10 types of cruises to try at least once in your life

If you’re an avid cruiser, chances are you’ve found your niche – the types of cruises you enjoy the most, whether large ships or small ships, US-based travel United or further. Conversely, if you are new to the world of cruises, it can be difficult to understand the options.

Regardless of your experience level, there are certain options that are essential for anyone serious about setting sail.

These are the 10 types of cruises we think every well-rounded passenger should try at least once in their lifetime. How many have you done and which ones are still on your to-do list?

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Ocean crossings

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 docked at the Red Hook Cruise Terminal in Brooklyn, New York. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE DOT GUY

Ocean crossings were common in the early days of ocean liners, which served to transport both people and goods between countries. As passenger cruises began to evolve, crossings became as much about fun and vacation as getting from point A to point B.

Today, the only classic liner that still provides a regular line is Cunard Line‘s Queen Mary 2, which makes week-long trips between London and New York. To get a sense of what the grand old ocean liners were like, passengers can book a passage on the ship, which makes no stops during its crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

Other ships may also make crossings several times a year, as they reposition to different regions at the start of each season. Some offer a handful of port calls, but a large number of days at sea are usually expected.

Big boat cruises

Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas. MICHEL VERDURE STUDIO/ROYAL CARAÏBES

The largest cruise ships afloat carry more than 9,000 people, including passengers and crew. This can seem extremely intimidating to some people, especially those who enjoy small ship sailing.

I understand. You might not want more than a dozen bridges to climb, loud music around every bend, or tons of families with young children. However, you can’t call yourself a real cruiser if you don’t try a megaship at least once. These ships offer some nice diversions like laser tag, bungee trampolines, and even roller coasters on their upper decks. You have to try one to really know if the experience is or isn’t for you; you might be surprised at your ability to avoid the crowds.

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Plus, with so much to do, there’s something for everyone in terms of food and entertainment whether you’re traveling with a group of friends or family. My recommendation? Try a boat in Royal Caribbeanit is Liberty Class or Oasis Class. They offer the most options, and after you board, you simply won’t believe you’re on a ship.

Cruises to nowhere

Cruises to nowhere allowed travelers who weren’t sure they liked vacations on the water to try one with little time or money. The crossings – which would leave port, set sail for a day or two, and then return to land – involved no stopovers.

Now, due to stricter enforcement of the Passenger Ship Services Act (which requires passenger ships over a certain size to and from US ports to call at at least one foreign port), most cruises to nowhere from the US united are no longer allowed.

For sailings near you, look for one-way trips on the Pacific Coast that sail between Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego or San Francisco nonstop. Or head to another country, like the UK, to attempt a cruise to nowhere.

River trips in Europe

Sure, ocean cruises are great, but so are river cruises. Their slower pace means you can take in the scenery as you cruise from destination to destination. Because you can still see land, river cruises are a solid option for those worried about being upset about being in the middle of the ocean with only water in all directions.

Plus, the ports are usually close enough together that you can stop more than one per day, allowing for more in-depth exploration of the region you’re visiting. (One of the most popular river cruise regions is the Rhine Gorge with its magnificent castles.)

The local food and culture tend to be much more immersive than what you would find during a stopover on an ocean-going vessel. There are also fewer passengers on the river boats, which means a more favorable crew/guest ratio and, therefore, better service.

Expedition Cruises

Scenic Eclipse in an Arctic ice field. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE DOT GUY

If you’re starting to feel like you’ve visited every destination that traditional cruise ships have to offer, or you’re an active traveler who worries that a cruise might be too sedentary, a sailing expedition might be for you. for you.

Gone are the days when traveling to remote and isolated locations required passengers to sacrifice amenities. The newest ships on the market offer high-end luxury and carry cruisers with enough batter to places like the Arctic, Antarctica, and Alaska.

