As well as bargain hunting on the websites of the major cruise lines, a second way to cruise at a reasonable price is to opt for a cruise of a less traditional nature. By this I mean the “mini-cruises” offered by ferry companies such as P&O, or the cruises offered by small fleets of sailing ships, such as those that operate from Greece and Turkey.
Dealing first with the ferry companies, these offer some amazingly cheap deals, and are good for those looking for the cruise experience, but on a short break. The major ferry companies frequently find that they need to fill up the places on their passenger ferries, particularly in the out-of-season periods, and offering “mini-cruises” is a good way of doing this. When booking a mini-cruise you can also book and pay for all your meals on board ship.
Paying in advance gets you a better price, and the all-you-can-eat meals are generally of four star quality. You only need to pay extra for the optional drinks that are served at your table. The mini-cruise usually includes transfers from the port to the major sightseeing centres too. P&O run some very pleasant mini-cruises from Hull, which give you a great day out in the exciting cultural metropolis of Amsterdam, the unique port town of Rotterdam, or the quaint little Belgian town of Bruges. P&O also run mini-cruises from Portsmouth to Bilbao in Spain, and the ferry company DFDS do similar mini-cruises to Norway and Denmark.
Going on a cruise summons up images of being on a large ship at sea, but there are also some very interesting river cruises to be had, such as Nile cruises, cruises on the Danube that take you to some of Europe’s major cities, and even cruises on the beautifully serene Norwegian fjords. These tend to be run by smaller companies, and are significantly less expensive than the major sea cruises.
One type of cruise that is relatively inexpensive, and yet offers wonderful fun in the Aegean Sea is the gulet cruise. A gulet is a type of Turkish yacht, and normally takes just 8 – 14 passengers. You can join a gulet cruise out of the Turkish marinas of Marmaris, Bodrum or Antalya, and prices are usually based on two people sharing a cabin. Gulet cruises are definitely for the young and lively crowd, and prices usually include all food and some drinks, making them excellent value for money. Gulet cruises take in pretty little bays and inlets, as well as visiting picturesque fishing villages, with plenty of opportunity for sunbathing, snorkelling and partying. Similar sailing holidays can be had from ports and marinas in Greece, and also now from the marinas of Croatia.
Fun and informal cruises on sailing ships are also to be found around the West Indies, Panama, Costa Rica, and other seas further a field, from companies such as Windjammer Cruises.
So, there is more to cruising than traditional cruise ships and some of these alternative forms offer great value for money, along with a great deal of fun and adventure.
By hpgruesen from Pixabay