Taking a cruise in Spain

Life in Spain Mon, 23 Mar 2015
Cruise ships in Spain

Have you ever been on a cruise ship? Taking a cruise around the Mediterranean is on plenty of people’s bucket lists. In this blog Spain Explained provides some advice on what’s available and how to make the most of it.

The presence of cruise ships around the Spanish coast is set to increase. It has been reported that more than 20,000 tourists are due to arrive in Malaga in cruise ships over Easter. Cartagena is also an established cruise liner destination and visitors and locals can often wonder at the size of the enormous ships moored in the port.

But now added to the big players when it comes to cruising is Torrevieja harbour. According to the RTN, Torrevieja is to welcome its first cruise ship in 2015. The MS Amadea and its German passengers will dock in Torrevieja on September 22nd 2015. The cruise begins in Bremerhaven, Germany and the ship will be in Torrevieja from 4pm to 11pm. The town sees it as a good opportunity to expand their tourist industry and bring new visitors to the region.

Variety

If you thought taking a cruise meant sitting on a deck chair next to someone twice your age for the duration, think again. The image of cruises appealing to an older and more ‘static’ generation is perhaps a little outdated. The number and variety of different ‘cruise styles’ has grown significantly.

For example:

  • Expedition cruises – usually on a small ship there will be opportunity to find out more about your destination through meeting local people and you can usually engage in active pursuits such as hiking and kayaking
  • Fitness and health cruises – for many people cruises represent the ultimate in laziness but they don’t have to be like this. There are cruises that offer the opportunity to join in fitness classes and lose weight – of course in a luxurious environment
  • Food cruises – you would expect the best dining experiences whatever type of cruise you go on. However some cruises set themselves out to provide this with a little extra tweak. Some cruise ships even boast their own celebrity chef
  • Romantic cruises – you might not immediately think of a cruise for your honeymoon, surely it’s all about being alone? However, some cruises have set themselves out to woo the young couple. You can even have a cruise ship wedding.
  • Around the world cruises – it’s perhaps a life time’s ambition for many, and a cruise ship provides an easier way of doing it, if you’ve got three months to spare that is

This list is not exhaustive by any means and you should visit one of the cruise websites to really research your subject properly. Finding the right match for you is very important.

Living on a cruise ship

The length of a cruise can vary enormously from a few days to months at a time. But how about living on board one? There are cruise ships that provide a floating all-year platform for adventure for those who live on them. One example is the cruise ship ‘The World’.

This luxury liner promises luxury living accommodation along with opportunity to travel across the world. The ship includes 165 ‘homes’ which are owned by those passengers living in them. This collective ownership means that the passengers or home owners are involved in devising the itinerary each year.

They might be travelling around the world but to some extent the world comes to them. With experts coming on board to share their knowledge and expertise in diving, wine tasting and world cultures. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but most people wouldn’t mind sampling it, for a little while at least.

If you live in and around Cartagena then you might not exactly be able to look out from its decks but you could catch a glimpse of The World as it puts down its anchor in the port. The World’s visit to Cartagena is possibly the nearest that most of us will get to this kind of luxury.

Our advice

We’ve put together our own pros and cons list and 'top tips'. Cruises are very much down to your own personal taste. However, their success is also down to the research you do. Cruise operators and ships vary enormously and finding one that suits you is most important.

There are now a whole variety to suit most tastes and having a look around to make sure you choose the one that’s best for you and your pocket is vital. You’ll find websites provide lots of tips and advice for making the most of your cruise when you’ve chosen. 

Top tips

  • Pack a back pack as well as your suitcase – this is useful for your day trips off the boat
  • If you book a suite or one of the best rooms don’t expect to be happy with down market next time round – perhaps better to work your way up
  • Don’t be afraid to leave the mob behind at port – you don’t have to do the excursions and might appreciate a day away from your ship ‘family’
  • There’s lots to eat and lots to drink – either be prepared with larger fitting clothes for the return journey or keep a ‘moderate’ head with you and occasionally say ‘no’
  • Don’t let individuals get to you – there are bound to be some who you wouldn’t choose to travel with – focus on all those that you would!
  • Be prepared to tip the staff – it can make a difference and even if you don’t tip, just be nice!
  • Keep in mind that there won’t be much space in your cabin – the bigger your luggage the less space for you
  • Take time at the beginning of your cruise to really explore – you don’t want to find a wonderful spot on your last day
  • Be ready to be sociable – you will generally enjoy your cruise more if you embrace the opportunity to meet lots of new people and actually make some friends – taking a cruise is not an isolating experience
  • If you are planning to travel with those other than your nearest and dearest, make sure you are compatible. If you find them just a tad annoying after an evening out, imagine what it will be like after two weeks!
  • Make sure you take plenty of comfortable footwear – your days on shore usually involve plenty of walking

The pros and cons of choosing a cruise for a holiday

Pros

  • You might have a different view every day.
  • It’s an opportunity to travel distance without the hassle of airports or motorways or train stations
  • Most things are paid for in advance
  • It’s a good way to test out where you would like to spend more time so you can invest in a longer holiday there another time
  • The journey is as enjoyable (if not more so) as the destination 
  • You only have to unpack once.
  • Great for people watching.
  • Can be a good way of holidaying if you have limited mobility
  • It’s a good opportunity to try new things – new places, new foods, new sports – a great ‘sampling’ opportunity

Pro/Con

  • Your holiday is very much made for you and there isn’t much to decide other than making minor choices. A bonus for some people and a real problem for others.

Cons

  • Your itinerary is set and you must stick with it even if you would like to loiter in one place and move swiftly on in another
  • If you love your ship, it’s brilliant. If you are less than happy with your ship, you’re stuck
  • Not for those who get queasy even looking at water
  • You can feel penned in with the same people and feel herded into the same towns.
  • You can’t ‘take off’ very easily

More information

If you want to see the reviews of different cruise ships try: www.cruisecritic.com

Comments

We are going on our first cruise this September so it was great to read your info. The travel agent said he would advise us to have an inside room for our first trip as we will only be using it to sleep as there is so much too see. This we have done and this is one of the points you gave as well. So am well chuffed. Many thanks. Keep up the good work with your news letters. X

Hi

I am really pleased that you found the article of interest and how wonderful to have your first cruise to look forward to. Thanks for the comment about the newsletters too! Perhaps when you return from your cruise you could let us know how it went and if you have any other advice you would like to add to this article. Enjoy your holiday. 

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