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What to expect on a luxury cruise

Cruise Advice

Imagine if you had never stayed in a hotel, and we promised to tell you everything that you needed to know about hotels. With so many different types of hotel, it would be a near impossible challenge.

We face the same challenge when talking about what to expect on a cruise. There are so many great ships, all of them so different, that to summarise the various experiences you can enjoy is simply beyond the scope of a few paragraphs. But what we can do is to give you an idea of the various advantages that a cruise holiday, on the sort of ships that we sell, can offer over one that is hotel-based. Let's start off by imagining a typical day on a luxury cruise…

Straight away we hit the same barrier; there is rarely such a thing as a 'typical day' aboard the world's finest ships. Every day is new and special, depending on where you are, what sort of ship you are on, but mostly on what you want to do. Your typical day will be as varied as you like and is down to your choice, and no-one else's. But imagine that maybe it could go a bit like this…

Seabourn pool deck

When you wake up, your ship has already docked: a new day and a new adventure begins. Open the curtains in your spacious bedroom and take in a breathtaking new vista. Maybe it's warm enough to enjoy breakfast with the view, on your balcony. Or maybe you would prefer to have it in your living space, or take it in the ship's breakfast rooms. Choice is everything when it comes to luxury travel, and on a cruise you really do have a choice about everything.

Cabin on Paul Gauguin Cruises

Breakfast over, what now? The ship is yours for the day if you wish. Maybe time to luxuriate in the spa, with a specialist massage. Take a book on to the sundeck, whilst attentive stewards look after your every need. Or if you prefer, you could work out in the gym, swim, or play tennis. Lazy days, active days; all days spent on board can be wonderful days too.

Service by the pool on a Silversea cruise

But in port, most will choose to venture ashore, either on their own or with a small group of other passengers on a tour of key sights. Matchless choice is the watchword of travelling on ships: you are your own master if you wish, or you can leave it to the ship to arrange your shore excursions. The problem is never that you're short of things to do; if anything, it's that you have too much choice!

Regent Seven Seas Cruises - Couple in Barcelona

Return to your ship at leisure, but it might be a grave mistake to miss dinner. At the top end of the market there is always a superb choice of opulent restaurants on board, and within them a fine array of magnificent menus, often prepared by world-famous chefs and complemented by world-class wine lists. Dinner is always guaranteed to be a fine event, whether you have chosen a ship that prefers a casual style, or one that also offers a formal dining choice.

Cuisine on board Oceania Cruises

And after dinner? Wander ashore, if the ship hasn't yet set sail, or take a glass in hand and enjoy the view if it has. Or take in a film, or a cabaret. Perhaps you prefer a casino, or simply staying up to chat under starlight.

Evening drinks on SeaDream Yacht Club

It's all about personal choice. Which is why the only typical day is the one that you choose. And whatever you decide, you can be sure it will be fantastic.

More advice for first time cruisers:

Meet the author

Edwina Lonsdale is Managing Director and together with husband Matthew, owner of Mundy Cruising. Most recently she's cruised on Windstar and has also sailed with Silversea, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas, Crystal, SeaDream, Ponant, AmaWaterways and Aqua Expeditions. Her favourite destination is the Galapagos however she's also enjoyed cruises in the Mediterranean, Danube, Middle East, East Africa & Indian Ocean, Brahmaputra, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Mekong, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Caribbean and the Arctic. When she’s not travelling she loves reading, food and wine.

More about Edwina

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