Cruising

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What happens to your poop on a cruise ship?

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Each year tens of millions of people around the world sail away by boat to their cruise destinations. Not many people know what happens when they flush the toilet though. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re one of the many people who cruise every year then you should know what happens each time you flush the toilet. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is easy to assume the sewage is just dumped out straight into the ocean, even kept below deck in septic tanks to be released somewhere else or even left until we get off the boat at the end of our holiday. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the answer isn’t far off. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Not so long ago, cruise passengers’ remnants were thrown overboard through “storm valves” attached to the ship. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These days, cruise lines must follow strict international maritime laws which requires vessels to be three nautical miles (5km) away from land before letting go of treated sewage, according to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollutions from ships via MARPOL (Marine Pollution). </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The environmental manager for Carnival Cruise Lines, Natalia Vecchione told </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/cruises/what-really-happens-to-your-poo-when-staying-on-a-cruise-ship/news-story/c4f45391a07a51863efc3d5633d51c8e"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that each ship has a wastewater treatment system as well as an environmental officer on-board to make sure all matters run smoothly. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So, while it may seem like the answer to where our bodily fluids go on a cruise ship is difficult, it actually turns out it is not all that different to our home sewage systems. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“When you flush the toilet, the wastewater is sent to the wastewater treatment systems on-board. The systems on-board treat the wastewater similarly to how it is treated on land. It goes through a multistage process including biological treatment and disinfection,” Ms Vecchione explained.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Also, the treatment units are designed and approved to stringent International Maritime Organisation standards and they’re installed and operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s rigorous instructions and procedures.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To put it more simply, when a passenger or staff member flushes the loo, all the sewage goes directly to the treatment plan on the ship, which treats and disinfects it until it is safe to drink and pump it back into the ocean – far, far away from dry land. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ms Vecchione said Carnival Cruise Lines goes the distance, choosing to dump their sewage 12 nautical miles (22km) away rather than the expected three nautical miles. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Once treated, when the ship is far enough from land, the treated water is discharged. And, once it’s discharged, the sea water one metre behind a ship is chemically indistinguishable from the water one metre in front of the ship,” Ms Vecchione said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Respecting and protecting the waters we sail in and the environment of the destinations we visit goes beyond being an operating necessity, it is also the right thing to do.”</span></p>

Cruising

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5 things you shouldn’t do on a cruise

<p><strong>1. Don’t use the elevator</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you can avoid it, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s a good way to keep the kilos off after the many buffets you will be feasting on. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Don’t forget to relax</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s your holiday, enjoy it while you can because unfortunately, you get straight back into reality once you arrive at your doorstep. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Don’t forget to save room for souvenirs</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are so many great deals and bargains that are available while you’re on board so take advantage of them. The places you may port at will also have some of the best deals you can get for your loved ones. So make sure you save a bit of luggage space for these keepsakes you will be taking home, so you don’t have to purchase another suitcase just to carry them all. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Don’t forget to pack well</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Packing your luggage is a practice that takes time to master – so make sure you do it well. Afterall, you don’t want to be getting on your cruise ship and realising you have forgotten to pack a fundamental item. </span></p> <p><strong>5. Don’t drink too much alcohol</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While it is your holiday, getting a bit </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">too </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">loose is something you don’t want to be doing. Take short breaks when you start feeling lightheaded – it will save you a headache and some bad memories!</span></p>

Cruising

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Small ship cruising New Zealand

