Which Type of Cruise Holiday is Right For You?

Cruise ship at the pier of the old town of Kotor. View from Mount Lovcen | Types of Cruise Holidays

There are different types of cruise holidays for every preference and budget. Maybe you’re considering a bucket-list cruise to Antigua or a river cruise from Budapest to Vienna? Or perhaps you’re craving a high-adrenaline adventure on board an expedition cruise? Better yet? An all-bells-and-whistles luxury cruise where you don’t have to lift a finger? In this blog post, we go into detail about the different types of cruise to help you pick the one that’s right for you. 

Overview of Different Types of Cruise Holidays

Here’s a rundown of the four main types of cruise holidays to help you understand the different options: 

Ocean Cruises

  • Description: Ocean cruises are perhaps the most popular and well-known type of cruise holiday. They involve travelling on cruise ships that sail on the world’s oceans and visiting a variety of destinations. These cruises offer a wide range of activities and entertainment options on board, such as pools, theatres, restaurants, and more.
  • Destinations: Anywhere! Ocean cruises have the furthest reach; they can take you from the Caribbean and Mediterranean to Asia and the Far East.
  • Target Audience: Ocean Cruises cater to a broad demographic, from families to couples and solo travellers. There are cruises for every budget and interest, ranging from affordable and all-inclusive packages to premium value and luxury.

River Cruises

  • Description: River cruises are often smoother and the vessels tend to be smaller with only 100-200 passengers on board compared to the number of passengers you find on larger-scale ocean liners. 
  • Destinations: Obviously, restricted to rivers, a river cruise certainly doesn’t limit your options. River cruises are popular in Europe, along rivers such as the Rhine, Danube, and Seine. River cruises along the Nile in Egypt are particularly sought after too. They offer an opportunity to see The Great Pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure and the Valley of the Kings. A cruise down the Mekong in Southeast Asia takes you all through majestic Vietnam and Cambodia. 
  • Target Audience: The more intimate scale of river cruises makes them particularly well-suited for solo travellers or couples over 50. With fewer people on board, you can relax in relative peace while also getting a chance to mingle with your fellow guests. 

Expedition Cruises

  • Description: Expedition cruises are designed for adventurous and nature-loving travellers. These cruises typically involve smaller ships, capable of accessing remote and ecologically significant areas like Antarctica, the Arctic or the Galápagos Islands. Passengers can get involved in activities like wildlife spotting, hiking, kayaking and even skiing. 
  • Destinations: Expedition cruises go beyond the usual tourist trails. They lead expeditions to far-flung places, bringing locals and travellers closer to remote communities. The most popular destinations for expedition cruises are Antarctica and the Arctic, but other options include The Kimberley in Western Australia, the South Pacific, Africa and the Galapagos Islands.
  • Target Audience: Expedition cruises are not for those looking to stay onboard and enjoy the facilities. This type of cruise caters to travellers with an adventurous spirit, a keen interest in natural history and those who want to go way off the grid to see nature up close.

Luxury Cruises

  • Description: Luxury cruises are all about opulence and personalised service. These cruises provide top-notch facilities, gourmet dining, and beautifully designed cabins. Passengers can expect a high staff-to-guest ratio to ensure attentive service and exclusive experience both on board and ashore. 
  • Destinations: Luxury cruise itineraries span the world. Any ocean or river can be explored in a five-star style. Even expedition cruises can be elevated to a higher level of luxury. So no matter where you want to go, from the Norwegian Coastline to the Mediterranean gems of Europe there’s a luxury cruise option available. 
  • Target Audience: Luxury cruises are for travellers who want the best of the best or who want to tick a once-in-a-lifetime trip off their bucket list. Riverside Luxury Cruise is also a popular choice and attracts couples celebrating special occasions, whether it’s an anniversary or a birthday. 

Benefits of Ocean Cruises 

An ocean cruise can take you to places you may have only ever dreamed of. Ocean liners often have access to a broad range of destinations, with itineraries that can take you all around the world from the British Isles to the Bahamas. 

Once onboard an ocean cruise, travellers have unrivalled facilities at their fingertips. From fine dining to fitness classes, everything is under one roof taking the stress out of planning and booking things while you’re away. 

Another benefit of an ocean cruise is accessibility. More and more cruise lines are making their ships more accommodating for travellers with mobility issues or disabilities. This is a massive win for senior travellers who might have mobility issues or need a little bit of extra support. 

