10 Best Cruises for 2012 ...


Best Cruises for 2012? But I’m in my 20s. I’m too young to go on a cruise. Why would I go on a cruise? That’s a jolly good question, actually, so let me tell you about some of the best cruises for 2012 and why you might want to take one. Seventy percent of our planet is covered by water. Cruising is no longer just for the ‘newly wed-nearly dead’ or for the super rich. Cruise liners have become more accessible, with tailor made itineraries to suit every dream destination, and holiday wish. Embark on these monolithic floating cities. Relax and experience the wonders of the world. Why not join the millions that will be travelling the high seas in search of adventure, relaxation and sail away on one of the 10 Best Cruises for 2012.

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Around the World

Sail for three months visiting exotic locations. View itineraries and ports of call online; select your port of departure from Southampton, England or Fort Lauderdale, USA. Many cruise companies offer the alternative of joining the ship at a port near you with a fly home option from their homeport. Circumnavigate the globe in style, cross the mighty oceans of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic as you follow the routes of explorers of old visiting Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the Americas. My pick of best cruise for 2012 is Cunard Line - Queen Mary 2. The Queen Mary 2 is Cunard’s flagship and embarks on her 5th world cruise in 2012. This is the ultimate in sea travel, cruising at high speeds in superb comfort; one truly sails in a grand manner with excellent amenities and accommodation.


Vacation or Seasonal Cruises

Cruising during the festive season or holidays can be relaxing and exciting. You wont have to deal with all the hype surrounding Christmas or have to make the arduous motor trek to the family 1000 miles away. Think about where you want to cruise to and check the itinerary to make sure whether you are spending Christmas day or New Year’s Eve in port. Some may prefer this option as it affords the opportunity to experience the holiday in another culture or tradition. Most liners will provide the full holiday menu including a midnight buffet for New Year. My pick of best cruise for 2012 is Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, voted cruise line of the year in 2011. Christmas or Easter are peak holiday times and the ships are adorned with themed decorations with events held during the cruise time. During Christmas or Easter cruises a Chaplain is on board to lead multi-denominational services. Fred. Olsen docks for New Years Eve celebrations with a fireworks display in Tenerife or Lisbon.


Celebrity Cruises

These cruises are lifestyle and interest focused. Cruise directors have become aware that their passenger needs go beyond the part-party-party aspect; many passengers prefer to use their time onboard to expand their personal horizons. Programs are designed along specific themes with an expert/celebrity on board to educate, inform and entertain. Whatever your hobby or interest browse online to find the cruise for you. My pick for the best cruise is Celebrity Cruises. This line has an extensive list of interests to choose from. Experts present and offer classes on a variety of subjects from dancing lessons to understanding technology. Educational programs offer a mix of entertainment - cooking demos, wine tasting and cooking competitions. For the intellectual, lectures are designed and presented by leaders in their fields, like the Smithsonian.


Weddings and Honeymoons

Getting married onboard or in a scenic location is romantic and popular. Many cruise lines now offer a variety of services and facilities from on board wedding planners to 300 seat dining rooms. Most lines offer wedding packages for you and your guests. Getting married at sea by the Captain can be complicated, review online the legal limitations and look out for the ‘can officiate’ list. My pick for the best cruise for 2012 is Royal Caribbean. Offering on board or shore ceremonies they provide full service, from catering, officiate through to flowers and music. Choose from a variety of packages to suit your theme and budget. The bonus is that Royal Caribbean has a private island, CocoCay, Bahamas as an additional facility.


Family Cruise

The itinerary needs to include child friendly destinations and most important are the facilities offered onboard. The newer vessels have been built with families in mind, with the result that there is more attention to the range of age groups within a family, thereby prompting age appropriate shore excursions, onboard entertainment and activities, with the larger liners offering bowling alleys, water parks with surfing simulators. Cabin layouts now include family suites and the dining venues cater to all age groups and tastes. My pick for the best cruise is Princess Cruises. This company designs their ships with families in mind providing excellent accommodation in Family Suites. On board facilities and activities are extensive, with entertainment programs and fun areas designed for all ages, including their onshore excursions. The bonus for mum & dad is a baby-sitting service.


