The popularity of cruise holidays just keeps growing and growing. Statistics have shown that a huge majority of first-timers take another cruise holiday again. Cruises have never been more accessible and affordable for anyone. The greatest attraction is that that you can visit several destinations in a short period of time at a price that includes room, board and entertainment.
There’s no need to unpack more than once either!
Going on a cruise for the first time becomes an adventure that many think is out of their reach and the choices of destinations can become a bit overwhelming too. A cruise ship can venture to almost anywhere as there are over 1,800 ports around the world.
Here are some suggestions for itineraries that will be sure to please you if you are a virgin cruiser.
The Mediterranean is an extremely popular location for first time cruisers as it covers places of history in France, Italy, Spain or Greece. Eastern and Western European sailings visit places in Italy such as Rome, Naples and Sicily. See beautiful architecture from locations as diverse as Barcelona, visit the antiquities in Athens or sun in the Greek Islands and soak up some culture in French areas such as Nice and Monte Carlo. This itinerary is ideal as it is relatively easy to get to with around a 2 hour flight.
Best time to cruise: April to October
NORWEGIAN FJORDS & THE BALTICS
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Norwegian fjords is perfect for those of you that are nature lovers. These cruise holidays to the land of the midnight sun depart from May to September and allow passengers to see unique wildlife and unforgettable pieces of scenery. Major spots include Bergen, Flam and Gerianger, all of which will create amazing memories of nature at its best.
For those that are looking for more points of interest rather than nature, try a cruise holiday through the Baltic’s. Travel the same waters that the Vikings did thousands of years ago. Ports can include stops in Copenhagen, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm. A large number of Baltic cruises spend the day and even overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Best time to cruise Fjords and the Baltic’s: May through September
THE BRITISH ISLES
The home front is also well recommended for those new to cruising. These itineraries will take you through the best locations that England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales have to offer.
See iconic places such as Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool, Greenock, Dover, and Newcastle upon Tyne, amongst others. As the British Isles is relatively compact, this means that more time is spent on shore at each port. This in turn means that you will have plenty of time to sample everything that these locations have to offer such as catching the countryside in full bloom.
Best time to cruise the British Isles: April to September
When the ships are out of Europe, they follow the sun worshippers and head across the atlantic to visit several island paradises. According to Cruise Lines International, the majority of first time cruisers choose to go to areas in the Caribbean or the Mexican Rivera. Most cruise lines depart out of South Florida or Puerto Rico into calm seas and perpetual sunshine. The beaches create an agreeable picture of what to expect on each port of call.
For newcomers who want to just dip their toes into the waters of the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Mexico with minimal sightseeing, then this is the perfect trip.
Best time to cruise the Caribbean: February to May
Bermuda is a very popular cruise holiday for golfers and beachcombers. Most cruises depart from New York City or Boston, which adds another special treat to any holiday. Bermuda is a tropical paradise that seems as though you’ve stepped inside a travel brochure that really does have pink sand. The main ports are King’s Wharf and Hamilton and the ship will remain in either port for three or four days. Many British goods are found here and are more affordable than at home.
Best time to cruise Bermuda: May to July
For anyone new to cruising, it makes the most sense to choose a 7-day itinerary with a good combination of sea days and no more than 4 ports of call. The reason for this is so that you have ample opportunity to enjoy all the ship’s amenities as well as the places you visit.
One tip is to look for sailings directly out of the UK. Without flying to the point of embarkment, you save on time and money. Try to avoid sailings that have more days at sea, such as those on transatlantic sailings. Save that one as a possibility, along with Asia, South America, the South Pacific and Hawaii for your next cruise adventure.
Another option is to do a 3 or 4-day mini cruise from Southampton or Barcelona. This gives you the chance to experience a cruise holiday without having to commit to the expense of a full week onboard.
Start looking for some special sailings and promotions, and book your cruise holiday today!
Written by Veronica Shine