How To Choose Your Cruise Holiday
Which type of cruise is best for you?
Are you eager to go on a cruising adventure, but are unsure which type of cruise you want to take or which destination you want to visit?
To help you choose your cruise, we’ve put together a comprehensive cruising travel guide.
From romantic European river cruises and family-friendly Australian cruises to singles cruises and cruises for seniors, read on to find the best fit for your holiday.
Ready to book your cruise? Check out our cruise travel insurance cover to help protect your holiday, or find all the answers to your questions on our cruise travel insurance FAQs page here.
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Whether you're a first-timer or a certified "cruiser", it’s important to choose the sailing adventure that’s right for you.
Here are three questions to ask yourself to help pick the best cruise holiday for you:
#1. Where do you want to go?
When picturing yourself on a cruise, do you envision crystal blue waters and white-sand beaches? Or do you see yourself snapping photos of glaciers and looming, snow-capped mountains? Cruises go just about anywhere. Thinking about where you want to go will help you narrow your options.
#2. How much planning do you want to do?
The next thing you should consider is how much planning and exploring you would like to do. Some cruises will offer you a variety of options to choose from at the various ports – anything from a relaxing day on the beach to an adventurous exploration of caves. Other cruises will simply bring you to a port, allowing you to explore on your own.
#3. What atmosphere do you want on your boat?
While you may be most excited about the hotspots you'll get to visit on your cruise, bear in mind that you'll be spending at least one or two days on board. This means you'll need to be happy with the atmosphere.
For example, if you want to find romance on your holiday? Perhaps a singles cruise is the best fit. If you're travelling with a group of friends, maybe a boat with a party atmosphere would be more suitable.
Knowing the vibe you’re looking for can help you narrow down your choices of cruises and find the perfect one for you.
#1. Domestic cruises
Unsure if a cruise holiday is for you? Sample a short cruise in Australian waters. With the familiarity of your home country, relax and experience the luxury of a short cruise holiday.
Take a cruise from Sydney to Brisbane, sail through the Great Barrier Reef, or do a return trip from Melbourne. Lasting from two days to a week in length, domestic cruise holidays are a perfect escape for those short on time or looking to try our cruising for the first time.
Plus, with so many different types of domestic cruises available to us in Australia, it’s easy to choose the right cruise holiday for you.
#2. Senior cruises
Why not enjoy your golden years and reward yourself with a relaxing holiday on the water? Cruise lines are now tailoring holidays to seniors who are young at heart thanks to their increase in popularity. As a senior, you can snorkel around the Great Barrier Reef or lie on the white sand beaches of the Whitsunday Islands. Be as adventurous as you desire. You can even choose to relax on a child-free cruise or to enjoy a holiday with the whole family.
To find out more about what travel insurance covers, visit our seniors travel insurance benefits page.
#3. Family cruises
Want the ultimate family adventure? Keep everyone happy and embark on a domestic family cruise. From cinemas to onboard water parks, exchange 'are we there yet' complaints for beaming smiles. Knowing your kids are happy, you can relax by the pool and take in the Australian sun.
At each destination, try out a range of onshore activities for the whole family. Discover cities in your backyard or try exotic water sports along Queensland's pristine coastline.
For those cruising with littlies, take advantage of your cruise's child-minding service. With your kids happy and taken care of, enjoy a romantic dining experience at a Broadway-style show.
#4. Singles cruises
Travelling solo? Be adventurous and try out a singles cruise. Not exclusive to honeymooners and party groups, many cruise lines offer single cabins for solo travellers. That way, you can make your trip your own, joining in on as many activities and organised social events as you desire.
You can also find singles cruises in Sydney, singles cruises from Brisbane, and singles cruises from Melbourne that cater those looking to meet new people. Get involved in blind dinner dates and on-shore group tours – grab any opportunity to make friends with your new neighbours. Travelling solo will push you out of your comfort zone, so you're bound to make plenty of friends from across the world.
For first timers, we recommend taking a short domestic cruise. That way, you can sample the single cruise life, with the comfort of sailing local waters.
#5. International cruises
Cruises are a great way to visit multiple countries or locations in one go. Imagine stopping off at different destinations without having to pack and unpack your bag multiple times. It's like the hotel room that comes with you. All you need to do is work our which countries or regions you want to explore – such as Europe or Africa – and choose your perfect cruise.
#1. New Zealand cruises
Want to visit New Zealand? Embark on a cruise adventure for the perfect getaway. Ranging from a few days to three weeks, a cruise to New Zealand is the perfect break for Australians.
Once in New Zealand, experience a variety of destinations that please all travellers. For a cultural lesson, visit the stunning Bay of Islands. Proud of their Maori heritage, this northern wonder is home to the Waitangi Treaty grounds. Located at the very top of New Zealand, it's a fitting first stop for your kiwi getaway.
Another highlight is a Milford Sound Cruise. Hidden in Fiordland National Park, try a spot of kayaking as your cruise docks in this famous fjord. With a backdrop of towering mountains, it's easy to see why it is a favourite among visitors.
