Read our guide to cruises to help you make the right decision.
The beauty of a cruise holiday is in its simplicity.
You get on a liner, unpack your stuff, then spend anything up to a month taking in the sights and sounds of a variety of exciting places around the world. You don’t even have to worry about food or entertainment - it’s all there waiting for you.
It’s not surprising, then, that cruising has experienced a boom in recent years.
No longer is it solely a pursuit of the retired. Singles, couples, honeymooners and families are all, erm, getting on board and taking advantage of the sheer variety of holidays available.
From sizzling sojourns in the Caribbean to breathtaking Alaskan adventures, the hardest part of cruising is choosing!
There’s a huge range of cruises available, and with over 70 cruise lines and 1,800 ports of call, whittling them down to find your perfect match can seem a bit daunting. The basic types of cruises include:
Taster cruises can last from just two-to-five nights and are a great way to discover if cruising is for you
Once you’ve decided where you want to go, and on which type of cruise, you’ll have to decide which ship will meet your requirements.
And, as is often the way, it’s not the size that matters, but what’s done with it that counts.
A family will want lots of kids’ activities on board, for example, while a honeymooning couple might choose a ship for adults only, or one with a spa.
Some liners pride themselves on being party boats, which is no good if you’re after some peace and quiet, whereas cruises geared towards older people might be a little too quiet for night owls. You need to pick your ship as you would your traditional holiday resort.
Many cruise operators also offer themed cruises, so wine-tasting fans, solo singletons, amateur photographers or budding chefs could all find a cruise specially designed for them.
Choosing a cabin is like choosing a room in a hotel; some offer basic facilities, others are packed with luxurious extras.
Consider what amenities are likely to influence the quality of your trip before making a final decision. Note that all cruise ships offer wheelchair-accessible cabins, but ask your cruise company should you require such accommodation.
The economy-class cabin interior rooms are smaller and window-less, often with bunk beds to maximise floor space. These might prove a thrifty choice if you’re planning on being out and about most of the day.
These cabins offer the benefit of a small window, and are often slightly larger and/or better equipped than interior cabins.
Many liners have different grades of ocean-view cabins available, so check with your cruise company. Bear in mind, though, that the windows are typically very thick and do not open.
Balcony cabins – sometimes called veranda cabins – have the big advantage of private outside space, often with lounge furniture.
These cabins usually offer a better standard of accommodation, but a private balcony does not necessarily mean you won’t be seen from the public deck, or from surrounding balconies.
For the best cabins available, choose a suite. These usually include separate living, sleeping and bathroom areas, plus extras like TVs, DVD players and high-speed internet.
Some really top-of-the-range suites will include extravagancies such as hot tubs, private butlers and saunas!
If you’re worried about sea-sickness book a cabin with an outside view to help balance out the motion of the ocean
Gocompare.com has partnered with Our Holiday Centre* – its preferred cruise comparison company – to help you find the perfect high-seas holiday.
Search and compare by destination, cabin type, sailing dates, liner rating and departure ports - amongst many other criteria - to find a great deal on your dream cruise.