There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the salty sea breeze flowing through your hair while you’re overlooking the ocean, cocktail in one hand.
Ocean-going ships come in all shapes and sizes, from mega-resort ships to smaller boutique vessels for food lovers.
Ocean cruising attracts 1.4 million Australians and not only do we sail domestically, but all around the world. Across Asia, the Baltics, Canada, Alaska and South Africa, there are more of us cruising than ever before.
The top international destinations for Aussies are the South Pacific and New Zealand with ships homeporting in our cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Brisbane.
The difference between ocean cruising and river cruising, for example, is that there are lots more facilities available on board. Ocean ships tend to have more restaurants, larger entertainment spaces, more activities for the kids and bigger facilities.
Ocean cruises can also visit a variety of different countries in the one voyage. For example, in the Mediterranean, guests will cruise from Rome, Italy to destinations in Greece and Spain. Or, if you’re looking for the ultimate journey, many cruise lines offer world itineraries. Viking Ocean Cruises, in fact, has the longest world voyage visiting all seven continents over 245 days.
There are also different categories of ocean cruising. From contemporary, premium, small ship and luxury, there is an ocean cruise that suits all types of travel styles.
Contemporary ships are catered for the family market. At an affordable price point, brands like Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line and P&O Cruises cater for families. With rides and activities like the surf simulator FlowRider on Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, the flying fox that takes riders from one end of the ship to the other on P&O’s Edge, or the array of wonderful waterslides on Carnival’s vessels. Ocean-going ships also have lots of interconnecting cabins, perfect for multi-generational families.
There are also large kids’ clubs that cater for babies as young as six months old up to teenagers.
Premium ocean-cruise ships cater for an older market and don’t tend to have the rides like contemporary family ships have. The accommodation is well appointed and there are high-end specialty restaurants from celebrity chefs like Curtis Stone with Princess Cruises, Jacques Pepin with Oceania Cruises, Roy Yamaguchi with MSC Cruises and more.
The spa facilities are usually larger on these ships – for example, Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess has the largest Japanese spa at sea while Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway and Prima Class ships have beautiful thermal spas which feature steam rooms, salt rooms and even ice rooms.
There are also boutique cruise lines such as Azamara which offer bespoke experiences. Known for their smaller ships, these lines can navigate into shallower waters and pull up right into the heart of cities such as Bangkok in Thailand. Azamara also spends more overnights in ports around the world, so guests can experience the nightlife of international cities.
While they have ocean-bound ships, other smaller lines, including Paul Gauguin Cruises and Windstar, are unique and offer itineraries around the Tahitian islands as well as the Andaman Sea.
So whether you’re a first-time cruiser or looking for something different on the ocean, there is so much to choose from.