A floating hotel has something for everyone. Don’t believe it? Just consider these ten questions.
Cruising. Perhaps you long ago slammed this particular porthole shut, with vague ideas about buffets, crowds, and tired cabaret shows. But lately you’ve been hearing friends rave about their recent cruises, and you’re getting curious.
Whether you’re interested in glacier trekking or pool lounging, exploring secluded islands or city streets, spending days on vineyard tours or in spas – if you can name it, there’s a ship for it. And the best parts of cruising remain the same, regardless of sailing style or destination: You only need to unpack once, and the views are ever-changing.
Not quite convinced? The following questions will help you determine whether you should set sail. (The answer is yes.)
1 – Are You a Foodie?
Top chefs have expanded their empires to include the world’s waterways, and new ingredients await discovery in each port. Here’s a taste of what’s on board.
Wine lovers will savor Uniworld’s eight-day Bordeaux vineyard cruise aboard the 130-passenger River Royale, with cellar tastings in Saint-Émilion, a Sauternes-paired lunch, visits to farmers’ markets in Libourne, and bicycle rides through the back streets of Bordeaux.
Crystal Cruises’ annual Food & Wine Festival sailings feature guest chefs and sommeliers, cooking classes, and more. A roundtrip Los Angeles journey aboard the 980-passenger Crystal Serenity takes in the flavors of Mexico with stops in La Paz, Ensenada, and Mazatlán.
2 – Do You Want to See It All?
Sailings that encompass vast regions and whole seasons can write your life’s next chapter.
Spend nearly five months aboard Silversea’s 382-passenger Silver Whisper. In 2019, the line’s 132-day world cruise takes in 31 countries and 52 ports. From snorkeling on Moorea to sampling wonton soup in Hong Kong and strolling San Sebastián, Spain’s historic Old Town, this is one trip that truly earns the moniker “voyage.” (Have less time? Select one of its roughly two-week routes that’s right for you.)
Also for 2019, Crystal Cruises’ 85-day journey on the 980-passenger Crystal Serenity will visit more than 15 countries. Explore the natural wonders of Australia and Africa, isles of the South Pacific, and top cities such as Sydney and Barcelona.
3 – Do You Prefer to Venture Off the Beaten Path?
Set sail to ports at the edges of civilization, and cruise rivers deep within Land Rover country.
Game-spot from the comfort of your stateroom during four days with AmaWaterways aboard the 28-passenger Zambezi Queen, as you navigate Botswana’s Chobe National Park.
4 – Are You a Night Owl?
Stay up late for chic theme parties, people-watching, and fun shows.
Azamara Club Cruises throws a White Night Party on its sailings, transforming outdoor decks into glamorous dancing and dining venues.
5 – Do You Like to Spread Out?
The most lavish and lovely accommodations come with endless blue views.
Cunard’s five Duplex and Grand Duplex suites on the 2,961-passenger Queen Mary 2, on two levels joined by a sweeping staircase, feature two master baths and a private gym. To go all out, combine all five into one 9,000-square-foot mansion.
6 – Do You Like the Great Outdoors?
Natural encounters let you heed the call of the wild.
Join wildlife icon Jean-Michel Cousteau aboard an Aqua Expeditions vessel on the Amazon and Mekong rivers. Take guided kayak tours along quiet jungle routes to talk conservation and ecosystems, and enjoy relaxed onboard chats about Cousteau’s top photo and videography tips.
7 – Is Vacation Actually a Perfect Time to Get Healthy?
Superior spas, mindfulness, and wellness menus for self-care at sea.
Seabourn’s Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil program takes health at sea to a new level. Meditation and yoga programs address physical, social, and spiritual well-being; seminars cover topics such as anti-inflammatory foods, healthy aging, and mindfulness. Dr. Weil himself joins some sailings each year.
8 – Are You Seeking Cultural Immersion?
See destinations through the eyes of locals and respected experts
Explore Madeira’s capital of Funchal on an exclusive Virtuoso Voyages excursion on board Oceania Cruises’ 1,250-passenger Riviera during a round-trip Barcelona sailing. Ride a cable car to the hilltop village of Monte, where you can take in the churches and palaces before trying out the carros de cesto, wicker toboggans that zoom you down the hill to Livramento. You’ll also visit a wine cellar to savor the nuances of the island’s famous sweet elixir, and relax over a wine-pairing lunch at Belmond Reid’s Palace hotel.
Sail French Polynesia with Paul Gauguin Cruises to delve beyond its beautiful shores. Onboard hosts include an archaeologist who specializes in the ancient ceremonial structures of the Marquesas and an art historian with no fewer than seven books published on the cruise line’s namesake.
9 – Are You a Thrill Seeker?
Sky-high adventures via new technologies and old-fashioned daredevilry.
Star Clippers’ 227-passenger Royal Clipper is still the world’s only five-masted, full-rigged sailing ship – and you can climb one of those masts, with a provided safety harness, of course, to take in the views over the vessel’s 42 billowing white sails.
10 – Do You Appreciate the Finer Things in Life?
From white-tie evenings to well-dressed breakfasts in bed.
Renowned for its commitment to the golden age of cruising, Cunard’s 2,961-passenger Queen Mary 2 has a formal dress code in the main dining venues – which most guests are eager to embrace. Each sailing typically features three formal nights, such as a masquerade ball or Roaring Twenties–style dance.
On Silversea’s ships, each cabin has dedicated butlers who are trained through the Guild of Professional English Butlers.
This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Virtuoso Traveler.