<p>The myriad wonders and blockbuster scenery of Aotearoa (the land of the long white cloud) are well known thanks to movies like Lord of the Rings and it seems everyone wants a piece of the action.</p> <p>But looking at the map, it’s easy to see how much of this intricate coastline would be overlooked if one were restricted to port-hopping with the larger cruise ships. Captain Cook himself, aboard the tiny Endeavour, was perhaps the first European to sing the praises of his new found southern paradise and he used every opportunity to return and rest his men in the peaceful surrounds of places like Queen Charlotte Sound. Tasman, a century earlier, had received unwelcome attention from the Māori and wasn’t so keen to hang around.</p> <p>From my own experience, many great attractions exist in the smaller cities and towns where large numbers of disembarking passengers could well spoil the special appeal of these out of the way places. One cruise I enjoyed immensely was in the Bay of Islands where kilometre after kilometre of intricate coastline, little nooks, coves and crannies, thickly wooded islands and headlands are all interwoven to create a convivial natural latticework perfect for smaller vessels.</p> <p>Another time I dropped in to little Kaikoura where I discovered their secret – a very deep secret. But now the word is out. Only a few hundred metres off shore, the seabed rapidly plunges into a massive submarine canyon well over a kilometre deep. When warm tropical currents flowing southward crash head-on into the cold Antarctic stream heading north, a swirling mass of nutrient-rich water is sucked up from the depths. This marine smorgasbord attracts an array of aquatic mammals, fish, birds and tourists. Whales, dolphins, seals and all manner of aquatic birds abound in and around Kaikoura.</p> <p>One of the cruise areas that you will see on many itineraries is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fiordland which encompasses Milford Sound, Dusky Sound and Doubtful Sound. If you want to get pedantic, it was James Cook who named them ‘sounds’ when in fact they are proper, glacial fjords. No one has dared correct him. While the big ships cruise in and out, it is the smaller ships which will occasionally land guests ashore and conduct excursions as far afield as Queenstown.</p> <p>Napier is another intriguing port. Totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1931, it was rebuilt in the art deco style. Many buildings remain and the city is making full use of its unique assets which, apart from the heritage architecture, include the vast Hawke’s Bay, widely recognised as New Zealand’s leading wine and food region. Walking the ornate streets is a thrill in itself and guided walking tours are great fun.</p> <p>Around the corner from Napier is the Bay of Plenty, regularly visited by the big ships, but an attraction for smaller ones as well. While the large vessels send their guests off to Rotorua from the deep sea port at Tauranga, ,ore adventurous types head out to volcanic White Island where, depending on weather and volcanic activity, tenders may put guests ashore for a steamy excursion.</p> <p>Way down at the very foot of the South Island is Stewart Island, insulated from the world by its remoteness, Stewart Island is a haven for travellers looking for nature, tranquillity and adventure. While it is ideal for small ship visits, bigger ships occasionally creep in too, putting passengers ashore by tender to visit the small village or take shore excursions into the Rakiura National Park which makes up 85 per cent of the island.</p> <p>Now for those really looking for a dash of adventure, New Zealand has a whole bunch of sub-Antarctic islands hundreds of kilometres south of Stewart Island. These little specks of land have been variously used for agriculture, seal hunting and even military surveillance, but all are now returned to national parks and are occasionally visited by expedition ships. Names like Auckland, the Snares, Enderby and Campbell Island all contain wonderful birdlife, particularly albatross and petrels as well as rare fur seals.</p> <p>Thankfully several specialist cruise lines have taken a particular interest in New Zealand and its potential for boutique travel. Bear in mind, you’ll be paying a bit more for these cruises.</p> <p>Cruise lines regularly visiting New Zealand on comprehensive itineraries include Silversea Cruises, Seabourn, APT, Hapag-Lloyd, Ponant and Regent Seven Seas. Niche adventure operator, Heritage Expeditions regularly sail from Bluff, near Invercargill and local small (tiny) ship line Island Escape are also of note.</p> <p><strong>Writer’s Tip: </strong>There’s no bad decision about cruising in New Zealand, so don’t be too worried about choice. Small ship cruises, however, require a bit more attention to detail. Identify as closely as you can what you want to see and do, then go after a vessel that does it. Some of the waters down south can get ‘choppy’.</p> <p><em>Written by Roderick Eime. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/new-zealand-small-ship-cruising-for-mature-adventurers/"><em>Wyza.com.au.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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4 most common cruise questions – answered

