As spring kicks into high gear, many adults 50 and over are celebrating by hitting the high seas for some rest and relaxation. However, because there are so many options out there, finding the perfect cruise to fit your needs can be overwhelming.
In 2015 there were 298 cruise ships passengers could choose from, offering eager travelers an array of options to take them anywhere in the world. From family cruises to solo travel excursions, the bevy of opportunities to set sail is limitless.
While some travelers are looking to embark on large cruise ships with thousands of others, such as the Queen Mary 2 from Cunard Line, others are looking for a more intimate experience and prefer to sail the ocean via a smaller ship, such as the Wind Spirit from Windstar Cruises.
The types of cruises eager explorers are looking to take also can vary, while some want to cruise the ocean, others are looking for smaller more intimate river cruises that take them places large ocean liners can't go, such as the river cruises offered by Avalon Waterways. Some travelers also are looking to sail abroad, while others want to explore the waters in their own backyard, such as domestic cruises offered by American Cruise Lines.
As springtime cruises continue to gain popularity with 50 and over travelers because of the great deals, it's important that you determine which factors are important to you so you ensure you have the vacation of your dreams.
Consider the following factors before you set sail:
• Where do you want to go? -- Not too long ago when people said they were going on a cruise, they were going to a tropical destination, such as the Caribbean or the Bahamas. However, today you can travel all over the world via a cruise ship, including visiting places like Alaska, Europe and Asia. The first step in determining which cruise works for you is to decide where you want to go. If you want to travel to an exotic location, consider Norwegian Cruise Line or Royal Caribbean International, both cruise lines travel to places like St. Thomas, Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands. If you're looking to take the road less traveled, book a cruise through Princess Cruises, it offers trips to South Africa, Japan, India and Australia.
• What's your budget? -- Cost can be a factor when booking any vacation and cruises are no different. If you're on a tight budget and want to get the biggest bang for your buck, check out Carnival Cruise Line. This budget friendly cruise line offers delicious food, amazing entertainment and a variety of shore excursions at a reasonable price. If you're taking the trip of a lifetime and aren't worried about a budget, consider booking a cruise through Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line or Windstar Cruises. Enjoy spa treatments, marble bathrooms, fine dining and a staff that caters to your every whim.
• Who are you traveling with? -- Travel companions have a big impact on which cruise you should go on. If you're traveling with family you will have a completely different experience than if you are traveling alone. With multi-generational travel on the rise, cruising with your extended family has become popular for those 50 and over. A recent AARP survey found that 98 percent of survey respondents took a multi-generational trip in 2015 and 25 percent said they traveled internationally with family via a cruise. If you're traveling with small children, consider a trip through Disney Cruise Line and if tweens or teens are a part of your group, Royal Caribbean International offers an array of activities for older kids. If you are traveling alone, Holland America Line has a Single Partners Program that offers cocktail mixers and games for solo travelers. Norwegian Cruise Line also offers great discounts and studio cabins priced for solo cruisers.
• Are you interested in shore excursions? -- One of the highlights of taking a cruise is getting to visit a variety of places throughout one vacation. When the cruise ship docks, many vacationers like to participate in activities that are coordinated through the cruise line. If you want to participate in any of these recreational activities, book your next cruise through MSC Cruises or Celebrity Cruises. From sea kayaking to guided tours of historic ruins, both cruise lines offer a variety of exciting expeditions at a discounted price.
• How important are food and drinks? -- For foodies, the menu on a cruise takes a vacation from good to great; for others, food isn't as important. If the key to your heart is through your stomach, make sure you chose a cruise that appeals to your taste buds. Oceania Cruises is right up your alley as famous French chef Jacques Pepin is its executive culinary director. Guests can chose from Asian, Italian and French inspired dishes, as well as make their own dish at their culinary center. If you like to indulge in an adult beverage, book a cruise via Crystal Cruises. This cruise line has a beer program where guests can enjoy specialty beers that are only available to a select few. Try the Samuel Adams Utopias, the La Trappe Blond or the Samichlaus Bier.