If you’re one of those people who balk at the idea of cruising, you may want to think again. It’s one of the fastest growing travel sectors in Australia with expenditure rising at 15% – 20% annually. If it’s growing at such a rate then it can’t be all that bad. Can it?
Actually no – it’s not that bad. Personally, I’m one of the semi-converted. I’m an independent traveler and the idea of being on the strict itinerary of a cruise ship makes me claustrophobic. Not to mention the thought of crowds of people disembarking at each destination, set meal times and being stuck with a bunch of people I might not like. But… there is more than one style of cruise and I truly believe that everybody can find something to their liking.
Families are more likely to be drawn towards the Mid-range and Mega-ships for their children’s clubs and range of activities. Independent travellers like me will enjoy the Expedition style ships whilst the more discerning travellers will appreciate the service and finesse of the Small Luxury ships (where there are usually less than 250 passengers on board).
Cruise lines that visit Australia
There are several lines that visit Australian waters:
Coral Sea Princess and Linblad Orion Expedition Cruises
P&O Cruises Australia and Holland America Line
Princess Cruises, Cunard, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises
Silversea and Seabourn
There is also a growing trend towards river cruising in Europe. This can be a great way to experience the culture of the great cities without the hassle of planes, trains or driving on the wrong side of the road.
Almost all cruises have ‘shore excursions’. These are a selection of activities for you to do when you disembark each day. They could range from a simple city tour, to kayaking with whales. You will generally find a variety to choose from that cater to all levels of fitness and interests.
Meals & dining onboard
This is where you will probably find the greatest difference between cruise lines and it helps to do your research. Most ships have several dining options – some have set meal times in large canteens, some offer 3 hat restaurants that you need to book before your journey.
Activities & Facilities on board
These are even more varied than the dining options. You’ll find some mega-ships with water slides and entertainment for the kids that rivals Disneyland, shopping arcades, cinemas and more. Generally the minimum will be a pool, gymnasium, a boutique and an entertainment area where you may see music shows, lectures and have daily briefings.
Book a cruise
If you’re looking to book a cruise, talk to your TTFN Travel Confidante. They will help you find a cruise line and voyage that suits your personality. They’ll also help you select the best cabin for your budget based on the particular ship you will be going on (just like seating in planes, some cabins are definitely better positioned than others). Call us on +61 (08) 6382 5000.
Article by Nicola Billens
Nicola Billens is an experienced traveller, having visited all the continents (except Antarctica) over the last 20 years. She’s lived in France, England, Austria and New Zealand and spent many years and many dollars experiencing what this wonderful world has to offer.