Welcome to Choose Cruise month – a time when every travel agent is offering some of the best deals of the year to tempt loyal cruisers – and convert those who haven’t experienced one of the best value holidays anywhere.
For the next 30 days, you’ll get some amazing bargains. Here’s what you need to know to take advantage of Choose Cruise’s ocean week.
1. Ocean cruising attracted almost all of the 1.4 million Australians and New Zealands, who took to the world’s waterways for their holidays. They included solo sailors, couples and multigenerational families. There are kids clubs, teen spaces, spa suites – even special suites for cosmetic surgery!
2. The top international destinations for local sailors is the South Pacific and New Zealand. With the array of homeported ships in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Fremantle from brands like Carnival Cruises Australia, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and more, you can drive-cruise from more destinations than ever, saving on air fares and time. This year, we have some
3. What’s driving the enormous popularity of ocean cruising is the amazing innovations taking place on ships. Today’s ocean liners are resorts, spas, foodie paradises, fun and theme parks, art and cultural destinations. There are racing tracks, robot barmen, flying eyes skating rings and water slides that have you plunging ten storeys!
4. Ocean cruises visit a variety of different countries in one voyage. For example, in the Mediterranean, guests will cruise from Rome in Italy to Greece and Spain. World itineraries are enormously popular with lines like Princess, Royal Caribbean and Viking Ocean Cruises offering longer journeys. Viking has the longest world voyage, visiting all seven continents over 245 days. And you unpack only once – and save on the expense and hassle of air fares or coaches.
5. Families can find great fun and fabulous value. Contemporary ships cater for the family market. Brands like Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line and P&O Cruises have rides and activities like the surf simulator Flow Rider on Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, P&O’s Edge where guests can try the flying fox across one end of the ship to the other or Carnival Cruise Lines’ array of wonderful waterslides. The ships also have lots of interconnecting cabins, perfect for multigenerational families. And most of the rides, food and entertainment is free!
6. Premium ocean cruise ships are popular with the well-heeled 45+ cruiser, with more sophisticated offerings: wine tastings, Broadway style shows and well-appointed cabins and suites. High end specialty restaurants from celebrity chefs like Jamie Oliver (Royal Caribbean), Curtis Stone with Princess Cruises, Mark Best with Dream Cruises, Roy Yamaguchi with MSC Cruises are increasingly popular.
7. Like to be pampered? The spa facilities plentiful – for example, Princess Cruises Diamond Princess has the largest Japanese spa at sea while Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Norwegian Bliss has a beautiful thermal spa which features steam rooms, a salt room and even an ice room. Viking Cruises features a teeth-chattering ice room and Nordic Bathing!
8. Like even more pampering: Boutique cruise lines like Azamara Club Cruises, Celebrity Cruises and Viking Cruises offer bespoke experiences. Known for their smaller ships, these vessels can navigate into shallower waters and pull up right into the heart of cities like Bangkok in Thailand. Azamara Club Cruises and Viking also spend more overnights in ports around the world, so guests can experience the night life of international cities.
9. Want to spend up big? Five star lines like Crystal, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania are at the top end, with amazing service, white-gloved butlers, world-renown restaurants like Nobu (Crystal) and Michelin starred chefs (Princess). Regent Seven Seas Explorer is known as the “most luxurious ship ever built”, with a US$10,000 a night master suite that features horse-hair mattresses, a private spa featuring gold taps and artworks by Picasso.
10. But the biggest drawcard is the value – you can sail away for under $100 a night. Just think about that for a moment: you might go to New Zealand (without flying, air transfers and hotels), eat as much as you like (or as little), see shows (free), movies (free) and activities (free). And this month, all, of this is on special!
See your CLIA travel agent in October for special deals and discounts!