The key to good gift giving is knowing what the recipient is really interested in. This is no more important than with a big-ticket item, such as a cruise vacation. After all, your adventurous, outdoorsy nephew would no doubt love to receive a cruise for college graduation. However, the itinerary he’d enjoy is likely far different than that desired by your retiree parents. Obviously, choosing a cruise is situational. Following are four scenarios with appropriately geared gift cruises.
Adventure-Lovers Will Thank You for This Trip
Whatever they did to deserve this trip, hopefully your giftee will be thanking you as they kayak and paddle board in pristine waters with seals and Orca whales, perhaps with an eagle or heron floating above on a fishing flight. Personal paddling is only one off-boat aspect of small-ship cruises with Uncruise Adventures. From $4,195, the action-packed trip delves deep into the winding waterways of Puget Sound with nimble skiff sorties in search of sea lions, otters and whales beneath mountainsides covered in carpets of towering evergreens. Landside, cruisers tackle treks on the mossy and mist-shrouded rainforest trails of Olympic National Park. In quieter moments, there are bird watching excursions and chances for beachcombing amidst life-filled tidepools. Opportunities to sample local clams, oysters, craft beer and cider shouldn’t be missed.
Fantasy Floating Birthday
What young child wouldn’t go nuts for a chance to celebrate their special day with all of their favorite characters and themes? A fun itinerary from Disney Cruises is a natural fit for families seeking together time combined with an epic birthday bash. Trips include sailings to Alaska, the Bahamas, Mexico and more. One current promotion is “Marvel Day at Sea," with special appearances by all of the latest comic action hero characters from the Marvel franchise on select five-night Bahamas and Caribbean cruises. Be warned, however, if you’re gifting arguably the best family friendly floating vacation on the seas, you have to be prepared for the price that goes with that quality. While among the most expensive kid-centric cruise experiences, Disney provides plenty for your cruise dollar. Kids stay active with contests, participatory game shows and brushes with full-sized costumed characters from their favorite films by day. Live entertainment revues and first-run movie screenings are among evening options. Meanwhile, parents enjoy adults-only areas with dedicated pools and restaurants.
First Cruise for a Cautious Friend
Most of us have that friend. You know, the one who’s fairly frugal and not especially adventurous, but always thanks you later for “making” them do things they would never have tried? Maybe they need a nudge up the gangplank, so a casual cruise tailored to typically tame first-timers is in order. A perfect pairing here is among many offered by Holland America Line, known for a sophisticated experience without too much undo hype. Sound perfect for someone you know? Convenient and practical, the line’s 7-Night Mexican Riviera round trip departs from San Diego and starts at $539. Ports of call are Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, so shopping, margaritas, surf and sand await on shore. Onboard, entertainment venues such as B.B. King’s Blues Club and ballroom dance lesson with a “Dancing With the Stars” theme provide active outlets. If cruise life ever becomes intrusive, smartly stocked, New York Times-branded shipboard libraries are the perfect retreat.
Singles Cruise Present
If you want to help your post-divorce pal get back in the mix, a Caribbean singles cruise might be just the right answer. Sunny, sandy shore excursions and a boat full of similarly single travel mates may be reinvigorating and, at the very least, luxuriantly relaxing. A proper package in this case could be the four-night Bahamas cruise aboard Carnival Liberty with departure from Orlando’s Port Canaveral. Ports of call are Nassau, Bahamas, and Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, with rates starting at $379 for an interior room. While on ship, singles will gravitate to the Serenity Adult Only Retreat and enjoy shows at Playlist Productions or the Punchliner Comedy Club. Various levels of cuisine include fine dining at the Chef’s Table, Guy’s Burger Joint and tacos at Blue Iguana Cantina.