The Australian dollar took another slide this week – causing mixed reactions among the cruise community.
Those heading off to America or taking to the seas on ships trading in US dollars are hurting. Those heading off to Europe’s Med or rivers with a fist full of Euros are feeling some pain. But those booking the biggest fleet ever to be homeported in Australia are feeling both patriotic and prudent.
CLIA Commercial Director Brett Jardine told Cruise Passenger this wave season would see some interesting movements. Last year, local cruise numbers reduced by 30,000 as Australians headed off overseas with a strong dollar.
Low local currency and more capacity may see keen prices and more demand for homeported destinations, he said.
Australians are resilient travellers. Cruise Passenger spoke to Kathy Pavlidis, International Travel and Cruise Specialist from Cruiseabout in Melbourne to get her top tips to make the most of your cruise and to get the best prices.
“I mainly deal with high end cruisers but these are tips that can apply to anyone who wants to cruise.
“At Cruiseabout, we haven’t seen a drop in numbers of people cruising. Australians are extremely resilient despite the change in the dollar and they will keep travelling. But these are just some ways that will help you save some money.”
Other agents suggest taking advantage of local cruises – Tasmania has become the new hot destination for travellers. Lines like P&O and Carnival make frequent trips to Hobart and Port Arthur.
Kathy’s top tips to beat the falling dollar:
“Book a cheaper hotel. There is no need to book a five-star or four-star hotel. Especially with families, booking cheaper accommodation can save you a couple of hundred dollars which makes such a difference when it comes to your holiday.”
Budget and plan
“All cruise lines offer payment plans so if you see the Australian dollar is falling, make sure you budget for this. Create a financial plan so you can pay off your cruise comfortable. Also, check whether you will be paying for your cruise in Australian dollars or another currency.”
Book your cabin first
“Take advantage of sales and book your cabin before booking your flights. Lots of cruise lines have deals and sales so don’t be afraid to book your cabin. Again, you can pay off your cruise in installments.”
Buy your airfares later
“You don’t need to book your airfares immediately. You can wait until airlines have special sales and offers. For example, Cathay Pacific is currently having great sales to Europe so make sure you shop around.”
Pick a cruise line that is within your budget
“While this might be an obvious piece of advice, choose a cruise line for your budget. Don’t fall into the trap of looking at cruises that may look irresistible but you can’t afford.”