There are many reasons why people opt for a high seas holiday, but for most, a cruise is a chance to truly get away from it all. When you’re sharing your floating resort with many others, however, finding some space for yourself can be challenging. So what can you do? Our top recommendation is to book a balcony stateroom; it only enhances your accommodation, but also gives you a private space of your own in the great outdoors. Another great tip is that most ships have a library, which is an ideal place to spend quiet time, and if it has one, the promenade deck. You can also opt for a small, luxury ship which will have fewer guests, making public areas less busy at any one time. Another popular choice is frequenting adult-only areas on a bigger ship, such as Serenity on Carnival, The Sanctuary on Princess, and The Retreat on P&O, although some ships do charge for entry, and restrict how long you can be inside. Cruise ship spas can be quiet havens, as well as places to enjoy a spot of pampering, or to relax in a sauna or relaxation room. On port days you can stay on board, which offers crowd-haters the opportunity to stay behind and enjoy the ship as if it was their own. As a bonus, facilities such as the spa often offer special deals which you can also take advantage of.
If you choose to go ashore, and your itinerary features ports of call which are easy to explore without a tour, go it alone. If you want to tour and can stretch to it, hire a private tour guide and car, rent a car of your own, or join a limited numbers tour. And if your ship stops at a private island, rent a cabana to get away from the crowds. Overall you should choose your itinerary carefully. A busy itinerary with many port days means you won’t be on the ship that much, unless you opt to stay aboard, however, remember that the port itself may still be busy with guests from your ship and others. And finally, some big ships have operate a class system of sorts, with certain facilities exclusively reserved for those who are prepared to splash out. Guests of MSC’s Yacht Club, on selected ships, can enjoy a ship-within-a-ship concept, with a separate Concierge Reception, Top Sail Lounge, swimming pool and other amenities served by an exclusive round-the-clock butler service. Other similar concepts include guests of Haven by Norwegian on NCL’s Epic, and Queen’s Grill guests on Cunard’s three Queens.