Skip to Content

Cruise Guide: Cruise Reviews + Tips

“Ships are the nearest thing to dreams that hands have ever made.”

~ Robert N. Rose

Big ship? Small ship? Adventure expedition? Luxury yacht? River cruise? Best new cruise ships?

We’ve got you covered! (See all our cruise posts.)

This cruise guide includes dozens of cruise reviews and cruising articles to help you choose the right cruise for you.

Gratuities on a Cruise

Cruise writing is one of our specialties, and we’ve sailed on some 60+ voyages now.

So hop aboard and embark on these cruises! Pick up some great cruising tips and explore cool cruise ports along the way too.

Bon voyage!

Contents: Cruising and Cruise Guide

Cruise destinations
Morocco | Alaska | Egypt | Northern Europe | Costa Rica + Panama | French Polynesia | Canary Islands

Types of cruises
Ultra-luxury | River | Sailing | Adventure | Family-friendly | Unique

Cruise tips
Cruise gratuities | Drinks costs

Particularly cool ports-of-call
Antarctica | Berlin | Old San Juan | St. Petersburg | Vancouver

All our cruise posts and guides

Gone are the days of one-size-cruising-fits-all

Now there are cruises to suit everyone’s style!

Cruise lines have also gone to great lengths recently to put in place appropriate public health measures to help keep everyone safe.

Where do you want to go on your cruise?

Cruise Guide


Snake charmers? Harems? Discover what it’s like to visit Morocco on a cruise.


Go wild on an Alaska UnCruise adventure cruise! (Think kayaking, hiking and SUP boarding.)


A leisurely Nile River cruise is the ultimate way to explore Egypt’s amazing temples and tombs.

Northern Europe:

Cruise from Stockholm to St. Petersburg to Bergen on an epic Viking Homelands cruise in the Baltic. (Fabulous fjords, anyone?)

Costa Rica and Panama:

This Costa Rica cruise immerses you in all of nature’s awe! Bonus: Squeezing through the Panama Canal.

French Polynesia:

Cruising French Polynesia is often the most affordable way to discover the 118-island nation. Ships are small and usually couples-oriented.

With its gorgeous turquoise lagoon and necklace of idyllic motus, Bora Bora, in particular, oozes romance. And there are tons of fun things to do in Bora Bora – from shopping for pearls to snorkeling with sharks.

Maybe combine a cruise with a stay in a dreamy overwater bungalow in Bora Bora? Perfect for a honeymoon or other special occasion…

Canary Islands:

See the secret side of the Canaries on this Canary Island cruise.

Hike UNESCO-listed parks, explore one of the most beautiful villages in Spain and taste sweet Malmsey wine.

Types of cruises

Cruise Guide

What’s your cruising style?

Ultra-luxury cruises:

Unlimited champagne and caviar? Welcome to Seabourn Cruises!

The so-called “six-star cruises” include all wine, cocktails and other drinks in their rates.

Ships are typically small. The Seabourn Odyssey, for example, carries 462 passengers.

Another top contender is Crystal Cruises. Their two main ships are larger, so they offer more specialty restaurants and entertainment options.

We cruised the Mediterranean in luxury on the reimagined Crystal Serenity (980 pasengers).

And then there’s Oceania Cruises. It’s known as one of the best cruise lines for great food.

River cruises:

Scenic (an Australian-based company) offers some of the world’s best river cruises.

Want to discover the historic riches of Normandy on a Seine River cruise? The scenes are a kaleidoscope of castles, gardens, artist studios and museums – all explored from a Scenic “space ship” with cool sun-room balconies.

If you’re itching to go bicycling on a river cruise, check out these great cycling cruises.

Sailing cruises:

Feel the wind in your hair when you sail (yes, really sail!) the Caribbean with Star Clippers. The unspoiled islands are a treat too. (Hello Iles des Saintes!)

Cruise Guide

And have you considered a chartered yacht holiday? They’re not just for the rich and famous :-).

Adventure cruises:

Explore hidden Hawaii on this UnCruise Hawaii adventure.

Family cruises:

Hawaii is very kid-friendly. So family cruises in Hawaii are ideal for a family cruising vacation.

One-of-a-kind cruises:

Beaches, scuba diving and, oh my, Komodo dragons!

You’re sailing Indonesia on a luxurious 10-guest phinisi.

Alila Purnama

Or you could cruise Fiji on a small barefoot-and-bikini yacht. Maybe try kava, Fiji’s potent traditional beverage?

The Yasawa Islands are totally idyllic.

And there’s nothing like an African river safari on the Zambezi Queen. This boutique houseboat gets you up-close-and-personal with elephants galore.

Zambezi Queen river safari

Practical cruise tips

Check out these nifty tips to spice up your cruise. Like… Take your folding bicycle!

You want the deluxe perks associated with small ship cruising (a suite, fine dining, lovely wines). But also big ship amenities (a range of specialty restaurants, great musical theater shows).

Say hello to the ship-within-a-ship concept – or VIP cruising on a big ship.

Cruise gratuities

How much should you tip on a cruise? Here’s the scoop on cruise gratuities for 20 popular cruise lines.

Cruise drinks packages

Here’s everything you want to know about the bar menu on Viking Cruises.

What’s the cost of drinks on Star Clippers? And what’s on the bar menu?

Cool ports-of-call


Antarctica is one of the coolest cruise ports!

It doesn’t get any cooler than cruising to Antarctica! The icebergs in Antarctica are bigger than buses (some are even bigger than fallen skyscrapers).

And there are many cute and playful types of Antarctic penguins. (We particularly loved taking photos of the adorable Adelies.)


Is it crazy to spend one day in Berlin? Or not…

Old San Juan:

Colorful Old San Juan is one of the best cruise ports.

Check out the top things to do in colorful Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

St. Petersburg:

Visit the eye-popping Catherine Palace (its onion-shaped domes and exterior are gilded with 200 lbs of 24-carat gold).

And the lost Amber Room is one of the world’s greatest mysteries – where’s the priceless treasure?


Rent a bike and go bicycling around Stanley Park.

More cruising information

See all our cruise posts.

Love this? Save and share on Pinterest!

Cruise Guide

About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!