering. “MSC” the Mediterranean Shipping Company. MSC cruises sprouted from one of the most successful and largest container companies in the world. Initially buying older cruise vessels, modernising and I suppose “learning” the trade. Ambition indeed went on the rampage, MSC is now one of the largest cruise ship companies in the world. The MSC Fleet are “detailed”! Most notable are the “Fantasia” Class with the first of the Fantasia class being “MSC” Fantasia”, this has been followed by sister ships “MSC Splendida”, “MSC Preziosa” and “MSC Divina”. Fantasia being the first of the fleet, coming into service as recently as 2008. MSC offers serious value, with excellent facilities and the “cruise ship” within a cruise ship “Yacht Club”. Yacht Club is the five star experience on board the Fantasia Class. We love the ornate designs on the Fantasia Class with crystal staircases, and an almost intimate feel in these floating resorts. Excellent children’s facilities and in the case of Preziosa – a fantastic waterpark …….at sea.

MSC Cruises, Norwegian, Carnival and Royal Caribbean we see as covering a spectrum of ages, and have something to offer pretty much everyone.

In the luxury end of the market, there is serious value from Holland American (Part of the Carnival family), Cunard (again part of the Carnival family) and Celebrity Cruises which is owned by Royal Caribbean. Cunard being 175 years old this year has a rich seafaring history which embodies modern British culture with grand tradition. In the case of Cunard, they have three ships in the fleet, Queen Mary 2 – the worlds largest ocean liner, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth. Victoria and Elizabeth are traditional cruise ships in styling but absolutely ultra modern both being very young ships. Queen Mary 2 has just passed her 10th birthday, which in cruise ship terms is “hardly run in”. The cruise ships spend their summers mainly in the Mediterranean or plying the waters out of Southampton to the Mediterranean with twists to the Norwegian Fjords, British Isles and Baltics. Queen Mary 2 on the other hand travels transatlantic and longer “World Cruises”. All three of the Queens take on world cruise holidays normally from January to May or so each year. Cunards ships have a certain “Calm” to them. Of course all the normals are there – fantastic spa’s, beautiful pool areas, wonderful restaurants with mouth watering food offerings. …….it’s all just “another” world.

For all the best discount cruise holidays and extravagant last minute cruise deals – we have you completely covered at www.cruiseparadise.ie