A Million Waterways to Travel
By Vanessa Lee
Are you keen to live life like a local on your cruise vacation and stop in a different and charming port every day? Well then, a river cruise might be just the thing. Perhaps you’re more interested in the array of activities found onboard some of the fabulous ocean cruising ships and want a Resort at Sea experience. Cruising can provide pretty much the kind of vacation you’d like, and for practically any length of time. If you’re only able to take a short break, there’s a ship for you. And if you want to travel for two weeks or more, there’s likely even more to choose from. Whatever cruise you choose, you will certainly make new friends, wonderful memories and have a lot of stories to tell. And even better, a cruise can be a lovely way to travel with family – multi-generational cruises are becoming more and more popular all the time and virtually every cruise company is catering to families with suitable accommodations and activities.
When it’s time to get away for that elusive vacation where you can truly relax and recharge those batteries, then perhaps you’ll consider a Caribbean or European cruise?
If it’s totally relaxing fun in the sun you desire, select a 3-, 4- or 7-day cruise to the Bahamas, Key West or some of those gorgeous West Indies islands − a wonderful tropical escape.
If you have more time to spare, then we suggest a European sojourn to the Mediterranean or perhaps the Baltic, where you can immerse yourself for up to 2 weeks in all things Old World, with castles, ancient squares and piazzas, cathedrals and famous monuments at your doorstep – never mind some of the world’s best cuisine!
A cruise, whether by river or on the oceans, can offer you such a wide variety of choices and experiences, so there’s always a style of ship for you, from small and luxurious to large and contemporary, and lots in between. There’s a cruise for everyone, and making the right choice is a breeze when you ask your CWT Travel Advisor to assist.
We know there are a myriad of ships and cruise lines out there, all offering fantastic onboard accommodations, inclusions and a wide selection of dining and entertainment choices – so it may seem a little confusing to try and find the right one.
Perhaps you want to be busy and energetic with lots of sightseeing and many people to meet and engage with. Are you a foodie? A fitness nut? Or would you rather just do the real get-away-from-it-all routine and sun on deck or at a beach almost every day? Does exploring new destinations and ports every day appeal to you? Or would you rather stroll along a medieval cobblestone street anticipating some local wine tasting. If this is a family vacation with two or three generations involved, there are great family suites and connecting staterooms designed just for your comfort and enjoyment.
You can do and see so much on any cruise you choose – there’s so much going on these days, with many enriching cultural programs offered as well. Most ships have a variety of great restaurants for your dining pleasure and superb entertainment of all types on the ocean-going vessels – from classical to jazz, to rock and dance and late-night disco, if that’s your thing! And there are extensive kids programs too.
If you’re time-challenged, then a quick long weekend getaway may be ideal, with a variety of ships sailing from Florida to the Bahamas. We would recommend a 7-night cruise at a minimum, as the whole point is to recharge and relax, as well as reconnect. And that’s where a cruise is more than ideal – everyone can do their thing during the day, whatever that may be, and come together in the evening with a choice of cocktail venues, then dine together and end the evening at a show, concert, comedy performance, or at a sing-along in the piano bar. Maybe a wager in the casino or a movie under the stars – complete with popcorn.
If you’ve been considering a river cruise and want a more relaxed vacation, then there’s a great deal of choice available. River ships are more intimate than ocean ships, mainly due to their size and length and the need to fit along the European or Asian rivers, sailing under the many bridges along each route. If you really want an immersive and cultural experience on your cruise and prefer a ship with about 130 to 160 other guests, then a river cruise is ideal. Nowadays there are several dining options offered on most river cruises, but on most nights you’ll dine in the main restaurant with like-minded guests. You’ll enjoy coming together in the early evening to share stories of your day, listen to your cruise director explain the next port of call and then, perhaps after dinner, listen to a guest lecturer, enjoy some classical violin music or simply retire to your room to watch a good movie or documentary. Life is certainly slower on the rivers, but it’s also tremendously charming and a great way to see famous cities such as Budapest, Prague, Vienna, Cologne, Nuremberg, Amsterdam, Basel and more.
France is now welcoming more and more river ships for a variety of itineraries, many including opportunities for food and wine tasting, and the rivers of Asia are also becoming popular – the Irrawaddy in Myanmar (formerly Burma) and the Mekong in Cambodia and Vietnam offer insight into a whole different way of life.
Whatever kind of cruise you choose or whichever ocean, sea or river you long to explore – there’s a vacation ready and waiting for you, along with the opportunity to make some wonderful memories and also to truly relax and recharge.