Which Style Cruise is Right For You?

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You’re ready to head out onto the water, take the plunge, and take a cruise! But which cruise style is perfect for you? Would you rather enjoy the rolling ocean or a meandering river? Tropical islands, fjords or fascinating European cities? Is your perfect vacation full of activities, adventures, and parties? Or more subdued relaxing, soaking-up-the-sun vibes? You’ve heard of big cruises vs small luxury cruises vs river cruises — but what are the actual differences? Here’s our breakdown of the basics:

Big Mass-Market Cruises

Atmosphere: There’s a sense of excitement aboard the big cruise ships. Whether you’re on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian or a slightly more “premium” line like Celebrity — the name of the game is variety! These floating cities offer more options than some small towns! 

performers onstage during a Cruise Ship live show

There’s always something to do, to see, a wide range of amenities, and countless dining options. The focus here is on entertainment — with huge blockbuster-style live shows, live bands, comedians, art auctions, game shows, casinos, and nightclubs. Often, the cruise ship itself is just as much part of the experience as the destinations. You’ll find skating rinks, surfing simulators, roller coasters and more!

Size: The smallest big cruise ship has around 1,000 guests while the largest in the world holds nearly 7,000. And that doesn’t even include the crew!

Pros:

  • Huge variety across ships
  • Lots of dining options, entertainment, & nightlife
  • Visits popular destinations with lots of shore excursion options
  • Programs and camps for kids
  • Wide range of cabins to suit all budgets

Cons

  • Many, many people – you can sometimes feel like another face in the crowd
  • Lots of walking to get from one end to another
  • Can be difficult to find a sense of seclusion
  • Longer lines and wait times

Perfect For: If you’re traveling with a big group or with younger kids this is a great option. Or, if you’re a night owl and love to enjoy live entertainment, then these big ships are perfect for you! There’s always something to do, eat, and see. With lots of shore excursion options – everyone in the group will find something to love. And for the kids – they’ll never get bored! If you’re left a little bit cold by the idea of sailing with that many people, look into a smaller “ship-within-a-ship” experience like The Haven on Norwegian’s ships.

Small Luxury Cruises

Atmosphere: Smaller luxury cruises like the one Ann recently took with Seabourn offer many similarities to the big cruises. But there are a few key differences. The most noticeable change is the atmosphere.

With fewer people and a more luxurious setting, these cruises strive for a personalized and relaxed vibe. You’ll find a focus on culture and nature with not as much nightlife available. There are still several lounges and restaurants, and some live music, but nothing too big or flashy. The focus here is rest and relaxation.

the realxing Retreat on Seabourn Ovation's caribbean cruise

Size: As few as 100 guests ranging up to around 700 guests for these small luxury cruises.

Pros:

  • More personal experience – small guest-to-crew ratio
  • Larger cabins
  • Can access smaller harbors and more out-of-the-way destinations
  • Can get you up close to glaciers, whales, waterfalls etc
  • Peaceful and romantic vibes

Cons

  • Not as much to do on board
  • Not very much nightlife
  • Higher price tag – can be tough for groups/families
  • Not as many activities for kids

Perfect For: Couples cruises, adventurers, and luxury travelers. Anyone who prefers exploring cool destinations at a leisurely pace on their own. 

River Cruises

Atmosphere: River cruises are all about that slow travel experience. Meandering down the river watching spectacular scenery and quaint villages drift by. River cruises deliver a sense of serenity and peace. Many river cruise ships offer amenities like a small spa, hot tub or plunge pool on the top deck, and lounges for relaxing with a cocktail. But the focus and excitement can be found in the ports. You’ll visit bustling cities, charming towns and villages, and scenic countryside.

River Cruises generally sail in the evenings, unless they’re on a particularly scenic stretch of the river, and you get to spend much of your day exploring fascinating cities like Amsterdam and experiencing new cultures like traditional Bulgarian folk dances. You won’t have many “sea days” where you’re spending the whole day on board.

River cruises are also more all-inclusive. Usually, your drinks, food, wifi, and many of the shore excursions are all included in the cost! 

Size: The smallest cruises on African rivers average just 30 guests while the larger Viking ships reach around 200. 

Pros:

  • Dock directly in city centers
  • Many tours included in upfront cost
  • More time in ports – practically no ‘sea days’
  • No large crowds
  • More of a local, authentic feel in ports

Cons

  • Not much nightlife; onboard entertainment tends to be lectures and local musicians/dancers
  • Fewer dining options
  • Smaller cabins
  • Included tours are often in the mornings, so there’s less opportunity to sleep in

Perfect For: Seeing a lot of different locations in one cruise, older couples, history buffs, those who like city breaks, and those who like exploring different cultures. 

