You never need an excuse to go on a cruise, but sailing the seas aboard a swanky ship is a fabulous way to mark a special occasion. It could be a romantic escape for just the two of you - perhaps a honeymoon or wedding anniversary. Or it could be a larger gathering with family and friends (say to celebrate mum or dad's retirement, a landmark birthday or a son or daughter's graduation).
One of the great things about cruising is how it delights people from across the generations, and if you opt for a voyage with an award-winning, family-friendly operator like Princess Cruises, you can be sure that everyone - young children, teenagers and adults alike - will be kept thoroughly entertained as you toast the special occasion.
With its 16-strong fleet of ocean-going vessels and array of itineraries that cover over 300 ports and destinations - from Alaska to New Zealand, the Mediterranean to the Caribbean - Princess offers enticing cruising options all year round. And the company's fun on-board features and organised off-shore activities really lend themselves to celebratory vacations. So you could, for instance, spend your days enjoying your ship's smile-inducing facilities - like cocktail-fuelled rounds of mini-golf or culinary classes and dance lessons (the young ones may prefer the Movies Under the Stars).
Alternatively, there's a raft of enriching shore excursions to be had, whether it's kayaking or yachting to beautiful secluded bays and private islands, strolling through charming cobbled old towns, or encountering charismatic locals who'll show off exotic local customs and heritage. Back on board, before taking in a Broadway-style show, you can savour multi-course Michelin-worthy fine dining at lavishly-appointed restaurants and cosmopolitan speciality eateries (choose from the likes of American steak and seafood, Italian, French and Japanese). For dessert, cheerful Princess crew can bring out a candle-lit cake and sing 'Happy Birthday' - or other tunes on request.
Sailabrate Good Times
You can really enhance the cruising experience for yourself - or your loved ones - with Princess' indulgent Sailabration packages, which cater for a slew of special occasions. How about arranging for your parents' stateroom to be draped in personalised decorations, while leaving a welcome pack of ice-cool beer for dad and a fragrant bouquet of flowers for mum (and maybe some gift vouchers for on-board beverage packages or shore excursions). Other gift choices include Champagne breakfast in bed or sunset canapes and petit-fours - imagine having these on your stateroom balcony with stirring sea views - or the Pamper Me Package, which includes a therapeutic spa massage, soothing time in the thermal suite and Swiss-chocolate-dipped strawberries paired with a bottle of bubbly.
Did you know you can even get wed - or renew your vows - on a Princess cruise? All ships offer Tie The Knot packages, featuring perks like layered wedding cakes, bridal bouquets, professional musicians and photographers and keepsake wedding certificates. Some Princess vessels have dedicated Wedding Chapels, and you can even get the Captain to perform the legal ceremony as the ship sails at sea. Now that certainly is a vacation to write home - or Instagram - about!