<p><strong>1. Are all cruise ships the same?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruise ships are each built incredibly differently, and believe it or not, one is not like the other. Cruise ships have a myriad of variations: Big ships, small ships, luxury ships, family ships and so forth. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is important to research what sort of cruise will best suit you. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Are cruise ships all-inclusive?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While cruises may seem all-inclusive, they are not. Depending on your cruise, you may be required to pay for alcohol, soft drinks, or even a cup of coffee. The same line can offer you free soft drinks and amenities, if you got a good deal. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Will I get sick?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may be aware that cruise air is not the cleanest (depending on where you are on a cruise ship) but diseases like the norovirus (a stomach bug that can spread easily if you’re not washing your hands properly or practicing proper hygiene) are a little harder to get than you may think. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stay healthy by washing your hands often and use the hand santisiation systems that are usually on every deck with multiple locations. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sea sickness can be treated with a trip to your local GP. If you know you are prone to sickness easily, ask for a prescription. If you prefer to buy some on board, you can do so but be aware it might be a little pricier. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Is cruising safe?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ships have a number of rules and regulations that not only staff must follow, but passengers as well. The reason why you shouldn’t be too worried about safety concerns, keep in mind being onboard a vessel is like a floating mini city. Protect your personal and valuable items by not leaving them lying around, and placing them in your cabin safe.</span></p>

Cruising

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Explore the great Yangtze River

<p>The Yangtze River is a massive tempestuous monster. For centuries it has been both the life  and death of the Chinese people, providing food, water for irrigation and a critical transport  route, but turning fierce with immense and destructive floods. In 1998, the last such flood  drowned some 2000 people and millions more made homeless. This final malicious act of the  Yangtze would be the last. If China was to grow and prosper, the beast must be tamed and  made to work for the masses.</p> <p>Our journey begins in Chongqing, a vast, sprawling metropolis now bearing the title of world’s largest city. With a population of 32 million it is three times the size of New York City thanks mainly to the relocation of former riverside inhabitants displaced by the Yangtze’s rising.</p> <p>Both shores are undergoing momentous transformation with great cranes and concrete pourers working overtime to construct new apartment blocks and shopping centres. The ancient riverside villages are gone, replaced by the energetic and progressive new 21st Century China.</p> <p>We visit some of the few remaining archaeological sites en route and the macbre Ghost City of Fengdu is a standout. Visitors are welcomed by a parade of stone demons each depicting unholy vices and terrifying acts. Displays inside the temple are guaranteed to leave you squeamish.</p> <p>The Three Gorges themselves are Qutang, Wu and Xiling, occupying a section of about 120 kilometres of the river between Fengjie and Yichang. Despite their stunning scenery it was one of the most hazardous stretches. As river levels rose and fell with the seasons, navigating the fury of its waters was a white-knuckle experience for crew and passengers alike.</p> <p>We divert from the main channel to the Daning River and proceed up the “Lesser Three Gorges” (Dragon-Gate, Misty and Emerald) where former farmers and river traders are now tour guides in one of the most scenic locations in all of China. The few farms and dwellings we see are slowly being consumed by the rising waters.</p> <p>Mr Zhang, our boatman, now sports smart leather shoes and trousers but dons a traditional fishing jacket and headdress as he sings a song and poles us up the narrow tributary bordered by dizzying, sheer cliffs. He’s happy that his boat is full of paying travellers, but the notes of his song are tinged with sadness. He’ll never sing this tune like his father and grandfather did, hauling in the nets and selling the fish.</p> <p>After four days cruising, we meet the manmade monster designed to subdue the Yangtze and in the middle of the night, we toast the new Great Wall as we descend 100 metres via a series of locks to the old riverfront at Sandouping.</p> <p>Any way you look at it, the Three Gorges Dam is one of the world’s engineering marvels, rivalling the Panama Canal or even the original Great Wall itself. Always controversial, the dam was first proposed in 1919. Proponents argued that flood mitigation would save many thousands of lives and improve irrigation, navigation and water utilisation The hydro-electric plant would produce 22,500MW or the equivalent of ten per cent of China’s industrial requirement.</p> <p>Opponents cited the dislocation of millions of residents, hundreds of tonnes of damaging sediment, loss of historic relics and the danger of catastrophe due to earthquake or landslide.</p> <p>Begun in 1994 and completed in 2006, the dam comprises 27 million cubic of concrete, all of which had to be laid in one continuous pour. The dam wall is 2335 metres wide, 101 metres high and contains 39.3 cubic kilometres of water.</p> <p>After breakfast we gather our cameras and floppy hats and prepare to embark a fleet of buses. Clearly visiting the dam is a popular outing for the Chinese. Hundreds of folk are jostling and nudging, as is the Chinese way, for the few vantage points and I hurriedly snatch a few photos before my arbitrary time limit.</p> <p>Downstream of the dam, the river is much less affected and the water levels are more-or- less unchanged. Traditional villages reappear and there are glimpses of what life must have been like once upon a time on the other side. While we can lament how the Three Gorges Dam has transformed the Yangtze forever, the enormous upheaval thrust upon those along its course is indicative of a rapidly changing China, a country throwing off the ancient shackles of reluctance and charging headlong towards a prosperous future with the promise of plenty for all. Let’s hope the Eastern wisdom doesn’t repeat the many mistakes of the West.</p> <p><em>Written by Roderick Eime. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/locations-in-china-including-the-great-wall-for-the-mature-adventure-traveller/"><em>MyDiscoveries.</em></a></p> <p> </p>

