If you’ve ever been on a cruise you’ll be familiar with the feeling of ultimate relaxation it can give you – and if you’re a cruising novice, trust us, it’s time to start planning for some adventure on the high seas.
Just like when you book an airline flight, you’ll usually get the best deals when you book well in advance or close to the departure date – but if you’re looking for last minute cruises you’re unlikely to find your first choice still available.
Cruising is usually all-inclusive, so although the price for some cruises may seem a bit on the high side, remember that once you’re on board you won’t need to pay for anything other than alcohol or some of the more exclusive dining options. When you factor in the fantastic food, daytime and evening entertainment and port excursions that are included, it’s actually a pretty cheap holiday.
You won’t be able to bring any alcohol on board with you (even if you’re planning on drinking it in the privacy of your own cabin), and your bags will be screened before they get to your cabin so don’t even think about hiding a bottle or two in your luggage. If you’re planning on enjoying a few drinks every day then your best option is to grab a beverage package when you book if it’s available from your cruise line.
On P&O cruises for example, these will cost you $7 per day for each of the kids for unlimited soft drinks and $79 per day for the adults for unlimited soft drinks, juice, water, beer, wine and spirits.* That might sound like a lot but a couple of beers with lunch and a few wines with dinner soon add up, so it’s worth considering.
An added benefit of cruising is that you get to see multiple destinations – but you only have to unpack once, because your floating hotel sails you from location to location! You enjoy all the new places without having to lug your bags around and go through the tedious check in / check out process.
Most cruise ships are very family friendly, with heaps of things to do for the kids and for mum and dad too. From swimming pools, movie theatres, video games, waterslides, mini golf, and specially designated kid zones through to shopping, day spas, casual dining and romantic tables for two, there’s plenty for everyone on a cruise.
Some cruise lines will add a fixed daily sum to each passenger’s bill to cover gratuities, so don’t be surprised if you’re handed a bill at the end of the cruise. You may be able to add a gratuities package at the time of booking, which usually works out a bit cheaper. Other ships will leave it up to you whether or not you tip the staff but the people who work on cruise liners are generally paid pretty low wages so many of them count on the tips they receive to top up their earnings.
Unless you’re booking on one of the smaller, luxury lines, most cruise ships are designed to appeal to all types of passengers and usually have organised programs every day so there’s never a chance to get bored on board! Activities range from indoors to outdoors and odds are you won’t get through everything before your cruise comes to an end so pick the things you really enjoy and make the most of the free events.
If a more intimate cruise fits your style, then make sure you take a peek at Silversea. This is small ship luxury cruising at its very best (unless you own a super yacht that is). Possibly the only cruise line in the world to include a butler service in every suite, this is definitely not your run of the mill cruise option. Literally everything is included in the ticket price – gourmet dining, room service and all the top-end alcohol you want to consume.
Your local travel agent can tell you about all the cruise options available based on your specific criteria and requirements, or take a look at these sites for a bit of inspiration:
Cruise Sale Finder – yep, as the name suggests you’ll find all the latest cruise deals (usually more than 6,000 of them from 25 cruise lines). At the time of writing, we saw some amazingly cheap cruises – including a 7 night Pacific Island hopper cruise departing from Brisbane from just $918 per person twin share, or 8 nights departing Sydney from just $993 twin share.*
Cruise Offers – Plenty of cruise options and it’s super-easy to navigate the website. Browse value holidays, choose where you want to cruise and find out all about the cruise ships and cruise lines. There’s even a special offer for seniors – buy one get up to 50% off the price for the second person.
Booking a cruise holiday that the whole family can enjoy makes financial sense when you break it down to the daily cost per person, and you’ll probably end up with one of the most unforgettable holidays you’ve ever had. If you want to set sail but need a little financial help to get you there, why not check out our flexible mini-loans that make it super easy to get some extra funds. Once a loan is approved, we can usually get a payment into your bank account within 24 hours - so you can start planning that cruise of a lifetime right now!
*All prices quoted are indicative only and subject to change. Current @ 18 September 2017 (publication date).