by Kevin Burton

Ask anyone who knows me what my favourite holiday is and they will all say the same – cruising.

Yes, that’s right, I love it and it seems it’s not just me that has a soft spot for sailing the seven seas. More and more people are taking a cruise in preference to a traditional land based holiday and I think it’s the combination of being able to be in a different port every day, to being able to unpack once and not living out of a suitcase and having everything you could wish for within easy reach of your cabin – restaurants, swimming pools, theatres, spas etc. A cruise represents outstanding value for money.

Cruising in the 21st century has changed far beyond the starchy image one may have of segregated classes, regimented dining and the perception that it is only for the most affluent in society. Today there are ships which cater for everyone, from adult only to family friendly, from active to relaxing, with itineraries from 2-3 night mini-cruises to voyages of exploration, Transatlantic crossings and round the world trips of 100 days or more!

So, what is life like on board? Well, no different from that of being on a normal holiday really. Dress codes during the day are relaxed and casual and around the sun decks and pools, swimwear is the norm. For the evenings, this is when things become magical and, dependent on the type of cruise you are on, dress codes range from casual to formal, when dinner suits and cocktail dresses are required.

Dining options are also varied, with most ships now offering intimate grill style bistros, fast food outlets and fine dining restaurants.

For families, cruising is perfect with ships that are a haven for children from infants to teenagers, with just about every conceivable activity to keep them occupied.

Every time a ship makes a port of call you are offered an extensive excursion programme. These are usually sent to you some months in advance of your scheduled sailing date allowing you to pre-book.

Finally – tipping. This is customary on any cruise and it is usual for you to tip your cabin steward and table waiters. Most cruise companies give you the option of having tips pre-paid – this is then generally added to your on-board account and settled on disembarkation. Other cruise lines simply give you the choice of awarding those who you feel deserve a pat on the back.

For help and guidance call me, or better still pop in for an informal chat.

email:  or our other cruise expert Ben at