Summer is just around the corner and that means one thing for many families…cruises! Cruising has become a more popular vacation choice in recent years, with good reason. There are so many amazing things to do on a cruise ship, from watching spectacular shows to enjoying luxurious spas. Here are four of our favorite cruise ship amenities.
Cruises are often booked for the amenities provided on the ship, not just for the destination alone.
Four of the top cruise ship amenities new and seasoned cruisers will look for are dining, on-ship entertainment, youth activities, and port travel. Cruise ship amenities are just as important as deciding on which destination to choose.
Cruising has become a significant part of the tourist industry. Each year millions of people from all economic backgrounds set out on their dream vacation.
Common Cruise Ship Amenities
If you have never been on a cruise ship before, you may be wondering what activities, facilities, and services can be found onboard. If you have taken a cruise ship vacation in the past, do not worry, there are still plenty of opportunities for new experiences and adventures.
The activities found onboard a cruise ship will vary from ship to ship, but many cruise ships have several activities and services in common. All of them aim to please and are geared toward providing immense amounts of entertainment and great food. It is likely that with a little research, you can find the perfect cruise to fit your specific tastes.
Below is a list of common cruise ship amenities, some of which are the top looked for:
- Youth Programs
- Child Care
- Port Travel
The Cruise Ship Dining Experience
One of the best parts of going on a cruise is the food. A cruise ship’s waiting staff will go the extra mile to tantalize your taste buds and fill your stomach to the breaking point if you allow them. Some of the most well-known facilities found on cruise ships are dining halls, restaurants, and cafeterias. Large cruise ships may offer several onboard dining facilities. It is important to note that many of these dining facilities are considered upscale restaurants.
Your cruise of choice is likely to offer various foods from around the world, including Italian, Asian, Mexican cuisines, and more, along with the classic all-you-can-eat buffets of which nobody ever tires of the unlimited choices. In addition to a sit-down restaurant, several small eateries are usually located onboard, which offer a more casual dining experience, such as ice cream shops and pizzerias.
Elegant dining restaurants are popular among cruisers. Be aware that you may have to pay extra to dine in those exclusive hideaways, but do not let that discourage you. Dressing up in your best attire to mingle with other intriguing and fascinating people while dining on the finest cuisine the ship has to offer is an experience on its own. To ensure that you can enjoy an elegant meal, you are encouraged to schedule a reservation as soon as you board the ship, not to miss your chance to dine in true style at least once.
Aside from dining facilities, bars and dance halls are also found on most cruise ships. As with most of the bars and dance halls located on land, there may be age restrictions in place on a cruise ship. If you are traveling with your family, they may have to participate in other activities while you enjoy the nightlife on the high seas. If this should occur, you are in luck because most cruise ships have childcare centers and other activities geared towards children of all ages.
On-board Youth Activities and Childcare
When it comes to placing your child in the care of a ship’s childcare center, you are urged to familiarize yourself with the staff quickly. This familiarization may help to calm your nerves while leaving your child in the care of others. It is also important to note that cruise ship employees are often closely monitored, highly educated, and professionally trained. Unlike a daycare on land, a cruise ship daycare has quick and ready access to the ship’s medical personnel in the event of a medical emergency. While it may be difficult at first, you should feel comfortable leaving your child in the care of a cruise ship childcare worker.
Childcare is ideal for smaller children; however, daycare may not be an option if you are traveling with a teenager. There are swimming pools, libraries, video arcades, sporting events, and movie theaters often available on cruise ships for teenagers. Adult supervision is a policy that prevents children under a certain age from roaming freely around the ship. Still, teenagers may be able to visit these facilities if they are of age accordingly.
In the end, your children will likely have just as much fun, if not more, than you do. Each cruise ship is likely to have different adult supervision policies. You are encouraged to review these policies before purchasing your tickets to ensure all the desired activities, events, and port travels can be completed.
Cruise Ship Activities and Entertainment
Typical free activities include trivia, pool games, big-screen movies, dance classes, and sports deck activities such as basketball, rock climbing, mini-golf, ropes courses, and shuffleboard. Some cruise ship activities generally provided for a small fee or items you will have to pay for as you go: Bingo, casino play, arcade games, escape rooms, and golf simulators.
