A veteran cruise-goer reveals why if you have never cruised before, you should try it

I’m a veteran cruise-goer – and here’s why if you’ve never cruised before… you should try it

Over the past 25 years, Caroline Hendrie has set sail on scores of ocean ships all over the world and sailed on many rivers, too

Over the past quarter of a century writing about cruises, I have set sail on scores of ocean ships all over the world and sailed on many rivers, too.

Along the way I have talked to hundreds of passengers of all ages and walks of life, and I’m convinced that there is a cruise to suit pretty much everyone who likes going on holiday – even if it’s only because the vessels are as varied as hotels.

Take your pick from a resort-style ship that is the destination in itself, a boutique riverboat that docks in city centres, or a traditional ship with family-focused and adult-only formal nights.

Alternatively, choose a laid-back, ultra-luxury super-yacht or an expedition ship sailing to places inaccessible by road or plane.

My first cruise, aboard the long-gone Crystal Harmony, set the bar high. I don’t remember much about the food or decor – except that they met my expectations for a luxury ship.

But what made me fall in love with cruising was its warm, teak, wraparound promenade deck. Walk four times around the ship and you’d covered a mile, enjoyed lungfuls of fresh air, viewed the changing sea and spotted dolphins, distant ships and coasts.

And in the evenings I would stand at the rail to watch the sun drop below the horizon.

A good promenade deck will always be on my wish list, so I look forward to the relaunch of sister ships Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity this summer. You can find these decks on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and on Saga’s Spirit of Adventure and Spirit of Discovery, as well as on the nine Viking ocean ships.

New horizon: Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (above) offers a good promenade deck, Caroline reveals

New horizon: Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (above) offers a good promenade deck, Caroline reveals 

I am not the only one to have tried a cruise once and been hooked.

A recent survey by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) revealed that 91 per cent of British respondents intended to go on a cruise again.

If I’m preaching to you as one of the converted – and more than two million of us in the UK went on a cruise in 2019 – here is my challenge: if you have a favourite cruise line or style of cruising, go for something different. Did you know there will be, on average, 60 ships sailing every month this summer from Southampton alone?

And if you have never cruised before – try it. You’ll discover a whole new world of holidays.

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