BOOK­ING YOUR HOL­I­DAY AT SEA

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - Better Travel -

Choose your cruise

Pick a des­ti­na­tion: Most first-timers keep things sim­ple with a cruise that departs from the near­est port. If you like beaches, there are many South Pa­cific itin­er­ar­ies to the sunny is­lands of Fiji, Van­u­atu and New Caledonia. New Zealand is an­other pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for Aus­tralians or you can stay do­mes­tic with a Queens­land or west coast cruise.

The top in­ter­na­tional, culture-rich choices are Europe’s Mediter­ranean and the Baltic ar­eas, or Alaska for the won­der­ful wildlife and land­scapes lined with glaciers and ice­bergs. Ja­pan, Ice­land and Hawaii are also on the rise.

Pick a ship

Dif­fer­ent cruise lines and ship sizes suit dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties. What en­ter­tains a fam­ily may hor­rify a cou­ple, while a solo trav­eller has their own spe­cific needs. Even when you nar­row it down, each ship has its own quirks too.

A large ship (any­where from 1000 to 6000 pas­sen­gers) can be lots of fun or lots of queues. A smaller ship can be cosy and friendly or it may seem too spe­cific for your tastes. And, of course, your fi­nal de­ci­sion has to fit your bud­get.

Who can help

• Travel Agents: Talk to a well­trained con­sul­tant who is ac­cred­ited with the Cruise Line In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion (CLIA). This web­site has a handy tool to find a cruise agent in your state: cruis­ing.org.au

• Cruise Critic: The world’s largest cruise com­mu­nity is an un­beat­able source of ad­vice and re­views by ex­perts and pas­sen­gers. Check out this Aus­tralian-fo­cused site: cruise­critic.com.au

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