Best “Cold-weather” Cruises
While some people want nothing but leisure, warmth, Mai-tais, and shuffleboard on a cruise, more adventurous retirees may be seeking the awe-inspiring vistas and exploration involved in cold-weather cruises. Cold weather cruises, such as those that travel along the Alaskan coastline or Nordic fjords, provide a moving panorama of wildlife, massive edifices of rock and ice, and ever-changing vistas of natural beauty. They also offer more opportunity for on-shore recreation than usual in long tropical cruises.
Although cold-weather cruises often appeal to more venturesome seniors, most of us are still looking for the comforts and modern amenities found among the large luxury cruise lines. We seek such things as variety in itinerary, quality and quantity of onboard enrichment activities, and top-notch healthcare and accessibility features. With these priorities in mind, a couple of cruise lines stand out from the crowd as senior-friendly cold-weather cruise providers:
- ALASKA: Princess Cruises – Princess Cruise ships are well-known for their luxury amenities, high levels of comfort, and quality personal service. As one of the first cruise lines in the Alaska market, Princess has a number of sailings including Glacier Bay National Park – the platinum standard of Alaskan scenery.
- ALASKA: Holland America – Also renowned for modern conveniences and attention to detail, Holland America cruises extends this quality experience to land-based day-trips on the Alaska Railroad, with Holland America reserved fully-domed observation cars, superior to even those owned by Alaska Railways.
- NORTH CAPE (NORDIC FJORDS): Hurtigruten – This company offers a unique experience. Its ships, which stop in at upwards of 35 unique port calls along the scenic fjords, carry passengers to tiny Nordic towns and villages that are nearly impossible to reach in any other way. There is also the opportunity to disembark, travel along the scenic coast by winding road, and rejoin the cruise at the next port. Although these ships carry local ferry passengers, mail, and cargo along the coastline, cruise passengers on Hurtigruten have full cabins and luxury amenities similar to those enjoyed on conventional cruise ships.
Cold-weather cruises may not be for everyone, but if you have tired of the “sun and fun” of conventional tropical cruises and yearn for more inspiring vistas and adventurous day-trips, these companies may give you the retirement travel experience of a lifetime. If you live in the South like I do, July and August are excellent times to take a Cold Weather cruise to beat the heat. Now is the time to book your cruise vacation, you can’t wait until the middle of Summer unless you want to try to get a last minute deal.