Cruise ships have got a bit of a bad reputation in recent years. People are worried they’ll be over-organized, or shuttled from place to place with no time to see anything. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Cruises are one of the best ways to get away from it all, without the aggravation of planning a vacation and with access to world-class tours and the freedom to do whatever you want.

Here are five great reasons to take a cruise.

Vacation Without the Hassle

Why waste hours researching your destination when someone else can do all the hard work? On a cruise there’s no need to book hotels or arrange restaurant reservations. Everything is organized for you, so you can sit back and relax.

Save Money by Booking Everything Together

Because you’re booking it all at once, a cruise is much cheaper than a typical vacation – some start from as little as $50 a night. And with duty-free available in all the shops on board, the drinks are reasonable too.
The all-inclusive price means you don’t need to keep track of your spending, and there are no worries about changing your money into local currency. If you’re leaving from a port close to home then you don’t have the hassle of flying or going through security – which means you can pack as many liquids as you want. And you get to visit dozens of different destinations while only unpacking once.

Let the Experts Show You the World

Cruises cover the most spectacular attractions in each area, chosen by travel experts who know the place like the back of their hand. Many cruises ships hire specialist guides who are experts in their chosen area. You can tour the pyramids with an Egyptologist, see Antarctic wildlife with a marine biologist or tour the museums of Europe with an art historian.

There are also lectures on board if you want to dig really deep into a subject.

A Fun Learning Experience

Fancy learning a new foreign language or expanding your cooking skills?

Cruise ships offer fun lessons in everything from dancing to wine tasting, tailored to match the places you’ll be visiting and the focus of the trip.

The Most Family-Friendly Vacation Around

Want to take the whole family on vacation with you? Cruise ships are set up to accommodate large groups, so it’s easy to book everyone together without calling lots of different airlines and hotels. There are endless entertainment options for the whole family right outside your cabin. Splash around in the water parks, go bowling and play mini-golf, or test your singing voice in the karaoke rooms. And with the huge variety available at the buffet you won’t have any trouble with picky eaters.

Let Someone Else Watch the Kids

If you need a break, all family cruises have kids clubs with games and activities that give you a few hours to yourself. Relax in the spa or sunbathe on deck without worrying about the kids. Not only that, a cruise is a safe environment where you can let older kids have a little more freedom to wander around without needing to supervise them.

Get Off the Beaten Track

If you want to get away from the typical tourist sites and try something new, a cruise is the perfect choice. See the world in a whole new way. As well as conventional cruises around the Mediterranean or Caribbean, you can stop at tiny market towns in Norway, see rare wildlife in Papua New Guinea, or explore the far-flung Marquesas islands in Polynesia.

There are even cruises that include volunteering as part of the package, meaning you get to interact with locals and get a deeper insight into the country and culture.

Get Away From the Crowds

Want a whole private island to yourself? Many cruises on smaller vessels take advantage of their size to take you to deserted islands or remote beaches that can’t be reached from shore. There are even some destinations – like Antarctica or some of the Galapagos islands – that are only accessible by boat.

Cruises Are Social

Cruises are a great way to meet new people and make friends from around the world. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to you at dinner or at the bar. There are no set schedules, so you can meet new people every night if you want.

Rest as much or as little as you like with a huge range of optional on-board activities on every cruise. There’s dancing, live music, gambling and parties to keep you occupied. And if you’re looking for an excuse to dress up, lots of cruises have formal nights.

Meet Like-Minded People

There’s a cruise to suit everyone, so if you go on a historical expedition around the Peloponnese or a bird-watching cruise in New Zealand you’re likely to find a lot of common ground with people who love the same things you do.

A cruise is a fantastic opportunity to see far-flung cities without sacrificing any of the comforts of home. You can go absolutely anywhere in the world; there are cruises everywhere from the Arctic to the Caribbean, from Chinese river cruises to the coast of South America. So, what are you waiting for?