Sailing into the sunset on a mega-ship or drifting along a river on a boutique boat, there’s something addictive about cruising. SUE BRYANT, Cruise Editor of The Sunday Times, gives her guide to what’s new on board
your complete guide to what’s new on board
Cruising has taken me to places i’d never have dreamed of. i’ve swum with wild sea lions in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. i’ve watched the northern Lights dance across a norwegian sky. i’ve had tea with an astronaut on the Queen Mary 2, meditated on top of a Burmese temple and sat on deck in Alaska with my children, watching humpback whales breaching alongside the ship. what’s not to love about a holiday afloat? 1.9 million Brits went on an ocean cruise last year, an increase of more than 50% on the total a decade ago. Some 16 new ocean-going ships are being launched in 2018, and 20 more the year after. Cruising is definitely having a moment.
think about a cruise as you might a stay in a hotel – do you want cool, laid-back and boutique? Hipster or traditional? Serene and grown-up, or a family resort, packed with activity?
Cruise lines can offer all these options and more. Cunard Line
(0344 338 8648, cunard.co.uk), has just staged its second sell-out transatlantic Fashion week on Queen Mary 2, a prelude to new York Fashion week, with runway shows, designers and models on board, fashion shoots and talks.
when it comes to entertainment, MSC Cruises (0203 426 3010, msccruises.co.uk) has built a high-tech theatre on its new ship, Meraviglia, as a seagoing home for the Cirque du Soleil, while norwegian Cruise Line (0333 241 2319, ncl.co.uk) and royal Caribbean (0844 493 4005, royalcaribbean.co.uk) stage elaborate shows like Mamma Mia! and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
in terms of luxury, Celebrity Cruises (0845 163 9463, celebritycruises.co.uk) is launching a new ship in 2018, Celebrity edge, with a rooftop garden and split-level apartments with private plunge pools. And next summer, you’ll be able to cruise like an oligarch on Scenic’s (0808 115 1904, scenic.co.uk) new 228-passenger mega yacht, eclipse, which comes complete with a submarine and two helicopters.
But it’s not all about big budget holidays. Cruising is genuinely affordable, which is why it’s so popular with families; once you’re on board, food and entertainment are included, and a lot of cruise lines throw in drinks too. On most river cruises, even the sightseeing tours come as part of the package.
Value aside, what i love most about cruising, at any level, is the freedom it brings. You can be healthy, active, adventurous, decadent, or as lazy as you like – and you’ll discover some fabulous new places too.