Cruising: top tips to consider before you set sail

A handy guide for what mature travellers should look for in a cruise.

Cruising couple walking on a ship's deck

It’s hard to trump the dream of lounging on the deck of a luxury cruise ship, overlooking sapphire seas, with a colourful cocktail in one hand and a gripping novel in the other.

But cruising can have its perils. Imagine being trapped on a ship with 77 squealing kids as they throw themselves down a waterslide …

So, what should more mature travellers look for in a cruise? To start with there’s the key components that make for a good cruise:

  1. having the everyday travel details looked after
  2. travelling to multiple destinations
  3. unpacking only once
  4. top-notch pampering, service and fine food
  5. value for money.

Following these core requirements, there are four further considerations that more discerning travellers should consider to get the most out of their cruise.

Choice of itinerary
Itinerary choice is important for seasoned travellers who’ve already visited a large number of destinations. For many, relaxing on a cruise deck or in an observation lounge and watching awe-inspiring scenery pass by is highly regarded – especially for those who may not be as mobile as they once were. Others, who are still quite active, may prefer to plant their feet on dry land whenever possible. Cruises with scenic-focused itineraries work better when they are close to shorelines, so that the wildlife and natural beauty can be easily observed and enjoyed. 

Enrichment programs
Also important are the quality and quantity of enrichment programs available on board, especially for those who wish to maintain active brains during their trip. Learning a new skill, gaining knowledge or even working on your dance moves,  can make you feel younger and more energetic. This can result in a more rewarding trip that sees you returning home even more accomplished than when you left.

Options for all types of travellers
Whether by choice or personal circumstance, a lot of seasoned travellers may find themselves travelling solo, yet most cruise lines concentrate on couples. This means that cruising alone can be expensive, mainly due to limited access to twin-share rates. It can also be a bit more difficult having to do everything by yourself. And, in a domain dominated by duos, solo cruising can be a little lonely. 

Many grandparents find that organising a cruise for the whole family, including adult children and grandchildren, is a great way to see the world, keep in touch and not be alone on the holidays. However, with a greater range of ages comes the challenge of keeping everyone satisfied and occupied. Cruise lines that cater to a wide range of age groups are the best option for this type of trip.

Medical care
For travellers with mobility or health issues, finding ships with high-quality medical care and good accessibility is important. It’s also a good idea to check the availability of on-board physicians and clinicians who can treat chronic conditions. For passengers with specific dietary requirements or restrictions, it’s advisable to find out what types of meals are served from the galley. Most cruise operators will be happy to work with your specific requirements, however, should they not be, it’s best to know beforehand.

What’s your top tip for cruising? Share it in the comments below. 

More articles that may interest you:

Cruising: what to pack
Seven essential cruise tips
Big ships versus small ships





    COMMENTS

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    Gra
    9th Jan 2016
    8:53am
    Ahhhhhhhhh, cruising. Just back from an 8 night cruise on Celebrity Solstice where we visited Noumea, Mystery Island and Lifou. Beautiful weather, relatively calm seas (95% of the time anyway) but a mystery to me why a ship of that size always had a slight roll from side to side - it was as though the stabilizers hadn't been activated. We had a mix of people on board - from toddlers to a few people well into their 80's. There were activities on board to suit everyone, from the kids club to Bocce up on the turfed top deck (real turf, not synthetic). We had great fun taking part in the putting competitions - made difficult with strategically placed obstacles and when they were done with there were plenty of other activities in which we could participate. The idea that the service wasn't personal on a large cruise ship (Solstice had 2850 people on board) and by the end of the first day the crew members in the various cafes, bars and dining rooms we were using knew us and were addressing us by name. Would I cruise with Celebrity Cruises again? Most certainly and I would recommend them to everyone.
    Gra
    9th Jan 2016
    8:55am
    I should add the slight rolling I mentioned didn't cause any real problems and didn't induce any sea sickness in anyone in our party or people we spoke to.
    Fran
    9th Jan 2016
    10:36am
    Interesting Gra, I sailed on the same ship two years ago on a Xmas Cruise to NZ, I love the destination, however why I booked a Xmas Cruise will forever annoy me. There were 460 children on board, the teenagers were just out of control, the parents must have jumped overboard! Why they have security cameras and security (I am told) I do not know, around the pool area there are lovely igloos you can relax in, just read or sleep etc., however every night the teens would drink (where did they get this?) and make such a disgusting mess of these igloos, the early morning swimmers had to wake them up and shoo them back to their cabins. You would have to have seen the mess to believe it, when we asked how this was allowed to go on every night, we were fobbed off! Other than that it was a lovely ship, complete with glass blowing attraction! However I will stick to my Adults only ships from now on!!

    9th Jan 2016
    11:05am
    If you like partying (all night), music (loud/all the time), and drunks (everywhere) take a 3-day cruise offered by both P & O and Princess. It doesn't go anywhere, just out into the ocean and back, but you will have a SPLENDID time. Never again!
    PlanB
    9th Jan 2016
    11:36am
    Although I love the sea and sailing, however I have never done a cruise on a liner I have had quite a few friends that have and 3 of them -- at different times came down with different things one was legionnaires - very serious -- another dreadful tummy gut bug was also serious and ruined they holiday another very bad dose of the Flu.

    I have come to conclusion that they are a floating petri dish just waiting to infect everyone
    Gra
    10th Jan 2016
    3:39pm
    Unfortunate that your friends have had these kinds of problems, it would be interesting which cruise lines that had travelled with.
    I have only cruised twice but the attention to sanitation and disinfecting everything by Norwegian Cruise Lines and Celebrity X Cruises is first class. I am not aware of any serious illnesses on either cruise lines. On both cruises there were hand sanitisers everywhere, especially at entrances to the dining rooms and there was always a crew member greeting you as you entered a dining room. If you didn't use the sanitising station they had a bottle of hand sanitiser to squirt on your hands. My opinion is if people get some sickness like that, there is a fair chance they have contributed to it themselves.

