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Sailing the wide blue oceans on mega liners or visiting romantic ports on a cruise holiday is amazing. But its always important for first time cruisers to know few things. Cruise Passenger tells top five things you should know about ocean cruising.

  1. Your Ship
    According to the ‘cruise bible’, the annual Berlitz Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships, ships are classified as: Large Resort, 1751-6,500 passengers; Mid-size, 751-1750 passengers; Small, 251-750 passengers; and Boutique (adventure and expedition ships generally fit into this category), 50-250 passengers.
  2. Your Cabin
    Cabins (or ‘staterooms’) come in many categories – the bigger the ship, the more confusing it is. But basically there are inside (no window or porthole); ocean-view (with window or porthole); balcony (with small private balcony); and suites (separate sleeping and living area plus balcony). On most ships cabins have ensuite bathrooms.
  3. Your Fare
    This means different things on different cruise lines – for example, drinks, tips, shore excursions and some onboard activities cost extra on some ships, but are included on others – so add that to your list of questions to ask a cruise specialist travel agent. Generally, the more luxurious the cruise, the more you pay upfront – and the more inclusions you’ll enjoy.
  4. Going Ashore
    Some itineraries include several sea days, so if that doesn’t appeal choose one that calls at more ports. Ship-run excursions are offered in every port – some are worth paying for, particularly if they involve exclusive access to an event or place – but you can always organize independent trips. However, ships will not wait for you if you’re late back – unless you’re on a ship’s tour.
  5. Choosing your destination
    Pick popular destinations such as the Pacific or the Med to get the keenest prices. Start with a short cruise to find your sea legs.

For details of cruises. check with a CLIA-accredited travel agent. Find one at cruiseweek.org.au