With hundreds, or often thousands, of passengers, ocean liners come in all shapes and sizes. Smaller ships allot more space per passenger and you can expect more intimate interactions with the ship staff. Smaller ships like the Aegean Odyssey — our first-ever floating campus — can make call at most any destination but have fewer amenities and entertainment options. Larger ships are more limited in their ports of call and can feel like floating towns. A multitude of dining options, entertainment venues and cabin offerings attract a wider audience, but can feel busy and crowded.
As ocean liners continue to grow in size and offer more and more amenities, cruise lines are offering more package deals that can quickly add up. Open bars, wireless internet deals, specialty dining and special shore excursion packages are among the enticing deals that cruise lines offer at an additional cost. Be sure to read the terms of the deal and watch out for additional fees or restrictions that are included in these special offers. When you come onboard with Road Scholar, you have exclusive access to educational content, which supplements the overall themes of the program you are attending.
We know — big ships can be overwhelming. Restaurants offering cuisine from around the world, Broadway-affiliated theater productions, nighttime extravaganzas, comedy shows and art auctions. You name it, these ships have it. Some days, stepping back from the amenities and reading a book by the pool or enjoying a quiet buffet can be the perfect cure. All these options aren’t going anywhere! Spend some time away from the hustle and bustle for some quiet time, and we promise you won’t regret it.
The Internet has become a key part of our lives as the world has become more connected, and cruise ships are no exception. As technology advances, onboard Internet has become more reliable through both Internet lounges and Wi-Fi, but will still lag behind the broadband you enjoy in your homes. Many cruise lines offer package deals that support checking email and browsing the web. While sharing pictures is possible, it can be slow, expensive and unreliable. If you’re looking for affordable and reliable Internet, wait for port — almost every coffee shop, café and bar has free Wi-Fi for customers.
It’s hard not to mention the elephant in the room — seasickness. While the water may be unsteady during portions of your ocean cruise, these ships all have stabilizers to reduce the motion of the ocean, but it never hurts to be prepared. Plan ahead and bring enough motion-sickness medicine for the entirety of your trip, just in case. Some motion-sickness medications can cause drowsiness, so try out different brands before your trip, and if you have a history of seasickness, take the pills before you get sick as a preventative strategy.
Ocean ships may seem intimidating but finding your way around at first is just like learning directions in a new neighborhood. Averaging between seven decks onboard the Aegean Odyssey to Queen Mary 2’s 12 passenger decks, looking at the deck plans ahead of time can save time and confusion when you first come onboard. Choose a central point to be your compass — whether the atrium, a bar, lounge or favorite piece of artwork — that you can use as a reference point. This will also help keep you oriented as to the direction of the front and back of the ship. Once onboard, keep a map of the deck plans with you so you can always find your way back until you have better lay of the land.
Bow: The front of the ship
Stern: The back of the ship
Forward: The direction toward the front of the ship
Aft: The direction toward the back of the ship
Port: When facing the bow, the left side of the ship
Starboard: When facing the bow, the right side of the ship
“We never thought we would enjoy being on a cruise ship. However, Holland America's ms Maasdam, a small ship, was delightful. The ship — from the elevators to the dining room — never felt crowded and disembarking and embarking was very simple. The food quality and entertainment were first class! These comfortable accommodations along with Road Scholar's excellent educational program make this program one not to be missed.”
— Paul, Road Scholar Class of 2018, from Seneca, S.C. —