Cruise Ship Spa

Five Faves: Don’t Mind If I Do

Five Cruise Experiences Worth the Splurge

If you’re in love with cruising, chances are, a good portion of your savings goes directly into a “Cruise Fund” — on call for spending money for this year’s holiday cruise, in a bigger pot for that dreamy South Pacific itinerary, or being squirreled away for that yet-to-be-planned girls getaway.

Regardless of what cruise that savings is going toward, we recommend saving part of the savings for at least one over-the-top experience. Because you most likely won’t remember those beers in the bucket, but you will remember these cruise experiences that are totally worth the splurge.

Spa Treatment

Go ahead. You deserve it. After touring and trekking on land during port visits, and in between onboard activities, bustling days in the sun, and one exciting meal after another, take an hour or two out of your busy cruise schedule to book a spa treatment. Even better, try something beyond the traditional massage you get back home and go for something even more special like a hot stone treatment, a bamboo massage, or a package that includes a facial, body wrap, or bath. Some lines offer al fresco massages in open-air cabanas on deck or even on right on the beach.

Chef’s Table

While most cruise ships today boast specialty restaurants that rival those on land —from fine French cuisine to modern steakhouses to Italian fare — other lines take their culinary offerings a step further by offering a Chef’s Table experience. Small groups of diners (usually around 10 to 15) will typically start off with a galley tour for tastings before gathering in an intimate dining venue for a multicourse meal paired with fine wines. Many cruise lines offer this culinary experience, which is a great way to celebrate a special occasion on board.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Shore Excursions

You don’t cruise as often as you’d like, so make each moment count. Go home with amazing memories checked off your list, even if that one shore excursion you’re eyeing is the price of several other tours combined. Each cruise, opt for at least one shore excursion that will be an experience of a lifetime. In Alaska, try the dogsledding tour or a glacier flightseeing tour. Take on that zipline tour you’ve been gearing up for in the Caribbean. Or opt for a private tour of your favorite museum in Europe. These opportunities don’t come around all the time, so just book it.

Souvenir to Remember

Whether it’s artwork, jewelry, or a fine bottle of wine, don’t be stingy when it comes to finding that perfect souvenir from the destinations you cruise to. Instead of buying little trinkets along the way like magnets, shot glasses, and cheap T-shirts, pick your favorite port and seek out one high-quality, memorable souvenir that will remind you of your trip for years and years to come.

Luxury Cruise

One day, you must go for the ultimate splurge and book a luxury cruise. They may seem off your radar, but luxury lines typically include complimentary gratuities, alcohol, WiFi, and even shore excursions in their cruise fares. Add it all up, and chances are, the splurge may not be as significant as you may think. But it will be worth the extra costs when you discover the fine dining, elegant ambience, and stellar service aboard a luxury cruise.

Now in its 25th year, Porthole Cruise and Travel Magazine is published bi-monthly and available worldwide through digital subscription. It offers the latest news in cruise and travel, with in-depth features on voyages, new ships, the best destinations, readers' picks, onboard cuisine, entertainment, and more!