Although New Zealand cruises depart year-round, we advise taking advantage of their mild summer temperatures. With long days and warm temperatures, cruise between November and February for the best experience.
#2. South Pacific cruises
For a taste of culture close to home, choose a South Pacific Cruise. With thousands of islands, your options are as vast as the ocean. For thrill-seekers, take a Vanuatu Cruise and hike up an active volcano. If you're more of a water-lover, float above the coral reefs on a Fiji Cruise. Or, for a French Immersion, check out New Caledonia. However, if you want the ultimate Pacific adventure, sail the seas for up to a month. Departing from Brisbane and Sydney, sail the high seas all the way to Hawaii. That way, you'll get to check out the many island countries on the way.
Operating year round, choose the South Pacific cruise tailored to your desires. For a tropical escape, bask in the humid temperatures of the Pacific Summer from November to April. Although, we recommend travelling during the drier months. Lasting from May to October, bathe in the warm, eternal sun and enjoy the gentle Pacific breeze. Perfect for water lovers, the dry season offers crystal clear waters, ideal for snorkelling enthusiasts.
#3. Mediterranean cruises
From stunning landscapes, a rich history and delicious cuisine – Mediterranean Cruises are a hit with Australians. Stretching from Portugal to Turkey, explore the pristine beaches nestled along the coast. For history buffs, visit the Acropolis and embark on a Greek Island Cruise. If you want to explore the South of France, cruise from Rome to Barcelona. The options are endless in the Mediterranean.
The best time to take a cruise in the Mediterranean is in Europe's Spring and Autumn. Still offering warm temperatures, escape the flock of tourists for an authentic travel experience.
Want to learn about our Cruise Cover? Visit our cruise travel insurance page.
Are you an avid explorer, yearning for luxury? Then a river cruise may be for you. Removed from busy highways, discover the world the way nature intended. Flow down the Danube on a European River Cruise or explore the Asian rainforests of the Mekong River.
Better suited to wine lovers than the regular party-goer, scenic river cruises are a unique way to see the sites. Making many stops along the way, explore the rich history of your chosen destination. To help you choose your cruise, here are our top 5 river cruises.
#1. Seine River – France
If you enjoy art, history, or the pervading romance of France, choose the Seine for your river cruise. As you might expect, a river cruise on the Seine will focus heavily on its famous capital – Paris! Take in the sights and sounds of Paris for the first two days of the cruise.
Afterwards, travel up to Honfluer and the English Channel. Stops can include Giverny, where Claude Monet painted his famous water lily landscape; and Rouen, which is known as the City of 100 Spires for its numerous churches and cathedrals. From Rouen you can head to Normandy for firsthand experiences of D-Day memorial sites and more.
#2. Rhine River – Germany
If this is your very first river cruise, then choose your cruise along the Rhine River. It flows through four countries – Germany, Netherlands, France, and Switzerland. This way, you’ll get an overview of river cruise life before you try out smaller cruises to lesser-known destinations.
Sailing between Holland and Switzerland, the one to two-week voyage covers a lot of cultural ground. You’ll stop in Cologne, Germany to see the famous cathedral. You'll visit Rudesheim to try local Riesling wines. And then you'll hit Heidelberg, Germany, with its picturesque, small-town feel. Another highlight is the stunning Gothic Cathedral in Strasbourg, France.
What’s not to love about the Rhine and choosing to embark on a European river cruise?
#3. Mekong River – Vietnam and Cambodia
Choose your cruise along the Mekong River and see the best parts of Vietnam and Cambodia. Start at Siem Reap, where you can visit the towering temples of Angkor Wat. Your cruise will continue all the way through to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
While this route is mostly rural in between, you will still stop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city. Experience floating fish markets, gaze at royal residences, pass through rural villages, and see a French Gothic church on your way.
This is a perfect cruise for an adventure seeker and traveller who is fairly fit. If you can climb in and out of basic local panga boats, you’ll be able to participate in the daily excursions more easily, reaching Mekong’s tributaries and rural shore points.
#4. Nile River – Egypt
Perhaps the Nile is the first place you thought of for a river cruise. These cruises are generally shorter than the three mentioned above, ranging from 4 to 10 nights.
If you are a lover of antiquities and history, then the Nile River is the place for you. You start out of Cairo, Egypt, which acts as the gateway to thousands of years of history. You can see pyramids from the water, and temples as well. You’ll pass through Luxor and Aswan, too, experiencing the best Egypt has to offer.
#5. Yangtze River – China
Travelling along the Yangtze River is a fantastic choice for anyone. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, laidback traveller, history buff, senior, or all the above, the Yangtze River has so much to offer.
This 6,400km waterway flows through many of China’s great cities, including Shanghai, Yangzhou, Nanjing, Chongqing, and Yichang. You can sail for 3-6 nights. If you choose the Three Gorges tour (Chongqing to Yichang), you’ll experience the spectacularly beautiful 120km stretch of the Yangtze.
Keep your eyes peeled for century-old pagodas that crop up along the riverbank as well!
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