Depending on the destination, you may see polar or grizzly bears, moose, arctic foxes, seals, walruses, musk oxen, bald eagles, whales, local birds and a host of other animals wild. Mix in flora, calving glaciers, icebergs and the ruins of early explorers, and you’re in for a treat.

Paddlewheel cruises in the United States

American Queen Voyages’ American Queen docked in Pittsburgh. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE DOT GUY

Looking for a healthy dose of Americana with your next cruise? You’ll find the slow pace and cultural immersion of a European river cruise here in the United States with sailing on a paddle steamer like American Queen Voyages. american queen Where American countess and American cruise lines‘ American Melody and others, which have been recently renovated.

As you glide along America’s waterways like Ohio and Mississippi, you’ll discover small-town hospitality, local landmarks you might not otherwise have heard of, and a history lesson you’ll never forget. you won’t soon forget.

The boats themselves are also fascinating, using paddle wheels for at least some of their propulsion. The practice evokes the beginnings of river navigation and resident historians (called riverloriens) give lectures to teach the areas visited by the boats.

Consecutive trips

What’s better than a vacation? Two vacations, of course. It is not uncommon for cruise passengers to take more than one sailing in a row on the same ship. Most often, they book two consecutive trips, called back-to-back trips.

The obvious draw here, besides bragging rights, is that a back-to-back extends your travels beyond a single cruise. Sail to the eastern Caribbean one week and west the next, or turn a one-week one-way trip from Barcelona to Rome into a two-week round trip visiting even more Mediterranean ports. Plus, you’ll find yourself on board with a largely new group of passengers after the first sail is over, so it’s a great way to meet twice as many people.

If you take this route, be sure to ask to stay in the same cabin to avoid having to move all of your belongings between trips. Be aware that you may also be required to complete the muster exercise again for the second leg of your journey.

World Cruises

Accessible only to the wealthiest cruisers, Round the World Voyages (as you might have guessed) sail to destinations around the world in one long cruise. These itineraries typically span 100 days or more, reaching key ports on most seven continents.

It is also common for cruise lines to offer segments to passengers who only wish to complete part of the longer voyage. This opens up the option for budget travelers.

Most cruisers – even the most seasoned ones – have never been on a world cruise, and that’s truly a feather in the hat for anyone who ticks it off their list.

Mast cruises

A Windstar sailboat in French Polynesia. ASHLEY KOSCIOLEK/THE DOT GUY

Want to feel like a real swordsman? Consider a cruise on a masted sailboat. You can choose between two distinct experiences, depending on your cruising style and your involvement in helping on a working vessel.

Star Clippers allow passengers to help raise and lower the sails and raise the mast to the crow’s nest. Accommodations are a bit more spartan, more like actual sailboat quarters, and entertainment is homemade with guest participation shows and knot lessons. Vessels in this line try to rely heavily on the wind for propulsion and spend up to 80% of the trip under sail.

Meanwhile, Windstar Cruises has a handful of sailboats in its fleet, but the sails are more for show than actual function. While there’s still a working crew to operate them, you’ll feel less like a deckhand and more like a luxury cruiser.

Bahamas Weekends

Have you ever wondered what happened to those “free cruise” offers you used to get over the phone? Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has rebranded itself several times to move away from the stereotypes of robocalls and now partners with Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville empire to operate Margaritaville at Sea branded cruises.

Voyages last a minimum of two nights, sailing from the Port of Palm Beach in Florida to Freeport in the Bahamas and back. Travelers can also choose to disembark and stay at a land resort for a few days before returning home.

It’s a way to test out a short browse, but keep in mind that it’s designed to be a party vibe.

At the end of the line

Don’t hit what you haven’t tried. With so many different types of cruises, you can’t say that cruising isn’t for you or that a certain type of sailing is your favorite if you haven’t experienced the different options for yourself. Challenge yourself to try a vacation that might take you out of your comfort zone or be a whole new kind of sailing. You might find yourself with a new favorite type of cruise along the way.

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