Expedition Cruises

Atmosphere: Expedition Cruises are voyages to hyper-specific far flung destinations. With a huge focus on nature and a sense of adventure. These cruises are smaller and have local experts leading you every step of the way. There’s not much to do onboard the ship itself, but you don’t notice because your days are so full of exciting exploration you sleep soundly each night. 

On expedition cruises, you’ll experience out-of-the-way destinations like the Galapagos, Antarctica, or the Norweigan Fjords. All the guests enjoy a love of adventure activities and totally unique experiences. The focus is on the entire journey and environment in which you are traveling not just the port.

The Queen Beatriz yacht floating between two islands of cacti in the Galapagos

Size: The smaller ships will only hold around 30-40 guests but can go up to 300 for the bigger voyages. 

Pros:

  • Incredible far-flung destinations
  • Lots of unique experiences
  • Expert guides with you every step
  • Daily activities included in the cost
  • Generally adults only

Cons

  • Not as much to do onboard
  • Moderate physical fitness and mobility necessary
  • Not much “beach & relax” time
  • Require an investment (in time and money)

Perfect For: Big adventures and bucket list trips. If there’s a place you’ve always wanted to see or an adventure you’ve always dreamed of experiencing, this is the perfect opportunity. Good to do when you’re younger as the fitness level necessary can be more demanding. 


There are so many choices when it comes to cruising, we hope this little guide helps you decide which style of cruise is the perfect fit for your next vacation!

Why Should You Take a Small Luxury Cruise?

It has been at least five or six years since I experienced an ocean cruise. Between COVID shutdowns and my new love of river cruises, I just hadn’t been tempted to get back out onto the ocean in a big ship with tons of people. To be honest, I’m still not that eager to sail away with thousands of my closest friends. But, I recently tried another ocean cruise, and it was FABULOUS.

As a top-selling advisor, I was fortunate enough to earn a Caribbean cruise on the Seabourn Ovation. The Ovation is a 690-foot, 300-suite, luxury cruise ship and we sailed from Barbados to St Maarten in March. It was my first experience on Seabourn and my first luxury cruise. I was really interested in seeing how it would be different from the other cruises I’ve taken on Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Celebrity, Princess, and Holland America.

Not surprisingly, I loved it. It was probably the most relaxing vacation that I’ve ever taken. I’m already trying to figure out how to fit another Seabourn cruise into this year’s plans. But for anyone who is wondering “what’s the big deal” about a luxury cruise, and how is it really different from a more mass-market experience, I thought I would share my thoughts about some of the key differences:

Size Matters

The Ovation is about half the size of the modern mega-ships from Royal Caribbean and NCL. So it can visit islands that the big ships can’t.

Our itinerary included St Vincent and the Grenadines, Nevis, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and other ports that you could never see from a big ship. We were typically the only cruise ship in port, and everything else in the harbor was private yachts.

The small size also means that you are never far from the restaurants, the pool, the theater, or anyplace else on the ship. The passenger decks are one hallway with balcony suites lining both sides (no inside cabins). Plus, there are no long walks back to the cabin to retrieve a forgotten item.

And the smaller number of passengers means that you’re never in line. We did not have to worry about making restaurant reservations, or whether we’d get into a show. There was no long wait to board the ship or get onto a tender.

Personal Touches

With under 600 passengers and roughly 330 crew, the Ovation has an average passenger-to-crew ratio of about 1.6 to 1. Compare that with the mega ships, which can be twice that (3.2 to 1), and you can imagine how much more personal attention each passenger gets. Crew members greeted us by name in the hallways, and remembered our drink orders. We never felt like an anonymous face in the crowd.
They also did a really good job of noticing things (and acting on them). The first couple of times that we took a shower in our cabin, we moved the bathmat from in front of the sink to in front of the shower so that we would not slip when we stepped out. The steward noticed that and a second bathmat appeared overnight. The older couple at the table next to us in the sushi restaurant was struggling to use the Seabourn app on their phone. They mentioned to the waitress that they missed having a paper newsletter placed in their cabin each evening (rather than having to look at the daily schedules on their phones). The waitress asked for their cabin number and promised that a paper newsletter would be there for them every day moving forward.

