While ocean cruises on large ships are the most common type of cruising, there are many different types available for those who don’t want to spend their time on a large floating resort. It is possible to take a more intimate cruise, or you can save money while staying on a large ship by booking a repositioning cruise.
Here are some examples of the types of cruises that are available.
The large ships do offer a lot of entertainment, but they are large resorts. River Cruise ships offer a much more sedate and intimate experience. Also you get to see the world pass by as you’re floating down a major river.
You won’t get the swimming pools, open air cinema or late night buffets, but you will get to see more of the destinations.
Barge Cruises/Narrow Boats
These are flat bottomed boats that travel along canals and rivers. The narrow boats are usually self-drive and the barges are larger and come with a small crew. Barges also usually come with meals included, but narrow boats are self-catering. The pace is a lot slower (around 4 miles an hour) so you just leisurely travel along and stop off to explore (usually pubs if you’re on a narrow boat).
These come into their own if you are trying to travel without flying, or if your looking at visiting far off destinations that are impossible to reach by other means, such as Tristan Da Cunha in the South Atlantic , which is only accessible by a 7 day boat journey from Cape Town, South Africa. These ships are travelling between A and B to deliver cargo, but you can also travel along in your own cabin. Only a few passengers and crew occupy these vast vessels, so if you want to get away from it all, then consider going on one of these. Facilities are few, just an en-suite cabin and somewhere to eat.
You don’t just have to travel from A to B. You can end up doing a world cruise on a working ship, with the advantage of probably not putting on too much weight!
The only real disadvantage is that you are travelling to the ship’s delivery needs, which may mean only being in port for a few hours, or during the night.
Instead of a large ship powered by massive motors, step back in time and travel by wind power (OK, they also have engines). These cruises vary from an afternoon sailing around the coast to proper week long or longer cruises. Just because they don’t have the climbing walls, ice rinks and outdoor cinemas, it doesn’t mean that you will have nothing to do while on-board. The ships range in size from yachts to large ocean going tall ships.
Cruises can be a great place to learn more about your favourite hobby or pastime. One of the growing cruise types are ‘specialty ‘or ‘participatory’ cruises. If you are into cooking, sports, or painting, there are cruises that include hands-on workshops, lectures, and excursions in your chosen activity.
These may not be exclusive cruises, so you will get to mix with ‘normal’ people when your education periods get too much. Cruises can also be great for golfers, as they’ll get to play on a different course nearly every day.
The advantage for ship owners is that when seasons change they can move the ship to better weather. Of course the owners don’t want to have an empty ship while it sails from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, so they sell cabins on the ‘repositioning cruise’.
You may not get all the shops that a normal cruise offers, perhaps just a couple, but you will still get the same on-board activities.