In association with HAYS TRAVEL, the UK's largest independent travel agency.  Fully ABTA and ATOL Bonded

Freephone: 0800 086 2698 / 01772 364954 / 07384 632465 - Email sarah.williams@hays-travel.co.uk

There are many cruise lines, these include: 

  • Royal Caribbean
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Princess Cruises
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
  • Oceania Cruises
  • P & O Cruises
  • Cunard
  • Holland America Line
  • Seabourn
  • Silversea Cruises
  • Virgin Voyages
  • Regent Seven Seas
  • Azamara Cruises
  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Fred Olsen
  • Hurtigruten
  • Disney Cruise Lines
  • Marella Cruises

Odyssey of the Seas features a two-level pool deck, where two resort style pools, a children's aqua park and four whirlpools are surrounded by casitas and hammocks.

Adventure - A cruise can be an adventure. It can take you to places that are impossible to reach by almost any other means, such as the Antarctic Peninsula, the Artic or to remote islands with no access by air.

Staying Healthy - You can pamper yourself in a spa, although body-pampering treatments are at extra cost. And, with the available food, simply pace yourself to stay healthy

Cruise Life - What can you expect?

Here are some tips

The trick?  Find the right ship and cruise to suit your needs - whether you are a solo traveller, a young couple, a family with children, or well travelled seniors, picking the right ship is vital!  For example, I would not necessarily point a young couple to a huge family friendly ship, but probably go more towards a smaller ship with spa, wellness and sports facilities.  Though it has to be said that even the larger family ships do have adult only areas!

Here's some other quick tips: 

Family togetherness - Cruising offers a safe, family friendly environment, and many ships have good children's facilities and well-supervised activities for kids.  It's also an excellent way for groups of friends to holiday together!

Learning experience - Most ships have guest speakers/lecturers, so you can learn something new whilst you cruise

Entertainment - Cruise ships provide a wide range of professional entertainment from colourful large-cast productions and acrobatic shows to intimate classical recitals and jazz. And during the day there are activities galore - enough to keep even the most active entertained. 

8 Steps to a good first cruise experience.

Here are some tips that may just help when we help you decided that perfect cruise!

1. Your Destination

Choose where you want to cruise. Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, the Bahamas, the Baltic, Bermuda, the Caribbean, Hawaii, Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, South Africa, South America, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, the US East Coast etc. 

When you want to cruise. Alaska for example is not available during the winter, the Caribbean may be too hot for you in Summer, Northern Europe is best this time of year, whilst South America and Southeast Asia are best in the winter. If you are interested in a special theme, such as Carnival in Rio or Formula One racing in Monte Carlo, this will determine the date of your cruise. 

3. Choose the right ship!

This is where Sarah, your Personal Travel Consultant can help! Size matters. You need the right size ship for your needs. Do you want to be with 100, 500, 1,000 or 5,000 plus others on your holiday? Generally speaking, the larger the ship, the greater the focus on it as the destination. 

Or perhaps you would like to experience cruising under sail, or with specialist lecturers, or an adventure/expedition cruise or a costal/inland waterways cruise.

2. How Long?

Decide on the length of cruise you want. Allow travelling time to get to and from your ship, particularly if it is in an area far from home, or during winter.  A standard Caribbean cruise length, for example, is seven days, although you could try a three or four day short break Bahamas or Mexican Riviera Cruise.  In Northern Europe 12-14 days are more typical, whilst for an around South America cruise you'll need 30 days or more. For visiting the Antarctic Peninsula, allow 14-21 days, whilst around the world cruise will take 90-120 days.   

4. Choose the right cabin

Again, Sarah can help you with this!  For a first cruise, choose an outside view cabin.  In an interior (no view) cabin, you won't know what to dress when you wake up, because you can't see the weather outside! However interior no room cabins are good if you like to sleep in a dark room.  If you are concerned about motion sickness (it's not common, but it can happen) choose a cabin in the ships centre. 

The average cabin size aboard a large resort style ship is 180-200 sq ft (117-18.5 sq m) anything less and you will feel cramped. With limited closet space, you'll need fewer clothes (sorry ladies!), than you might think. The more space you want, the more it will cost.  Balcony cabins cost a little more than non balcony cabins. 

