Cruises Cruise Destinations and Advice

Cruises are changing. Gone are the days when only the properly rich people who didn't mind wearing fur and knew which way to pass the port could afford to travel. The very word 'posh' stands for 'port out, starboard home', but it was made up a long time ago.

Today you can cruise in a number of ways to a number of places: with lines operating tall ships such as Star Clippers and Windjammer you can even get involved with the sailing of the ship itself. But are the classic traditions, the cocktail dresses and Captain's Table seen in films such as Titanic (probably not the ideal example, actually) disappearing? Certainly, some of the structure is fading in favour of less rigid dining times and more energetic entertainment. Take the Freestyle programme from Norwegian Cruise Line, which makes a feature of its range of dining opportunities and late check out time. Or Ocean Village's exhaustive (and exhausting) range of activities which sound better suited to a Pepsi Max advert than to the cruise as we know it.

No, these days people don't like being told when to eat, what to wear, or what to do. But if it were all to go, we would surely lose something in the process. There is a strange romance to that bygone structure a certain charm to being forced into formal evening wear or listening to a venerable cabaret singer bash out Sinatra standards. And if it hadn't been for cocktail hour, Poirot would never have been able to put the wind up the suspects to as great effect in Death On The Nile (again, probably not the ideal example). Fortunately you can still get classic cruises seasoned with ultra luxury if you want. Ships such as Silversea's Silver Cloud combine on board extravagance as much champagne and caviar as you can consume, literally with trips to carefully thought out ports of call. But you have to pay for it. The Silver Cloud could set you back thousands, while a cabin on the world's most luxurious cruiser called, appropriately enough, The World. well, if you need to ask, you probably can't afford it.

But all is far from lost if you don't have that kind of money. There are plenty of mid range cruises and reasonable budget options. It's just a matter of looking around. Likewise special deals: most people don't pay the full price for a cruise, so it's vital to know how best to book them. Research is the key. This site is full of advice and information on all aspects of cruises. And if you still want more, there are a wealth of magazines, newspaper articles and other websites on the subject to browse through. For some particularly handy portable information about cruising, try the Berlitz Ocean Cruising Guide. This is a great book written by a doyenne of cruise reviewing, Douglas Ward. Mr Ward has spent more than 9,000 days of his life on cruise ships, and it shows in his encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject. He also has a slightly subversive sense of humour which pops up cheerily in otherwise straightforward information like an unexpected glass of wine at the hairdresser (also the book's intermittently dodgy editing leads, at times, to entertaining mistakes such as a description of the fish expert in a ship's galley as a poissonnier. somewhat more ominous sounding in English than its correct form, poissonnier). Still, back to us. We hope you enjoy the site bon voyage!

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