Cruising

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8 do’s and don’ts for a successful cruise

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are a few cruise tips to help your trip sail as smoothly as possible.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Join in on everything</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take advantage of all the free activities available to you – they are options that may not be available again without a hefty price tag. You also don’t realise how many friends you can make and all the people you can meet if you put in a little effort to join in on events offered to you while cruising. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Don’t forget important documents</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Believe it or not, cruising takes passports, visas and travel insurance </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">extremely </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">seriously. Do not skip out on doing a double or triple check through your bags to see if your important documents are there. You will most likely not be able to jump onboard without them, which means a lot of money wasted for you. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Anytime dining option is better</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Depending on what type of experience you are looking for while on a cruise, anytime dining could be the superior option for you. Unfortunately, long lines are a guarantee when going to dinner each night aboard your cruise, however anytime dining gives a traveller the option to return later in the evening, or earlier. Whenever you get a little peckish and hope to join the line for dinner, the anytime dining option will rescue you. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you are a stickler for routine, stick to the reservation option available to you. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Do your research</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Don’t pick the first cruise you see – look around. If you are willing to sit on it, do so but make sure you subscribe to mailing lists, so cruise lines know you are interested. More often than not, incredible deals are on offer all from the comfort of your inbox. </span></p> <p><strong>5. If you bring kids – don’t be that person</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Taking your family on a trip with you may seem like the dream situation if it’s a cruise – afterall, there are so many babysitting and daycare options available as well as other young adults and children looking to make friends aboard. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, do not be that parent, grandparent or family member who allows children to run wild – it is annoying and frustrating to have anyone ruin your peaceful experience. Take them to a kids club where they can find other wild friends to have fun with, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">under supervision. </span></p> <p><strong>6. Take the stairs – you will need it</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is a simple way to get exercise, and you may need it after all the buffet meals you will be feasting on while cruising. </span></p> <p><strong>7. Learn some of the local language</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Learning a few phrases and sentences can be helpful to locals you are visiting while on their island. It makes life easier for you also. </span></p> <p><strong>8. Don’t be rude to the cruise ship photographer</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It can get a little annoying after a while when it seems like you are being hounded by staff photographers, but remember they are only doing their job. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A polite no will always suffice; however you should say yes and decide whether or not you want to purchase the image later as they are usually on display for you to check out. They are a little pricey in the end, but at least you know the memories can always be there in front of your eyes. </span></p>

Cruising

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6 essential items you need to pack for your river cruise

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may think river cruises are similar to ocean ones if you have never travelled down the stream before – but they could not be anymore different. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">River cruises are a lot more focussed on frequent stops and minimal lounging onboard – afterall, the spectacular experiences that come with travelling through small towns and beautiful cities are once in a lifetime opportunities. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are a few items to take on your river cruise. </span></p> <p><strong>1. Walking shoes</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You won’t be in your cabins a lot and walking from the start of your cruise vessel to the end will not be the only exercise you can expect while on holiday. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are many sights to see, so pack a good pair of shoes that are sturdy, reliable and can go the distance.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Comfortable clothing</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Comfort is an important part of your holiday, so bring a practical wardrobe in which you can explore the great sights by foot, bike or even train. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For evenings aboard your vessel – or even for the small town restaurants – bring smart casual pieces. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Medication</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take all the medication you need – unlike ocean cruises, trusty shops are not located on your vessel and it can be frustrating to have to walk through the gorgeous cities you paid thousands of dollars to be in, just to find some headache tablets or allergy pills. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bring a mini first-aid kit just in case, as well as travel-sized bottles and hand sanitiser. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Adaptor</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Remember, European adaptors differ from our own ones, so bring the cords you require and all your electronics can be charged for another day. </span></p> <p><strong>5. Exercise clothes</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many river cruises have gyms and swimming pools, so pack some exercise gear and swimmers in case they offer classes. </span></p> <p><strong>6. City Guidebooks, phrase books and currency calculator</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For a seamless trip with minimal challenges, bring a city guidebook so you don’t miss out on all the sights to see. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Phrase books can be helpful too if you are in a country where the common tongue is not familiar to you. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A currency calculator can also be extremely helpful if you want to keep a close eye on your spending habits by converting all your money.</span></p>

