Finding the perfect vacation is simple. Destination? Some place fun, with good food and lots (or little) to do. And getting there? Let someone else drive! The solution? Take a great cruise.
Simply put, cruises offer great bang for your buck. On most cruise ships you'll find a great swimming pool area (and possibly slides), a casino, a variety of shows and entertainment, as well as food for quick eats and options for fine dining. That's just the stuff on the boat itself.
Depending on where you go, you'll have opportunities to get off the boat and try local cuisine as well as ample opportunities to shop. Want to dip in the water and snorkel? There's a good chance that you can do that. Some excursions may come for an extra fee, but they can make for some incredible memories. And don't forget, sunrise and sunset out on the water are breathtaking and free.
Perfect Ships No Matter Your Style
People have different styles and that doesn't change just because they're on vacation. When looking to book a cruise, keep in mind how you want to spend your time. Do you like a nice, relaxed atmosphere, an elegant pampered experience, or are you ready to get wild and crazy? Are you going with friends, a significant other or packing the children and bringing the whole family? These are all things to consider.
Here's a quick breakdown of the most popular cruise lines.
Family Friendly Spring Breakers
With the largest fleet on the water, Carnival Cruise Lines is known for great pricing and a fun, energetic atmosphere. If you're ready to let your hair down and like to stay busy, this could be the cruise line for you. While they're not necessarily the "spring break party" cruises that they were a few years ago, Carnival still keeps things lively with a wide selection of shorter cruises and a fun, Las Vegas style feel.
Best for: College students, group getaways and active families.
Founded in Norway in 1968, Royal Caribbean is now based in Miami, Florida. With a focus on onboard activities, Royal Caribbean is a great all-around option. Sports enthusiasts will love the choices on their bigger ships like rock climbing walls, fitness sessions and even ice skating. The entertainment options will push the limits, too with a variety of music, comedy and other acts. RC is also kid friendly.
Best for: Families, couples, groups.
Another all-purpose cruise line, Norwegian Cruise Lines provides a nice, leisurely atmosphere. With "Freestyle" dining, you don't have to worry about established dining times or dress codes. This is particularly nice for those traveling with teens. Norwegian also provides a great selection of fitness activities as well as other entertainment at some of the best prices on the waves.
Best For: Families with teens, couples, groups.
A sister company of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity is best known for feeding you in style. Fine dining options abound in each of their ships. But don't eat too much and cash out, they're also one of the best cruise lines for nightlife. Celebrity cruises offer a great, upscale experience for the YOLO (you only live once) crowd.
Best for: Couples, small groups.
Family Fun Fanatics
While there are family friendly cruises on many lines, the hands-down winner is Disney. Disney Cruise Line offers cruises that are tailor-made for kids and the young at heart. There's a lot of family-friendly entertainment with plenty of laughs with some of your favorite Disney characters. The big name is also able to bring some pretty big acts on board, so the entertainment is top notch.
Best for: Families with younger kids, Disney fans.
Keep in mind: these are just a few of the most common cruise lines from which you can choose.
Not Just the Tropics
It's easy to think of fun in the tropical sun when you think of cruising, but visiting the Tropics is just one option. For those who want to explore more of the world, there are cruises that offer many other experiences. You can sail alongside the whales and take in the wonder of Alaska. You can cruise the Mediterranean, shopping in Venice and taking in the history of Rome or Athens. You can even cruise down the Nile River and stop by the Ancient Pyramids.
Transatlantic voyages will take you from the East Coast to England, France and the Mediterranean. And if you're looking for luxury, try sailing the Queen Mary 2.
Located on the West coast? Transpacific trips can take you anywhere from Hawaii, Fiji,the Philippines and beyond. You can even try something exotic like a cruise to Antartica!
Cruises offer a great way to travel to new destinations and take them in in small doses while someone else does the driving.
Ready, Set, Sail
No matter what style of traveler you are, you can find a cruise that will fit your desires. From very affordable to extremely luxurious, you don't have to go beyond your budget to find one that offer the experience that you're looking for. Book early for the best deals and pack appropriately for your destination so you can focus on the fun when you get there. From romantic getaway for two to family fun time, there's a cruise just right for you.
Additional sources: cruisecritic.com,http://travel.usnews.com/cruises/