There will be no shortage of entertainment for the adults as they have access to the cruise ship’s bars, nightclubs, and even gaming halls or casinos. As with gambling on land, there are age limits on gambling aboard a cruise ship. Popular gambling activities include slots, blackjack, poker, and much more, including penny slots for the more reserved gamblers and high-stakes gambling for the high rollers.
Because gambling is a popular cruise ship pastime for many people, onboard casinos are open for business twenty-four hours a day. If you are booking a cruise to gamble, you may want to explore each ship’s gambling options further. Be aware that cruise ship casinos are often forced to close when the ship is in port to comply with that port’s local gambling laws; if your primary desire is gambling, book with a cruise that spends a lot of time at sea so that lady luck will not have to be put aside very often.
If you like shows, some cruise ships will offer performances that are every bit as good as what you would find on Broadway or the Las Vegas Strip. You are sure to find something to put a smile on your face in either the primary or secondary theater venues. It is possible even to find a cruise offering an elaborate Cirque du Soleil production, or perhaps you’d prefer laughing to a classical stand-up comedian or watching a rock concert. If you like to make your own fun, then hit the ship’s disco and dance the night away.
Cruise ship operators know that many travelers take a cruise to escape their daily routines. Unfortunately for some, one practice that cannot be left behind is exercise. That is why almost all cruise ships have onsite fitness centers and fully equipped gyms. These gyms are often similar and sometimes even better than the gyms found in your hometown. In addition to a fitness center, a considerable number of cruise ships even have jogging tracks. And you may even find fitness classes offering such things as yoga, Pilates, Zumba, indoor cycling, and even more aggressive things such as boot camps or combat sports training.
Port of Call and Port Travel During a Cruise
Ports of call are a great way to visit exciting locations while on a cruise ship vacation. The ports will be expecting you; the local restaurants and bars will be happy to serve you, and the souvenir shops will offer great mementos for you to take home. You might even venture out on bus, bicycle, or walking tours to take in the area’s full history and beauty. If you like excitement, your port city might even offer snorkeling, kayaking, or even an unforgettable parasailing experience. Do not forget, tropical cruises are not the only cruises that are worthwhile. You can see some of the most breathtaking views of your life by venturing into colder climates like Alaska or Europe.
Do your research in advance as there will be ship-sponsored port excursions and independent port tours. They can vary in price and quality, and while the ship-sponsored tours might offer you more ease and peace of mind, an independent tour might take you to a more intimate locale or offer you a unique form of recreation. In some ports, you may find satisfaction walking around on your own accord with a local map, or you could hail a taxi to take you to a destination of your choice. Choose wisely in each port as there is no correct way to approach things. It all depends upon what you like to do and how much you want to spend.
In the end, you may even decide to remain on board in specific ports to enjoy all the ship’s amenities while the more significant part of the passengers are off sightseeing. For instance, who would not love to be pampered by the ship’s spa while the crowds are away? There, you might find such services as steam rooms, massages, scalp, and body wrap treatments, and a myriad of other therapeutic indulgences to reinvigorate your body and mind.
Cruise Ship Tickets
If you would like to save money on your cruise ship tickets, then consider booking your trip a year or more in advance. If you want to cut your costs even further, consider booking your cruise for the offseason. Summer is the peak season for tourism, so a departure during a colder season can provide you with a substantial discount when tourism is down. In an offseason, you might have to brave rougher waters and poorer weather, but it might be worth the savings, and you might appreciate the reduced crowds.
Typically, hurricanes will not ruin your vacation, but a cruise ship may alter its itinerary to keep the passengers and crew safe from the weather. Thankfully, cruise ships are technologically advanced wonders of the sea with advanced instruments to monitor the weather and powerful engines that can outrun almost any storm.
Be proactive in planning your cruise. Suppose a specific event or activity is the only reason why you are interested in booking a cruise. In that case, you are urged to double-check if that event or activity is still being offered during your preferred travel dates before making your reservation. As mentioned earlier, the services and activities are found on several popular cruise lines. These cruise lines are likely to include but are not limited to Carnival Cruise Lines, Paradise Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Line, and Celebrity Cruises. With the click of a mouse or a toll-free phone call, you can quickly determine if your favorite activities can be found aboard the cruise ship of your choice. The chances are that you will find one that satisfies your desires and fits your budget, so do not delay selecting the cruise ship vacation package of your dreams.