A bit of R&R is, for many cruisers, the primary reason they set sail. There's nothing more likely to melt the stress away than a holiday on the high seas with nothing to do besides have fun, eat, drink and chill out in whatever way you wish.
Any cruise is a study in unwinding - however, even so there are some cruise lines, ships and itineraries which have truly perfected the art of relaxation. We have put together a list of our top five ultimate relaxing cruises, all offering different types of zen for different preferences, so you know where to go when you need a real break.
1 . Luxury and pampering: Regent Seven Seas
There are plenty of luxury cruise lines from which to choose,and we have featured one of the best: Regent Seven Seas. Not only is everything onboard unspeakably luxurious, but it is almost completely all-inclusive, right down to the shore excursions. There is also a fabulous spa available, should you be able to tear yourself away from the top-quality enrichment lectures, classes and activities.
It goes without saying that a luxury, all-inclusive cruise is the best way to relax. Not only are your surroundings plush, the food gourmet, and the drinks free-flowing, but there's no need to stress about getting your wallet out at any point, or how much you're racking up on your account - it's all settled before you leave.
2 . Time to unwind: Cunard's Transatlantic Crossing
A cruise with no port stops is often considered a bit of a dud, but the iconic transatlantic itinerary by Cunard is anything but that. Sailing between Southampton and New York in either direction, like the great liners of old, it is a historically significant journey, and offers passengers plenty of time to get properly relaxed over the 7 nights spent at sea.
With no need to worry about disembarking until you reach a new continent, you can enjoy the beautiful Cunard vessels to the fullest. Crossings often take place on the Queen Mary 2, the last true ocean liner, built for lengthy sea voyages. Full of elegant and sophisticated decor and features including a ballroom and a planetarium, she offers a relaxing getaway.
3 . Quiet and low-key: Holland America Line
If a quiet cocktail by the pool, a good book and an early night sound like your ideal holiday, you might want to consider Holland America. This line eschews a lot of the entertainment frills like waterslides, mini golf and cheesy theme parties in favour of a more low-key and elegant cruise experience.
That's not to say, of course, that you can't have fun on a HAL cruise; there is plenty onboard to keep passengers busy during the day and in the evening. However with an older average age and a slower pace, it's perfect for anyone (of any age) seeking some peace, quiet and relaxation.
4 . Off-peak and longer cruises
It's a harsh truth, but it's definitely the truth: a cruise with few children onboard is the holy grail for some cruisers, especially those seeking a peaceful and relaxing holiday. Even on the mainstream and family-focused lines, it's not too hard to find a cruise which caters mostly to more mature passengers to get in some unhindered chill time by the pool.
For a kid-lite cruise, try booking a cruise outside of the school holiday periods, or even better, a long itinerary of more than 10 days. These generally attract adult groups rather than families with children which allows for an idyllic cruise.
5 . Casual and small-scale: Captain Cook Fiji
A big ship inherently comes with a bit of hustle and bustle. For a real laid-back cruising experience, try a small-ship local line in a particular cruising region. We have used Captain Cook Fiji as our example, but you could opt for something like a Europe river cruise or a tour of beautiful Tahiti with Paul Gauguin.
Tropical destinations like Fiji come with an inherent laid-back vibe, and that extends to the whole Captain Cook Cruises operation. With a smaller ship, passengers become familiar with each other and the crew. The destinations aren't bustling established ports but small islands. Meals are often a BBQ on the deck or onshore rather than a formal dining room - all in all, it's a perfect storm of relaxation!
Are you in need of some serious relaxation? Now you know where to find, it you can find a cruise that suits you with Cruise Sale Finder.