You may have seen this story in the New Zealand Herald last week – one of the newest cruise ships, with a capacity of over 4000 people.
For a lot of people the ship is the experience and the bigger the better, but for others the thought of sharing with 4000 others is their worst nightmare.
That’s why choosing the right cruise is critical to a successful holiday. I spoke with two cruising experts; Sandra Barclay-Graham, an Accredited Cruise Master with (CLIA) – Cruise Lines International Association, Australasia and Kerry Graham, Director of the Private Travel Company.
“Choosing the right shipping line and size of ship is so important,”says Barclay-Graham. “If someone has not enjoyed a cruise it is because they have chosen the wrong cruise.”
Some people want the cruise to be the experience so a bigger ship with more facilities is a good option. Others may want a smaller more intimate experience where getting close to the animals on the ice in Alaska or up the fiords is important.
“The best way to achieve this is to talk to the right people before booking a cruise to ensure your expectations are met,” says Barclay-Graham. She says some travel agents have more experience with cruising so it is important to find an agent with in- depth knowledge. The Cruise Lines International Association, (CLIA) Australasia, lists agents with cruising expertise on their website. cruising.org.nz
“Time and money are precious commodities,” says Graham, “and it is important to take them into consideration when planning a holiday too”.
“One of the great benefits of cruising is value for money. Generally, the cost of the total package is less than the individual components. This makes cruising a very cost effect way to travel, especially with fly and cruise packages, where it is all-inclusive, ” says Graham.
The other benefit Graham extols is the convenience of cruising. Unpacking once is easy compared to other modes of travel, where packing, unpacking and getting to a destination can be time consuming.
Many cruise ships travel at night to the new destination. “If time is critical,” says Graham, “cruising not only saves time but you awake fresh and ready to explore the new destination.”
Do your research and talk to the right people and you will have a great cruise experience.