Aussie cruisers are taking over the world!
Well, not exactly, but for the first time ever we’re first in the world for cruises per capita, eclipsing even the US (who traditionally hold that honor). It’s no wonder with all the fantastic deals and destinations available like Hawaii, the Caribbean, Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia just to name a few!
Cruising is also no longer restricted to travellers with both time and money on their side. Nowadays there are options to suit every budget and you can go on a cruise for as little as a few days up to a few months! The average length of a cruise is seven days, which is just enough time to relax and take in a few port calls along the way.
If you’re new to cruising you might be wondering what all the fuss is about and have a few reservations, so let's sort out some of the most common concerns you may have about cruising and see why our cruise passenger growth rate is more than double any other major cruise market!
Cruiser Concern Number 1: Cruising is expensive!
Yes, cruises might seem pricey and are not always all-inclusive.
There are always some offerings that aren’t included like specialty restaurants by celebrity chefs, some beverages, shore excursions, spa treatments and gratuities.
However, if you consider all the things that are included like accommodation, transport, food in the main dining venues, activities, children’s programs and entertainment all day every day, and then compare how much it would cost to pay for all of those things individually, it actually makes for a great value holiday!
Depending on your flexibility, the time of year and where you’d like to go, you can also score huge discounts by booking early bird specials. Just make sure you have cruise travel insurance that covers you for unexpected cancellations!
Alternatively, you could try booking last minute to take advantage of any empty cabins the cruise companies may want to fill.
The bonus is that while you’re enjoying these resort-like offerings, you’re also on your way to a new destination so you save on travelling time too!
Cruiser Concern Number 2: I don’t want to get sick!
It’s not fun getting sick, especially when you’re away from the familiar comforts of home, and in a contained environment like a cruise there certainly is a risk of viruses spreading through the ship.
Having said that, there’s also a risk of getting sick when you travel on land too.
You can minimise your risk of getting sick on the ship by making sure that you’re up to date with the required vaccines for your destination, seeing your doctor to discuss any concerns you may have, and maintaining good personal hygiene like washing your hands often (hand sanitisers are usually offered throughout the ship for passengers) while on board.
If you normally get sea sick on smaller boats you may find that the larger ones are almost (almost!) like you’re on stable land. The rocking motion is usually more noticeable when the ship is moving from port to port and most large cruise ships have stabilisers and special equipment to help minimise the effects of rough waters.
If you're feeling queasy try to either stick to a low and central location on the ship or stay up on deck as the fresh air will help.
There are also many options to alleviate the effects like taking sea sickness tablets (usually available free on board), or ask your doctor before you leave for other remedies.
If you prefer natural remedies some travellers recommend taking ginger tablets, herbal teas or using acupressure techniques.
Of course, if you do get sick and have to make the trip to the ship’s doctor (another benefit of cruising: the doctor’s on board!), travel insurance with medical benefits comes in handy! Unless there’s a Medicare registered doctor on the ship, Medicare doesn’t cover you whilst you’re on the sea or ocean, even if you’re in Australia waters.
According to the government website www.smarttraveller.gov.au the costs of evacuation from a ship to the nearest port could exceed $100,000 AUD so make sure you have cruise travel insurance that adequately covers you for on board medical expenses.
Cruiser Concern Number 3: What if I don’t like what’s on the cruise?
Cruises are a great opportunity to try out new activities or hobbies!
To entice customers to come back, cruise companies work hard to keep up with the times (and each other) so you’ll find they’re continually offering new activities and options for their customers. There’s always a daily on board newsletter detailing the activities available for passengers to partake in.
- Want to brush up on your line dancing skills?
- Need to neutralise those calories gained at the dessert bar?
- Want to show people (outside your family) your very special rendition of ABBA’s Mama-Mia?
- Always wanted to learn how to paint?
- Or just simply want to laze around and soak up some sunshine in between trips to the buffet?
There’s a cruise out there waiting for you! Everything is already organised, you just have to turn up!
Cruiser Concern Number 4: What if there’s no one my age?
More and more families are taking cruises together these days so the larger cruise lines are making sure they cater for all ages.
From toddlers to teenagers, right up to great-grandparents, it's not uncommon for several generations of one family to all take a cruise holiday together.
Family members seeking a relaxing getaway can enjoy more sedate activities like reading in the library, catching a movie in the cinema, or checking out a Broadway show, while the thrill-seekers can run rampant with activities like rock climbing, bumper cars and roller skating.
Most cruises have formal dinner nights so you can dress up if you want to get fancy, or there are always casual dining options.
Cruiser Concern Number 5: I don’t want to be stuck with the same people all the time!
Not keen on hanging out with the family all day every day?
Even though large cruise ships can accommodate anywhere between 500 to 5000 passengers, they’re also large enough (some as large as 3 football fields) for everyone to have their own space and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet relaxation time. Some cruise ships even have adults only 'quiet zones'.
Alternatively, a cruise is also a great opportunity to mingle and meet new people from all over the world. Why not strike up a conversation with the person in the buffet line or at your dinner table? You never know, you might be talking to your new best friend or future partner!
A young couple were recently coaxed into going on a cruise with the wife’s parents, with the promise that they wouldn’t have to see much of each other or even dine with them at all.
However when they boarded, they realised that her parents had actually (kindly) pre-booked them into the early sitting on the same table with them - every night of the cruise!
They made the best of the circumstances, and ended up having the time of their lives (before and after dinner) frequenting the art auctions, competing in table tennis competitions, karaoke and late evening jazz and comedy shows – everything that her parents weren’t into and sometimes even what they normally wouldn’t have done if they weren’t evading the parents.
They now have fantastic artwork displayed in their home, confirmation that they can’t sing or play table tennis, and became more comfortable getting to know each other better as well.
Cruiser Concern Number 6: I hate queuing for things!
In the past that was an issue. You had to scramble the minute you got on board to book for the activities you liked to get the time that you wanted.
Nowadays you can do pretty much all of your bookings online, not only for the main dining room but also the spa, shore excursions, specialty restaurants and other activities. Get in as soon as your booking is confirmed with the cruise line to get the best available appointments!
Then you can just relax and enjoy your pre-booked itinerary when you embark!
Cruiser Concern Number 7: Internet access is woeful!
While some of the newest mega ships boast speeds comparable to those on land, generally speaking internet access on ships can be unreliable.
Satellite coverage depends entirely on the weather and any obstructions. Add into the mix the large number of passengers surfing Facebook and trying to upload their holiday snaps to Instagram at the same time, and you have a very frustrating situation if you’re used to being connected whenever you want.
If you do find the internet is a bit on the slow side, think of it as an opportunity to unplug for a while and enjoy all that the ship and destinations have to offer without the distractions of the internet buzzing in your pocket.
If you really need to check into the online world, you can always try a time when the least number of passengers are also trying to connect or ask the staff members where the best spot is on the ship to get a reasonable connection.
Of course, as with all things, the demand for internet access is obviously high, so cruise companies are continually working on improving connectivity for their passengers.
If you want to make the most of your cruise holiday check out our Shhh! Secret Cruise Business! post for insider's tips!