How to Select the Cruise that'll Float Your Boat
Whether you're new to cruising, can talk with first-hand experience about the interior of any number of ships, are seeking the ultimate luxury escape or are a modern-day explorer looking for an authentic adventure, there are a myriad of cruise holidays for you to choose from - and the options can be overwhelming.
The latest Cruise Industry News Annual Report estimates cruise passenger numbers will grow by 50% in the next decade. But, with so many cruise lines, cruise itineraries and ships to choose from, how do you select the cruise to float your boat?
In the spirit of inspiration, and to help you find the perfect cruise, we've partnered with Cruiseco, a consortium of over 200 travel agents bringing its expertise to over 50 brands worldwide, and river cruise specialists, Gate 1 Travel, to research the best of each cruise style: ocean, river, luxury or expedition.
Ocean Cruise: "I want to see the world."
Whether you're sailing the idyllic South Pacific, country-hopping within vibrant Asia or traversing an entire ocean from coast to coast on a transatlantic or transpacific cruise, ocean cruising offers everything to everyone.
Ocean liners are the resorts of the sea; they come with every possible experience for the holidaymaker. Grand in size and designed to offer the ultimate leisure experience, there is something new to discover every day.
Named 'Australia's Best Cruise Line' at the 2018 AFTA National Travel Industry Awards, Royal Caribbean® knows what it takes to create memories that last forever - no matter who's dreaming. And with immersive holidays on some of the largest ships at sea, and experiences catering to multigenerational diversity, adrenaline junkies, culinary crusaders, families, and couples can find something they love on one of its 25 ships that traverse sought-after ports.
From water parks, luxurious spas, swimming pools, nightly entertainment, rock climbing walls, casinos, mini-golf courses, exhilarating ziplines, ice skating rinks and an abundance of restaurants to choose from, you'll never be bored while sailing from one country to the next. Plus, with all of this included in your package price you'll be pleasantly surprised at how far your holiday dollars stretch, pricing is designed with affordability in mind.
Ready for an ocean cruise? These state-of-the-art ships can fulfill a continent-to-continent adventure. Royal Caribbean® features a range of Australia to USA itineraries where you'll stop off at the bone-white beaches of Fiji, Vanuatu and Tahiti before reaching the emerald landscapes of Hawaii. Or, traverse the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to London taking in the turquoise Bahamas, Puerto Rico, cosmopolitan Barcelona, Copenhagen, Greenland, and Iceland.
River Cruising: "I want a more intimate experience and time to explore the country I'm passing through."
Of all the cruise types in the booming cruise industry, river cruise popularity is growing fastest of all. And, with all-inclusive fares (including gourmet dining, bar service, most shore excursions and gratuities) and renowned superior service at a staff to passenger ratio one to three, it’s easy to see why! A river cruise offers intimate travel, a relaxed pace and port-intensive itineraries full of culture-rich excursions (it's as much about exploring the destination as it is about the cruise).
Designed to fit narrow waterways, beneath low bridges and in shallow waters, river vessels are much smaller than other ships, offering the unique benefits of smooth sailing on calm inland waterways and the ability to access a new port (or two) in the heart of historic towns each day. They're also a lot more enjoyable than the autobahn.
Europe's rivers are the world’s most popular options; particularly the magical Rhine encompassing cities in Holland, Germany, and Switzerland and the spectacular Danube, from Budapest to Regensburg. Gate 1 Travel offers a wide variety of European river cruise itineraries ranging from nine to 20 days, which can be used to complement existing travel plans.
Many river cruise liners feature multiple restaurants, bars, lounges, leisure facilities including gym and day spas, outdoor space with sundecks to soak in the panoramic sights. As an example, Gate 1 Travel’s deluxe 5-star Monarch Empress boasts spacious and comfortable luxury accommodation at an affordable price. Eighty percent of the cabins offer French balconies, providing private views of the stunning riverbanks. Other state-of-the-art amenities include a sundeck lounge, library, a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a lift to whisk passengers between decks.
Luxury Cruise: "I'm looking for an experience that reflects the finer things in life."
If you're a discerning traveller who loves the finer things in life, then an ultra-luxury cruise is for you. This is where the dream of waking up in an ocean view suite overlooking an idyllic beach in Europe or the Caribbean - yes you get to call your butler in for a gourmet breakfast in bed before heading out on a lavish shore excursion - is the reality.
Ultra-luxe cruises take the cruising world to the next level with every component of the holiday designed with you in mind. Luxury cruise lines such as Silversea Cruises, which offers all-inclusive luxury cruises, takes time to understand its passengers' needs and offer bespoke itineraries to match these. As you board in exotically-luxurious destinations such as Monte Carlo, New York, Barcelona, and Miami, you'll be escorted to your suite with a flute of champagne in hand - and an in-suite bar and butler service and the promise of extensive gourmet dining opportunities and sophisticated entertainment ahead.
With the luxury ships, biggest does not always mean best. Intimate ships with opulent comforts can sail up narrow waterways near cosmopolitan cities and tie up at piers versus offshore anchoring. Sailings through the diamond-blue icy waters of Alaska will take you up close to the land's natural wonders as these luxe ships have the ability to navigate further into the Inside Passage.
Ready for a luxury cruise? Silversea Cruises boasts the ultimate in cruising holidays with all-inclusive ultra-luxury cruises: extensive gourmet dining, complimentary beverages, butler service, in suite-bar and all suites boasting walk in closets, marble baths, balconies and high end linen.
Expedition Cruise: "I want to go where few have travelled, but leave a small footprint."
If your soul seeks remote landscapes and bucket list experiences, then an expedition cruise is for you. From the wild landscapes of Broome and the Kimberley and the Arctic's icy frontiers to the world's white wilderness in Antarctica, expedition cruising will take you to the far-flung corners of the earth and awaken your sense of wonder. Ships cater for up to 180 passengers, an intimate number compared to ocean liners, and will take you as close as possible to pristine nature and ancestral cultures far from the most popular maritime routes.
No two days will be the same on an expedition trip as the elements determine the itinerary; a cruise to the white wonderland of Antarctica might see you whale watching on a zodiac and walking ashore amongst hundreds of Adelie Penguins, while a trip to the Arctic will include searching for polar bears, grizzlies, and orcas underneath the dancing green and pink hue of Aurora Borealis.
Closer to home, the great wilderness of The Kimberley is a must-do for any expedition sailor. Home to more than 2500 islands, saltwater crocodiles, several million-year-old landscapes, the towering King George waterfalls, tangerine sunsets, and ancient Aboriginal rock art - this is a world like no other.
PONANT takes its signature French luxury, modern touches and expedition cruising experience onboard the modern French-inspired Le Lapérouse to this incredible part of Australia. You'll enjoy fine dining and elegant furnishings on this youngest and most environmentally sustainable vessel in the PONANT fleet. At the same time, you'll experience all the adventures of an onshore excursion via zodiac - witness towering cocoa-coloured cliffs and cascading waterfalls while listening to leading nature experts such as wildlife photographer Mick Fogg, share his expertise. This is the perfect combination of French-inspired luxury and authentic adventure.
Ready for an expedition cruise? With PONANT you can discover the treasures of the land by sea on board luxury vessels built on an intimate, human scale. French crew, expertise, gastronomy: set sail in a luxurious environment.