There’s nothing quite like being on a boat to give you a sense of freedom and contentment. Boat trips can take you to places that are otherwise unreachable, for exciting activities like snorkelling, scuba diving and island hopping. Although cruises sometimes get a bad rap for being too easy or attracting an older crowd, there are plenty of options all around the world catering to all age ranges and areas of interest. Here are a few that are well worth checking out.
U BY UNIWORLD
Uniworld has recently launched two new river cruise ships – A and B. Traditionally, this company offers old school river cruises for those with expensive tastes, but they’ve given two of their older boats a refurb and kitted them out for the Millennial market, with lightning-speed WiFi and fun activities like silent discos, cocktail-mixing classes and street food sessions. This has made city cruises in places like Berlin, Amsterdam and Budapest accessible to younger travellers on short city breaks.
Sometimes it can be difficult to get the right balance of adventure and comfort. Wildlife tours in particular, such as in the Galapagos and Komodo Islands, tend to opt for smaller catamarans. The six-star Eclipse yacht is a wildlife-focused cruise offering luxurious cabins and high-end service. While visiting some of the world’s best destinations for nature, including Alaska, the Galapagos and Antarctica, you have the option of hopping on a speedboat, a helicopter, or even a submarine for a closer view of the fauna.
SYMPHONY OF THE SEAS
This ship is more of a guilty pleasure. Symphony of the Seas is one of the biggest cruise ships in the world, meaning that the focus of the holiday is not where you go, but what you can find to entertain yourself on board. There are multiple swimming pools, slides, jacuzzis, surf and skydiving simulators, and plenty of other features like Xbox lounges. Although you might not see much of your surroundings, it’s a really fun place to hang out with your closest friends, having drinks by the pool in the sunshine, tucking into buffet meals and ending the day with an evening of karaoke and dancing on deck 17.
AMERICAN QUEEN STEAMBOAT COMPANY
One of the most charming trips you can take in the USA is a slow-paced cruise along the Mississippi river on board an old-timer steamboat. These tours really stay true to the old-western vibe, complete with casinos and saloons with swinging doors. Along its route is the great city of New Orleans, where you can watch the sun set over the plains while sipping bourbon and listening to the soothing sound of the steamer and paddles.
CUNARD’S QUEEN MARY 2
Last but not least, the transatlantic Cunard voyage is another themed cruise. There’s a ‘dickie bow and shawl’ dress code for dining, making it somewhat reminiscent of the fateful Titanic—but much more reliable! Word has it that Ed Sheeran took a ride on board this ship recently to record his new album Divide. Although he didn’t get dressed up for the posh meals, he was permitted to transform one of the cabins into a recording studio, and got the tracks down between Southampton and New York.