Autumn cruises to change the way cruises are viewed / Photographer Ophélie Bleunven/Studio Ponant

Propelled by endless buffets and unlimited booze, the cruise has long seemed like the perfect vacation for sun-seekers. But a new generation of travel — with thrilling attractions, archaeologist-led excursions, and gourmet restaurants — offers plenty of excitement for everyone. And don’t worry; there is still a lot of alcohol. — Editing by Regan Fletcher Stephens

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A Disney cruise for the whole family | An adults-only cruise with Virgin Voyages | An Educational Cruise with Ponant | A journey into nature with Holland America

4 First Time Cruising Tips


Photograph by Nick Rains/Studio Ponant

Here’s what to know before you go, according to Brigitte Feinberg, advisor at Avenue Two Travel in Bryn Mawr.

Set schedule EARLY
The cruise line will open reservations for meals, spa treatments and excursions before departure. Book accordingly. “If you’re waiting for the cruise, the options may not be available,” Feinberg says. “You want to take advantage of everything the ship has to offer.”

Don’t miss the boat
Flight delays could cause you to miss your cruise, as we saw during the recent horrors of Airmageddon this year, Feinberg says. Plan to arrive at the cruise departure destination at least a day or two in advance to avoid being left at the dock.

Store your hand luggage
Airlines lose baggage — and even if yours is simply delayed, once the ship has set sail, you’re out of luck, Feinberg says. Pack medication, extra clothes and a bathing suit in your hand luggage, just in case.

Get your sea legs
Browse your ship online before boarding, and once you arrive, stroll around for a self-guided tour, “so you know where everything is in relation to your cabin.”

The Family Adventure: Disney Cruise Line

New disney To wish offers multi-generational travel at its simplest – and most enchanting.

AquaMouse, the very first Disney attraction at sea / Photograph by Amy Smith

There was one Dreama Wondera Fancyand now, finally, a To wish. In June, Disney Cruise Line unveiled its first new ship in a decade, complete with a sea of ​​captivating dining, entertainment and attractions. And while it would be fair to assume that a Disney cruise really is for kids, To wish offers plenty of new and nostalgic magic to engage everyone else in the family as well. Keep reading here.

The getaway for grown-ups: Virgin Voyages

Although the cruise is adults-only, you’ll feel like a kid in a candy store with Virgin Voyages’ all-inclusive package scarlet lady.

Wake up brunch onboard Virgin Voyages scarlet lady / Photograph by Scott Grummett, courtesy of Virgin Voyages

It was a very “Toto, I feel like we’re not in Kansas anymore!” moment – exiting the airport in the sweltering Miami heat and a plugged-in Uber with flashing red lights. And for the next five days, the wonder didn’t stop. Keep reading here.

The Educational Path: Ponant

Immerse yourself in Greek history, culture and cuisine on a Ponant cruise in the South Aegean Sea.

Cruise through Athens on a Ponant cruise / Photograph by Gwenvael Engel/Studio Ponant

You can learn more about ancient Greece by setting aside a few months to browse the history of Homer. Odyssey, or you can hear about it from an archaeologist – aboard an elegant ship, sailing from island to island through the Aegean Sea. French expedition ship operator Ponant recently partnered with Smithsonian Journeys – part of the Smithsonian Institution (which includes the largest museum in the world; perhaps you’ve heard of it?) – for itineraries that are both immersive educational and effervescent vacations. Keep reading here.

Journey into the wilderness: Holland America Lines

Explore the outdoors—and drink Widow in a luxury cabin—on Holland America Line’s “Alaskan Explorer” voyage.

A Holland America Line ship heads for a port in Alaska. / Photography by Steve Schimmelman

I sip soft bubbles of champagne on my private oceanfront balcony, watching chunks of electric blue ice as they float through the waters of the formidable and remote Glacier Bay National Park. Somehow the freezing ocean full of swooping whale tails and splashing otters and the vast tundra dotted with huge brown bears seem close even when I dig into my Benedict lobster eggs – brought on my balcony by room service. Keep reading here.

Can’t get out? This ship remains in Philadelphia.

Want a cruise experience without the hassle and cost of travel? Hop aboard a City Experiences ship at Penn’s Landing for a two-hour buffet brunch or sunset dinner (approximately $75 to $125 per person) and enjoy the people-watching as much as the view . You might spot a rowdy bachelorette party, a family celebrating a college graduation, and a stylish couple in black tie attire, all on the same ship. If you want privacy, bring your champagne to the first floor for a romantic moment.

Published as “Come Sail Away” in the September 2022 issue of philadelphia cream magazine.