Cruising: The Thinking Person’s Holiday
For the over-worked and perma-busy, a dream holiday can still mean locking away all electronic devices, laying in the sunshine, and tasking your brain with nothing more challenging than selecting your next cocktail. However, an increasing number of people are choosing to use their vacation time as an opportunity to learn a new skill and educate themselves about other countries and cultures.
Millennials are opting for more authentic tourism, working with local people to learn about their way of life, and a rising number of parents are exploiting the freedom created by remote working and flexible hours to take their children on extended learning trips abroad dubbed ‘edventures’.
By combining multiple locations with luxurious relaxation facilities, cultural enrichment programmes, and a phenomenal choice of classes, excursions, and on-board activities, cruising has become the smart holiday choice for smart people who want to return from their holiday with more than just a tan. An added bonus of cruising is that you only have to pack and unpack once to visit a wide assortment of countries, letting you maximise your holiday time.
Cruise lines work hard to provide a context for each stop on an itinerary. Destination-led lectures are offered by experts in history, art, architecture, science, wildlife, food, and culture allowing guests to really connect with each locale before they arrive.
Shore excursions are increasingly immersive, involving hands-on experiences such as cookery classes, and tastings at local vineyards. Tours off the beaten track are led by expert local guides who serve as cultural interpreters, answering any questions with knowledge that can’t always be found in standard tourist guides.
For guests who want to spend their holiday taking a deep-dive into a particular passion, there are thoughtfully curated themed cruises. One line offers a space cruise on a ship with its own planetarium where guests can learn about the last frontier from astronauts, scientists, and members of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Also available are gourmet cruises which feature floating food festivals, golf cruises with ship-wide tournaments and expert instructors, and musical cruises with performances by internationally renowned artists. For intellectuals,there are cruises themed around literature, history, and current affairs featuring extensive on-board libraries and talks by authors and lecturers from the world’s leading universities.
The past few years have seen an increase in cruise lines partnering with globally recognised brands, public figures, and celebrities to deliver experiences which are as unique as they are memorable.
One line has teamed up with BBC earth to offer on-board screenings of stunning documentaries on the natural world accompanied by scores from incredible musicians including the award-winning Hans Zimmer. Another worked with oceanographer Jean-Michel Cousteau who gave lectures on conservation, underwater exploration, and the legacy of his famous father Jacques.
If you want to learn a new skill cruise lines offer a colourful bouquet of classes in subjects including photography, languages, art, sailing, fencing, navigation, DJing, IT, and glass-blowing. With so many ways to stimulate your brain, a cruise really can get your neurones firing.