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Flight Centre Cruise Expert, Kelli Willis shares her secrets on the who, where and when of booking your next trip.

What are the biggest trends in cruise?

Northern Europe and the Baltics are popular with people who have ‘been there, done that’ and want something a little different. There’s also growth in Japan cruising. It’s a great option for people wanting to experience Japan without the expense of hotels and transport.

Which cruise line would you recommend for…

A cruise with kids? Carnival Cruise Line has an amazing kids’ club, a partnership with games giant Hasbro gives some great entertainment options, and Seuss at Sea activities offer something a little different.

Couples only? Celebrity Cruises’ modern luxury makes you feel pampered without the five-star price tag. There are no formal nights, so leave the tux at home.

Baby boomers? Norwegian Cruise Line is freestyle cruising – no set dining times, no formal nights – just enjoy the many included dining and entertainment options, from light comedy to full stage productions.

The entire family? On Royal Caribbean, the ship can be your destination. There’s plenty for the young or young-at-heart – ice-skating, dodgem cars, but there’s also an adults-only sanctuary. Plus, your cruise fare includes dining at multiple venues for all the family.

What’s new to try?

Adventure and small ships are visiting some amazing destinations: coastal Croatia is a must-see. New routes are opening up Greenland, Iceland and the Polar regions.

When can I look out for the best deals?

In April and May the lines start program launches for the new season. Generally, they work 18 months ahead so this will give you a great heads up on new ships and itineraries. Deals are often launched at the same time, so getting in early will get you the cruise of your choice, in the cabin of your choice. If you’re happy to drop everything, last-minute and off-season cruises can be bargains if you aren’t too picky about where you go.

What are the best destinations for…

A cruise with kids? It’s all about fun so think Pacific Islands, Queensland or the Caribbean where the kids can swim, sightsee and get a little cultural immersion, too.
Baby boomers? Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific cruises are a destination in themselves. There’s a variety of ports and some nice long sea days to spend time together and just relax. There are also endless options for pre- and post-cruise extensions.

The entire family? Asia, Alaska and Europe all offer something for everyone with a good mix of things to do.

What’s offered on a Christmas/New Year’s cruise?

Cruise lines will generally go all out for the holiday season. Decorations beautify the ships and Santa will generally make an appearance on family ships. Gingerbread houses and holiday displays often feature. For New Year’s you can expect a wonderful party atmosphere with music and much celebration. It is definitely a different experience to ring in the New Year with the sun rising over the horizon of an empty sea.

Cruise Expert Kelli Willis is based at Flight Centre Chermside. Visit flightcentre.com.au or call our dedicated cruise line on 13 70 79.