I’ve never been on a cruise. I’ve been on a lot of different trips to a lot of varied destinations, and I’ve traveled by ferry, but I have never experienced a cruise. My parents went on their first cruise a few years ago to Europe and have since been on two more (Alaskan and Caribbean). I always figured cruises were for older, more mature people who were looking for a quiet, laid-back vacation devoid of rowdiness, partying and fist-pumping. But not so.
Cruises have gone from having cheesy lounge singers and shuffle boards to idyllic floating cities with an infinite array of activities. They’re bigger, better, and cutting edge, with incredible food, top-notch amenities, and first-class service. They no longer cater to just retirees or families, with endless bingo and waterslides, but they boast also nightclubs, shopping, rock climbing, and lots more. In fact, cruising has become a major part of the tourism industry, accounting for $29.4 billion USD with over 19 million passengers carried worldwide in 2011.
Here are some great cruises to check out:
- Royal Caribbean International‘s MS Allure of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, has seven themed areas onboard, including the “Boardwalk,” which features restaurants, shops and carnival games, and “Central Park,” a park filled with lush vegetation, seasonal flowers and a canopy of trees; Pool and Sports Zone featuring a sloped-entry pool and Flowrider wave simulators; the AquaTheater, an amphitheater at the stern of the ship; a spa and fitness center; the Youth Zone, filled with activities for children and teens; and the cruise industry’s first onboard zip line and carousel.
- The Spring Break Cruise, which goes from Fort Lauderdale to Freeport and accommodates 1250 other fun-loving spring breakers, is the party cruise. Grab a drink and catch some rays on the ship’s deck, or hit the casino and try your luck. When the Bahamas Party Cruise docks in Freeport, you’ll party like a rockstar for five days and four nights until you re-board the ship for another 5-hour Spring Break Cruise back to Ft. Lauderdale.
- Carnival Inspiration offers a 4-day cruise from LA to Baja, Mexico, and has tons of fantastic amenities and sites to see, including 10 decks that feature a waterslide park, an adults-only outdoor lounge area, a spa, a Grand Atrium Plaza and Bar, and swanky staterooms.
- Take a Canada and New England cruise out of NY aboard the Caribbean Princess. With several lounges, bars, and pools, you’ll experience cities like Halifax, Boston, and Newport while enjoying the on-board casino, theatre, nightclub, spa, yoga classes, and more.