A cruise holiday is a great way to see the world from a different perspective, offering convenience, value for money and as much or as little luxury as you prefer. Whether it’s your first cruise or you consider the ocean your second home, your personal travel manager (PTM) can help you choose the best option to suit, and give you some insider tips on making the most of your time aboard.
Here’s a sample of some of our favourites, so you can make the most of your cruise holiday.
Find out which cruise lines offer sailings at your preferred destination and time of year. Talk to your PTM about which option best suits your needs. You should also consider factors such as cruise duration, ship size and ports of call when making your decision.
Many cruise lines offer great early bird deals, fly-free bonuses and other great incentives. Your PTM can advise you on the best time to book. Alternatively, if you’re free to depart on a whim, ask about last minute specials.
In most cases, the onboard dress code is fairly relaxed, so there’s no need to pack a tuxedo or ball gown… unless you want to indulge in some “Love Boat” nostalgia. These days, even the more formal evenings usually only require “smart attire”. What’s more, whilst staterooms are usually well laid-out in order to maximise space, unless you’re booking a suite you’re going to have less room than your average hotel room, so you probably don’t want to be tripping over bulky suitcases when moving around your cabin.
There’s often high demand for the more popular options so it pays to either book them before you depart, or be ready to make your bookings early on in the cruise, before they sell out.
Don’t be afraid to sometimes give the organised shore excursions a miss, and instead venture out on your own. Spend some time before arrival in port talking to the shore excursions desk and ask for advice on local attractions and ground transport.
Generally speaking, cruise ships are BIG, and if you want to make the most of your time aboard, you need to know what’s on offer. It’s a good idea to join one of the orientation tours that take place after embarkation – you’ll get the inside scoop from people who really know what they’re talking about: which restaurants need to be pre-booked, what the most popular spa treatments are, even their favourite dish at the lunch buffet.
Speaking of food, you’ll be spoilt for choice, with most cruise ships offering a range of restaurant options from casual café to fine dining, and of course, the buffet. Be warned though, it often pays to book in advance if you want to try one of the alternative dining options.
All that eating and sightseeing and walking laps of the deck at dusk is bound to work up a thirst. While most food is included in the price of your cruise, in many cases the beverages are charged to your cabin, with the account settled prior to final disembarkation (that’s cruise speak for “the end of the line”). Find out whether your cruise offers the option of purchasing a beverage package so that you have a firm idea of what you’re spending and don’t blow the budget on those appealing poolside cocktails.
If your budget can stretch a little further, it’s well worth upgrading to a balcony stateroom. Picture yourself sitting on the balcony sipping a morning cup of coffee as your ship sails into port, or enjoying a glass of wine in the evening as the ship heads into the setting sun… trust us: you won’t regret that extra indulgence.
With so much to do both on board and ashore, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that you’re on holiday as you race from salsa lessons to cabaret show to poker night. Many cruise ships offer excellent spa facilities where you can enjoy a relaxing massage to iron out the kinks from all your sightseeing.
Did you know it’s been estimated that as many as 85% of travellers who have been on a cruise once will go on another cruise? Many cruise lines offer further discounts to past passengers.
If you find yourself inspired to cruise, talk to your personal travel manager about which cruise option would be best for you.