Find the perfect cruise for you

Cruises are becoming popular among young and old and make for great family holidays. Picture: Supplied

Cruises are becoming popular among young and old and make for great family holidays. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 19, 2023


Although many South Africans believe that cruising is for retired people, research shows that there is a rise in cruise popularity across multiple generations, with millennials named the most enthusiastic cruisers of the future.

According to Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL), young and old are discovering the perks of a holiday at sea, all-inclusive packages, exploring multiple destinations in one trip and choosing a cruise perfectly suited to their interests and preferences.

Kevin Bubolz, NCL’s vice-president and managing director of Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa, said that along with themed cruises such as music cruises and foodie cruises that cater to people with specific interests, most cruise lines have ensured there’s something for everyone on board every vessel.

“There are age-appropriate kids’ clubs, spas and speciality restaurants, and plenty of entertainment options for family bonding – which is why cruises are becoming the go-to for multigenerational travel,” he said.

Here are some cruise destinations to consider irrespective of how old you are.

Mediterranean & Greek Isle Cruises

Passengers enjoy the poolside views on a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship. Picture: Supplied

According to Bubolz, the Mediterranean and the Greek Isles offer a classic combination of pristine beaches and historic charm.

Holidaymakers will enjoy lounging on the beach all day, with fine weather and stunning views, from Santorini’s dramatic cliffs and the hills of Mallorca to beachside tavernas in Mykonos and bustling promenades in Cannes.

The seaside culture and delicious Mediterranean cuisine is made for sharing. Greece is also home to 18 Unesco World Heritage Sites and fascinating ancient ruins.

“NCL’s Med and Greek Isles cruises are at the top of many bucket lists. Our upcoming 10-day Greek Isles: Santorini, Athens, and Florence cruise aboard the Norwegian Epic, setting sail from Rome in April 2024, is selling out fast.

“This is due to the many port stops included and the unique features of the Norwegian Epic,” said Bubolz.

Alaskan Cruise Itineraries

A couple enjoys a luxury NCL Cruises’ Alaskan voyage. Picture: Supplied

Bubolz said Alaska’s wilderness promises natural grandeur and countless thrills for the adventure seeker.

Guests can enjoy wildlife sightings, from bald eagles and orcas to moose and bears, do some active exploring in the form of kayaking, hiking, and glacier trekking, or get close to the giant ice formations in the Alaskan seascape.

The peak season for Alaska cruises is from May to September, with most cruise ships departing from Seattle, Vancouver, Seward and Anchorage.

“A major selling point for South Africans, when it comes to Alaska cruises, is the opportunity to explore two countries on one trip and stretch their rand as far as possible.

“After all, when on a cruise, you don’t need to consider transport between the US and Canada or factor in double the cost of accommodation, transfers, meals, entertainment and activities,” said Bubolz.

Northern European Itineraries

NCL’s Viva docked in Lisbon, Portugal. Picture: Supplied

According to Bubolz, Northern Europe is perfect for wellness gurus. With its breathtaking landscapes, it provides a sanctuary for relaxation.

You can enjoy Iceland’s rejuvenating Blue Lagoon and other hot springs, the scenic tranquillity of fjords, waterfalls, and untouched forests promising peace, quiet, and reflection.

Whether it’s yoga next to the Norwegian fjords or meditation in Finland’s remote locations, any trip to Northern Europe has the makings of a soul-soothing experience.

“Our Mandara Spa, voted the world’s best cruise spa by the World Spa Awards, is now available on all NCL ships. It offers 50 signature treatments and up to 11 treatment rooms, as well as steam rooms and saunas.

“And, in line with Northern European wellness traditions, it incorporates hot and cold therapies in its adults-only Thermal Suite,” said Bubolz.

Local Cruises

Bubolz said South Africans now have plenty of cruising options on their own shores, including NCL’s Norwegian Dawn, which will be sailing around the Middle East, Indian Ocean Islands, South Africa and Namibia in 2024.

He said travellers can enjoy varied landscapes, from the UAE’s deserts to the Namibian savannah. They can go shopping in the ultra-modern malls of Dubai, and experience a South African safari.

“As you can see, a journey awaits that’s (almost) tailored especially for you. Cruise your way, whether you keep it local or go all-out with your bucket list. Now’s your chance to see the world from an entirely new perspective,” said Bubolz.