Booking your first cruise can be a daunting experience, but well worth the effort when you are sitting on deck sipping your first cocktail in the sunshine. A record 1.79 million Britons chose to take a cruise holiday in 2013, making it one of the most popular ways to holiday.
Stepping onboard a cruise ship opens up a world of excitement that few holidays on land match up to. Ships today are akin to floating resorts with every conceivable facility you could wish for onboard. Cruise holidays offer great value for money, with a whole host of facilities included in your cruise fare. Starting with stylish accommodation, meals on a full board basis, daytime activities and evening entertainment included as standard. Not forgetting, onboard facilities such as swimming pools, Jacuzzis, kids clubs, gymnasiums and sports courts. If you choose a fly cruise, your flights and transfers to/from the port are also included.
The only other costs you have to budget for are your drinks, excursions, onboard purchases, spa treatments, speciality dining, internet access and phone calls. Tipping is customary on a cruise to say ?Thank You? to the staff who have served you well during your stay. Guests have the option of pre-paying their gratuities when they book or to have the amounts added to their onboard account.
Whichever cruise ship you choose, waking up to a new port of call almost every day, whilst only having to unpack once, is an added bonus. When you have considered the basics of: when you want to travel, who with, where to and your budget, just give one of Hays Travel?s Cruise Consultants a call on 0800 408 4229.
More information for people that are new to cruising
Who are cruises suitable for? Show answer >
Cruises are suitable for singles, couples, families and honeymooners alike, whatever your age. You can choose from facility-packed 'superliners' where the action never stops, to small, relaxing ships where the onboard atmosphere is similar to that of a private club. Ships today are floating resorts with every conceivable facility you could wish for, including world-class leisure facilities, dining and entertainment, alongside excellent quality accommodation. You will also get to see a whole host of wonderful destinations on one holiday, waking up to a new port of call almost every day, whilst only having to unpack once.
What's included in the price? Show answer >
Cruising offers incredible value for money and there has never been such an exciting and wide choice of ships and itineraries. For one price, just about everything is included - your cabin, meals, onboard activities and entertainment.
There are extras that are not included in the price such as drinks, tipping, excursions, onboard purchases, spa treatments, internet access and phone calls, etc.
At the luxury end of the cruise market you can also go for an all-inclusive option where items such as drinks and tips are included in the price of your holiday.
Ships offer a cashless system onboard where you sign for your purchases as you go along and settle your onboard account by credit card at the end of your cruise.
Many cruise lines also offer wine and soft drinks packages that you can purchase onboard to lessen the impact on your pocket.
Is it possible to try a short cruise before embarking on a longer voyage? Show answer >
Taster cruises are the ideal way to sample what cruise life is all about before taking the plunge on a full holiday at sea. There are many short cruises of 2 to 5 night duration that are available throughout the year, where you can try out the cruising experience. Also, we find that a lot of young people prefer to take a few short breaks throughout the year rather than one long holiday, so if that sounds like you then a short cruise might just fit the bill.
If you're still not wholly convinced that a cruise holiday is for you, then maybe you should start with a cruise and stay option, where you spend half your holiday at sea and half based in a hotel ashore. However, we've got to tell you, a lot of our customers find that once they have experienced a cruise holiday, there is no going back to dry land!
Will there be enough to do to keep my whole family happy? Show answer >
Cruising now attracts a younger, more adventurous traveller, as well as families with young and teenage children. This is why cruise lines like Royal Caribbean have introduced things like ice skating rinks, surf simulators and rock climbing walls to entertain the more adventurous amongst you. On the Norwegian Cruise Line, you can choose to go bowling or hit one of their latest Ibiza style White Parties. On P&O's Ventura and Azura you can join in the rock school or try your luck on the trapeze at their circus school. What we can say for sure is that the possibilities of what you can do onboard a ship today are endless! And of course, if all you want to do is relax, then all ships have masses of sun deck space where you can while away the day in the sunshine, sipping cocktails to keep you cool.
Today's modern superliners offer families complete flexibility with cruise lines such as NCL, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Costa, Princess, P&O, MSC, Island and Thomson Cruises going the extra mile to provide an informal, outgoing atmosphere, where you can go dressed up or dressed down in a choice of restaurants without fixed seating and dining times.
If you are travelling without children you may prefer a smaller, intimate ship with cruise lines such as P&O Cruises or Fred Olsen, or the traditional feel of Celelebrity Cruises and Cunard's majestic liners, or if you want to spend a little more for a luxurious experience then look at Silversea, Crystal Cruises and Azamara, or for the tall ships experience there is Star Clippers. The list is endless...
What do I do next? Show answer >
With over 300 ships, 1800 ports of call and a globe full of places to see, a cruise holiday means you get to see new destinations almost every day, whether it be the sunny climes of the Mediterranean or Caribbean, or the dramatic scenery of the Norwegian Fjords or Alaska.
Once you have considered the basics of: when you can go, who with, where to, whether you fancy a small ship or a superliner, whether to sail from the UK or fly to meet your ship, your budget, then just give one of Hays Travel's cruise consultants a call on 0800 408 4229 and they can help you work out exactly the right ship and itinerary for you and you'll soon be sailing away on your first cruise.
Please also refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section of this website to find more questions and answers on cruising.