This is a guest post by Karolina Shenton from The Cruise Web. Cruising is one of the most popular travel options of those seeking a satisfying retirement trip. But, there are so many options and possibilities it is important to get the right information. Karolina offers an excellent overview.
Cruising the world is a fantastic way to awaken your soul and see some destinations and cultures you’ve always dreamed of seeing. Popularized in the 1970s with “The Love Boat,” cruising has grown significantly since Captain Steubing called it quits. Now there are more than 100 different cruise ships and each one offers something just a little bit different from the next. While the plethora of options is great, it makes it hard to tell which cruise is the cruise for you.
That’s why I've put together a few pieces of valuable advice for you when planning and booking your next cruise vacation. Read on for some tips from inside the industry.
Choosing a ship/cruise line:
· Ship size is very important. Some vessels accommodate more than 4,000 passengers, and include a bevy of lounges, bars, restaurants, and activities, as well as other cruisers. Other ships are built for less than 200 passengers, and offer a more personalized and smaller-scale experience.
o Many retired cruisers find smaller ships to be more attractive. These allow for a more personalized service on board, intensive assistance in finding the right activities onshore, and more peace and serenity.
o River cruising is a fantastic option for retirees—these all-inclusive options make booking a cruise easy: they usually include dining, excursions, and entertainment. That means less hassle for you. In addition, these exclusive itineraries include ports larger ships can’t reach, providing a one-of-a-kind experience.
o When planning a cruise on a smaller ship, it is smart to book as early as possible. Prices are almost always at their lowest a year before the sail date, and your choice of cabins will be much greater.
· Each cruise line focuses on a different on board experience. So although we suggest a smaller cruise ship, for retirees, not every ship will include the on board activities you may be looking for.
o For the sightseeing vacationer: River Cruise lines such as Avalon Waterways and Uniworld offer regional touches such as local entertainment and regional décor, in addition to an incredible amount of sightseeing. This is because these smaller ships cruise right up against the banks of some of the most intriguing and seldom visited locations in the world.
o For the active vacationer: Larger cruise lines such as Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian offer all types of fitness classes and sporting events on board, as well as more intense, ‘not-for-the-faint-of-heart,’ onshore excursions.
o For those with the yearn to learn: Some of the smaller ships offer incredible enrichment classes that will enlighten and inspire you. For example, Oceania Cruises has expert-led cooking classes in state of the art culinary kitchens, and Crystal Cruises offers a comprehensive collection of computer and general technology courses.
Choosing a destination/length:
· There’s a destination for each and every one of us, depending on who you are and what you expect from your vacation. As a starting point, a cruise to Bermuda, Canada, and Northern Europe are popular destinations for the more experienced traveler. Here are some recommendations for different kinds of travelers.
o I’ve retired, and I’m ready for my first cruise. First cruise? Make sure you get in touch with a travel agent. You may not know it, but you probably have a very specific set of wants and needs when vacationing, which is why having a consultant to assist you is an absolute must. Many retirees love classy, well-developed destinations such as Quebec, or St. Martin, which offer unique experiences, luxury accommodations, and incredible, upscale dining experiences. Only an agent who has been there, and done that, can effectively help you sort through the sea of choices.
o I’ve retired, love cruising, and am ready to see the world. To have the opportunity to see as many ports as possible, and therefore as many destinations as you desire, try a World Cruise. World Cruises are a fantastic choice for retirees, because the time constraint of being on board for so long isn’t as much of an issue. As an alternative, many cruise lines offer segments, which are shorter sections of the world voyages that still see a diverse set of ports-of-call in exotic destinations like Indonesia, Africa, and Eastern Europe, in a fraction of the time. The best part is that you can choose a itinerary that focuses on parts of the world you haven’t yet seen.
o I’ve seen the world, but would like to cruise to a unique destination. Such is the problem for many well-traveled retirees, because they have seen many places and are not as easily satisfied. No problem. For those looking for a tropical experience, Tahiti and the South Pacific is a great option that is less visited than the Caribbean. You can find some of the most exclusive cruise excursions in the world there as you enjoy the wonderful weather. For those looking for an enriching vacation, try a river cruise to Asia. Culture, historical sites, and natural wonders are easy to find in Asia. (ex: Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Dragon Dance in China)
As you can see, there is a perfect cruise vacation for every type of retiree. That’s why doing your research is key, and using a travel agent is strongly suggested. Who knows, your next vacation could be exploring the ancient temples of Cambodia, or viewing the fall foliage on a a cruise to Canada and New England. Get ahead of the game, find the right cruise line, and choose the best destination for you.
Satisfying Retirement received no compensation for this guest post or its commercial links.