Do you want to cruise, but aren’t sure what to go for? Our Flight Centre travel experts have put together their advice on both value and luxury options so that you can choose the cruise holiday that’s perfect for you.
Many cruise lines claim to offer a luxury experience, but the true definition of luxury cruising is defined by the level of inclusions. While most cruise lines include accommodation, entertainment and most main meals in the upfront cruise fare, luxury cruise lines offer many extras, adding tremendous value for money.
Beverages: Many luxury cruise lines include all drinks (including wine and beer, soft drinks, tea, coffee, cocktails and spirits), which can mean significant savings and prevent the bill shock at the end of a cruise when all those rounds of drinks appear on your final account.
Fine dining: Luxury cruise lines include a variety of different dining venues, including specialty restaurants at no additional cost. Oceania Cruises, for example, offers up to seven all-inclusive dining venues on its ships.
Gratuities (tips): Most mainstream cruise lines do not include gratuities (tips) for the waitstaff and housekeeping in the upfront cruise fare – instead they add these to the shipboard account at a set rate of between $10 and $20 per person per day. Luxury cruise lines have this amount already built into the fare, therefore saving additional onboard charges.
Shore excursions: Guests who wish to explore each port a cruise ship visits will soon find that the shore excursions offered by cruise lines can add up quite quickly. A number of luxury cruise lines (in particular, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Viking Cruises) include one or more shore excursions in each port, adding several thousand of dollars in value.
Guest-staff ratio: Due to the smaller size of most luxury cruise lines (often fewer than 500 passengers), the guest-staff ratio is often almost 1:1. This means more attentive service, less queuing and a more personal experience.
Accessibility of smaller ports: Most luxury cruise lines operate smaller vessels, which enables access to smaller ports and the ability to sail closer to the town centres, therefore eliminating the need to spend hours in shuttle buses to reach a destination.
Adults-only options: Many luxury cruise lines cater predominantly to adults and have passenger age restrictions. This creates an exclusive atmosphere that invites tranquility and relaxation.
Cruise more often: One of the beauties of value cruising is that, everything considered, it’s one of the most affordable ways to travel. There’s no need to worry about flight prices or taxes or high accommodation costs – and you can put your saved pennies towards your next cruise.
Bigger ships offer more: Value cruising tends to be associated with bigger ships, and bigger ships mean more – more departure ports, more variety in the destinations on offer, more shows and entertainment to experience, more dining options. Large-ship cruising aims to be very inclusive and there are plenty of fun programs available for all ages and interests. Each day there is something new to do, no matter whether you’re eight or 80.
Plenty of activities: Passengers’ days will never be empty: they can be spent working out at the gym, indulging in a spa treatment, taking a cooking class, playing a round of mini-golf, or anything, really. Large ships are perfect for those who like to fill their days, as there is always something to do on board.
Evening entertainment: Just because it’s night doesn’t mean all is quiet: grand venues, such as casinos and nightclubs, are pumping come sundown.
Children’s activities: If you’re travelling with children, large ships are well suited due to the extent of children’s programs offered on board.
Privacy: Should you want a bit of peace and quiet during your cruise, many ships have adults-only areas featuring a pool and oh-so-comfortable loungers.
Food: There is an amazing selection of restaurants and dining options so that you can choose what best suits your budget, from 24-hour room service to smorgasbord buffets and formal dinners.
Knowing what you’re up for: The big benefit of value cruising is that when you book you know that your cabin, meals and entertainment are included, so all you need to do is budget what you want to spend on the extras – whether it’s a drinks package, shore excursions or onboard shopping. You can choose how you spend your dollar – and there’s plenty to spend it on if you so choose.
For the hottest deals in cruising, visit your local Flight Centre store, call 131 600 or book now on the Flight Centre App.