Luxury Crusie Inclusions

On Seabourn, your luxury cruise fare includes all your dining (even in the specialty restaurant). And all your drinks (aside from specialty wines by the bottle), and gratuities. Even a stocked minibar in the room (customized to your preferences). All the little things that would normally be charged to your onboard account (from lattes and cappuccinos to room service, or a bottle of champagne to enjoy on the balcony) were included in the fare. Some luxury cruise lines, like Regent, even include all of your shore excursions. It was very nice to check out at the end of the cruise without any onboard charges to pay!

Serene Vibe

This is definitely a matter of personal preference, but I loved the overall vibe on the ship. It was very adult-oriented and upscale.

The sail-away party was free-flowing champagne and singers serenading us with music from Les Miserables (not a steel drum band or a neon-colored “drink of the day” in sight). There was afternoon tea every day in the main lounge, with live piano music. And they surprised everyone with “caviar in the surf” during our beach barbecue in St Kitts.

For those who love splashier entertainment, the smaller luxury cruises may be a bit boring. While I did see a few people in the very small casino, and we did attend some shows at night, there was honestly not a lot to keep the night owls entertained.

Luxury Cruise Conclusions

My overall takeaway was that there’s a time and a place for both mass-market and luxury cruises. If I were sailing with kids or grandkids and wanted a bigger, more active ship with lots of “bells and whistles”, I would probably go back to Norwegian. And I would just book myself into The Haven to get the upscale ship-within-a-ship experience.

For an adult vacation, with my husband, I would be hard-pressed to think of anything more relaxing than what I just experienced with Seabourn.

A Cruise around Italy & Greece

Katie & Marcello wanted to do something special for their anniversary – something not only memorable but that covered multiple incredible destinations. We knew the perfect way for them to maximize their time (and experiences) in the Mediterranean was to take a cruise. And they had a blast! Here is their trip report and top tips from each port:


The Ship

Getting to and on the boat [The NCL Dawn] was very easy! We arrived about 1.5 hours early and they checked us in early and we were one of the first on! The club balcony suite was very spacious with a great bathroom but the ship overall is slightly dated. The best meals we had on the ship were La Cucina, Cagneys steakhouse, teppanyaki and Moderno (probably in that order). We loved the cruise experience, especially the staff. We’ve been on many Royal Caribbean cruises and in comparison we think the food and drinks are much better on Norwegian but the entertainment is better with Royal. 

Cruising Crete

As for the ports. In Crete we did not make plans and did the hop on hop off when we got there which was the best choice. We hopped off at Knossos which is where all of the cruise excursion buses were and we did not pay nearly as much as they did. Knossos was amazing to see and read about. Then we walked a few minutes to a restaurant Pasiphae which was just far enough away from tourists to feel local and had a delicious and authentic Greek lunch! We bought a combo ticket at Knossos so hopped back on the bus to the architectural museum and were able to skip that line and see amazing artifacts that were often hard to wrap our heads around. A great stop! Then back on the bus to the boat.

Tip: Caution here that the late hop-on bus seemed to be around 430 pm so watch for times. 

Santorini & Mykonos

We tendered for Santorini and also did not have formal plans. When we arrived the line for the cable car up the cliff was extremely long but well worth the wait. Walking up the steps should not even be considered an option and we did not support the donkey option.

Once at the top, it’s pretty hard to navigate with tiny streets at different levels but we found a spot called Rastoni and it was one of the best meals of the trip. We did some walking and shopping and I had previously booked a sunset table online at one of the bars which was the right move because it gets very busy at sunset. It was Pk Cocktails which had a gorgeous view but meh drinks.

[Photo Credit: Andrea via Shared Adventures – read about their Greece & London adventure here!]

View of Santorini Greece on the cliff

Then back to the ship but the line for the cable car was over 3 hours so we had no choice but to walk.

Tip: Walking down the stairs was not bad at all however it is very steep, slippery, and covered in donkey poop. Well gripped shoes are a must and I can’t imagine how slippery it must be in the rain. 

Next was Mykonos where it was very easy to walk into town do some shopping and grab a bite to eat. Nothing overly recommended for us but everything we saw was great

Stop in Athens

I had booked a tour of Athens through Viator (Athens city highlights half day private tour) for only $200 and we had a private guide pick us up at the port and bring us to the Acropolis, Olympic stadium, changing of the guard and he even stopped and got us baklava. It was well worth the money for his stories and insights into the city. It was nice not feeling like one of 100 people on a large tour.

