Close to home or sampler cruises are a fantastic way for you to try cruising without the commitment of a longer itinerary. If you are a cruise lover but are time poor, short cruises are your perfect way to recharge on the high seas.
If your cruise fantasy involves sunshine sparkling on blue water, gorgeous beaches, friendly locals and exciting shore excursions, there's no need to go halfway around the world to find it, you can get all of this very close to home and departing from Australia. Appealing to a wide range of markets, cruising aims to be inclusive and always ensures that there are programs that will appeal to all ages and interests. Every day you can be guaranteed that there will be something new to do, whether day or night, no matter whether you are eight or 80. Days can be spent at the gym, indulging in a spa treatment, taking a cooking class, or playing a round of mini-golf. Then there are the amazing dining options, from 24-hour room service to smorgasbord buffets and five-course dinners.
Choosing to cruise close to home opens up a whole range of spots to discover in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific; and cruising is a really economical way to give you access to some of the most beautiful and unusual locations on the planet. Plus there are a big range of close to home good value deals from cruise lines like Princess, P&O, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival Australia, to tempt you.
To give you an idea, if you want to opt for a good short 3-day round trip departing Sydney to try before you buy cruise, hop aboard the Pacific Eden, a recent addition to the P&O fleet. The Pacific Eden is a food-lovers dream, with 16 dining experiences on board ensuring you’ll never be lacking in options for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This includes P&O Cruise’s newest innovation to the dining at sea experience “The Pantry”, which replaces the traditional cruise buffet with a marketplace of different cuisines to try. If you want some cruising indulgence, why not book a luxury penthouse suite on the Pacific Eden or its sister ship, the Pacific Aria. Picture yourself soaking in the penthouse’s huge spa bath with your own private balcony, large dining area and floor-to-ceiling windows with breathtaking ocean views.
Or if you have never been to Tasmania, take a 5 night cruise, sailing from Melbourne aboard the Golden Princess, and visit Wineglass bay, Port Arthur, Hobart and then head onto Adelaide. Escape completely on board the Golden Princess - pamper yourself with a calming massage in the Lotus Spa and experience a truly a relaxed, rejuvenating retreat at sea. Then again, why not head north with an eight night cruise sailing from Sydney, aboard the Voyager of the Seas. Visit Airlie Beach and witness the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Whilst on board make sure to take advantage of all of the adventure activities like rock climbing, ice skating, a surf simulator and youth program.
For a slightly longer cruise option there are great cruises to the Pacific, visiting places like Suva, Lautoka, Noumea, and the idyllic Isle of Pines on board Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. With its emphasis on public space, Explorer of the Seas focuses on being a family friendly ship that also allows travellers an individual experience and a big range of choices when it comes to onboard activities.
Coming to Australia is the Norwegian Jewel with some exciting new itineraries departing from Sydney and Auckland. Norwegian Jewel will be based in the Asia Pacific region with inaugural departures beginning November 2017 from Australia and New Zealand to some of the region's most incredible ports, like French Polynesia. Highlights of Norwegian Jewel's inaugural season in Australia include Sydney round-trip cruises featuring regional destinations like Kangaroo Island and Tasmania's Brunie Island. Or why not experience a Norwegian Jewel cruise through New Zealand's spectacular Milford Sound. Still close to home Norwegian Jewel will make an eighteen-day trip from Sydney to Singapore in early 2018 for guests to enjoy Far North Queensland, Darwin and Komodo Island.
The beauty of these close to home cruising options is that they are one of the most affordable ways to travel from a cost perspective and also, if you are short on time – no need to worry about adding in the extra costs of flights, meals, taxes or expensive accommodation costs – cruising wins hands down. So you can save your pennies to go and take another one!