What do you want from a holiday and how do you get it? Andy Church offers a solution…

It’s that time of year when many of us start to plan our holidays for next summer and beyond. In my day it was always in the depths of winter that you would hunker down with a brochure or two and dream of sun, sand and relaxation. Nowadays it’s just as likely that we’ll be hunkered around a laptop rather than a brochure – but there is nothing like looking at pictures of faraway warm places to make us feel better during the long dark cold nights.

So, what is it that most of us want when we’re looking for a holiday? Certainly, sun is high on most people’s lists, as is good food and experiencing new places. Conversely, others want to return to places they’ve been to before with many opting to go back to the same place year after year – either because they love it, or because of apathy, or perhaps because they’re scared of the unknown.

And whilst some of us will want to stay in one place, many others will want to visit as many places as possible – making the most of their precious time away from the day-to-day grind. One of the reasons why we go back to the same place is that we feel comfortable there – we know what we are going to get before we leave home – which means we can relax the moment we arrive.

This is important because surely the main reason we go on holiday is to relax, and whilst there are those that can only relax sitting on a beach or lying by a pool, others relax by constantly being active. For many couples this is a big issue. One wants to sunbathe whilst the other wants to be out and about exploring the destination. Experiencing the arts and culture of a new place is another reason many people travel. It isn’t enough just to go somewhere, they want to immerse themselves in the people and their surroundings – the history, the architecture and the language.
Trying new food and drink is a mixed bag. This is the reason why some of us travel – to experience new tastes in exotic places and this drives us to look for new places to go. Even today, when we can try most cuisines in a 50-mile radius of our homes, there is nothing like having the same meal in situ with local ingredients and chefs. For others the idea of not being able to get fish and chips, a burger or a pie is a very good reason to stay at home – or maybe go to America!

Experiencing luxury above and beyond our daily existence is vital to some holidaymakers. We want more than we’ve got at home which is why checking into a hotel carries the thrill of the unexpected. What will the bathrobes and toiletries be like? Will there be a bottle of bubbly in the room? Is the view spectacular? As someone once said, why would I have a burger when I can have steak at home!

For families there are usually two main holiday objectives – having a rest for the adults and keeping the kids entertained – two things that are certainly not mutually exclusive. Finding hotels which offer such facilities is not always easy and as we all know, prices can rise exponentially in the summer holidays.
There are of course countless other reasons why we travel. To see a sporting event, for adventure, to shop or maybe for the nightlife. All the above might lead you to think that’s all very well but there’s no way I can meet all of my holiday objectives with just one holiday? That may be so, but for those considering a cruise, meeting many of these objectives is not necessarily a pipedream, it could be a reality.

Cruising has changed so much in the last 10 years. Once the preserve of the elderly and the wealthy, it is now very accessible and the average age is in the low 50s – note that’s the average. At the end of the summer, I was on a short cruise around the Bahamas and the average age was in the 30s-40s. Cruising is still for the retired (wealthy or not) but it is also for the young, for families, for romantic couples and for solo travellers. It is for those who want to visit lots of destinations (without packing and unpacking everyday!), as well as those who want to just stay in the resort – because many ships today are larger and better equipped than any resort you will ever have experienced. It is for those who want to experience the culture just as much as it is for those who want to lie around a pool.

Cruising is for those who want adventure; those who want to go to remote places – warm or cold. It is a must for foodies – the standard of inclusive food on board these days is amazing – but comfort food is always available. It is also for romantics – you don’t have to eat, or do anything with other people if you don’t want to. It is relaxing and exciting. The entertainment can be brilliant, often to West End or Broadway standard, and there’s always something for everyone. And as for the children, they will have a ball, and you can see them, and they can see you, as much as you all want.

In fact, cruising can offer something for everyone, and later in the year we will offer more information and advice on different types of cruises, the cruise lines and why you might want to take your first cruise. The rebooking rate for those who have cruised is around 60% – an extraordinary figure which demonstrates why once many people have experienced a cruise they want to go again and again.

If you want to know more about ocean or river cruising call your local cruising specialists, Andy or Olivia at GoCruise, on 01483 808787.