Cruising

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The lure of an Antarctic Adventure

<p>I blame my grandfather whose massive old atlas used to sit on the bookshelf next to rows of faded and well-thumbed National Geographic magazines. I’d sit for hours poring over the pages, unfolding the maps and imagine travelling to Prussia, Ceylon, the New Hebrides and Yugoslavia. Places I will now never visit, not by those names anyway.</p> <p>But it was the huge, empty white continent of Antarctica that always intrigued me. I imagined infinitely white vistas, ice-encrusted shorelines and flocks of bizarre creatures engaged in all manner of noisy rituals. I made a promise to myself to venture there one day to see Antarctica’s foreboding frozen wastes firsthand.</p> <p>As far as the Antarctic is concerned, the peninsula is the most densely populated location on the continent, sprinkled with remote research bases and minute outposts. At the height of the summer season, the human population numbers over 3,000 – not counting tourists. That figure shrinks to less than 1,000 during the intensely chilly winter.</p> <p>Fast-forward forty-odd years and that misty dream becomes reality. I’m standing on the bow of a modern ice vessel watching hefty chunks of disintegrating pack ice thud against the hull as we pick our way gingerly through a narrow channel. Lonely groups of Adelie Penguins watch curiously as we inch past, while in the distance, a lone Leopard Seal dives for cover under the ice floe. The Akedemik Sergey Vavilov and its seasoned crew of Russian mariners prepare to make the perilous entry into the ever-diminishing confines of the frozen waterways along the Palmer Archipelago.</p> <p>During the pre-dawn, Vavilov enters the relatively broad expanse of the Gerlache Strait and well before the first smell of morning coffee wafts up from the galley, we’re perched around the bow, goggle-eyed, as the snow-splattered peaks embracing the Lemaire Channel loom above us.</p> <p>This is the sort of vision that lasts forever in the mind’s eye – a manic chequerboard of ice chunks, so-called ‘bergie bits’, are arrayed out before us. Now at a virtual crawl, the Vavilov gently nudges them aside, the ice-strengthened steel bow ushering them delicately around the hull amid muffled, squeaking protests.</p> <p>After a suitably reinforcing breakfast we reached our southernmost point, Petermann Island, where a very basic survival hut erected by the Argentines in 1955 provides essential food, shelter and magazines for marooned explorers – handy to know if I miss the last Zodiac back to the ship. A cross erected nearby bears witness to those who didn’t make it.</p> <p>Apart from the curious hut, the little outpost plays host to the southernmost flock of breeding Gentoo Penguins while Sheathbills, Shags and the ever-opportunistic Skuas patrol overhead.</p> <p>The return journey was interrupted with some leisurely Zodiac (rigid inflatable runabout) cruising among the grounded icebergs off Pleneau Island. Seasoned by a stiff, sleety breeze, the scene is like a frozen graveyard. These doomed bergs aren’t going anywhere.</p> <p>Heads suddenly swivel and cameras are produced as a timid female leopard seal and pup suddenly appear, and just as mysteriously disappear, amid the frosted icescape. This is a rare sighting even for experienced expeditioners and just goes to show you never know what you’ll see.</p> <p>We make a call at Port Lockroy on tiny Goudier Island. Abandoned by the British Antarctic Survey in 1962, the cute hut is chock full of artefacts from the mid 20th century’s Antarctic expeditions and is now a heritage listed site and emporium of Antarctica souvenirs from pencil sharpeners to furry penguins.</p> <p>The most visited single site on the peninsula, the preserved station houses a vintage radio room, galley and a working post office where you can send a genuine Antarctic postcard and get your passport stamped.</p> <p>The subject of many postcards, the aptly named Paradise Bay is the epitome of classic Antarctic Peninsula scenery and we disembark for a vigorous stroll to the top of the cliff for a breathtaking view. Deceptively tranquil waterways dotted with ice cakes and framed by snow-dusted cliffs, completely silent except for the occasional screech of a wheeling seabird.</p> <p>Now, years later and safely reliving my adventure in the comfort of reminiscence, I occasionally blow the dust off Pop’s weighty old atlas and smile childishly as my failing eyes pass along what were once simply maps but are now living, full colour diaries of adventure.</p> <p>Writer’s Tip: The comfort of modern expedition vessels has increased enormously at very little cost, if any. As with expedition cruises anywhere, first decide what you want to see and for how long, then set about choosing the vessel most suited to your comfort level and budget. Often the more luxurious ships can be a little timid in their expedition delivery, while the sturdy old ex-Soviet vessels go where others fear to sail.</p> <p><em>Written by Roderick Eime. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/the-lure-of-an-antarctic-adventure/"><em>MyDiscoveries.</em></a></p>

