As we are getting closer to the pandemic easing and cruises are very slowly starting to resume, many people are feeling confident to begin booking again. So, with so many choices, which do you choose?
I’ve already covered how to select between all the different cruise lines, so thought it would be kinda cool to put together a list of cruises which have had a real impact on me.
So keep reading, these top 10 cruises may just change your life!
1. An Inaugural Cruise
Working for a cruise line has meant I’ve been incredibly lucky to have been on several inaugural sailings. Whilst I have previously given some caution to these on the basis that the ship may not be fully complete when you step on board, that feeling of being one of the first to walk onto a brand new vessel really is something you don’t forget! Everything smells new, looks shiny and has a real sense of excitement as you walk around. Especially if it’s the first of a new class of ship, with so many innovations to discover!
If you are in the travel industry and can score a trade ticket to jump on board before it’s open to the public, you need to grab hold of that ticket like your life depends on it, because the only thing better than being on an inaugural, is being on the pre-inaugural!
I’ve been the event manager on a couple of these, and budgets are BIG! Getting onto those new activities without having to queue, or trying that new specialty restaurant for free? Yes please!!
For any cruise addict, it’s seriously like being a kid in a candy store! This is definitely a top 10 cruise to be added to your bucket list… Plus you get braggers rights which last forever!
2. World Cruise
It’s funny, I always thought that a World Cruise would be one of the most boring things ever; full of old people and never-ending sea days.
Until I got the chance to sail on one!
I’m now a huge fan. Not only are you visiting a TON of countries and cities in one go – tick, tick, tick off that bucket list – but the bonds you make on board with both guests and crew is something you won’t find anywhere else, and will last a lifetime.
Imagine walking to the cafe at the same time each morning and having your coffee ready and waiting for you, delivered with a smile and a personal greeting. Other guests around you also wish you good morning, and continuing the conversation you started the day before, or discussing the excursion you did together?
Later on you head to Trivia where your team joins together for 45 minutes of fun and banter together. Maybe you decide to lock in dinner plans together, or you decide to eat alone – the choice is yours.
The great thing is that you can choose to be with the same people, or not. Be as involved, or not, as you wish. But one thing is for sure, you can meet some incredible people who become like family to you.
Oh, and the onboard budgets are higher on a world cruise… Lobster and fresh crab legs every night? Oh, well if you insist…!!
The Caribbean is somewhere I’ve been fortunate to have visited many times with incentive and corporate cruises, and family. When you picture that ‘perfect’ holiday, with long white beaches, palm trees and clear blue sky, you’re probably picturing somewhere in the Caribbean.
There are lots of options when it comes to cruise itineraries too, usually broken down to east, west or south. They all have their highlights, so go for whichever has the most appeal to you personally, and remember to choose the right ship for you too. This region is literally saturated with cruise ships, from the biggest and newest, to the oldest ‘cash cows’…so choose wisely.
Do all the excursions when you’re there – snorkeling, swimming with stingrays, jet skiing, private islands, waterfalls, and take all of those iconic Instagram photos of you on a curved palm trunk on a beach. But for a truly memorable experience, participate in some charity community work, because the locals here are doing it tough… It will open your eyes and give you a new appreciation for what you have.
4. Itineraries that pass the Gulf of Aden (ie Dubai – Mediterranean)
I’ve added this to my top 10 cruises to change your life because quite frankly, they can be a little scary! The stories of pirates are real, and whilst the number of attacks has massively reduced over the past 5 years, a small risk remains.
Ships need to be prepared as they enter this stretch of water, and Captains are required to give safety training to all guests in the lead up to the passage. This involves ‘all guest’ meetings for them to advise procedures and inform of the several commands he/she may need to give, and how to respond to them, such as getting away from all windows, or immediately going to your cabin and locking the door.
The outside of the ship will also be prepared with barbed wire around the whole deck, which will be closed to guests, water hoses connected, and security guards will be brought on board to patrol the decks whilst in this potentially dangerous area. Weapons are kept in a safe, and only the Captain is permitted to give command for them to be used.
It’s definitely an interesting experience, and one I’m glad I’ve had as I didn’t quite believe it was real before, but you should probably be aware of the risks so you can make an informed decision before booking a cruise in this area.
