As an experienced cruiser, I've got tons of tips to make your next cruise vacation a breeze.
1. P&O Cruises
Starting with P&O cruises seems like the logical thing to do. They get to go first because of value for money. As far as cost goes, they provide everyone with an accessible option.
However, this affordability is not without a cost (if you will excuse the pun). The thing that you will have to keep in mind with P&O is that they will charge you for other things on top of the base fare that you pay. Things like ice cream and even some of the smaller things like burgers, etc. can cost a pretty penny.
The ships themselves are good if you're not sure about being on a massive cruiser with a huge number of people. I think they are likely the best option for the hypervigilant or crowd-averse people that are out there.
The ships leave from Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Cairns, Adelaide and Fremantle, so there are plenty of options for those Aussies out there looking to become cruisers.
These guys are constantly doing special offers to make sure that their ships are full, so keep an eye out and be aware of the savings available.
The relatively small size of their fleet allows them to stay on the edge a little, and in that way, you will notice that they are able to change menus and even refurbish things throughout the fleet with relative ease.
2. Royal Caribbean International
These guys are pretty awesome too, and they offer a nearly perfect mix that is best suited to families with kids ages 10 and up.
A lot of their ships have all of the things that will excite the whole family. As far as cruise lines go, Royal Caribbean cruises are by far the front-runners when it comes to staying on the leading edge of the tech world; their activities are tailored to those who want to get their heart pumping a bit.
They tend to offer those things that the thrill-seekers in your family will love, like rock-climbing on some well-laid-out wall or surfing simulators at the back of the ship. They also offer ice-skating rinks and waterslides that will have you hurtling down several decks in very short order.
There is even the chance to have a hoon on the bumper cars or feel the wind go flying past in massive skydiving tunnels. For those who are feeling less athletic, you can also be lifted above the ship in a glass capsule on a massive robotic arm for a view only available on a few ships around the world.
My favourite in the fleet would have to be the Ovation of the Seas, which is loaded with skydiving, bumper cars, the FlowRider and the Northern Star that lifts you high above the waves below. Their smaller ships, the Explorer and Voyager of the Seas, have the ice rinks and the ever-popular FlowRider.
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3. Carnival Cruise Line
This cruise liner is a real gem for families with smaller children. The access to the SplashZone, which is fun for the younger ones, is equal to the fun that the older kids can have on the Green Thunder and the Yellow Twister, where they can get their heart pumping during those long sea days.
The Dr. Seuss breakfasts are fun for the whole family, as are Dr. Seuss-themed parades that go through the ship's promenade.
There is also fun to be had with learning to make towel animals and watch the towel animal theatre production.
The family can also participate in the Hasbro game show where kids get to play big board games on the theatre stage.
Parents have the opportunity to use the late-night babysitting to take advantage of some of the theatre productions. The Carnival theatre productions would have to be my favourite, with a perfect mix of songs I like with amazing visuals on stage.
4. Princess Cruises
If you are looking to chill and get your relaxation on, the Princess Cruises are probably the best suited to your needs, at least in my opinion.
These guys offer plenty of cool itineraries and have some of the best New Zealand itineraries that I am aware of at the moment. I personally think that their ships have the best facilities of any ships on the seas; with large dining halls, the best options for specialty restaurants, plenty of pools and heaps of great entertainment - there is something for everyone.
These fellas also know how to look after their customers with great value when it comes to bonuses. So keep your eyes peeled for great deals.
For the adults on the trip, make sure you stop by at The Sanctuary with its adults-only pool, for an ambiance that is more suited to relaxation without a heap of loud children belting past your sun lounge every five seconds, as can happen on some of the more family-friendly cruise lines (though they do have their own adult areas).
5. Celebrity Cruises
Tailoring its experiences to those who like the finer things in life, the Celebrity Cruise line offers a bit of everything for those looking for a little luxury and indulgence.
Their ships' interior design is a cut above the rest and is decked out with the finest of furnishings. A modern and refined elegance awaits you as you step aboard.
Dining options are plentiful, with Asian, Italian and French food, just to name a few. If entertainment is more your thing, then you'd better make your way down to the theatre, one of the many bars or even the main foyer, where entertainment abounds around most corners.
Entertainment is everywhere with Celebrity Cruises because they really do seem to believe that the entertainment should always be available to you, which means that basically, you don’t have to go hunting to find the fun.