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5 things to consider when booking a cruise room

<p><strong>1. Prioritise your wants</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruising is such a popular form of travel that companies are increasingly looking for ways to ensure every passenger has their wants and needs fulfilled. It is important to think about what you really want on a cruise – private time alone, or perhaps a room close to elevators so you can make a quick dash to the buffet each morning. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maybe you like a lot of room for all your bags, or a couch or two to sit back and relax. It is also important to ask yourself how much time you will spend in your cabin? You may not need a balcony because you don’t plan on spending longer than necessary in your state room – or maybe you want to take long naps during the day while you listen to the ocean water from your bed. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Either way, it is very important to think about exactly what you want before making a booking.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Cost</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Money plays a big role in deciding what cruise room you may choose, but with cruising – it really doesn’t have to be. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The best part about cruising in general is that although cost should be a factor, there are so many deals, bargains, quick price surges and drops, and perks that are on offer when you want to book a cruise. </span></p> <p><strong>SEE MORE: </strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/cruising/cruise-cabin-price-hacks-to-look-out-for"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruise cabin price hacks to look out for</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/cruising/5-easy-ways-to-save-big-on-your-next-cruise"><span style="font-weight: 400;">5 easy ways to save big on your next cruise</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/cruising/8-top-tips-for-saving-money-on-a-cruise"><span style="font-weight: 400;">8 top tips for saving money on a cruise</span></a></p> <p><strong>3. Noise control</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re a light sleeper, you might be better off opting for a room on a lower deck – the higher you go, the more susceptible you are to sounds and movements. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ironically, despite the premium cabins paying more for the perks, they are usually right underneath the loud attractions like laundries, theatres, bars, pool decks and discos. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Cabin views</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you want amazing scenery </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">all the time, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">then a cabin with a view might be the option for you. </span></p> <p><strong>5. Sea sickness</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re prone to seasickness, opt for a room closer to the middle of the ship as less movement happens midship. Also play it safe by avoiding higher up decks as they will feel the rock and roll of the ship the most.</span></p>

Cruising

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Top 5 ways to save space in a cruise cabin

<p><strong>1. Store your luggage under your bed</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Depending on your cruise line and the design of your room, this hack may or may not be a possibility. However, this tip can be helpful even if you put your luggage in a wardrobe compartment. Remember, using any dead space to hide away the unnecessary items while you’re holidaying are essential to maximise your space and get the most out of your cabin. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Rearrange furniture</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may be worried you’re not allowed to do this but rest assured, if it is able to be lifted from its place then you should be fine to do a little room re-designing as long as there is no furniture blocking exit and entry doors. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Use a door shoe organiser</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may not bring many pairs of shoes but it’s a necessary accessory for a cruise cabin as it opens space up that you might not have thought of. It can be used for more than just shoes and instead be a place to unpack toiletries, sunscreen, perfume and cologne, deodorant and much more. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Pack away your laundry</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take a few minutes every night to pack away dirty laundry. If you’re not willing to spend a small fortune to wash your clothes on the cruise ship, then it’s a good option to bring plastic bags or even a separate bag for dirty beach towels, undergarments and wet swimmers.</span></p> <p><strong>5. Pack smarter not more</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s the most obvious hack to save room in your stateroom, but it is crucial. Although overpacking is a habit you may possess, it is important to reevaluate how many socks you actually need, or if those extra four pairs of shoes on top of your other two pairs are really necessary.</span></p>

