For golfers who want to combine some serious golf with the relaxation and luxury of a cruise, a golf cruise can provide the best of both worlds. With the cruise ship becoming a floating hotel and clubhouse, players have the opportunity to experience a range of courses in different locations, as the ship docks in different ports of call.
Like any cruise, all the accommodations and meals are included. Many golf cruises include club rental, or at least offer it, and most allow players to try (and buy) new equipment. For players who bring their own clubs, storage and club valet service is usually a part of the package. Tee times are always reserved and transportation from the ship to the club and back is also included. Many golf cruises have on-board professionals, along with clinics and lessons.
Norwegian Cruise Line
In partnership with Elite Golf Cruises, NCL offers a great series of golf cruises on eight of their ships, complete with a floating comprehensive on-board golf academy. It's a great way to play a lot of golf, along with an opportunity to really work on and improve skills. Players get complimentary golf clinics and an on-board PGA pro for lessons. Golf cruisers get priority disembarkation in ports and VIP access to the best courses in each destination. More than just a ride to the course, the excursions are guided by experienced professionals who advise players about the course, layout, and area. There's even a free custom club fitting with the opportunity to purchase gear duty free. Through a partnership with Nike Golf, players can demo, rent, or purchase new Nike Golf products. Norwegian's golf cruises are offered in Hawaii, Bermuda, and the Caribbean.
This North Carolina-based golf tour operator offers a range of golf cruises around the world. The highlight is their British Open Golf Cruise, in July, aboard the Azamara Quest. The 10-day cruise (from $7,749 per person) offers five rounds of classic links golf play, as well as a VIP experience at the British Open. Another golf cruise experience is their Lowcountry Golf Yacht Cruise aboard the tall-masted yacht Freedom, cruising between Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. This four-day cruise, limited to 10 guests, includes three rounds of golf (from $5,300 per person). The company also offers golf river cruises in France, England, and Scotland.
GolfAhoy is a golf cruise specialist affiliated with American Express. We did a Hawaii golf cruise with them a few years ago and were very impressed with their attention to detail. We got the idea they really were golfers, as everything was taken care of down to the last detail. They currently offer a 10 Day VIP Deluxe Circle Hawaii Islands Golf Cruise, which gives golfers access to high-end courses not available to regular cruise passengers. Golfers can play Kapalua Plantation Golf Club, Mauna Lani or Moana Kea Golf Clubs, and the Prince Course at Princeville on Kauai. The cruise starts at $7,349 per person, double occupancy, during low (summer) season. The experience includes a three-day pre-cruise stay at the Turtle Bay Golf & Spa Resort (with golf each day).
A golf cruise delivers all the fun and excitement of a normal cruise, which means families and spouses can have a great time, even if they never swing a club. It provides a great opportunity for the golfer or golfers in the family to have an immersive golf experience with a lot of coaching and course play, while the non-golfers can also enjoy their time. Everyone then eats together and spends nighttime together.
It's always possible to turn any cruise, with appropriate ports of call, into a golf cruise. Many cruise companies offer golf excursions as part of their normal tour offerings. Even without assistance from ship's personnel, golfers can simply coordinate their port visits with golf reservations. Before traveling, golfers can research golf clubs in their destination ports and then contact the clubs directly. Many are used to dealing with cruise ship passengers and may offer complete packages, including club rental and transportation to and from the port.