Europe is wonderfully diverse with something for every taste and interest. It is a connoisseur’s paradise with bountiful produce and delicious cuisines. If it is intellectual and cultural stimulation you are after, you will find it at every turn. Follow the footstep of Vikings, learn about the Roman Empire or dream of Grecian gods and goddesses.
Tourism and travel remains one of the most significant parts of the European economy. What’s more, it’s a sector that the European zone is committed to protecting – worth some $US780 billion to the EU economy in 2014.
Australians make over 1.3 million trips to Europe every year, and about 60 per cent of those trips are for holidays.
And cruising – whether by river or ocean – retains its status as one of Australians’ preferred ways to holiday in the region. Almost 100,000 Australians cruise there each year.
So why should you choose to cruise?
Cruising is an incredibly cost efficient way to travel in what can be an expensive continent; you pay one upfront fare that covers all your accommodation, transport, main meals, activities and entertainment.
It’s also very convenient for a continent with so many appealing locations. You get to visit multiple destinations and unpack just once; the ship transports you from port to port while you sleep, which means no lugging your bag from train to hotel. If chosen well, a cruise line will manage those difficult travel days on behalf of its guests, allowing you to make their most of your time – because really, isn’t that what a holiday is all about?
Price-wise, there has never been a better time to visit Europe. There are terrific last minute deals on air, land and water available right now, including cruise packages from as little as A$100 per night – including meals. We challenge you to find another method of holiday which compares to the affordability of a cruise, combining transit, accommodation and meals.
Plus, choosing a cruise lets you book your holiday in Australian dollars. You will pay a nominal deposit to lock in the price and the cabin, and you are then protected against currency fluctuations that may impact later.
Unlike all other forms of transport, cruising gives you the flexibility to choose what you do with your downtime, allowing for maximum comfort and relaxation between destinations. Whether you choose to relax in your room with a movie, go to the pool for a swim, work up a sweat in the gym, chill out at the bar or dine in one of many onboard restaurants, cruising is the ultimate form of relaxed travel. And it sure beats being confined to a seat on a bus, train, car or plane! Best of all, you can sleep at night knowing you will wake up in an exciting new port the next morning.
The atmosphere on most cruise ships is friendlier than in day-to-day life, because people are always happier on holiday! And making friends and connecting with your fellow travellers is a lot simpler when you are holidaying together for a week or more.
Which line is right for you?
Once you’ve done your research online, and asked your friends and family for their tips, your travel agent is the best source of expert knowledge on how to choose the cruise that’s right for you.
One to consider is Celebrity Cruises; a premium cruise line for those like a little luxury and ships that are modern and sophisticated. Celebrity Cruises’ fleet of five ships will call at 92 different ports this summer on 83 voyages, offering a variety of Europe cruise packages from as little as A$100 per night. Celebrity Cruises knows how guests like to stay connected so it offers a brand new high-speed internet service, Xcelerate, which lets you easily stream video-messaging services such as FaceTime and Skype, or access entertainment services such as Netflix.
For anyone who’s been on Australia’s very own Celebrity Solstice – Celebrity will be operating all four of her Solstice Class sisters in Europe, each from a different homeport: Venice, Barcelona, Rome and Southampton.
These are some of the most highly awarded ships in the region: US Travel Weekly’s Best Premium Cruise Line of the year 2015, four years in a row; Cruise Critic’s ‘Best Mediterranean Cruises’ 2015; plus Solstice took the crown of Australia’s favourite cruise ship at the National Travel Industry Awards in 2015.
So if you are thinking about Europe, consider a cruise. And remember, no matter the destination you travel to, it’s always recommended to be vigilant about your personal safety and belongings. Remain careful, but not fearful.
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