CHARLOTTE, NC: Like anything done properly, arranging the ideal cruise to suit your individual lifestyle takes more planning than most people think. Cruising has countless variables to consider; cost, cruise lines, length, ports, ships and their size, amenities, days at sea, shore excursions, dining, entertainment, the average age of clientele, service, shipboard activities and on and on. Knowing your cruise itineraries, and choosing wisely, is the difference between a good and a great cruise experience.
Some considerations carry more weight than others but, in general, many cruisers either prefer to cruise for the sake of cruising or to be in a different port each day. For the most part, shore people do not enjoy the idea of being on board a ship when they could be out exploring.
The best way to cruise, at least from a personal perspective, is to seek out itineraries which feature a good mixture of both shore days and sea days. After all, what good is doing a cruise if you don’t plan to spend some time on the ship?
Perhaps the second most important consideration for most people is the length of the cruise. Again, personally, a seven-day itinerary is the minimum with a maximum of 12 to 14-days as the longest.
Pay attention to logistics
Cruise lines that pay close attention to logistics while at sea and in port are ideal because they maximize the cruising experience with minimal confusion for passengers. Logistics, when done efficiently and correctly, are subliminal since they are not typically something clients think about. They are, however, a key factor for cruise lines to ensure the best possible impressions for their clients.
With that basic background in mind, here are three cruise itineraries that have been personally satisfying and why.
The ideal cruise: Bermuda, Alaska, Asia – Three great cruises
Cruising to Bermuda may sound limiting at first, but in truth it is an ideal itinerary for cruisers and non-cruisers alike. As a one port destination, travelers get the best of both worlds with several days at sea and three days to explore Bermuda on shore.
Celebrity Summit features a capacity of slightly less than 2,200 passengers making it a human-sized vessel for those who are put off by massive numbers of people.
Summit’s maiden voyage was October 2001 with major renovations completed in March 2016 including Celebrity’s first rooftop terrace.
NY Terminals to know
Summit sails from Cape Liberty Cruise Port, one of three trans-Atlantic passenger terminals in the Port of New York and New Jersey.
Don’t be confused if you hear it called Cruise Port Bayonne. That’s just another name for it since the port is located Bayonne, NJ.
Summit departs Cape Liberty on Sunday afternoons with a couple of days at sea before arriving at King’s Wharf in Bermuda each Wednesday morning.
Bermuda to know
Two and a half days are more than enough time to explore the pink sand beaches and compact destination that made Bermuda shorts a household article of summer clothing.
Bermuda is roughly shaped like a large fish-hook with Kings Wharf situated at the western tip of the island. The name can be a bit misleading because the dock is actually one of two berths that are part of Bermuda’s Naval Dockyard.
With the huge influx of visitors now arriving on cruise ships, the dockyard has become a destination unto itself chock full of attractions, museums, restaurants, pubs and boutique shopping.
On and off the ships
Access to and from the ships has been greatly simplified with regular miniaturized trains that pick up and drop off passengers at multiple locations.
Once ashore, there is ample opportunity for shore excursions or independent exploration of the two best-known towns in Bermuda; Hamilton and St George’s.
Celebrity Summit departs Bermuda in mid-afternoon on Fridays with another day and a half at sea before arriving back at Cape Liberty on Sunday morning for disembarkation.
What makes this cruise unique is that, unlike most seagoing adventures, there’s only one port to explore, therefore allowing ample time to see anything and everything your lifestyle suggests.
Best of all, by being aboard ship, you can avoid many of the higher priced amenities of this upscale destination which means more bang for your traveling dollar.
For starters, a cruise through Asia is generally not an itinerary for first-time travelers. Secondly, it is virtually impossible to offer accurate information about a specific itinerary because cruise lines change destinations from season to season.
As with all three itineraries suggested by this article, there is an equal balance between days at sea and days ashore, which is truly the best way to travel by ship.
Asian cruises are typically longer than others primarily because of the distance involved in getting there. That said, the advantage here is the opportunity to visit multiple ports in a single itinerary, including shore excursions which reduce the apprehension that many travelers, even veterans, have in dealing with serious language barriers.
2019 Celebrity Millennium Asia Cruises
Celebrity’s Millennium will begin the 2019 Asian cruise season after a multi-million dollar makeover while her sister ship, the Constellation, has also added upscale amenities for its upcoming sea-going journeys.
A single Asian cruise can take you to as many as six different countries to experience multiple exotic cultures such as Vietnam, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines and beyond.
Each port is unique, with an equal balance of days at sea to rest and relax for the next place on your itinerary.
For travelers with a wanderlust spirit of adventure and witnessing destinations completely different from our own, Asia offers a wealth of things to see and to do.
Note, that Asian cruises traditionally appeal to an older and international clientele, so if you are looking for a party, head to the Caribbean. On the other hand, seniors can, and do, get rowdy when they want to.
For all of its immensity, Alaska may have the easiest shore access than any other cruise destination. Docking facilities are on a human scale that minimize the amount of walking to get to places travelers desire to visit, including towns.
And there is much to see in Alaska. One of America’s greatest wilderness destinations offers incomparable scenery, wildlife, history and culture.
Best of all, much of the scenery can be witnessed from the ships, which are rarely out of sight of land. Thus, sea days in Alaska have the added dimension of an opportunity to view glaciers, whales and porpoises from the deck of the ship or while sipping your favorite adult beverage in a lounge.
Like most cruises, Alaskan itineraries change, but in this case, there are definite favorites such as Tracy Arm Fjord and the Inside Passage. Many ships also embark from Vancouver or include a stop in Victoria with a visit to the famous Butchart Gardens being a highlight.
These are just three great cruise itineraries that marry the best of both worlds, cruising and time ashore. The key to success is first to determine your personal interests and then do your homework, do your homework and do some more homework.
Following that sit back and sail away into one of the best vacations you will ever experience.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world.
Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
His goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime
Editors Note: Support Bob’s GoFundMe to give him a hand up