Cruising is the fastest growing sector of the travel industry, and while Canterbury has perhaps been a little slow to embrace the cruising revolution over the last few decades, we’re catching up very fast now! Discover Travel is a leading cruise specialist in Canterbury with 3 Certified Cruise Specialists, and a strong supporter of the cruise industry.
The first decision to make when deciding on a traditional cruise is “is the cruise essentially the holiday itself, or simply part of a wider itinerary”? For most of our clients it’s one of the key anchors (if you excuse the pun!) in planning an itinerary in Europe, Canada & Alaska, the South Pacific or Hawaii and the rest of the itinerary will fit around this, often the first thing to be decided on.
Then the key questions to consider are:
‘Where’ – most popular for our clients currently are the Mediterranean, Alaska, Scandinavia, the Baltics & Russia, Hawaii, Asia & the Caribbean. The iconic Southampton to New York is another favourite itinerary.
‘How’ The ship size, your choice of stateroom – inside/outside/balcony/suite etc (we’d recommend a balcony!) and the specific itinerary within each region.
‘With Whom’ (the cruise line). The choice of cruise lines can be rather bewildering and each offers unique points of difference and tends to cater to slightly different markets so we’d like the opportunity to guide you through this maze to ensure you make the right decision and your expectations are both met and hopefully exceeded!
At Discover Travel we define ‘Large’ Cruise ships as having more than 1500 passengers on board and ‘Mid-size’ Cruise ships as having 500-1500 passengers on board.
The ‘Large’ Ships usually provide a huge range of activities and entertainment options, and we liken them to a floating resort. The experience can be as much about the ship as the destination. There’s a great range of eating options and they cater well to families although you do need to watch out for European school holidays if not travelling with kids as some offer ‘kids cruise free’ programs!
With more people on board, they are usually good value for money and the standard ranges from 4* – 5*, with many of the ‘mega’ ships from Royal Caribbean, MSC, NCL, Celebrity, Holland America, Princess & P&O Europe in this category.
‘Mid-Size’ Ships tend to offer more interesting destinational itineraries as they can enter the smaller ports the big ships cannot, and also offer a good range of eating options. You will usually get a spa, gym, pools & a salon. They can also be good value for money, offer a good range of activities and entertainment and while some still cater to families, they tend to be more adult-focused. Many of the luxury cruise lines also fall into this category.
Standard ranges from 3* (Hurtigruten), through 5* (Viking, Azamara, Oceania) to 6* (Crystal, Seabourn, Silversea & Regent Seven Seas).
Each notch up in Star rating means better food, more comfortable accommodation, more personal service and a greater number of inclusions, with most of the 6* cruise lines moving increasingly to all-inclusive cruise packages.