There’s something wonderful about getting on a cruise ship and knowing you can fully relax and at the same time, sample more places than you possibly could reach on an overland trip. For example, trying to visit Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Estonia and St. Petersburg in one trip would be incredibly difficult unless you were on a cruise.
Most lines also do a great job of catering to special needs, from travelers who use wheelchairs to special dietary requirements and food allergies, to hearing or sight impairments.
Some of the larger ships can be a fun option. Lines like Royal Caribbean do a great job of catering to all ages. With wonderful kids programs, theme-park-like activities, and a city’s worth of dining and entertainment venues, this resort-at-sea experience can be great for families with diverse interests.
Many small ship lines, such as Oceania, Crystal Cruises, Seabourn, and Silversea, attract couples and families whose emphasis is more on the destinations than the ship, and who want a more boutique experience. Some people hesitate to bring children on these lines thinking they’ll be bored, but it’s easy to arrange ways to keep everyone happy. During school vacations, there are usually a number of families on board so kids can meet up and make new friends.
Whichever line you choose, it’s important to recognize that it’s okay for people to go off in different directions, perhaps meeting up for breakfast and dinner. Active family members can take off on hikes and biking excursions, while others do less strenuous outings. Also, if there at least four people traveling together, it’s often less expensive and far more efficient and interesting to hire a private guide than join the ship’s excursion. And with the right guides, even young children will stay engaged.
A cruise can also be a comfortable way to visit places that might otherwise seem too rustic or unfamiliar. Many years ago, we took our family to Papua New Guinea on a cruise. In those days, most villages had no electricity or running water. For our kids and us, it was amazing to see people living without things we viewed as necessities. We saw students happily having class out in the open, and cooking and eating seated on the ground. The experience opened our kids’ eyes to the fact that people live differently around the world.
I’ve been on more cruises than I can count and visited at hundreds of ports around the world; I’d love put my experience to work and help you plan your next cruise vacation.