    9th Jan 2016
    12:00pm
    If you are so unfortunate enough to require medical care whilst onboard a cruise the ONLY upside to your sickbay treatment is that it will probably the last time you will be ill at sea, as you will be so "out of pocket" afterwards that you won't have enough money to sail again.
    PlanB
    9th Jan 2016
    12:25pm
    Yes Eddie so my Friends told me.

    Plus as nice as these cruises seem, it would drive me mad to be surrounded by all these people and have to dress for dinner every night, I am a very casual person and would hate all that pomp.
    I also love peace and quite and would not be at all interested in concerts etc etc.
    On a nice private Yacht, I would love it, peace and quite and dress or undress as I felt like and explore explore.

    I would also be frustrated by not being able to explore places to the full extent
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2016
    12:59pm
    PlanB, in all seriousness, my wife and I have been on many cruises and are booked for another two this year. We don't feel like lab rats awaiting to be diagnosed with some form of incurable virus or anything, although I was hospitalised with pneumonia two days after disembarking on one occasion . This hasn't deterred us from going again, usually with Princess, and we seldom get off the ship (nor fall overboard) when in a port, as we prefer air-conditioned comfort and are really not interested in how other people live in most countries. Meal arrangements can be made to suit the individual, entertainment is widely varied, and there always seems to be something of interest for all. Get some printed info and give it a thought. You may become an "old salt", me hearty! Good luck.
    Peterrj
    9th Jan 2016
    1:45pm
    Not for me, I want to be 'in' the water with flippers, mask and snorkel and not on top of it all dressed up.
    Gra
    10th Jan 2016
    3:42pm
    No need to get all dressed up Peterrj. As long as your clothing is clean and respectable you can go most anywhere on Celebrity Solstice. They do frown on swimmers and thongs in the dining rooms of an evening though.
    Yer man
    9th Jan 2016
    1:58pm
    You've got to pick the right cruise line and anytime but during school holidays. There is tremendous competition in Australia between cruise lines so shop around . Would prefer to sail around the Pacific rather than be on one of the hundred ships that cruise the Mediterranean . Have done 14 cruises and the two that stand out are the river cruise in China and Amsterdam to Budapest . So you may have to dress up for dinner. How many times do you do that at home?. Cruising-the way to go.
    PlanB
    9th Jan 2016
    2:56pm
    No Yer man ---- I never dress for dinner at home --couldn't stand to have to -- would much rather do as Peterrj said and hire a Yacht
    -- as do not own our own now -- and do diving. I am not as interested in people as I am in Nature and would choose to sail where there is NO ONE -- but thats hard to do these days --that why we sold our boat and glad I I did it when it was deserted

    Eddie I can stay at home in the Air Con and see the water from the window -- and as II said not at all interested in being entertained at all
    Peterrj
    9th Jan 2016
    3:49pm
    Plan B. We intended to go Whale Shark hunting in June. Any tips what we should use as bait???
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2016
    3:57pm
    Plankton.
    PlanB
    9th Jan 2016
    4:06pm
    Yes Eddie Politicions
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2016
    4:41pm
    No, PLANKTON! NOT politicions, or even POLITICIANS!
    Peterrj
    10th Jan 2016
    10:15am
    Fast Eddie. Yeah, but how do you put 'plankton' on a hook?
    Gra
    10th Jan 2016
    3:50pm
    The days of getting dressed up for dinner are gone - on Celebrity Cruises anyway. Smart casual is the go now, no more need to throw on the tux although there were a few snobs who turned up dressed to the nines. They got the same service as my party dressed in casual clothing. If anything, we got better service because befriended our wait staff rather than treating them like servants which is what the snobs did.
    PlanB
    10th Jan 2016
    4:46pm
    Yes I am sure you always get that sort no matter where you go Gra,

    How ever usually for dinner here after I have been out of a day OR working in the garden I have my shower and put on my PJs and I am sure that would not do ; )

    No I am sure cruising is not for me

    9th Jan 2016
    7:47pm
    I think Plan B is dyslectic. Don't complain. See his '...peace and quite' .
    Anonymous
    9th Jan 2016
    8:09pm
    Na, just a bit hard to get through to. He's OK and contributes a lot to the site besides the laughs.
    PlanB
    10th Jan 2016
    6:55am
    G'day greenie,

    I did not understand your remark, can you explain it please

    (I think Plan B is dyslectic. Don't complain. See his '...peace and quite' . )
    Peterrj
    10th Jan 2016
    9:56pm
    PlanB, I think that his Avatar name explains everything!
    PlanB
    11th Jan 2016
    6:39am
    I still do not understand Greenie's remark Peterrj-- if anyone can explain ? I can not see anything wrong with my statement
    "peace and quite"
    GrannyD
    11th Jan 2016
    5:03pm
    PlanB - it's because you said "quite" instead of "quiet". Just the wrong word or perhaps a spelling error. No big deal really, we knew what you meant. Greenie is just being pedantic as greenies can tend to be. You enjoy your peace and quiet and don't take any notice. :)
    PlanB
    30th Jul 2016
    8:03am
    Thanks Granny my mistake
    GrannyD
    11th Jan 2016
    5:07pm
    Greenie: By the way, those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones - the word is dyslexic NOT dyslectic. :)
    PlanB
    12th Jan 2016
    6:59am
    Touché GrannyD
    old fart
    29th Jul 2016
    5:51pm
    Children, children children
    PlanB
    12th Jan 2016
    7:01am
    Saw this on the ABC

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-08/curson-cruise-together-and-get-sick-together/7075930


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