Tip: Highly recommend a tour for Athens. There also isn’t much to do directly near the port so some kind of transportation is necessary 

Final Greek Stop: Corfu

greek olives

I did something similar in Corfu through Viator (taste of Corfu private tour) for $270 which also had a private driver and we stopped at a very local olive oil and wine producer where we were the only ones there and had a private full tasting of everything they made. We went to a beautiful garden monastery and then to a beach where we took an almost private boat ride through caves and watched the sunset. This was many people’s least favorite port because without a plan there isn’t much to do but we had an amazing day.

[Photo Credit: Eberhard Grossgasteiger via Unsplash]

Tip: The boat ride through the caves was the most memorable and difficult to get to without a guide like we had. A tour like this is most recommended for Corfu.

Cruise to Naples

In Naples, I chose a food tour through Viator (the 10 tastings of Naples with locals) which was a private tour that I might not recommend. The guide was lovely and we ate some great food but we walked much more than expected and I wasn’t sure we received all the stops we were supposed to. We saw a lot of the city which was nice but I’m not sure I would do it again. Naples is all about food and it’s such a big city that some type of navigator is preferred but maybe not this one. The city is very close to the port so transportation is not needed.

Florence & Pisa

Florence/Pisa was our only ship shore excursion and it was amazing. It was a very large group (almost 100) but it was okay for what we were doing. We chose Pisa and taste of Tuscany for $250pp. The price was steep for what you got but it was a fun day.

They took us to Pisa to explore the monuments and shop and the guide was really great. Then to a Tuscan winery to see the vineyards, try all the wines (unlimited tasting) and a classic Italian lunch of pasta and antipasti. It was very fun, delicious and expensive as we ended up buying a lot of wine and shipping it home.

Unfortunately our day in Cannes was cancelled because the wind was too strong for us to tender. I had had a Viator tour booked but was refunded because of this. 

Overall I was very impressed with Viator in their prices and communication. Everyone messaged me many times about meeting times and locations and the guides always made sure we were back to the ship with lots of time to spare. I felt safe and confident in the tours we chose. 

Final Stop of the Cruise: Barcelona

Finally Barcelona. Hotel Colon was absolutely beautiful and such a perfect choice! It was right by the cathedral and had a rooftop bar. We took a taxi to the hotel which was very easy (about 30 euro) and left our bags. Then, found a cafe and toured the beautiful cathedral. We learned that Sagrada Familia is actually not a cathedral and is much more modern than the cathedral we toured (and slightly overrated to the locals).

Then we went on a food tour booked through Viator (Barcelona tapas and wine experience) which was by far my favorite tour. An amazing value, not much walking, and a lovely guide. We went through the food and fish market, had wine and tapas in a wine cellar, tried four restaurants, and learned a lot about the city.

I had done some researched and booked Arcano for dinner and I cannot overemphasize how good this meal was. I would go back here a thousand times! And our guide recommended a flamenco show at Palaus Demases. There are many flamenco shows but this one was in a very old building, truly authentic and very small. We paid for vip seats which is a must to see how much work their feet are doing. It was such an authentic experience and so much fun! 

I hope these tips can help others on their trips! We had an amazing vacation and can’t thank you enough!

Katie Lessa

A Galapagos Adventure

In the depths of the pandemic, back in the fall of 2020, when we all desperately needed something to look forward to, I had the opportunity to secure a one-week yacht charter in the Galapagos at a deeply discounted rate. I reached out to some friends and family to see if anyone would be interested. I got a resounding YES. So I grabbed a week in November 2022. I rounded up my sixteen people to fill the yacht, crossed my fingers that travel would actually be possible again by then. And started counting down the days.

Fortunately, the pandemic eventually receded, and the majority of the group was still ready and willing to travel when this year came around. It became clear that this bucket list trip was actually going to happen! That’s when I started to worry that the experience might not live up to the hype. What if this long-awaited adventure turned out to be more hassle and expense than it was worth?

Yeah, that didn’t happen 😊

Galapagos Group posing on the beach near a sea lion

The entire experience —  from our pre-cruise stay in Quito to the yacht itself, to the wildlife, the crew, and the weather – turned out to be better than anyone had even hoped. A few airline mishaps aside, this trip was one of the best I’ve ever taken! And I think the rest of the group would agree.

