When people think of cruising, they often imagine travelling to myriad far-flung destinations in one trip. They see themselves in a new port, country and culture every day and the feeling of having really skipped across the world.
However, there are many kinds of cruising, and one that is often overlooked is single-country cruising. At Azamara, we pride ourselves on getting you to the heart of the destination, and nothing does this better than our signature country-intensive voyages. Allowing you to explore multiple facets of the same place, it may mean you don’t tick as many places off your bucket list, but it does mean that you’ll be able to truly get under the skin of one destination.
The benefits of country-intensive voyages
There are many ways that a country-intensive voyage can help you save money whilst travelling. As well as only meaning you’ll be dealing in one currency whilst abroad (no complicated money exchanges to worry about), it also means you’re more likely to venture off the beaten path and explore the local side of a destination.
We spoke to Emma from Field and Nest, who told us why slower travel is her preference: “Rather than rushing around, ticking off a list of 'must-see' places, you can dig around a little to find the soul of your destination.
“Travelling with a slower mindset helps me save money on my trips, as I spend more time walking around and discovering the places the locals frequent, rather than hopping in taxis and frequenting tourist traps.”
Alex and Lucille, the couple behind travel blog We Moved Abroad, agree that exploring places more intensively is the way to go, telling us: “One of the main reasons we love to travel is the opportunity to see the world through someone else’s eyes. For us, slow travel is the best way to have these kinds of experiences. When you give yourself time to step outside of the guidebook and see things beyond the main tourist destinations, you can start to absorb the local culture in a deeper and more meaningful way.”
Travelling is an amazing thing that creates memories which last a lifetime; however, some people believe that travelling slower means you’ll be able to remember more.
Audrey from the Uncornered Market explains why slow travel works for her and her husband: “We prefer slow travel as it allows one to really go deeper into a place, to have time to observe the small details that one usually misses when rushing from place to place.”
She told us how this can help their memories of a trip: “By doing or seeing less you actually experience and remember more. Instead of your travels becoming a blur of different sites, cities, or ‘top ten’ lists from travelling quickly and trying to cover as many countries in one trip, you're able to actually remember and create deeper memories when travelling slower and actually being present everywhere you go.”
Dee from Vanilla Papers explained how slow travel has helped her remember her trips better: “Slow travel lets me really get to know a destination and it can turn an ordinary vacation into a meaningful - or even life-changing - experience. When I slowed down, I realized how much travel can teach us about the world and about ourselves.
Dee also told us that “slow travel makes the world a smaller place. You realize humanity has so much in common. The cultural differences are still there, but you begin to understand them, and you understand how your own culture has its own peculiarities too.”
Bri, a travel blogger at Bucketlist Bri agreed: “Most often, people want to see and do as much as possible when travelling. Which is fine but when then the vacation ends, they tend to go, ‘What just happened?’ It’s like the saying goes, ‘If you’ve only been to Paris, you haven’t really been to France’.”
Have less of an impact
In the current climate, ensuring that you are travelling with as little impact as possible is important to many people. Single-country cruising is a great way to ensure this, meaning you are giving back to a country over a period of time. Instead of simply visiting for a day and moving on, you can explore multiple towns and cities and put money back into those areas.
Bri told us how she feels her impact is lessened by slow travelling: “When you travel slowly you are more likely to be mindful of the places you visit, and you are likely to reflect more eco-friendly values. So slow travellers will often shop local, reduce their consumption, avoid single-use plastics as they see it as a harmful result of a society dependent on convenience, and they tend to promote more values aligned with those of ethical tourism.”
When you know you’ve got more time on your hands, you’re likely to explore better, right? Well, with single-country cruising, you’ll know that the taste you’re getting of this country isn’t the last so you can take more time to explore every facet of a place. You can ensure that you venture into the hidden gems of an area and explore the culture at more depth.
Mariellen from the India travel blog Breathedreamgo told us about her slow travel journey: “I started travelling in 2005 when I went on a six-month odyssey across the Indian subcontinent. I fell in love with the country, people, culture, and landscape of India and really never looked back. Since then, I have been content to explore as much of this fascinating and diverse country as possible. It's very satisfying to feel at home in a culture that's very different than your own -- to learn as much of the language and customs as possible, to follow the seasons and the festivals, and to fully immerse into the experience.”
By dedicating your cruise to getting to know a destination on a deeper level, it allows yourself to immerse into it more than you ever could in a single day.
Mark and Mim blog at The Common Wanderer. They told us: “10 years ago, our travels were focused on ticking off bucket-list items as quickly as possible. We travelled at breakneck speed, visiting 10 + countries in a month. But we quickly realised we weren't actually experiencing the countries we visited. We realised less is more.
“Slow travel allows this - to stop and observe culture and life that exists in somewhere foreign to home. This, for us at least, is the very reason we travel. It allows us to observe life in a destination, beyond the main attractions; to explore to get lost, not to tick off 'must-sees'; to wake up for sunrise and sip wine for sunset.”
Whether you are looking at our cruises from Southampton, or want to go further afield, we offer a great range of single-country cruises that can get you to the heart of a destination. Alternatively, you can choose to add a Land Program on to the start or end of your voyage to extend your time in a particular place and enjoy unique locations that show you an authentic glimpse of a culture.