An expedition cruise to the Galapagos has been high on my top 10 cruises list for a really long time! Even more so with so many new ships being built specifically for this area, such as Celebrity Cruises’ Flora, or Silverseas’ brand new Silver Origin, and the planned Viking Octantis and Polaris offering a whole new level of luxury.
I want to swim with the sea turtles, see the ancient tortoises up close, smile at the waddling penguins, look into the eyes of the marine iguanas, see a lava cactus and prickly pear cactus… Seriously, this is a once in a lifetime experience, but sadly, with the price tag to match!
6. The Baltics
Ahh, one of my favourite cruises and a region I have fallen head over heels in love with – as you’ll know if you follow my Instagram, I feel like I’m always posting from there!
From fairy-tale fjords in Norway, to brightly coloured building lined canals and magical parks in Copenhagen, and gorgeous cobbled lane ways in Stockholm, not to mention incredible food and beautiful people… This is just a tiny insight as to why this area is a must to put on your Top 10 Cruises!
I’ve written a post on the highlights of a typical itinerary which you may want to check out for more info, and I should probably mention St Petersburg which is also on the itinerary, and my post on Visiting St Petersburg – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly! I’ll let you make your mind up on that one!
7. The Med
This is another region I’ve been lucky enough to have visited many times in my role as Meetings & Events Manager with a cruise line. These 5-7 night itineraries really pack in the cities and countries which make them a fabulous incentive trip, but also great for all the family, or explorers wanting to see as much of the world as possible.
I recommend departing from Barcelona so you can tag a few days on at the beginning or end, because it’s just such a fabulous city. I don’t recommend departing from Southampton because your first couple of sea days will not be pleasurable!
Find itineraries with some overnights, the smaller ships such as Azamara and Viking do this, so you can explore the cities at nighttime and get the full restaurant experience – you can’t beat dinner in Italy!
I would also recommend you get an itinerary which stops in Venice, one of the most incredible cities in the world, plus if you add in Cannes or Monaco, they’re pretty special too.
Anyway, there are hundreds of options for this area, and you will love them all – you just have to do it at some point!!
8. Three night cruise to The Bahamas
If you’re looking for a few days of total hedonism, take a 3 night cruise from Miami to Nassau. Seriously, these cruises are nuts, but so much fun!
The first one I did was for a corporate inspection for a Law company’s potential charter, hosting the CEO’s very ‘proper’ EA…it was an interesting experience walking through a huge party room of Latinos grinding to salsa whilst discussing an event program for a group of senior lawyers!
With the EA escorted to her cabin to retire for the evening, the F&B Director and I had an absolute ball!! You need to have some stamina for these cruises, but it’s only three days – perfect for partying with friends, bachelor/bachelorette parties, or family gatherings (but maybe don’t bring your Grandma!).
Oh, and buying the drinks package is a given…!
Tip: If you’re local to Miami, you can often just turn up on the day of departure and get a ‘standby’ ticket for a crazy cheap price. Well, pre-covid days, anyway…
9. Themed Cruise
OK, so this is one which you’ll either love or hate! Plus, it depends on the theme…but if it’s something you’re really into, such as Cosplay, or 80s or Elvis Tribute, then you could be in for an amazing time!
It’s pretty cool to be on a ship filled with people who all have something in common. There is an incredible vibe, people are on board to be sociable and make new friends, so you’ll find you leave with a lot of invites of people to visit, and you’ll have a phone filled with fabulous photos! It’s a cruise you will never forget!
10. Sailing out of Sydney Harbour
This one may not be life-changing, but I personally think it’s one of the most amazing sail-ins in the world, which every cruise fan needs to do at least once in their life!
As you come through the heads, the scenery is beautiful, passing lighthouses, the PM’s stately home and then you glimpse the Harbour Bridge – wow! If you’re docking at White Bay, the view gets even better as you pass the Opera House and go under the Bridge, past Darling Harbour and docking close to the Anzac bridge.
This absolutely needs to be in your top 10 cruises!
So there you have it, my Top 10 Cruises which may change your life! Which of these have you tried, or would like to try? Do you have any other suggestions for the list?
Let me know your thoughts, I love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading, see you next time!
Wendy A x
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