Set sail for the perfect holiday with these need-to-know tips for first-time cruisers.
So the time has come; you are going to give cruising a go. And why not? There is something very appealing about a no-fuss holiday where you only unpack once but can wake up in a different port every day. Amid the excitement, however, there are a few things you are still unsure about. Well, relax. We tackle the most common questions asked by first-time cruisers, and include some top tips to ensure you achieve cruise control.
Q: How do I choose the right cruise?
To find your perfect cruise, start by choosing the right ship. Some ships are firmly focused on family entertainment, with water parks, adventure activities and clubs for kids of all ages. Others are perfectly geared for grown-ups, with adults-only pools, luxurious spas and more sophisticated dining options. Pick the ship that works for you and you are on the way to a dream holiday.
Q: Who should I travel with?
We all know that the right travel companion can make or break your holiday. With so many decisions to make each day – get up early or sleep in, tick off another four sights before lunch or slow things down a little – arguments can happen quickly. One of the great things about cruising is that it gives everyone the freedom to do what they want. That applies not just to shore excursions, but also to onboard activities: you can take a cocktail making class, for instance, while they lie by the pool. With so many opportunities to do things your way, just about anyone can be your perfect cruising companion: your partner, a group of your friends, even your mum and dad.
Q: What about the food?
Food is an essential part of every holiday, which is why cruise ships give their guests plenty of choice. That applies not just to what you eat – today’s onboard eateries include everything from Asian restaurants and pizza parlours to elegant restaurants offering degustation dinners – but also to when you eat. If you like a routine, find a ship where you sit down at the same table at the same time every night. Prefer to mix things up? Opt for a vessel where you can dine at a different restaurant every night. Insider tip: if you enjoy the odd night in, choose a ship that offers room service.
Q: Will I get seasick?
This one is easy to answer: no, probably not. Today’s ships are equipped not just with stabilisers, which make for smooth sailing, but also with state-of-the-art technology which allows them to avoid bad weather. If you are still concerned, choose a cabin on a lower deck in the middle of the vessel, where you will feel very little motion.
Q: Is there a secret to choosing the right shore excursion?
The best tip when it comes to shore excursions is to think ahead. If you start pondering your choices once you are on board, you may have left it too late. After all, there is no point to signing up for a half-day hike if you don’t have your walking shoes with you, is there? Given the sheer variety of options available – everything from quad bike rides to cultural tours, wildlife experiences to helicopter joy flights – there are some big decisions to make. If you have your heart set on a particular activity, sign up before you depart so that you don’t miss out. Torn between two choices? Then head straight for the shore tours desk once you board the ship. The staff know the details of every excursion and will help you choose the perfect outing.
Q: Any other tips I need to know?
One of the reasons that cruising is so popular is because it offers such great value for money. A standard fare covers your accommodation, most of your meals, kids’ clubs and a huge range of activities, from dance classes to live shows, comedy clubs and more. However, smart travellers leave some breathing room in their budget so that they can savour some little luxuries on their cruise. Specialty restaurants, drinks, onboard wi-fi and shore excursions all cost a bit extra, but they can make a big difference to your holiday, so factor them in to your holiday budget.
From Australia and New Zealand through the Pacific, offering mini Sea Break getaways, and taking guests to celebrate Australia’s favourite events, including Melbourne Cup, P&O Cruises has been taking Aussies on their dream holidays for 85 years. Pioneering new destinations, including the South Pacific, and exclusive destinations such as The Conflict Islands, P&O is one of Australia’s favourite cruise lines creating unique experience on the perfect, stress free holiday for all travellers. We’ve got it all covered – from accommodation to included meals, entertainment and more. For more information visit pocruises.com.au, call 13 24 94 or visit your travel agent.