Australians’ love affair with cruising continues unabated. And now that many have tried the local options, more cruisers are venturing further afield.
The fly-cruise holiday, that features a stop-over and pre-and post cruise activities, is tempting. Europe and the Mediterranean remain the most popular long-haul destinations, followed closely by Asia and Alaska.
The beauty, history and culture of Europe, coupled with the irresistible food and wine, means Australians have made the kangaroo route one of the most popular in the world.
Asia is a close second with more than 72,000 Australians visiting the region to cruise last year, lured by the Eastern mystique in Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Another 37,000 headed to Alaska to experience its rugged, snow-filled adventure and amazing wildlife.
Singapore Airlines has always been a favourite for these fabulous journeys, as it comes with the chance to experience Singapore – one of Australia’s favourite destinations.
In a two part series, we’re going to show you how easy it is to fly from Australia and cruise from some amazing destinations.
Charming Europe with its amazing architecture, history, culture and fabulous food and wine has traditionally been the magnet for travellers from all over the world. From the cobblestone streets of Amsterdam to the city of lights in Paris, Europe is a popular gateway for cruise holidays. There is so much to choose from, including exciting ocean cruises to intimate river journeys on the Rhine, Rhone or Seine.
Little wonder than 109,000 Australians headed to Europe last year to sail on the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Baltic.
The bustling city of Amsterdam has narrow lanes, a canal core, flower stalls filled with colourful tulips in a variety of hues, creative drinking and dining cafes and vintage-filled shops. You will never be bored walking down its cobbled streets watching the local Amsterdammers commute to work on a bicycle. It’s always prudent to pack a light, water-proof anorak when cruising on the rivers even in summer as the evenings can get cool. Many river cruise lines including Avalon Waterways start their romantic eight-day Rhine cruises from Amsterdam to Basel in Switzerland, calling at Cologne, Koblenz, Maine, Heidelberg, Strasbourg and Breisach.
River lines: Avalon Waterways, APT, Viking River Cruises, Scenic, Uniworld, Riviera and Crystal
Flights: Singapore Airlines flies to Amsterdam daily from Singapore.
While it is a financial city of gleaming glass, steel and concrete skyscrapers, at its heart, Frankfurt is a traditional and charming city with half-timbered buildings, apple-wine taverns serving hearty regional food and village-like neighbourhoods with outdoor cafes, street art and beautiful parks. Its nightlife is full of life – thanks to a big student population. Frankfurt is a popular departure point for short riverboat day cruises and excursions. You can see the best of Germany’s Rhine River on a full-day cruise from Frankfurt which often includes a wine-tasting session amid stunning scenery. The main local cruise excursion season is from April to October when day-trip cruises depart daily on the Main River.
Flights: Singapore Airlines flies to Frankfurt twice daily from Singapore
Barcelona is a colourful seaside city with boundless energy, culture, interesting architecture and world-class drinking and dining scene. It is hard not to be captivated by the city’s celebrated Catalan cooking – simple and flavoursome – its jamon is a must-try delicacy. The city’s variety of cuisine is immense. You can feast from Basque-style tapas bars, seafood taverns to a hearty paella at an outdoor table overlooking the sea.
Barcelona is also home to architect Antoni Gaudi and his whimsical creations are everywhere. The city has also inspired artists like Pablo Picasso whose works are displayed at major museums. The city is a popular cruise centre which plays host to many ocean cruise lines.