If you’ve ever thought about visiting The Galapagos, please read on for the details. And please plan to go there sooner rather than later. Don’t wait until you have “enough” time and money, because this unspoiled habitat might not be around forever, and you will never be healthier, more fit, or more able to get out and enjoy nature than you are today.

a snokeler and a seal look at each other underwater in the Galapagos

First: Ecuador

We flew into Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, and spent two nights there prior to the cruise. We stayed at the Swissotel Quito, which is a modern hotel in the business district of the city with all the onsite conveniences you could want. It was perfect for our short stay, but if I were to return to Quito I would probably stay in the historic center. The center is a little more charming and has more dining, shopping, and sightseeing within walking distance. (I have my eye on the Hotel Plaza Grande or the Casa Gangotena for next time!) 

With our one full day in the city, we did a private tour that hit most of the highlights. We visited the Intinan Museum at the Equator and enjoyed some cool hands-on experiments and photo ops there, and then we strolled through the old colonial center of the city, visited the cathedral, and had a lovely lunch in a local restaurant.

Ann and her husband at the Equator in Ecuador

Quito was an unexpected pleasure, as none of us really knew anything about the city beforehand. It is at a high altitude (it’s the second-highest capital city in the world, at about 3,000 meters above sea level!) So you have to be mindful of that and make sure to stay rested and hydrated. But it’s well worth a visit!

Boarding the Ship!

From Quito, we flew to the island of Baltra, in the Galapagos. These flights (and all travelers to the Galapagos) are very strictly controlled and monitored. This is to ensure that no one brings in any non-native plants, insects, or other animals. We went through extra security screening before boarding. Our belongings were fogged with insecticide while on the plane. And the checked bags were all inspected by dogs once we arrived. It was very interesting to see all the precautions they have in place!

The Queen Beatriz yacht floating between two islands of cacti in the Galapagos

Once we collected our bags in Baltra, the naturalist, Jaime, met us. He would be our guide for the week. We took a short bus ride to a nearby dock, and then our first zodiac ride from there to our waiting yacht – The Grand Queen Beatriz.

Galapagos group aboard a small inflatable zodiac on the way to the islands

The zodiacs are small inflatable boats that are used to ferry everyone from the yacht to the islands. They hold about eight people and can be used for “wet” landings (where they run the zodiac as close to the shore as possible and you jump out and wade in from there) or for “dry” landings (where they bring you to a dock). We were on and off zodiacs multiple times every day on this trip.

The yacht itself is spacious, modern, and clean. It’s about 130 feet long, with three passenger decks (two decks of cabins, and one open sun deck). There are eight cabins, each with its own surprisingly large bathroom (the shower was bigger than any that I’ve had on a cruise ship). And some of the cabins even have small balconies. We ate our meals family-style at two large tables in the main salon. And we had our evening briefings/meetings in a cozy upstairs lounge.

The top deck has sun loungers and a small hot tub. They provide wetsuits, snorkels, masks and fins of various sizes for everyone. And we were all given nice metal water bottles (refillable at the water/coffee/snack station) to keep as souvenirs. There is a bar (and a bartender) onboard, and you pay for your sodas/alcohol based on consumption.

the back deck of the Queen Beatriz yacht

Day-to-Day Overview

A map of Ann's Galapagos Itinerary

Our seven-night itinerary focused on the southern loop of islands. (Santa Cruz, Isabela, Floreana, San Cristobal, Santa Fe, and Espanola) and we were traveling during early November when the weather was fairly warm and dry. The water was still cold enough that we needed wetsuits, but the daily temps were in the 70s. It was very pleasant overall!

Every evening we gathered before dinner for a briefing from our naturalist. He would outline the next day’s activities, telling us what time to be ready for the various excursions, what wildlife to look out for, and whether we would be doing wet or dry landings (so that we could dress accordingly).

The Galapagos group on a hike through volcanic rock and low desert bush

Our days were busy. We would typically start with breakfast at 7 or 8 am, then head out to snorkel, hike or both. We would come back to the yacht in the middle of the day for lunch and a siesta, and then do another activity — sometimes moving to a different island – in the afternoon. Evenings found us back on the yacht for a shower and a cocktail before our evening briefing. Then an early dinner and everyone was in bed (exhausted) by 9 or 10pm.

The daily schedules are all regulated by the National Park Service. This is to ensure that there are never too many people in any one place in the islands, so as not to put pressure on the wildlife.

We did see other yachts and cruise ships as we traveled along, but everyone followed their own set schedules and stayed out of each other’s way. The whole thing is very carefully orchestrated.

two yachts on the blue sea in the Galapagos
group at a table for lunch on the Galapagos Islands

There were two days that we stopped at small towns and had some time to wander and shop at our leisure, but that (plus the afternoon siestas) was really the only free time.

