Updated: Jul 19, 2022
Have you ever dreamed about waking up at sea, in your own private suite, while a day of unrivaled adventure awaits you? This is what every day felt like on my Greek Isles cruise I took last month with Celebrity, and I'm already itching to book my next one. There seems to be much controversy over cruises, when they really have so many great (and rare) features to offer travelers. The negative stigmas that cruises have carried with them are quickly becoming outdated and overcome by brand new ships and the and the luxurious amenities that they provide for a trip of a lifetime.
Now that I've had a bit of experience planning, booking and thriving during my first cruise vacation, I'm ready to give you some of my acquired knowledge and expertise. I hope you find this article useful as well as inspiring to go out and take your own cruise! Enjoy...
What's Your Ultimate Itinerary?
Before you start diving into too much research, it's important to realize where you want to go and what you want to see and do on your cruise. For me, I knew the Greek Isles were the area I wanted to spend the most time in. I was looking for well-known places to visit, but also wanted some unique ports that were "off the beaten path". You also want to think about how long you'd like to take your trip, and realize that "sea days" mean you won't be getting off the ship that day. For example, some itineraries have several "sea days" but you might get to visit more ports, and possibly more unique places. Also, are you an adventure-seeker? Some cruises offer amazing outdoor shore excursions during the trip that you won't want to pass up.
Find The Right Ship
Big or boutique? New or older? Family-friendly or adult-focused? These are important ship characteristics to consider once you start browsing cruise ship websites and itineraries! Here's what I like and why...
Bigger the better! I loved the big ship I was on, it was very stable when we had a day of rough seas after leaving Mykonos. It had a large variety of restaurants and cuisines so I always felt like I got what I wanted and no dinner was ever the same. There were even private restaurants and pools for guests staying in suites.
Newer is Key. I was on Celebrity's newest ship among their fleet they've been building over the last few years. I loved the modern finishes all over the ship. Our room was completely decked out with "smart" features that I could control from the Celebrity App on my phone. You can find the "inaugural date" online of when the ship was built and if it's had any updates (very important!).
Plenty of Adult Spaces. Our ship had adult-only pools, and plenty of spaces onboard designated for the kids as well. There were also many private restaurants and lounges on Celebrity's ship that made for a next-level experience. (Look for "The Retreat" when searching on Celebrity).
Are You a Foodie?
The culinary experience onboard cruise ships has evolved into fine dining that will maybe even blow your socks off. Onboard our Celebrity Cruise ship, we were blessed to have the internationally famous Chef Daniel Boulud as an ambassador for one of the most interesting restaurants I've ever been to. (I'd like to note that this dinner was the most memorable from my entire trip--it was an "interactive dining experience!") Other cruise lines have their own star chefs, such as Seabourn, Silversea and Oceania. Fun Fact: My ship had 32 different dining and beverage experiences!
Floor Plans Matter
Along the lines of dining options, it's important to find a ship that will suit your lodging and lifestyle needs as well. If you're looking for optimal stateroom space and privacy, consider booking a "villa" on one of Celebrity's newest ships...you'll even get your own private plunge pool. Viking's ocean fleet has some of the best spas at sea...and trust me, you'll definitely want to reserve some spa-time if you have a "day at sea". And finally, if you're looking for some over-the-top fun, think about staying on Seabourn's Venture for an unforgettable submarine dive 900 feet below the ice of Antarctica. (I believe Crystal offers small passenger submarines on some of their ships as well).
My Favorite Cruises
These cruises are on my travel list...and may find their way onto yours...
Alaska's Inside Passage
Amazon River Cruise
Nile River Cruise
Time to start planning! Cruises like to offer special rates all the time--so make sure to look for discounts. Getting complimentary drink or wi-fi packages are also something to think about and inquire on while booking. Until my next adventure...that's all for now!