Aug. 12, 2014 at 12:31 PM ET
Condé Nast Traveler has steered past the myths, misinformation, and clichés about the cruise industry to put together the definitive guide to cruising, including some affordable deals for the whole family.
Myth: Cruises are boring
Anyone who thinks cruising is about being catatonic on a deck chair will be checking their blood pressure after a day spent on these high-octane attractions. On Norwegian Breakaway, daring passengers can literally “walk the plank,” a narrow beam that juts out eight feet over the side of the ship, and has you standing 180 feet above the water without a net! Thrill-seekers should also the first-ever simulated skydiving experience at sea with Ripcord by iFly on Quantum of the Seas.
Myth: The food on board is always the same
One of the biggest food trends of the past few years, eating locally grown foods, is now hitting the high seas. American Cruise Lines has a “Cruise Local, Eat Local” philosophy on all 35 of their itineraries. That means freshly caught sturgeon and salmon in the Pacific Northwest, and Maryland blue crabs and Georgia shrimp in the Southeast. Incredible local wine programs are offered on Regent Seven Seas, where passengers take a shore excursions to local wineries and enjoy them on board.
Myth: Cruising is expensive
One of the best things about planning a cruise vacation is that there are price points for everyone — and great deals for families.
For families: Norwegian Cruise Line offers 7-Day Bahamas & Florida trip, setting sail from New York City on Norwegian Breakaway, one of the best new ships for kids. The trip includes a stop in Orlando, where passengers can visit the new Harry Potter Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Orlando. Right now, ocean view rooms are available for $85 per person, per night.
For Arctic adventures: The time to see the polar ice is now, with Holland America Line’s 10-day Denali Alaska itinerary. It includes stops in Glacier Bay to see the ice-studded fjords, and a morning rail car sight-seeing voyage in Anchorage, Alaska. With free updates to ocean view rooms, the trip is a steal at $79 per person, per night.
For long-haul bargain hunters: Industry insiders know that “repo” cruises, when ships move to a new home port to offer new itineraries, are some of the best deals of the year. On Crystal Cruises' 15-night trip from San Diego to Auckland, New Zealand, with a stop in Hawaii, guests will enjoy all-inclusive wines, spirits, and gratuities, as well as on-board classes in photography, art and film, all for just $212 per night.
For more on the A-to-Z of cruising, plus the newest on-board features and the best deals, visit www.CNTraveler.com.
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