How do you pick a cruise with the best mix of relaxation and adventure in the UK?

When it comes to vacations, nothing quite compares to the opulence and convenience of a cruise. Cruises offer an unmatched blend of luxury, adventure, and relaxation, all while you travel to beautiful and exotic locations. With countless options for ships, destinations, and experiences, picking the best cruise can seem like a daunting task. Whether you're seeking a tranquil retreat at sea or an adrenaline-packed travel experience, this guide will provide you with the necessary information to help you pick a cruise with the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure tailored to your preferences.

Understanding Different Cruise Lines

Cruise lines are like people, each with its own personality and vibe. They offer a range of experiences, from luxury cruises that cater to those who prefer high-end dining and spa treatments to adventure cruises that focus on outdoor activities and excursions. The cruise line you choose will significantly impact your cruising experience.

Princess Cruises is renowned for their luxurious ships and world-class service. Their cruises often include a day at their private island in the Caribbean, exclusive to Princess passengers. The line also offers a range of relaxation and wellness activities onboard, from yoga classes to spa treatments.

On the other hand, if adventure is what you're after, consider lines like Royal Caribbean. They boast an impressive array of adrenaline-fueled activities on their ships, like rock climbing walls, zip lines, and even surfing simulators.

Selecting a Ship that Suits Your Needs

Your choice of ship is as important as your choice of cruise line. Some passengers prefer smaller ships for their intimate atmosphere and personalised service, while others prefer larger ships for their range of amenities and activities.

Large ships like those in the Princess Cruises fleet often come equipped with multiple dining rooms, pools, spas, and entertainment venues. These ships might be your best choice if you want a variety of options for relaxation and recreation.

However, if you relish the idea of a more intimate cruising experience where you can get to know your fellow passengers, consider choosing smaller ships. They offer fewer passengers which means less crowded facilities and more personalised attention from the crew. A prime example of this kind of ship is the Viking River Cruises fleet, renowned for their river voyages that take passengers right into the heart of each port of call.

Deciding on the Perfect Dining Experience

For many passengers, dining is a hallmark of the cruise experience. From buffet-style meals to gourmet dining, the food onboard can significantly enhance your cruise experience.

Most cruise lines offer both casual dining and formal dining options. Casual dining often takes place in buffet restaurants and poolside grills, while formal dining usually occurs in the ship's main dining room or in specialty restaurants. It's important to consider whether you prefer a more laid-back dining experience, or if you're excited by the idea of dressing up for dinner.

Considering Time at Sea versus Time at Port

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a cruise is how you want to spend your time. Some passengers enjoy spending days at sea, taking advantage of the ship's facilities and activities. Others prefer cruises that spend more time at port, allowing for sightseeing, shopping, and exploring.

Cruises in the Caribbean often feature a balance of sea days and port days, offering passengers the chance to relax on the ship and explore tropical destinations. If you love the idea of visiting multiple destinations in a single trip, a Caribbean cruise could be the perfect fit.

On the other hand, river cruises typically spend less time at sea and more time at port. With a river cruise, you'll get the opportunity to explore a new city nearly every day, making it ideal for those who love to sightsee and immerse themselves in different cultures.

Factoring in the Best Time to Travel

The time of year you decide to cruise can also make a big difference to your experience. The best time to travel by cruise often depends on your destination. For instance, the Caribbean is a year-round destination but some may prefer to avoid the hurricane season that typically runs from June to November.

Your choice might also be influenced by factors like crowd sizes and cost. The busiest and most expensive times to cruise are typically during holidays and peak season. If you're seeking a quieter, more relaxing experience, consider cruising during the shoulder season.

Remember, whichever cruise you choose, the most crucial part is to enjoy the journey. After all, the beauty of cruising is that you can do as much or as little as you want, ensuring a perfect mix of relaxation and adventure.

Assessing Onboard Facilities and Entertainment

When choosing the perfect cruise, you need to consider the onboard facilities and entertainment options. Cruise ships are floating resorts, offering a host of amenities for relaxation and adventure.

On larger ships like those run by Royal Caribbean or Princess Cruises, you can enjoy a range of facilities. These might include multiple swimming pools, fitness centres, spas, casinos, libraries, and even theatres for live entertainment. For thrill-seekers, these ships often offer exciting activities like rock climbing, water slides, and virtual reality experiences.

On the other hand, smaller cruise ships, such as those run by Holland America or Virgin Voyages, offer a more boutique and intimate experience. While they may not have as many facilities as larger ships, they often focus on providing high-quality amenities and excellent customer service. You might find cooking classes, wine tastings, and live music performances on these smaller vessels.

Additionally, consider if the ship offers kid-friendly amenities if you're planning to cruise with children. Many cruise lines offer kids' clubs, games rooms, and family-friendly activities to keep young cruisers entertained.

Final Considerations: Budget and Duration

When picking a cruise, your budget and the duration of the journey are crucial considerations. Cruises can vary significantly in cost, with factors such as the cruise line, the ship, the cabin type, the destination, and the time of year all playing a part.

Luxury cruise lines like Princess Cruises or Holland America tend to be pricier but offer a high standard of service and luxurious facilities. More budget-friendly cruise lines like Royal Caribbean still provide a great experience but with a more casual and family-friendly vibe.

The duration of the cruise is another critical factor. Cruise durations can range from a few days to several months. Short cruines, typically three to five days, can be a great way to experience cruising for the first time. Longer cruises, lasting from a week to several months, allow you to explore multiple destinations and enjoy a more leisurely pace.


When picking a cruise with the right mix of relaxation and adventure in the UK, the choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences. Whether you're attracted to the luxury and relaxation offered by cruise lines like Princess Cruises or the adventure and fun provided by Royal Caribbean, the choice is yours. Consider factors like the ship's size, dining options, time at sea versus time at port, travel season, onboard facilities, and your budget and travel duration.

Remember, different cruise lines cater to different types of travellers, so it's important to do your research. Once you've made your decision, all that's left is to book your cruise and start counting down the days until you embark on your memorable journey at sea. Regardless of which cruise you choose, you can rest assured that you'll have an amazing mix of relaxation and adventure on your next cruise adventure.