In the past, there was a perception that cruises tended to cater for the older, retired couple or the very wealthy. But this stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth these days as families, young people and solo travellers have all been falling in love with a holiday at sea.
With a fantastic range of on-board activities to world-class chefs cooking up a storm, it’s nearly harder to find reasons not to embark on a sea voyage.
From luxurious cabins on the ships to a world of culture waiting for you at each stop, let’s take a closer look at what makes cruising holidays so appealing, not just to those stereotypical passengers.
Let’s begin with the sheer variety destinations on offer compared to a standard one-city holiday, which usually consists of spending a few days exploring your surrounding area, whether it’s Paris, London or Miami.
But even though you may fly into a particular city, that’s only the beginning of your cruising adventure. With departure ports all around the world, your holiday begins as soon as you leave your home.
People on a cruise also have the absolute joy of waking up somewhere new every day, from Bermuda to the Greek islands and the sunny Caribbean.
It’s quite rare to pack a single suitcase and get to visit more than four places without lugging your bag on trains, planes and into taxis.
Some destinations on your itinerary will likely also be incredibly difficult to access by land, particularly some secluded private islands in the tropics. Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, is reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests on Bahamian and Caribbean cruises.
So basically, when you go on a cruise you have the opportunity to combine a beach holiday with an adventure trip and a luxury spa getaway. What more could you possibly want?
There’s been a growth in theme cruising, from luxury and Honeymoon cruises to music-themed cruises and magical Disney cruises for the whole family. Marella Cruises even has an 80’s themed weekend cruise (sign me up). Whatever your poison, there’s a chance there’s a cruise to suit you.
There are ample opportunities to explore your ship’s activities on sea days, from spas and gyms to entertainment shows and water parks, you definitely won’t be bored.
Continually advancing technology and the availability of wifi also appeals to younger generations who have a desire to stay connected while travelling the seas.
You’ll find a variety of live music, concerts and shows on board your cruise liner, with Norwegian Cruise Line offering exhilarating Broadway Shows like Rock of Ages.
Celebrity Cruises have 18 leading-edge shows created exclusively for their cruise liner, from live music to unpredictable parties sure to excite your senses.
Worried the entertainment for grown ups won’t be readily available on family cruises? Fear not as the Disney Cruise Ships are a great example of fun for the whole family.
There are shows, water slides and all a child could ever desire, but the ship also boasts a number of adult-only facilities, such as a spa and nightclub.
Cruise ships offer luxurious accommodation with magnificent sea views from private balconies and dining on a towering ship at sunset can be the ultimate luxury, with many cruises attracting world class chefs to cook in the restaurants on their vessels.
Norwegian in particular is offering “Meet the Winemaker” cruises in 2017 and 2018. These cruises include complimentary meet & greet events with award-winning chefs. Guest can also enjoy meals with expertly selected wines.
Celebrity Cruises have Michelin-Starred Chef Cornelius Gallagher overseeing their food and beverage options, while guests on Celebrity can also enjoy custom crafted wines, a comparative wine crystal workshop, food and wine pairing workshops and much more.
Young people are being attracted to the dining options on board for the quality of the food and for the innovative restaurant experiences on offer, with Jo Rzymowska, vice president and managing director of the UK & Ireland markets at Celebrity Cruises, describing their restaurant ‘Qsine’:
“The food is artfully presented, and guests are encouraged to experiment, share and try new things without traditional courses. It was also the world’s first restaurant to have its menu and wine list presented on an iPad, which everyone at the table receives to ensure we are engaging with the tech-savvy guests.”
While the initial price of a cruise may seem a little daunting, they really are great value. For 5 + days, with transport, accommodation, food and entertainment all included, you could do a lot more damage to your credit card if you visited all these locations on separate trips.
Even though some people would never consider a cruise because they hate the idea of sticking to a pre-planned itinerary and not getting to spend as much time at particular destinations, this shouldn’t be a reason not to go on a cruise.
There may always be the opportunity to return to a city or location on your itinerary, so don’t let that put you off. You might even fall in love with a destination you’d never previously considered visiting.
So what does the future hold for cruise tourism in Ireland?
While the average age of passengers is still on the older side, cruise lines are definitely accommodating younger tourists, with Celebrity Cruises’ Jo Rzymowska commenting: “Cruising continues to grow from Ireland and worldwide every year and it is great to see a growing number of younger guests on board.
We have invested in extending and developing programmes across our fleet to widen our appeal to a younger audience which not only has a keen interest in food, wine, culture and luxury spa experiences but also demand these when on holiday.
He added: “It is a hugely exciting time for the industry. We look forward to seeing it continue to grow in popularity across all age groups in the future and welcoming more and more guests on-board.”
Meanwhile, Dublin Port‘s Head of Corporate Services, Pat Ward, revealed that growing cruise tourism is a great boost for Ireland’s capital, especially with five Celebrity Cruises coming to Dublin next year:
Over the course of the year we’re going to see 130 ships visiting Dublin, which is a record year for us and it’s a significant revenue stream for the city and for tourism in general.
“We’ve worked hard to promote Dublin as a home port, as a port of call and our fantastic air connectivity to Europe and the States really aids this. We have some great years ahead for cruise tourism in the capital.”
So, will you be booking a cruise holiday in the near future?
For more information and to book your dream cruise, visit cruiseholidays.ie.
Sarah has always had a great love of travel, food and photography. Following her journalism degree at DCU, she developed a passion for travel writing while living in Spain.
Sarah loves exploring new places and sampling the local cuisine. Working with TheTaste.ie combines her love of food and travel.