You could, of course, skip an excursion one day and stay behind to rest, read, or soak in the hot tub. And some of us did do that from time to time, but who would want to miss out on the baby sea lions?!

baby sea lion on the Galapagos Islands

The Wildlife

Marine iguanas on a rock in the Galapagos

Obviously, wildlife is the main focus in the Galapagos, and we saw plenty! We swam with turtles, rays, marine iguanas, reef sharks, and playful baby sea lions who nibbled on our fins.

reef sharks and a sea turtle swim together in the Galapagos
Sea lions playfully bit a snorkeler's fin in the Galapagos
a snorkeler swimming among the fish

The Galapagos boasts every variety of bird! From blue-footed and red-footed boobies to hawks, frigates, gulls, finches, albatrosses, and even a Galapagos penguin.

a blue-footed boobie on a rock in the Galapagos
two hawks take off into flight against a blue sky
a bird looking straight at the camera
a pelican in flight against a light blue sea in the Galapagos

We visited a baby tortoise breeding center, and we saw giant Galapagos tortoises in their natural habitat in the highlands.

a giant Galapagos Tortoise walking amidst bright green grass
baby giant galapagos tortoises
a man in a Galapagos giant tortoise shell at the research center
close up of the face of a Giant Galapagos Tortoise

All along the way, we had expert guidance and commentary from our naturalist. They patiently answered hundreds of questions a day!

a seal and a woman sit side by side on the beach in the Galapagos

What we did NOT do was email, text, or scroll social media. For days at a time, we had little to no internet or cell service. And it was honestly wonderful. We enjoyed nature and one another’s company. We relaxed. And we talked!

When the week was over, we settled up our bar tabs, tipped our crew generously, and flew back to Quito to catch our overnight flights back home.

Key Takeaways

If you’re still reading, you’re obviously pretty interested in the Galapagos, so here are my key takeaways and advice:

two guys snorkeling in the bright blue water of the Galapagos
  • This is an active/outdoorsy destination that requires a certain minimum level of fitness in order to get the most out of the experience. Be prepared to walk over uneven terrain, swim in open water, and climb in and out of small boats.
  • For a trip like mine, you do not need fancy clothes. You can and should pack lightly. We lived in swimsuits and athleisure, for the most part. Layers are important, as the weather can be changeable. Sun protection is key (sunscreen, hats, long sleeve shirts, etc) And you need both water shoes and sturdy walking shoes. *If you do the Galapagos on a cruise ship, there may be other dress code guidelines to follow as well
a Galapagos Sea Lion coming straight at the underwater camera
  • Bring an underwater camera – that can be a GoPro, or just a waterproof case/container for your phone
  • Bring cash. Ecuador uses the US Dollar, and you can get more at an ATM on one or two of the islands if you absolutely need to, but it’s best to be prepared with more than you think you’ll need. We did not know the bar tabs would have to be paid in cash, and that caused some last-minute scrambling.
  • If you want to have time to do something specialized, like diving, or sportfishing, add a couple of days onto the end of your trip and stay on one of the islands (there are plenty of casual hotels and B&Bs) so that you can plan a daytrip with a local boat.
  • If you have a group of like-minded friends or family, explore the idea of a private yacht charter. While it sounds extravagant, it’s not. The yachts are all designed for 16 people maximum, and there’s something really special about traveling with just your own group.
Ann and Everette on the back deck of the Queen Beatriz in the Galapagos

Above all, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post — go now. Don’t wait until retirement! Or some other “ideal” time when you think you’ll have more time and money to do a big trip like this. Our group was predominantly in their 40s and 50s, and some of the days kicked our butts. I am glad that I did not wait until I was older 😊

You provided excellent guidance for us. I appreciated that you really had us think about what was most important to us when we were selecting the right cruise – and not to totally focus on what other people had to say. THANK YOU for helping to make this a memorable trip for our family! It really was a trip of a lifetime!

Clare and Mark (family cruise to Alaska)

The level of service we experienced was out of this world (and we did NOT make it easy on Ann). We weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go, when we would be able to go, or what “vibe” we were going for. After asking us some key questions (what we liked, didn’t like, why, etc.) Ann helped us narrow down our trip details and planned the honeymoon of our dreams. She helped book some of our excursions, answered some emergency questions while abroad and was always available/willing to help. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be using anyone else for future travel planning – Ann is a rockstar!

Carli (Italy and Spain)