If you're new to cruise you'll discover there are countless different types of ship, ranging in size, style and purpose. Choose from river cruises to expedition sailing and from niche operators to the more traditional ship.
Decide between large resort style ships with rock climbing and ice-skating to exclusively intimate boutique yachts and everything in between. Some cruise ships carry 50 passengers and others can accommodate 6,000. From ship to itinerary, how to choose a cruise that's perfect for you is about finding the right combination of all the factors.
You need to consider matching your character and requirements with the style of cruise - do you like to dress up for dinner or prefer to be casual? Are you the sociable type or would you prefer to just relax at the spa with a good book on a peaceful escape? Perhaps you're looking for adventure or an active holiday? Alternatively you may want to enjoy a cultural, city break experience. As well as British-style cruise holidays, you may also wish to consider the option of an American or European-style cruise for a new holiday experience.
For the modern cruise guest or those travelling with family large resort style cruise ships have an extensive choice of activities and entertainment with a variety of programmes on offer for all ages. They provide numerous dining choices together with varied dress codes and are great for multi-generational families because there's something for everyone. On these types of ship the on board activities are as much a part of the whole holiday experience as the fantastic destinations you'll visit.
For those looking for a classic cruise experience, with a focus on destination, many companies offer small ship, traditional cruising to exciting locations. Often sailing from the UK, these lines provide education, enrichment and heritage while visiting some of the most beautiful ports in the world. These ships offer a comfortable, casual and relaxed way to travel the world by sea and are often very popular as a first-time cruise.
Ultra-Luxury and 'Premium' cruise ships are generally smaller and provide an intimate and opulent experience. They are able to visit small ports so the destination often plays a key role when deciding on this style of cruise. Food is of high priority and world-renowned chefs such as Nobu Matsuhiya and Aldo Zilli have turned their talents to providing luxury cruise guests with 5* quality food. For others within the luxury market, the ships are very much like private yachts offering a unique holiday experience, perfect if you're looking for a new type of cruise to enjoy.
Cruising has become more adventurous. Expedition cruises offer the explorers in all of us a way to see the wonders of the world in style and comfort. From Antarctica to the Arctic, Alaska to the Galapagos, the joy of Expedition cruising lies in the ability to reach untamed, usually inaccessible wildernesses. With tours often included and marvellous opportunities aplenty, these voyages provide a completely different holiday for intrepid travellers.
River cruises are a fabulous way to see the stunning scenery and cosmopolitan gems inland. The ships are long and narrow, with large windows and mostly outward facing rooms so you can see the constantly changing landscape of the riverbank. A river cruise gives you a great opportunity to explore cities both during the day and in the evening. There are differing levels of luxury and destinations which literally stretch from one side of the globe to the other.
The choice in size and style of all ocean going cruise ships is extensive - there are those with a very contemporary feel, while others can be likened to a country house hotel. This means it's important to explore all of the options carefully when choosing a cruise ship in any category.
Together with the choice of ship is the length of the cruise - this can vary from as little as a two day 'taster' from the UK, to a standard 7 day cruise and right through to a world cruise lasting more than 100 days! For more information on any of these styles of cruise and who offers them click on the links above or find your local CLIA UK & Ireland Agent