We all know the reasons why cruising is one of the hottest methods of travel; it’s family-friendly, offers great bang for your buck, and takes you to multiple destinations without the need to unpack.
Cruise lines are competing to offer the ultimate passenger experience, searching for an edge that will make them stand out in a busy marketplace. This is great news for consumers, as cruise ships now strive to out-do each other when it comes to included features and enticing add-ons.
Here are seven EXTRA reasons why you should make an ocean cruise your next holiday; the perks just keep getting perkier!
1. Learn and Cruise
Opportunities to spend your sea days productively is quickly becoming a point of difference for competing cruise lines, who have embraced the idea of enrichment at sea.
Princess Cruises’ Scholarship@Sea offers classes on every voyage, sometimes as many as 40, from scrapbooking to computer lessons and ceramics classes. You can take an acting workshop aboard Cunard’s Queen Mary II, study acupuncture on some Celebrity Cruises' ships, and mix your own wine on Holland America’s Koningsdam. Oceania’s Riviera and Marina feature a Culinary Centre where highly trained instructors offer classes ranging from basic knife skills through to the art of fish cookery.
2. Fine Dining
Indulgent buffets are an awesome perk of your onboard package, but cruise lines take it even further by offering fine dining options from celebrity chefs. P&O guests can book into Luke Mangan’s Salt Grill, Princess passengers can enjoy the stylings of Curtis Stone, and Geoffrey Zakarian offers Norwegian Cruise Line’s diners a menu bursting with gourmet seafood. The best part is; you don’t even have to choose a designated driver.
3. Splashing Out
Forget tiny pools filled with tepid water; cruise lines know that we all love a good pool and have delivered accordingly. Viking Cruises’ sea vessels boast glass-backed pools that actually extend beyond the stern, the first infinity pools available onboard a ship. MSC Preziosa has Vertigo - 120 metres of waterslide that actually shoots over the edge of the ship and back again. For those craving waves, Royal Caribbean offers FlowRider surf simulator, and P&O’s new water parks are an interactive playground for the whole family.
4. Play All Day
If you ever get tired of the waterslide there are plenty of other ways to ensure you don’t succumb to cabin fever. You can play shuffleboard with Princess Cruises, bounce around on the bungee trampoline on Norwegian Cruise Line, or check out the RipCord sky diving simulator aboard Quantum of the Seas.
If you’d rather curl up with a movie, most Carnival ships offer giant poolside movie screens, or step it up a notch with MSC’s 4D movie screen, which doubles as a ride simulator.
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5. Show Time
Movies are one thing, but live shows are a treat that really pump up the holiday atmosphere. From Silverseas’ ABBA medley to Norwegian Cruise Line's circus extravaganzas, the choice of live entertainment is growing more diverse and enthralling by the day. Cunard offer Shakespeare classics in a Broadway-class theatre, and Royal Caribbean have long been known for innovative entertainment such as ice-skating shows and water based acrobatics.
6. Themed Cruising
There’s nothing like a party with a good theme, and cruises that celebrate calendar events such as Melbourne Cup, Christmas and Halloween are just the tip of the iceberg. Celebrity Cruises has two 80s-themed cruises scheduled for 2017, and Carnival is spicing it up with a Salsa Cruise departing later this month P&O offer a State of Origin Cruise that includes tickets and transfers to the game, while Silversea’s Wellness Expedition Voyages offers a range of yoga, aqua aerobics and nutrition classes to keep guests at optimal health during their cruise.
7. Exotic Destinations
Palm-fringed sandy shores aside, there are some destinations that are best accessed via water, and cruise providers are vying to bring you to the most unique destinations on the planet. P&O sails to Papua New Guinea, a land that is rich with cultural and natural wonders, and Crystal Cruises are offering itineraries through the Arctic’s once impassable Northwest Passage. South America is prime cruising territory, and added land components such as Princess Cruise’s side trips to Igazu Falls and Machu Picchu ensure guests don’t miss out on of the destination highlights.