The times when sailing the high seas in the lap of luxury was only within reach of the ultra-rich are long gone – and over, too, is the more recent era of cruising as the sole reserve of retirees and families with young children.
Today, cruise travel is more diverse and dynamic than ever, with new destinations and on-board amenities popping up every day, from sumptuous spas to giant water slides and world-class theatre shows. Still not enough to quench your thirst for adventure? We bring you the coolest cruises for the coming season.
All The Single …People
Who says cruising is just for couples? Touted as the first cruise company to build staterooms and common areas for solo travellers, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Studio cabins are the ideal size for one person, while the Studio Lounge is an excellent place to get to know others on solo adventures. Looking to meet your soulmate or next best friend? This cruise line is all about helping passengers connect and share experiences, with most cruises offering singles’ meet-ups and on-board bar crawls, not to mention the nightly LGBTQ happy hour “Friends of Dorothy”. What’s more, some sailings even offer regular staterooms for a reduced single supplement price, less than double the normal cruise fare.
As The River Runs
Some people find the idea of floating on the open ocean unsettling, and prefer to keep land in sight at all times. For them, there are river cruises. Generally offering more ports of call, smaller (and more luxurious) vessels, and less chance of getting seasick, river cruises are all about exploring the most iconic sights on the world’s major arterial waterways, from the Rhine to the Nile, Yangtze, Mississippi or Amazon. AmaWaterways, for one, specialises in European river cruises, and has just rolled out a new on-board sports and wellness programme, as well as extended ground excursions in cities like Amsterdam, Budapest, Munich, Zurich and Reykjavik
Cruisin’ To The Music
Take to the high seas with some of your favourite tunes sang by iconic artists …live and in the flesh! Norwegian has announced 2 sailings in 2019 for Runaway to Paradise: an entire cruise centring on the musical stylings of Jon Bon Jovi. The Norwegian Jade will host the Caribbean sailing that heads from Miami to Nassau (12-16 April), while the Norwegian Pearl will sail the Mediterranean from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca (26-30 August). JBJ himself will join passengers at each port, putting on a rock show on the pool deck together with the Kings of Suburbia, plus an acoustic set with a Q&A round, a line-up of secondary musical acts, and panels with key figures in Bon Jovi history.
There are nudist beaches and nudist resorts, so why not nudist cruises? On these sailings, it’s all about freeing the natural form and enjoying life al fresco. Dependent on the various zones of the ship, and whether or not you’re at port, the dress code may vary between nudist, clothing optional and clothing required – but no matter the dress code, the order of the day is always open and judgement-free. Nowadays several companies are wading into the nudist market, but the pioneer was undoubtedly Bare Necessities Tour & Travel, which has been offering tourist experiences for nudists for more than 20 years. Don’t worry about packing your biggest suitcase for this kind of cruise – you won’t really need much.
Pride Of The Seas
Whether celebrating your honeymoon or even your wedding, or simply looking to vacay with your friends or partner, Celebrity Cruises offers an array of LGBTQ-friendly sailings and offerings; in fact, the cruise line has been recognised as the Best Large Ship Cruise Line for LGBTQ+ Passengers at the Cruizie Awards for 4 consecutive years. From welcome parties to social gatherings, same-sex weddings and the biggest gay pride party on the sea, they’ve earned the title. The cruise line even hosted a historic LGBTQ event in January 2018, when Francisco Vargas and Benjamin Gray tied the knot aboard the Celebrity Equinox, becoming the first same-sex couple to legally marry aboard a cruise ship.
Big Hair, Don’t Care
Feeling nostalgic about the era of Walkmans, cassette tapes and giant scrunchies? Relive the magic on the fourth annual ‘80s cruise, joining host Dee Snider along with Kenny Loggins, Sheila E., Starship, OMD, Berlin, Grandmaster Flash, The Fixx and more. From 2-9 March 2019, enjoy on-board activities like karaoke, utterly ’80s exercise routines, typical board games of the decade, and screenings of your favourite movies like Top Gun and Back to the Future – not to mention theme parties every night. The journey is the destination on board this floating party that departs from Ft Lauderdale on the Celebrity Infinity, but if you must disembark, ports of call will include Cozumel, Costa Maya, Belize and Key West.
The new crown jewel of the Royal Caribbean fleet, the Symphony of The Seas promises titanic doses of adventure to match its colossal size. Travelling on one of the largest cruise ships in the world – the largest by gross tonnage, at 228,021 GT – you’ll never know what the word “boring” means. Duke it out in a glow-in-the-dark laser battle, catch a wave in the FlowRider surf simulator, race in The Perfect Storm high-speed water slides, zoom over the decks on the Zip Line, and tackle the Ultimate Abyss – the tallest water slide at sea. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, treat your palate to delicious international dishes at the ship’s 19 restaurants and cafés, then settle in for one of the world-class shows at the many theatres, auditoriums and comedy clubs.
Legends Of Arabia
Discover the jewels of the Arab world aboard this 8-day Pullmantur Cruises sailing that takes in fascinating destinations in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, from Dubai to Muscat, Fujairah and Abu Dhabi. Be sure to visit the Great Mosque of the Sultan Qaboos in Muscat, the Neolithic sites of Hu Qidfa in Fujairah and, of course, the impressive Burj Khalifa in Dubai – the tallest building in the world. All this while you enjoy the on-board delicacies created by Spanish chef Paco Roncero, not to mention unlimited drinks.
Around The World In 112 Nights
Choosing a single destination can be a challenge, especially for those yearning to see everything there is to see! For them, Costa Cruises offers the experience of a lifetime aboard the Costa Luminosa. Departing on 5 January 2019 from Venice and sailing around the world, the cruise explores such iconic destinations as Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, Santiago, Easter Island, Papeete, Auckland, Melbourne, Komodo Island, Bali, Singapore, Phuket, Mumbai, Dubai, Athens and more. And for the days at sea? Enjoy the 3-storey theater with its 4D cinema, the Samsara Spa with 4 whirlpools, plus the many bars, swimming pools, the gym, casino and more.