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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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