The International Cruise Council of Australasia (www.cruising.org.au) has the following tips for planning your holiday:
1. Research – take a moment to think about your perfect cruise holiday and decide how much time you have, how much you can spend and who you will travel with. This will make it much easier to decide which cruise holiday is for you!
2. Ship – modern-day cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes offering a wide variety of cruise holidays to suit everyone, from small luxury vessels cruising Europe’s rivers to megaliners offering a huge choice of onboard activities like rock climbing and dance lessons.
3. Destination – if you have a particular destination in mind, chances are that there’s a cruise ship that goes there. As the popularity of cruising holidays grows, so too do the number of destinations that ships visit each year.
4. Season – compare your availability with the best time to travel to your preferred destination. Places like Alaska are only accessible during the Australian winter, others like the Caribbean are great to cruise to year-round, while kids love to travel with playmates the same age during school holidays.
5. Knowledge – make sure to speak with a cruise expert to help you organise your dream cruise. The Cruise Council website’s Travel Agent Search will put you in touch with an accredited travel agent in your local area.
6. Cabins – when it comes to your home-away-from-home, think about what sort of holiday you want. If you plan to spend little time in your cabin, opt for a smaller, inside cabin and take the savings with you as extra spending money. A larger cabin might suit a longer voyage or for a little luxury, choose a private balcony and soak up the incredible views.
7. Dress – cruise passengers often look forward to the chance to dress up on their holidays. Some cruise lines have very casual dress codes while others can be quite classy, particularly on formal nights. It’s a good idea to check dress codes for the cruise ship you select.
8. Deals – book as far in advance as possible to get the best deals and choice of cabin on your cruise holiday. And don’t forget if you are travelling with a group of friends or family there may be special group deals.
9. Packages – cruise lines offer a host of services designed to take the stress out of planning your holiday and save you money. Many will offer special deals on flights and accommodation in the cities where your cruise begins or ends, as well as transfers to the ship.
10. Paperwork – taking out comprehensive travel insurance is a must to ensure any hassle-free holiday. Before you book, make sure your passport is current for at least six months after the date you return home and also check with your travel agent or cruise line if any visas are necessary.
For those already booked but don’t know where to start packing, here is a list of essentials to ensure your holiday is hassle-free and enjoyable.
+ Beach Bag including sunscreen, bathers, hat, sunglasses, thongs and a good book!
+ Formal/Semi Formal attire (this will vary for each cruise so best to confirm with your travel agent)
+ Walking shoes (especially useful for days in Port)
+ Exercise Clothing
+ Windbreaker Jacket
+ Travel Documents including passport, cruise documents, airline tickets etc.
+ Power Plug and Converter
+ Casual/Resort-style Clothing
+ Toiletries and Medication
+ Credit cards/Bank Details
What should you leave behind?
+ Excess clothing (laundry facilities are available – please check with your travel agent)
+ Any worries or hassles from your day to day life! – sit back, relax and enjoy!