One of the biggest benefits of a cruise is having a chance to fully unwind. With everything you need within easy reach, it couldn’t be easier to switch into holiday mode. There’s also 24-hour service onboard with attentive staff to make sure all your needs are catered to. 

Benefits of River Cruises 

River cruises are often smoother and the vessels are smaller, typically with only 100-200 passengers on board. This more intimate scale means you can enjoy your river cruise in relative peace while also getting to know your fellow travellers. 

There’s a wealth of river cruise itineraries in and around Europe giving travellers a chance to explore a new place without venturing too far from the UK. River cruises also tend to offer more immersive experiences along the way, giving passengers a chance to learn more about the local culture, cuisine and history.  

River cruises are exceptional value, particularly those that offer all-inclusive packages. Generally, river cruises include tours and excursions in the price, which makes a big difference if you have a fixed budget in mind for your cruise. 

Benefits of Expedition Cruises 

Expedition cruises offer a truly unique way to explore some of the hardest-to-reach destinations in the world. This type of cruise is different to a traditional cruise experience as it focuses on adventure and going off-grid. This is possible because expedition cruise ships are smaller and so they are able to reach destinations that are often inaccessible by larger cruise ships or traditional means of travel. 

Going to far-flung locations such as Antarctica or the Arctic gives passengers the opportunity to see a variety of animals, including polar bears, penguins, whales, sea lions, and rare bird species, in their natural habitats. These types of expeditions are often led by knowledgeable and experienced guides and often scientists or marine biologists who provide in-depth insights about the ecosystems you encounter. 

Some expedition cruises also combine adventure with cultural experiences, allowing passengers to interact with local communities and learn about indigenous cultures and traditions. With an expedition cruise, there’s a real sense of adventure and the experience encourages travellers to step outside of their comfort zones to get the most out of their experience. 

Benefits of Luxury Cruises 

Luxury cruises offer the crème de la crème of cruising experiences. They combine five-star service with state-of-the-art facilities and fine dining with multiple gourmet restaurants and bars. While luxury cruises tend to come at a higher price point, the above benefits can make them a worthwhile choice for those seeking a top-tier travel experience with a focus on comfort, pampering, and exclusivity.

Fine dining experiences are without a doubt a highlight onboard a luxury cruise. Travellers are treated to a smorgasbord array of cuisines from fresh seafood and Japanese Teppanyaki to French classics and fast-food treats. Whatever your preference, there’s bound to be something delicious to suit your appetite. 

Luxury cruise lines often offer exclusive and unique shore excursions, providing a deeper exploration of the destinations you visit. These excursions could include private tours, cultural experiences, and VIP access to popular attractions. 

Tips for Choosing the Right Cruise Holiday for You 

Still not sure which cruise is for you? Here are some steps you can take to make it easier. 

Define your Budget 

Figure out how much you’re willing to spend on your cruise holiday. Make sure to include the costs of airfare, excursions and any onboard expenses. This will help to narrow down your options while giving you an enjoyable experience. 

Choose your Destination

Consider the places you’ve always wanted to visit. Maybe it’s the Caribbean? Or perhaps you want to see the Northern Lights? 

Different cruise lines cater to various regions, so pick a destination that aligns with your interests and passions. 

Select the Cruise Type

Based on our outline above and your research, decide whether you prefer an ocean cruise, river cruise, expedition cruise, or luxury cruise. Your choice should reflect your travel style and preferences.

Cruise Duration 

Think about how long you want to be on the cruise. Cruise durations vary from a few days to several weeks. Depending on how long you want to be away, choose a cruise that suits your availability and comfort onboard. 

Consider the Season and Weather 

Be aware of the climate and weather conditions at your chosen destination and time of year. This can impact your experience, especially on outdoor excursions.

Read Reviews and Ask for Recommendations

Look on travel websites and online forums to see what other travellers have said about a cruise line or itinerary. Reviews can be really helpful and constructive in your decision-making process. It’s also worth speaking to friends, especially those who might’ve been on a similar cruise before. 

Takeaways – How to Choose a Cruise that’s Right For You

Ultimately, the type of cruise holiday you choose will depend on your interests, preferences, budget, and the kind of experience you’re looking for. Whether it’s relaxation and luxury or adventure and exploration, there’s likely a cruise that offers you everything you’re looking for.

If you have any further questions about booking a cruise holiday, we’re here to help. For a quote or booking enquiries, simply call our Silver Travel Advisors on 0800 412 5678


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