Cruising is one of the fastest growing travel sectors, enticing Australians of all ages to the open seas. While many people would like to give cruising a go, they’re just not sure where to start.
1. Firstly, decide where to go rather than focus on a particular cruise ship or cruise line. Cruises run all year round but certain cruise ships or lines may only visit your desired destination once a year.
2. Consider how long you wish to go for, or can afford to be away from home. This will help narrow down your options and assist with the an important decision – one way or a round trip.
3. Think about when you want to go. If you’re not bound by designated holiday periods then shoulder seasons often offer the chance to find a deal. Also, Europe in autumn may be preferential to a baking summer sun.
4. Which line best suits your needs? Some cruise lines are child-friendly, while others promote themselves to honeymooners, not much fun when you’re looking for a child-free solo cruise. Also some have stringent dress codes and assigned times for meals, which may not be conducive to getting away from it all and relaxing.
5. Does it fit your budget? Don’t simply look at the price of the cruise. Consider if it is all-inclusive, what additional trips are available and will you need airfares? If this is a once-in-a-lifetime cruise, you don’t want to miss out on those special highlights but neither do you want to come back to a whopping great credit card bill. Remember, the earlier you book, the more savings which are often available.
6. Size matters. Smaller ships will offer a more personalised cruising experience and will be able to dock in the smaller ports but the leisure facilities and dining options may be limited.
Once you have an outline of what your needs are, then there are many specialist cruising websites and agents which can help you book your trip. For more information on cruising, visit cruising.org.au.