Maybe you're a family with young or teenage children and need an inexpensive, yet fun-filled vacation option that will please everyone. Or, perhaps you're a newlywed couple looking for a romantic honeymoon. You could also be a retired couple looking for some R &R at an all-inclusive resort. The truth is, you could be anyone, in nearly any situation, and find that a cruise is the perfect vacation option.
There are numerous cruise lines offering small, medium, large, and mega ships capable of carrying a few hundred, or several thousand, passengers. These cruise ships sail around the world and bring their guests to locations they'd likely never see on their own.
Some travelers prefer a vacation offering the opportunity to experience a piece of history, such as the Colosseum in Rome, or the Blarney Stone in Ireland. Others may enjoy basking in the tropical sun on the white, sandy beaches of the Caribbean or South Pacific Islands. And yet, others may simply want to experience an all-inclusive type of vacation that leaves them feeling pampered and spoiled. Regardless of your vacation wish-list, it can be found on a cruise. River cruises, Caribbean or Mediterranean cruises, or an Inside Passage cruise along Alaska's coast, are just a few of the many options available.
What's included in the cost of a cruise? Just about everything. Most cruise lines offer the majority of food and drinks in their rates, as well as a variety of entertainment and activities. Specialties, such as spa services (massages, for example) or alcoholic drinks, are often an extra charge. However, it is quite possible to have a fun-filled, yet relaxing, cruise on most cruise lines without having to spend more than what you paid when you booked your cruise. What's included will often also vary depending on the cruise line and your chosen stateroom category.
Extra charges often come in the form of cruise-line sponsored shore excursions, alcoholic beverages, on-board shopping, spa services, or exclusive specialty restaurant dining. It is also customary to pay a predetermined amount of gratuities for the wonderful service received by the many members of the cruise ship's staff. Speaking from personal experience after having enjoyed several cruises myself, the wonderful staff aboard the ships definitely deserve the gratuities. They are always so helpful, friendly, and willing to cater to nearly every want and need.
So, for whom, exactly, is a cruise the perfect vacation? In a word, everyone. Mobility issues? No problem; most cruise ships offer handicap-accessible staterooms and go above and beyond to make their special-needs guest more comfortable. Fear of flying? Again, no problem, since there is a departure port within driving distance of just about everyone. Prefer a resort? Great! Because cruise ships are essentially the resort environment you love, floating at sea. Sort of like mini-cities featuring nightclubs, piano bars, an assortment of restaurants and cafes, bingo, Broadway and Vegas type shows, karaoke, relaxation spas, lots of kid-friendly activities, and much, much more. In fact, some ships even offer on-board surfing and rock-climbing! What's better however, is that you never have to find a designated driver after a night of partying at the nightclub, and you get to visit some of the most beautiful places in the world.
Now you're likely wondering where to begin your search for the perfect cruise, right? You could search each cruise line's individual website, if you prefer. Or, you may prefer to search a website that lists all the major cruise lines in order to compare prices and amenities.
If you prefer to stick with a particular brand, all the major cruise lines, such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Norwegian, and others, offer personal vacation planners to help you find exactly what will satisfy your vacation needs.
All you need to do now is pick a cruise and start packing!