Cruises have come a long way since they were first introduced in 1835. Once the domain of the elderly or families seeking a chilled-out escape, now more and more people of all ages and backgrounds are holidaying on cruise ships, from celebrities seeking seclusion to twenty-somethings wanting to see the world.

In fact, last year, 1.7 million UK travellers went on a cruise – up almost 10% from 2011.

So if you’ve never considered going on a cruise holiday, here are some reasons they’re brilliant – and we’ve thrown in some cheap deals that might help change your mind.

The Different Countries

If you can’t afford the jet-set lifestyle but still want luxury and comfort while travelling, cruises are a great option to help you get around the globe without breaking the bank. They’re also a good way of visiting a variety of different countries and cultures in a relatively short space of time, without the hassle of dragging a backpack from place to place.

show via flickr by peptic_ulcer

The Entertainment

When the ship’s sailing, there are plenty of things to keep you entertained onboard – and we’re not talking about amateur magic tricks. As well as formal events such as the Captain’s Ball and fancy dress parties, there are also gyms, spas, casinos, and even miniature golf courses on board to keep you entertained. Many ships also spotlight celebrity performances including West End or Broadway shows and top comedy acts.

fine dining

The Food

Another reason to choose a cruise is the great grub. Some liners have partnerships with high profile chefs such as Gary Rhodes and Marco Pierre White, who whip up dishes on a nightly basis. However, it’s not just the quality that’s top of the line, but the choice; most ships cater to all culinary tastes and host wine tasting sessions – so you’ll know the best tipple to pair with your meal. Cheers to that!

Cruise ship M.S. Maasdam leaving St. John's Harbour

The Star-Spotting

Not only are the amenities (and staff) five-star – but you might even catch a few of Hollywood’s hottest names among your fellow passengers. In recent years, A-listers such as Liam Gallagher, Robbie Coltrane and Dolly Parton have been seen on cruises. Girls Aloud’s Kimberly Walsh was also snapped on-board in the Caribbean, and Alesha Dixon went to the Mexican Riviera. If it’s good enough for the celebs…

deck via flickr by rennett stowe

The Price

Although the word “cruise” seems to denote expense, the reality is that these holidays work out pretty cheap. Often full board and inclusive of activities, if you fancy getting in on the action, here are some deals for this month and next year:

1. Canary Islands Cruise on MSC Armonia: only £449
Departing Santa Cruz de Tenerife on 22nd November – arriving back 29th November, full board.

2. Winter Getaway Cruise on the Queen Mary II: only £249
Departs Southampton, UK. 26th November – arriving back 29th November, full board.

3. Welcome to Spring Cruise aboard the Marco Polo: from only £359
Departs London, Tilbury on 30th March 2014, returning 4th April 2014, full board.

4.New York & Caribbean Cruise: from only £999
Departing Cape Liberty, New Jersey in November, full board.

What do you think about cruise holidays?

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