Belfast Telegraph

Ocean's a heaven! 6 reasons to make your next holiday a cruise

When it comes to holidays, cruising is absolutely the new ‘must do’.

It’s one of the fastest-growing holiday sectors, popular with singles, families, over 50s… just about everyone in fact. But why? What will tempt you to run away to sea in 2019?

Easy peasy! Step on board, check into your cabin (or stateroom, if you’re travelling luxe) and unpack just once. Your floating hotel room will waft you gently to your destinations while you lap up life on board. It’s even possible these days to sail direct from Belfast on some cruises.

From Pole to Pole and right around the globe: wherever in the world you want to travel, there’s a cruise for you. Today’s cruise holidays are more varied and exciting than ever before, with opportunities to visit not only the world’s great oceans, but also its major, heritage-lined rivers. You can also mix and match, adding a few days land-based in a special destination to your vacation itinerary.

1. Seize the day - and night! There’s no better place to meet and mingle than in the relaxed atmosphere of a cruise liner. Entertainment is built in, with dazzling shows, activities, sports and cultural opportunities, plus shore excursion programmes all creating loads of opportunities to get to know new people. And, when you ‘vant to be alone, darlink’, you can escape to a quiet corner and simply admire the view.

'Faites vos jeux' at the casino on board Silversea Cruises ship, the Silver Spirit.jpg
Faites vos jeux at the casino on board Silversea Cruises ship the Silver Spirit

2. When you want to push the boat out, what better way to toast a special birthday, achievement or anniversary, mark retirement, or celebrate getting the kids packed off to uni? Whatever the big occasion, a cruise holiday is the perfect way to celebrate in style.

3. It’s budget-friendly. Whether you are choosing a value-for-money voyage or opting for high-end luxury, it’s good to know from the outset what costs are involved. Usually meals, entertainment and the majority of on-board sports and activities will be included in the cost of your cruise which makes it super-easy to budget. Some luxury cruises will even include alcoholic drinks. Expect to pay a supplement for dining at alternative restaurants, and for extras such as spa treatments and onshore excursions. A top tip before you head off into the blue beyond: be sure to talk to your travel agent about special advance deals for drinks and gratuities packages.

4. Fun for all the family. No more "I’m bored!" and no need to keep shelling out extra pocket money for treats and activities. Travelling with kids has never been easier, with plenty of (supervised) fun to keep them busy while mum and dad chill. Bring the grandparents along and make it a multi-generational holiday - there is enough variety in activities and entertainment to please every member of your party, and, when you all get together, the shared experiences will add to the fun and build marvellous memories.

5. Whet your appetite! Cruising fans love the onboard dining at amazing eateries, from poolside casual to haute cuisine. Many cruise companies have teamed up with world-renowned celebrity chefs to create superb culinary experiences – foodie paradise afloat! Also, check your daily ‘cruise news’ activity programme for cookery sessions and relish the new regional taste sensations served up in every port you visit!

6. Explore more. If you’ve been wowed by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, why not set out on your own voyage of adventure and discovery? Sail alongside flying fish and pods of dolphins, spot Orcas, explore the natural wonders of the Galapagos Islands, admire the Northern Lights … follow the fjords or marvel at the majesty of huge Arctic icebergs. There’s a wonderful world to see and experience. Television is great, but there’s nothing like the real thing.

dolphin_jumping_swimming.jpg

When only the best will do, if you are looking for a once in a lifetime experience, coloured by luxury, style and service, then cruising is for you. Relax afloat then explore exotic, far-flung destinations, gliding between ports in a stunning liner which offers chic contemporary surroundings, elegantly appointed staterooms and discreet personal service resonant of a Golden Age. What’s not to love?

Who? Where? When? The sheer variety of cruises on offer can make choosing a bit bewildering, so ask the experts. They have all the know-how needed to help steer your course to the perfect holiday afloat, advising on everything from the perfect cruise line to suit your personality to the destination that will float your boat!

Before you set sail visit the Oasis Travel Cruise Pavilion at Belfast Telegraph Holiday World. www.oasis-travel.co.uk, @oasistravelni

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