Cruising Solo

Whether you are planning to travel alone or with a friend, whom you don’t want to share a cabin with, booking a single person fare can become expensive as the shipping industry views the “other half” of your fare as waste or “spoilage”. Some lines charge double the rate to make up for the losses on bar, facility and shore options. There is a difference between going ‘solo’ and going ‘single’. Some lines are offering “Singles” cruises. Fellow shipmates are intending to meet and hook-up with other singles. Events and activities are geared to mixers and meets. My pick of best cruise for 2012 is P&O’s Azura. This ship has 18 well-appointed single cabins with both inside and outside options. The joy is that there are no single supplements to pay. To make your life easier on board the line arranges meet and greet parties for solo passengers. Check online for itineraries and ports of call. Be aware that during the summer months, cruises are more family orientated.


Culture and History Buffs

Embark on an incredible journey through the history and diverse cultures of Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas. Land excursions open the window to origins of civilization and archaeological treasures, art and wonders of the world. Navigate the great rivers of Southeast Asia or visit the temples of Angkor. My pick for the best cruise is Voyages to Antiquity. The pioneers of cruising in the Far East. Their vessel Aegean Odyssey is a mid-sized ship with the advantage of being able to sail closer to the coast with spectacular views and dock in smaller, less crowded harbors.


Adventure Cruises

Discover remote places and experience the unique environmental aspects of exotic locations. Imagine exploring new dive sites, kayaking in the far-flung corners of the world under the leadership of experienced guides and experts in some of the world’s most remote destinations. These cruises are increasing in popularity and are designed for travelers looking for adventure off the beaten path. My pick for best cruise for 2012 is Lindblad Expeditions and their Antarctica cruise. Travel with National Geographic experts and participate in their research projects.


Tall Ship Cruising

Got a little bit of “Jack Sparrow” or Viking in you? Experience sailing as the explorers did with the snap of the sails and the scent of the ocean. No need to know celestial navigation, how to chart a course or trim the sails. These are not cruise ships in the common sense, but do offer equal luxury and variety of experience. Cabins are well appointed with marble bathrooms, comfortable beds and state of the art technology. Explore protected coves, lush islands in the British Virgin Islands, whale watch along the Gold Coast of Australia or go on a diving adventure. My pick for the best cruise this year is Star Clippers. A specialty cruise line with three of the world’s largest and tallest sailing vessels. Their offering includes Trans-Ocean crossing, the Caribbean, Costa Rica & Panama Canal, Eastern & Western Mediterranean and Northern Europe the Baltic. Follow the Vikings voyages and participate with other tall ships in a sailing parade in Germany, flags dipped in salute.


Private Yacht Charters

Want to experience the life of the rich and famous, then private charters are the in-thing. On-board facilities are equal to the ocean liners; the advantage is the personal service from the crew and the luxury of setting your own timetable for meals and excursions. This may be an extravagant option, but with a group of friends sharing costs it will make a memorable lifetime experience. My pick of **best cruise for 2012 **is The Allegria. With cruising ranges of over 5 000 nautical miles these motor yachts can take you as far as you can dream. Crossing the Pacific, Indian or Atlantic Oceans is done with ease. Sailing around the Adriatic or Aegean Seas in summer and their winter schedule includes the Bahamas and all of the Caribbean.

Not all the best cruises for 2012 need to be with a purpose, sometimes you just want to get away from it all and kick back and relax, eat, read and catching up on sleep. Embrace the floating city of your cruise liner. Sample the entertainment, cuisine and shore excursions. Attend a lecture or two and dance till dawn. Whatever floats your boat, you are bound to find the Best Cruise for 2012 here. Tempted? And if you have any other picks for the best cruises for 2012, let us know! Bon Voyage!

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