From amazing sights to bargain cabins and avoiding airport hassle, why cruising should be everyone’s getaway.
Cruising is far and away the fastest growing segment of the travel industry. Last year record numbers of Aussies and Kiwis took a seaborne holiday, and those numbers are predicted to grow as the summer season begins Down Under.
Most attention focusses on the new mega-ships like Royal Caribbean’s 230,000-ton Symphony of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship, which carries up to 6680 passengers. Smaller ships (Seabourn, Silversea and Viking lines, for instance) offer a luxurious and more personalised style of voyage.
The next generation will be Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages in 2020, which intends to reach a younger audience with a new style of eco-friendly cruising.
If you’ve never considered a cruise, here are 10 reasons you should:
1. Astonishing value: A cruise is the all-inclusive holiday par excellence. Many fly-cruises departing from a foreign port are likely to include return flights. Also included will be three meals a day and entertainment – it may also include drinks and tours.
2. So much to see: Many cruises offer a different place every day: every morning a new port, in a new country, when you open your stateroom curtains. And remember, you only have to unpack and pack once.
3. So much to do: Today’s ships are packed with gyms and spas, games, classes on wine-tasting to art appreciation, quizzes and professional theatre shows.
4. Family fun: Lots of other children to play with, kids’ clubs for all ages.
5. Avoid airport hassle: ‘Nuff said.
6. Unforgettable moments: Cruising offers a wealth of Instagram moments: arriving in New York at dawn, seeing the Northern Lights; sailing past a volcano at night.
7. Romantic adventure: A cruise is the perfect trip for two people in love.
8. Something to suit you: Cruise lines serve different tastes and different prices – family-friendly, older couples, luxurious or all-in fun.
9. Bargains! Any staterooms unsold when a ship departs cost money for the line. It’s not just the price of the cabin – there’s also the loss of what the passengers would have spent in the bars, casino, shops and on excursions.
10. Researching and booking is fun, with lots of internet sites – cruisecritic.com.au, for example – packed with insider information and advice from regular cruisers.
VISIT The Cruise Line Industry Association website for more information and advice.