Final tip, you can either choose your cabin number on board, or go for what the trade call Guaranteed cabins.  This means that though you are choosing the type of cabin you book, you have no say as to where it is on the ship.  Also, on the plus side, it will work out better value for money, but if there were any promotions such as on board spend at the time of booking, you would not qualify for those. 

5. Dining

If there are two sittings for dinner, it could be wise to choose the later seating (typically at 8.30pm) so that you have enough time to ashore in port without having to rush back to shower and change for the first seating (typically at 6.30pm)

7. Families

It's important to choose a family-friendly ship.  Most large resort ships have very good facilities for youngsters; mid-size and small ships have more limited facilities, and some ships have none.  Children usually love cruising, finding it educational, fun, sociable and safe. 

For those who don't want children around, there are several child free ships from which to choose.  Why not ask Sarah for more information today?

6. Health and Fitness

If you like body-pampering treatments, check that your ship has the right facilities.  Aboard large resort ships you can also sign up for exercise classes.  Book spa treatments early, as appointment slots go quickly.  Some cruise companies allow you to book on line, but this means planning your time in advance.

8. Dress Code

Dress codes today are mostly casual aboard the large resort ships.  In general, no formal attire is needed, though there are exceptions to this, such as on a transatlantic crossing aboard Cunard's Queen Mary 2, where formality is part of the evening tradition.  It sounds obvious, but ships move around, so flat or low-heeled shoes are strongly advised for the ladies!

A snapshot - Cruising Uncovered

Here a just a few of the common questions that we are asked!

Is cruising good value?

Yes, thanks in part to the many incentives such as on board credit, cabin upgrades and other perks.  The price of your cruise is protected by advanced pricing so you know before you go that your major outgoings have already been set.  Also when you consider that all your food, entertainment and drinks (if you have a package) are included, its amazing value!.

What's the minimum age for drinking alcohol?

Aboard most ships based in the US and Canada, the minimum drinking age is 21. However, or ships based throughout the rest of the world, it is generally 18. But it is always advised to check!

Won't I get bored?

No chance! Whether you want to lie back and be pampered or be active nonstop, you can do it on a  cruise. And, in case you think that you may feel cut off without contact, almost all large resort ships (those carrying over 2,501 passengers) have ship wide Wi-Fi, internet access, movies and digital music libraries. 

Are drinks packages good value?

Yes, if you like to drink. Note they can vary hugely between cruise ships, in terms of cost, and some also add a mandatory gratuity. Also, the choice may not include your favourite brands.

Is there enough to keep kids busy?

Most cruises provide families with more quality time than any other type of holiday, and family cruising is the industry's largest growth segment, with activities tailored to various age groups.

Where is smoking allowed?

Smoking is generally allowed only in designated areas on open decks.  Almost no cruise companies allow smoking in cabins or on balconies. Some lines place a notice in each cabin advising you that a cleaning fee will be added to your onboard account if evidence of smoking in your cabin is found. 

Almost all cruise lines prohibit smoking in restaurants and food service areas. Most ships now allow smoking only in designated areas or open decks. .

Can I eat when I want to?

Most major cruise lines now offer "flexible dining" so you can choose (some with limitations) when you want to eat, and with whom you dine, during your cruise - or a choice of several restaurants. As with places to eat ashore, reservations may be required, you may also have to wait in line at busy periods, and occupants of the top suites get priority. 

Aboard large cruise ships (2,501 plus passengers) the big entertainment shows are typically staged twice each evening, so you end up with the equivalent of two seating dining anyway

Can I visit the bridge?

Usually not - for insurance and security reasons - and never when the ship is manoeuvring into and out of port. However, some companies, such as Celebrity, Cunard, NCL, Princess and Royal Caribbean, run extra-cost "Behind the Scenes" tours. The cost varies but can be as much as $150 per person.

Some of the latest itineraries, what's on your bucket list?

Discover more about our extensive range of professional services. We constantly update this page, but if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, please feel free to get in touch with us – we will be more than happy to help.

