There’s a popular phrase that says cruising is ‘for the newly wed, over fed, and nearly dead’. There’s also a common misconception that cruising is boring and only for old people. If that’s the case, then clearly those people have never cruised before, or have experienced the wrong cruise line for them. Undoubtedly, there are some cruise lines which remain traditionally for ‘old people’. However, the newer, larger, and more mainstream cruise lines are focusing more and more on attracting a younger market. The removal of dress codes and implementation of flexible dining and tons of technological enhancements can only mean good things for young cruisers. I look forward to seeing the cruise ships of the future, they’re sure to be bigger and better than ever, packed with tons of cool activities to try. Below are some of my favourite cruise ship features which definitely prove that cruising isn’t just for old people!
Need I say more? Ever more adventurous water slides are popping up on the newer cruise ships. I personally have enjoyed the water slides aboard the Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway. Both ships have free fall drop slides – where the floor literally falls out from beneath your feet! On the Norwegian Epic they have a big slide that sucks you into what I can only describe as a giant toilet. I can’t imagine old people wanting to do that!
All-inclusive & drinks packages
Most of the larger cruise lines now offer drinks packages, many of them include (almost) unlimited alcoholic beverages. Some of these start from as little as £10pppn. Other cruise lines include all-inclusive drinks as part of the cruise fare. Pullmantur and Celestyal Cruises are just some of the cruise lines that offer free all-inclusive drinks as standard. Cruises are one of the best places to try new things, drinks being one of them. Where else can you have a cocktail by the pool, prosecco with lunch, and your favourite beers or spirits late into the evening.
Bars and Clubs
On most cruise ships there are a number of bars and clubs. There usually is a range of events going on as well, like Karaoke and game shows, which can be hilarious when coupled with the all-inclusive drinks package. I recently was on a Cunard cruise which was an exception to this rule. Cunard did have a DJ, and what they called a club. The DJ’s stage name was ‘DJ Graham’ and I think that sums up my experience with Cunard perfectly!
The introduction of studio cabins in recently years has meant that a different breed of traveller can now cruise. Cruising is no longer reserved for couples and families! Most cruise lines offer some form of solo cabins. On some Norwegian Cruise Line ships, the solo cabins also have their own private lounge, so that solo guests can meet other solo guests, and enjoy a drink at the solo’s only bar.
Cruise ships are incorporating more and more technology into the cruising experience. My favourite example of this is onboard some Norwegian Cruise Line ships, where they have a photo booth which you can use to email a photo of yourself home free of charge. I didn’t have an internet package on my last cruise, so used this to let my family know that I had arrived onboard safely. Princess Cruises is introducing the ‘Ocean Medallion’, a disc, which can be worn as a bracelet, necklace, or as a wristband. The gadget will allow you to open your stateroom door seamlessly, without the need for any key, or ‘tap’ action. The device will also track your movements around the ship, so that your family and friends will be able to find you. Though I can’t work out if that is a good or bad idea! Some Royal Caribbean ships even have robotic bartenders, where you order a drink (or create your own unique cocktail), and the robot arm will create, mix (shaken or stirred!), and pour your drink with artistic flare. Implementing technology at every stage of the process means that cruising is no longer reserved just for old people, I doubt that very many old people want to email their selfies home. Can’t imagine them doing that on Cunard!
Many cruise lines have ditched the set table at a set time approach for dinner, opting for a more flexible approach. I personally think that this is the best thing to have happened to cruising. It also means no having to sit with strangers, which I believe is a big plus for all of us youngsters – we really don’t want to HAVE to make friends.
I love the theatre and some of the best shows that I have ever seen have been onboard cruise ships. I recently saw Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which was absolutely fabulous! It was a brilliant musical about two drag queens who cross Australia, and is based on the film. It was very raunchy in parts and as far away from the traditional cruise entertainment as you could get. I don’t think my gran would have approved of those skimpy drag outfits! Other well-known musicals at sea, include Grease, We Will Rock You, and Mamma Mia.
Games, games, games!
Most of the larger cruise lines like Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, offer video games and consoles onboard. Nintendo Wii’s, XBox’s and Playstation’s are usually in the kids and teen lounges, but also make an appearance around the ship for games and tournaments. Most mainstream ships have video arcades onboard with a range of games, these are all at an extra cost and charged to your room. Most arcades host traditional games like Pacman as well as fighting and driving simulators. There are also other games onboard such as bowling and pool, these are usually at an extra cost. The trend of cruise ships getting bigger has meant that more and more games are being added to the newer ships.
Rock climbing, ice skating, sky diving, and zip lining. These are all things that are possible onboard cruise ships to appeal to young travellers. Clearly these features weren’t intended for old people.
- Dress code.
Many cruise lines have removed the formal dress codes, which I believe has been holding back young people from cruising. The traditional image of dinner jackets and ball gowns still is true for some cruises, especially Cunard, which even banned Ed Sheeran from entering the restaurant without a suit. But this absolutely isn’t the case with them all. Some now have ‘dress up or not’ nights, where guests can chose what to wear. As long as you are wearing proper clothing (no bikinis, flip flops or shorts!), then you’re fine in the restaurants with most cruise lines. I love the removal of the strict dress code!
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- 10 Cruise Ship Features That Prove Cruising Isn’t Just For Old People - 7th January 2017