Cruising on a budget

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Mary is keen to give cruising a go, but life keeps throwing financial curve balls that have put her dream on hold. We suggest cruising options that are both rejuvenating and affordable, and are a great way to give cruising a try.

Q. Mary
I would love to go on a cruise, but finances seem to be conspiring against me. Every time I almost get enough, something comes up which requires funding. I feel ready to cruise now before time runs out but where can I go on a limited budget?

A. Mary, it’s time to grab the bull by the horns and get yourself on the water. Part of the expense of a cruise overseas is the cost of the flights to get there and back. Considering a cruise within, or departing from, Australia will not only eliminate the need for expensive international flights but it’s a great way to get a taste of cruising in a more familiar environment.

Our very own David has enjoyed a relaxing paddle steamer cruise along the Murray and would heartedly recommend it. Cruises on the PS Murray Princess vary in duration, so you can spend a little or as long as you would like kicking back and enjoying the trip. Find out more about the wonderful cruising opportunity the Murray River offers.

There are several companies that offer Kimberley cruises, which vary in duration and price. You can find more details by visiting Kimberley Cruises, which lists all the cruises in the area. 

Princess Cruises offers a two-night cruise from Sydney to Melbourne, and vice versa, from just $358 per person, twin share. 

P&O Cruises offers a four-night cruise from Sydney to Moreton Island from $599 per person, twin share or a four-night cruise from Brisbane to the Whitsundays from $799 per person, twin share. 

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Written by Debbie McTaggart

15 Comments

Total Comments: 15
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    Two are two other alternatives. However you need flexibility. These are last minute cruises and repositioning cruises. Last year we on a repositioning cruise where we met a couple who were able to get a cabin, flights, and overnight hotel very cheap. However you don’t have a choice of your cabin. You have to take what is available. The same with cruises leaving Australia going to the islands, NZ etc. You may only have a week to organise things before you are on the cruise.

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    Think I’d pass on cruising altogether and think I’d have cabin fever after the first day or so…

    Bunches of tourists floating around on a boat together not really my cup of tea….

    Would much prefer a trekking/walking holiday or similar to really get the feel for a place…

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      Go to Tassie, there’s no better place, so many walks, you’ll love it. Lived there for 10 years.

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      The Greek Islands cruise we did earlier in the year had a shore excursion EVERY DAY. Amazing sights and amazing value.
      I though that the budget Inside Cabin was a dumb thing to do but we only ever were there to sleep so it worked, even though I suffer from a bit of claustrophobia.

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    I think you can forget the Kimberleys, apart from the cost of the cruise there is the cost of getting there, not a cheap option at all.

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    Curious to do a cruise but would only like one that does the West Coast of Australia (ie Freeo or Perth to Darwin or Broome or the reverse of this)
    Has anyone heard of such a cruise & how would I find it? Thanks

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    I work on $100 or less per night. Having said that we cruised the Greek Islands earlier in the year on double that, but you normally do not get much in the Greek Islands for what we forked out. I have to say it cost but what we got was worth heaps more……and most operators charge much more.

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    Cheezil61,There is a cruise like that. We had booked to go on a cruise up the West coast to Broome and Darwin, but had to cancel, as ship was having trouble. Some poor suckers got to Freeo and told that ship was not going anywhere. SOO if you book one check the ship first.Cost us heaps to rearrange to get to Darwin to pick up the Ghan to Adelaide part of the Booking.We could have gone to Paris for the price of the Flights. And agree forget the Kimberly cruise tooo dear.

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      Hey, thanks SMMM this is very helpful info, but do you remember the Cruise company name/who it was with?…
      Yes, I have seen the advertising, etc for the Kimberly Cruises & they looked a bit luxe for my liking.

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    My travel agent put me onto this (I am hoping) great idea, I booked nearly 15months ago on my next cruise, as I pay for a ghost passenger (single supplement rip-off) the company I like to use, have a cabin class now, you pay a set cost, you cannot choose where your cabin is, as I have done in the past, and they guarantee you a BALCONY cabin!! Leave in March, and cannot wait to see how it pans out.
    The company send out information before the cruise goes on sail, and it up to you how you decide to act.
    So am keeping my fingers crossed.
    Tried an inside cabin once (was much cheaper than outside) NEVER again, I had not taken a clock – there was no clock in the room, and my eyes now cannot see my watch at night, so would wake up not knowing if I had missed breakfast or whatever – not for me I am afraid.

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      I agree, couldn’t think of anything worse than an inside cabin, might be ok for those who only sleep in there and don’t care (much like staying in no star hotels) but its nice to have a liveable cabin in case you want to relax away from all the hullabaloo on board. Single supplements are a rip off, twice the price but we don’t use twice the amount of facilities or food etc. What’s the name of the cruise company? Is a ghost passenger is non existent until they find you a cabin?

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    There is a cruise done by a number of the cruise lines either going from Sydney to Perth or vice versa. It does Perth Geralderton Lombok or another Imdosnesian port depending on the company. Broome, Darwin, cruising through the Kimberlies, Port Douglas Airlie Beach, Brisbane then Sydney depending on the company. Again the later you book then the cheaper it is depending on what choice of cabins are available. As for those who have not been on a cruise and commented you are not helpful. As you have not been on a cruise you do not know what you are talking about. There is a variety of things to do or nothing at all if that is what you want. We did the above cruise and that was the only way we were able to afford to seethe Western Coast of Australia. We did a reposition gcruise from Hong Kong to Sydney. We stopped at Vietnam, Singapore, and Darwin, Port Douglas and Sydney. We saw places we had never seen and would not been able to necessarily afford. The trick is to do you homework and find other alternatives to the ship excursions which are expensive.

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      Hi “Interested Iasy” I would be interested to know the Cruise company you did the West Coast of Australia cruise with please?… or how do I find them? Google maybe, but I can never seem to find specifics with Google, just lots of rubbish amongst it all (making it difficult to find EXACTLY what I am after!)

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    Princess cruises does the west coast and that is who we did with. Royal carribean also does it as does p & o. Look at sites like oz cruising or put in last minute cruises in your search engines. On the p and o website they have an area called pack and go. There are other sites but i just remember them. Princess does various lectures on seas days which can be very interesting. When we went through the Kimberlies they brought a navigator on board who described various things to look out for and some of the history.


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