Spain, France & Portugal from Southampton * NO FLY CRUISE*
  • Date: 2nd July 2022
  • Duration: 14 nights
  • Ship: MSC Virtuosa
  • Itinerary: Southampton / Seville (Cadiz) / Malaga / Alicante / Palma De Mallorca - Overnight onboard / Villefranche, France / Barcelona / Lisbon / Southampton
Culinary Themed Scandinavia from Southampton *NO FLY CRUISE*
  • Date: 26 August 2022
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Ship: Enchanted Princess
  • Itinerary: Southampton / Oslo / Copenhagen - Overnight onboard / Skagen, Denmark / Southampton
Turkey & Greek Islands from Ravenna
  • Date: 11 July 2022
  • Duration: 10 nights
  • Ship: Celebrity Constellation
  • Itinerary: Fly from the UK / Ravenna / Katakolon / Thira, Santorini / Ephesus (Kusadasi) / Thessaloniki / Mykonos Town, Mykonos / Athens (Piraeus) / Zakinthos / Ravenna / Fly to the UK
Atlantic Explorer from Malaga to Barbados *NO FLY CRUISE*
  • Date: 6 November 2022
  • Duration: 15 Nights
  • Ship: Marella Explorer 2
  • Itinerary: Fly from the UK / Malaga / Arrecife, Lanzarote / Las Palmas, Gran Canaria / St. John's, Antigua / Pointe-à-Pitre / Castries, St. Lucia / Bridgetown, Barbados / Fly to the UK
Historic Halifax & The Scenic Sights of Canada *NO FLY CRUISE*
  • Date: 9 August 2022
  • Duration: 15 nights
  • Ship: Fred Olsen Borealis
  • Itinerary: Liverpool / St. John's, Newfoundland / Sydney, Nova Scotia / Halifax / Louisbourg / Corner Brook / Belfast / Liverpool
Barcelona to Singapore with Stays
  • Date: 28 October 2023
  • Duration: 25 nights
  • Ship: Cunard Queen Elizabeth
  • Itinerary: Flight departs / Barcelona Hotel Stay - 2 Nights / Barcelona / Heraklion, Crete / Suez Canal Transit / Safaga, Egypt / Salalah / Colombo, Sri Lanka / Singapore / Singapore City Hotel Stay - 2 Nights / Flight departs
Spain, France from Southampton * NO FLY CRUISE*
  • Date: 4 September 2022
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Ship: RCI Anthem of the Seas
  • Itinerary: Southampton / La Rochelle / Bilbao (Getxo) / La Coruna / Le Havre (Paris) / Southampton
Norwegian Fjords from Southampton *NO FLY CRUISE*
  • Date: 16 July 2022
  • Duration: 7 nights
  • Ship: P & O Iona
  • Itinerary: Southampton / Stavanger, Norway / Olden / Cruising - Innvikfjorden / Hellesylt / Geiranger, Norway / Haugesund / Southampton
Canary Islands from Southampton 
* NO FLY CRUISE*
  • Date: 13 August 2022
  • Duration: 12 nights
  • Ship: MSC Virtuosa
  • Itinerary: Southampton / Lisbon / Funchal, Madeira / Las Palmas, Gran Canaria / Santa Cruz, Tenerife / Arrecife, Lanzarote / Vigo / Southampton
British Isles from Southampton
 *NO FLY CRUISE*
  • Date: 20 July 2022
  • Duration: 12 nights
  • Ship: Emerald Princess
  • Itinerary: Southampton / St. Peter Port, Guernsey / Cork (Cobh) / Dun Laoghaire / Liverpool / Belfast / Greenock / Edinburgh (South Queensferry) / Newcastle / Le Havre (Paris) / Southampton
Caribbean Transatlantic from Barbados to Southampton
  • Date: 18 March 2023
  • Duration: 15 nights
  • Ship:  P & O Cruises Arvia
  • Itinerary: Fly from the UK / Bridgetown, Barbados / Castries, St. Lucia / Martinique / St. Kitts / Santa Cruz, Tenerife / La Coruna / Southampton
Greek Isles from Rome
  • Date: 11 September 2022
  • Duration: 8 nights
  • Ship: RCI Odyssey of the Seas
  • Itinerary: Flight departs / Rome (Civitavecchia) / Thira, Santorini / Athens (Piraeus) / Mykonos Town, Mykonos / Ephesus (Kusadasi) / Chania, Crete / Rome (Civitavecchia) / Flight departs