There are plenty of reasons to choose Asia as your destination for a cruise. It’s an excellent way to explore an exotic and mystic continent, and it is home to plenty of destinations, from Raja Ampat to the Komodo national park and many others. If you opt for a cruise, you’ll be avoiding many of the costs that are typically associated with planning a trip through the unknown, foreign terrain.
With a cruise, you get a comfortable, convenient travelling floating home which will get you from one port to another quickly and efficiently. You’ll get to sample a lot of Asia’s varieties, and depending on the itinerary, you’ll get to tick some pretty big spots off your bucket list.
However, there’s actually a host of options when it comes to choosing a cruise. There are large, open cruises, river cruises, and others in between, and not all of them are worth it. So, how do you choose a luxury cruise in Southeast Asia?
A mid-sized ship, or a mega-ship
If you’re after the most combined cruising capacity, you’ll want a mid-sized ship to mega-ship. They’re massive, and they can be the hosts to anywhere from 1,000 to over 3,000 passengers per ship. The fact that you have more passengers means that you have cheaper ticket prices for all that are sharing the ride. There are plenty of operators to choose from.
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These are the ships that will give you plenty of cruise inventory to choose from, and most itineraries are more value-oriented, especially when compared to the smaller options. You get plenty of amenities, such as pools, casinos, spas, nightclubs etc. You also have plenty of dining experiences and entertainment options.
The downside here is that you have bigger crowds. You’ll get to feel this when you’re in the buffet, waiting in line, or looking for a chair on the deck. The service is somewhat impersonal, and you’re limited to larger ports that can accommodate such a ship. These ports are often far from the main attractions, and you also have a lot of extra fees that rack up quickly.
A smaller ship
Small ships, that usually accommodate less than 1,000 passengers, are usually where the luxury is. The experience is top-notch. You have spacious cabins, better cuisine and much more personalized service when compared to a larger ship. There are fewer passengers, so you get less waiting in line, and it’s much easier to make friends. In this category, you will find that the pricing often includes extras such as alcohol, gratuities, and you might even get some shore excursions bundled.
You also have much better access to major cities, as you go to the ports that are closer to the city centre due to the fact that you’re in a smaller vessel. You can also access smaller, more remote ports, which are common for exotic locations.
On the flip side, these types of cruises tend to come at a premium price. If you’re budget-oriented, this might be out of your price range. There are also fewer venues, fewer entertainment options, and smaller pools, casinos and gyms than a larger boat might offer.
A river cruise ship
Last but not least, we’ve got river cruise ships. These are small and can carry up to 400 passengers. The boats themselves are different from their counterparts that cruise the oceans, and they’re a great way to spend more time on the shore than the boat itself.
River cruises will give you value extras such as beer or wine with your meals and will give you plenty of shore excursions that are led by guides. These small ships also come with much more attentive service, and they’re the best way to get to know your fellow travellers. River cruises are ideal if you want to access the interiors of countries, where you’ll be greeted by some of Asia’s most exotic locations.
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What’s the downside? Well, river cruises tend to be the most expensive variant for a cruise in Asia. While the price tends to factor in a lot of the extras in the upfront rate, you don’t really get a lot when it comes to onboard amenities. In some less developed locales, you might even have issues with disembarkation, and there is much less entertainment than a larger boat. You should also check out https://www.touristsecrets.com/category/destinations/asia/ for great ideas as well.
However, if you’re after a luxury Southeast Asian cruise, a river cruise ship is actually your best bet. The price premium means that you have fewer people, more personalized service, and an overall better experience if luxury is what you’re after.