Pick the Perfect Cruise
BY MELANIE EGAN
Whether it’s a balcony suite or a cutprice cabin, cruise lines are making life on the ocean wave easier for all price points. “Cruising is a good way to visit several destinations while unpacking only once, but some cruise companies and trips may be better suited for specific needs,” says cruise consultant Sharyn Reeves from My Discoveries travel agency.
“Shorter itineraries in the Pacific Islands, Caribbean and Australia appeal more to younger people, while middle-aged and older cruisers are more likely to be attracted to longer trips to New Zealand, Asia and the Mediterranean,” she says. Here are some suggestions to help you find a cruise that matches your needs.
1 COUPLES AND ADULTS-ONLY
With stunning sunset views, couples’ spa treatments and intimate specialty restaurants, cruising is an ideal way to spark romance. While options are limited for a totally childfree cruise, all Viking Ocean Cruises
luxury ships are adults-only (18+). River cruises also often have an age limit of above 12. Other companies offer adultsonly retreats such as Princess Cruises’ The Sanctuary and Royal Caribbean’s Solarium pool area. You can also plan to book outside school holidays.
2 HEALTH OR MOBILITY ISSUES
Most cruise ships can accommodate passengers with disabilities or mobility issues, with wheelchairaccessible cabins and plenty of handrails. The larger companies also offer audio and visual aids. “However, the number of accessible cabins is usually limited, so book early,” advises Sharon. Make sure your cabin is close to a lift, as the large ships require a lot of walking, she says. Also choose a cruise that docks in ports, rather than one that shuttles passengers to the destination in tenders (small boats) as you may not be able to get off.
3 FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN
In response to the increasing popularity of family groups, many cruise companies now offer everything from Disney-themed voyages to FlowRider surf simulators, ice skating and outdoor movies. While all the larger ships offer age-specific clubs with daily activities, some don’t look after children still in nappies, so do some research before booking. Once on the ship, sign up for the kids’ clubs straight away, as places fill up fast.
4 BRING THE RELATIVES
As multi-generational cruising becomes more popular, cruise lines are adapting their offerings to include more interconnecting staterooms. “With ships offering something for everyone, it is a good way for families of differing interests and ages to spend quality time together,” says Sharon.
5 TRAVELLING SOLO
Unfortunately, most cruise lines charge a single supplement – to cover the cost of the ‘second’ passenger in a twin-share. One exception is Norwegian Cruise Line, which features snug studio cabins on some of its ships priced for solo travellers, with no extra supplement to pay.
Large enough to cater to diverse groups