Tips to plan a perfect first time cruise
CRUISING from the UK cruise enables you to reach beautiful overseas destinations, without having to step foot in an airport (providing your itinerary finishes at a UK port). So, if you have young children, dislike flying, or simply prefer not to spend time at an airport, this is great news.
With a cruise, your holiday begins the minute you’re onboard the ship.
Port & itinerary choices
If you’ve decided you’d prefer to sail from the UK, this is a great first step, and will narrow your search. Now consider whether it’s most important to sail from your nearest port, or if you’re prepared to travel slightly further.
Many of the smaller regional ports, such as Tilbury, offer cruises to a range of amazing, and exotic destinations, however, larger ports, such as Southampton will present more choice.
If you already have a specific destination or region in mind, you can identify which cruise lines visit those particular destinations, and from which UK port.
If you’re simply not sure where you’d like to go, seek inspiration online. For example, Cruise Critic’s “Find a Cruise” tool enables you to input your preferred departure port, and details, such as preferred dates, to search for cruise ideas.
Another key consideration is your travel dates, and whether these coincide with school holidays or a celebration. While it depends on the ship you choose, school holidays are likely to be busier, with more children onboard.
Also, don’t forget a destination’s high and low seasons. For example, you might prefer to avoid the Caribbean’s hurricane season, or if sailing the Mediterranean, you might avoid school summer holidays if you aren’t travelling with children.
Picking the ship
With a multitude of cruise lines and ships available, travellers are spoilt for choice, and it can be overwhelming. However, first-time cruisers should bear in mind that even if all cruise lines seem similar at first, each has its own unique edge – there’s something for everyone.
Questions to consider:
• Would you prefer a smaller ship?
• Is entertainment important?
• Do you want your trip to be as inclusive as possible?
• When would you like to travel?
• Where would you like to travel?
• Who will you travel with?
Considering these details will help streamline research, and once you’ve identified the cruise lines that particularly appeal to you, be sure to read cruiser reviews, expert articles and tips, and speak to travel agents to help find the perfect ship.
Here’s just a selection of the dozens of cruises sailing from Tilbury in 2017
Cruise & Maritime Voyages – Columbus
Where can I go? Estonia, Germany, Amsterdam, Le Havre, Tenerife, Lisbon, Australia, Cuba
29 October 2017 – 46-night Cuba, Central America & Caribbean cruise
Ports of call include: Amsterdam, St Maarten, Tortola, Jamaica, Havana, Cartagena
Cruise & Maritime Voyages – Astoria
26 March 2017 – 6-night Spring Gardens and River Seine cruise
Ports of call include: Amsterdam, Ghent, Rouen (France), Honfleur (France)
Voyages to Antiquity – MV Aegean Odyssey
Where can I go? Guernsey, Isles of Scilly, Reykjavík
13 July 2017 – 15-night England, Ireland & Scotland cruise
Ports of call include: Falmouth, Isles of Scilly, Stornoway, Orkney Islands, Edinburgh
Fred.Olsen Cruise Line – Black Watch
Where can I go? Portugal, Madeira, Agadir, Gran Canaria, Santa Cruz, Hamburg, Bremen
13 November 2017 – 18-night Sun, Souks and Siestas cruise
Ports of call include: Casablanca, Lanzarote, Madeira, Lisbon
Sailing from London Tower Bridge
Silversea Cruises – Silver Wind
Where can I go? Tromso, St Petersburg, Amsterdam, Gothenburg, Helsinki, and more.
14 July 2017 – 17-night cruise. Ports of call include: Haugesund, Flam, Tromso and Bergen.
For more information www.cruisecritic.co.uk