Going on a cruise isn’t just about sailing the seas anymore. It is so much more. As cruising has gained in popularity, cruise lines have diversified their offerings, adding exceptional programs and experiences sure to indulge the wide variety of interests their guests might have. Whether you are looking for aerobic activity, extreme adventure, culinary experiences, or sustainable travel, you’re sure to find it on today’s luxury cruise lines.
1 – Stay Fit, Eat Well, and Get Pampered
If you are committed to your workout routine, you don’t want to lose momentum while on vacation. That’s why many cruise lines have created extensive wellness programs for their guests that include onboard yoga classes, state-of-the-art fitness centers, full-service spas, and healthy dining options.
Wellness doesn’t stop once you are in port. For example, Oceania Cruises offers unique onshore wellness tours – everything from holistic therapies and indigenous healing practices in Australia to therapeutic Kandyan dance sessions in Sri Lanka to detoxifying sand baths in Japan.
Just for you: While onboard the Seven Seas Explorer, work with a wellness expert at the exclusive Canyon Ranch Spa at Sea to create a personalized wellness program – complete with yoga classes, seaweed wraps, hot stone massages, reflexology, and hydrotherapy. The perfect way to spend those days at sea.
2 – Take Your Adventure to the Next Level
Expedition cruising is the new way to amp up your adventure game. Because smaller ships can get to destinations that used to be inaccessible, they are creating more adventurous itineraries and expeditions for their guests. In addition, companies are introducing new technology onboard to allow navigation in remote destinations.
For example, the newest yacht from Crystal Yacht Cruises, Crystal Endeavor, was built with offshore dynamic positioning capabilities to assist in exploring the icy waters of the Arctic and Antarctic. Crystal Yacht Cruises also brings the adventure to their guests, offering three-person submersibles, jet skies, and kayaks.
Just for you: Head 1,000 feet below the water’s surface to explore marine life on a three-person submersible guided by a certified pilot. Available on a Crystal Esprit cruise to the exotic Seychelles islands.
3 – Discover the Night Life on Shore
Stays in port aren’t limited to the standard only-during-the-day tours anymore. Cruise lines have updated their itineraries to include longer stays in ports – either departing later in the evening or staying overnight. This allows you to have a more immersive experience, discovering hidden gems that you can only find after dark. Itineraries now include exclusive evening shore excursions, and multiple overnights stays on the same itinerary, some with extended pre- or post-voyage options.
Just for you: Attend a traditional Jewish folk music performance by a klezmer group and dine on typical Israeli cuisine, as part of an AzAmazing Evening bespoke event. Included on Azamara’s Israel immersive voyage, which features three days in Jerusalem.
4 – Cultivate Your Culinary Palate
Recognizing that for many guests, the culinary experiences are as important as the cultural experiences, cruise lines have raised the bar on fine dining. On luxury cruises today, you’ll find Michelin-starred cuisine and menus created by world-class chefs, including Jacques Pépin (on Oceania Cruises) and Nobu Matsuhisa (on Crystal Cruises). Menus include more specialty and regionally influenced options, as well as gourmet vegan and vegetarian menus.
Just for you: Sail with Oceania Cruises on a Jacques Pépin specialty cruise, where you’ll be treated to personally designed signature menus from Chef Pépin, engaging lectures, and culinary demonstrations. These cruises are typically offered only once a year; the 2019 cruise is already sold out, but there is availability on the 2020 cruise.
5 – Care for the Environment
These days, cruise lines are paying more attention to the environment and many have put programs in place to reduce their environmental impact. They’ve reduced plastic waste by removing plastic straws, water bottles, and other related single-use items from their ships and they’re working to reduce their carbon emissions. Voluntourism shore excursions are available for guests interested in giving back.
Just for you: Discover the Galapagos on the energy-efficient and environmentally safe Celebrity Flora, designed specifically for the Galapagos. You’ll tour the islands with a certified Galapagos National Park guide, giving you an immersive experience that also protects the wildlife and the ecosystem of the Galapagos.
6 – Game-Change Your Cooking
Do you have a hidden desire to be a gourmet chef? With an increased emphasis on culinary experiences, introducing local flavors, and healthy eating, cruise lines like Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises are offering an extensive line-up of cooking classes in their onboard cooking schools, as well as onshore excursions to local markets accompanied by a chef. Classes cover everything from mastering knife skills to learning how to use spices to ancient culinary traditions.
Just for you: Sign up for the “Taste of Spain” cooking class while you sail an all-inclusive Spain cruise on the luxurious Seven Seas Explorer. In the state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Kitchen, you’ll learn how to prepare traditional tapas and Valencian paella, how to pair Spanish wines, and how to make the festive Sangria.
7 – Personalize Your Experience
Because travel is a personal experience, savvy cruise lines are designing flexible itineraries to allow their guests the option to customize their cruise vacation. Guests can extend their vacations with pre- and post-cruise land programs, combining their cruise with activities such as an African Safari adventure or exploring the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu. Other curated itineraries include delving deeper into local culture with onshore excursions and immersive stays in arrival and departure ports.