For some travelers, cruising is a way to break from the norm and add a little convenience to a vacation. For others, it's a way to accommodate larger groups while removing the stress of organizing. And for some, of course, cruising is a way of life.
While I believe that there is a ship to suit almost every type of traveler due to the vast range of choices, the following are the people that I think cruising suits best. Here are 8 kinds of travelers who are best suited to cruising. Do one of these fit you or your family?
Travelers who don't want to fly
It's possible to travel around the world without catching a flight. The growth of cruising means that you should be able to catch a ship from a port close to you and avoid or minimize the hassle of navigating crowded airports and spending time on cramped planes. If a flight is unavoidable (e.g., if your home lies far from the ocean,) almost all major airports have direct flights to cities with major home ports or ports of call.
Most cruise lines cater to families and offer a range of accommodations and leisure options: family cabins, children’s clubs, family-friendly entertainment and planned excursions. Onboard services such as babysitting and supervised dining also allow adults to grab a little bit of personal time. Parents will be secure in knowing that their children will be taken care of throughout the day and restricted to the confines of the ship so they cannot wander off.
Cruises are also ideal for multi-generational and extended family groups traveling together. With a range of onboard activities, excursions and cabin types, cruising makes it possible to travel as a family on one ship without each group having to compromise over what to do or see. Everyone can engage in their personal interests throughout the day, go on different excursions based on their activity levels and passions, or stay in cabins suited to their needs while still sharing meals and activities like theater and music shows.
If you love going to resorts, then cruising might be right up your alley. Even on smaller cruise ships that hold between 200 and 300 passengers, travelers can enjoy a variety of amenities such as restaurants, bars, entertainment venues, daily activities, shops, swimming pools, spas and fitness centers. Larger cruise ships may contain more ambitious resort-like attractions, such as waterslides, rock-climbing walls, ice rinks, bowling alleys, 3-D simulator rides and outdoor cinemas.
While there are many lines and ships that target families, including those from Carnival, Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises, there are others that provide an experience geared more toward couples. I'm looking at you, Silversea, Seabourn, Viking, Princess, Oceania, Holland America, Cunard, Windstar and SeaDream.
It's even possible to get married or renew your vows on many cruise ships, which allows you and your partner to combine a wedding, celebration and honeymoon all at once. For the captain to perform the legal marriage ceremony, the ship has to be registered in a country that allows such services. See these Cruiseable articles:
- Top 12 cruise lines for weddings
- 7 steps to plan the perfect couples cruise
- Top 10 romantic honeymoon cruises
- Vow renewals on a cruise: 15 top choices
Cruising has always been popular with older travelers who seek to eliminate the pitfalls of navigating through airports, finding their way through strange towns, or finding suitable, safe and comfortable accommodation. It simply provides a less stressful and more organized way to travel.
Cruise lines typically offer low-activity excursions and have comprehensive medical facilities for older travelers. In the event a health issue arises, a passenger can seek treatment aboard a ship, and therefore avoid the challenge of navigating an unfamiliar medical system in a foreign country.
Some cruises cater to solo travelers by offering specific cabins or limiting surcharges for single occupancy of double cabins. Cruises may also provide a service to help solo travelers find a roommate to share costs while on board. Most cruises will also help these guests feel more welcome by placing them at larger tables with other solo diners at meal times, or by hosting regular informal social events for solo travelers to get together and mingle.
Modern cruise ships are designed to cater to mobility-restricted passengers by providing wheelchair accessible rooms, automatic doors for easy access to outside decks, as well as ramps and support to assist guests on and off the ships. Cruise ships may also partner with companies that can supply and install specialized equipment into a guest’s cabins; however, this is typically at the cost of the passenger.
Another growing industry trend is a theme cruise. Cruise lines are organizing more of them, allowing promoters and groups to charter ships for specific themes and permitting parties reserve block bookings on select cruises. There is a theme cruise for just about any topic you can think of: cruises dedicated to golf, gays, art, cycling, history, nature, photography, religion, Jewish heritage and many others. See the Theme Cruises section of Cruiseable Magazine.
In our New to Cruising series
- How to pick the right ocean cruise itinerary
- 10 tips to make your first cruise go super smooth
- What to expect from your first cruise
- 10 cruise tips every beginner should know
- How to find a cruise ship size that's right for you
- 5 tips on how to make the most of your time on a cruise
- What kind of people go on a cruise?
- What you can do in port during a cruise