Cruising

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9 travel tips: How to stay safe on a cruise

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruises can be such a fun way to relax, destress and enjoy a holiday, however, just because you feel safer on a cruise rather than other types of travel available to you – it does not mean you cannot risk being wary.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Follow these top 9 tips to ensure you stay safe on your next cruising holiday. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">1. It is necessary to take a few extra precautions, so nothing interferes with your awesome holiday and your good experience. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">2. Use your safe in your cabin to store any valuables. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">3. Keep a paper copy of your passport photo and prescriptions at all times. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">4. Always comply with laws in foreign countries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">5. Be vigilant about your whereabouts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">6. Don’t drink too much alcohol to the point where you are no longer able to get yourself back to your cabin. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">7. Always lock your cabin doors. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">8. Consult your doctor before your trip if you have medical issues.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">9.Check with your travel insurance company to ensure you are covered if you get sick or injured while holidaying in another country.</span></p>

Cruising

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The 4 things you will ALWAYS find in a cruise expert's suitcase

<p><strong>1. Highlighter</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Believe it or not, a highlighter on a cruise is not that common to come across – so pack one! Cruises always hand out programs, itineraries and other handy pamphlets and it will be easier to highlight things of interest to you. All the papers you receive really add up, so while this tip may seem silly – it WILL help!</span></p> <p><strong>2. Ziplock bags / plastic bags</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Snacking is a common occurrence. If you’re travelling with children, they may get peckish while on the islands, in the rooms or by the pool so pack a few little snacks in a ziplock bag at the buffet so they never need to leave your sight. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Plastic bags are also a big help for any wet clothes or towels you don’t have the chance to wash or dry out while on your cruise. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Refillable water bottle</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This tip is a must as water bottles cost a lot on the ship! While water itself is free as well as some juices, having a water bottle will be the lifesaver you didn’t know you needed while lying underneath the sun or while on the islands. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Lanyard</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lanyards are very handy when you’re onboard as the whole ship is cashless – you will have to pay for everything with a cruise-given card. So instead of paying $8-10 at the cruise shops, bring your own (it is a lot cheaper if you’re a big group).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What are some of the little things you pack in your suitcase for a cruise? Let us know in  the comments below.</span></p>

Cruising

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Are cruise ship drink packages worth it?

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruising always seems like a very cheap way to travel, but unfortunately your purchase price doesn’t always mean it is an inclusive cost. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your fare will include your meals on board, but with some</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">cruise lines</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">alcohol is a cost that is not included and you will have to pull out your onboard spending card for every single drop. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The prices for beer, wine, spirits and even soft drinks and water are high enough to make you consider jumping overboard and swim to that high-end restaurant in the city whose prices now seem like a bargain. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The question does beg though, is the drinking package (if it is available on your select cruise line) worth it? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ultimately, it depends. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For some, a cruise getaway means being permanently tipsy with a drink in your hand at all times. For others, it might just be a glass of red on a nice night overlooking a black sea. You also could just be looking for a good, rowdy night </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">one </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">time on the cruise and plan to recover for the rest of the trip. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Drinking packages usually come at a heavily discounted price. If you plan to be drinking every day/night while onboard then perhaps exploring the drinking package options might be the way to get what you need at a good price. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is important to remember though, you will not be spending everyday onboard your cruise ship, and your drinking package purchase does not extend to the restaurants and bars on land. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Either way, it is extremely important to read the fine print carefully – there are always little hidden details in there you might not have been aware of. For example, your drinking package may not count on the days you are at port – which could make purchasing the package something you don’t want to do.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What are your tips to consider when wanting to purchase the cruise drinking package? Let us know in the comments below.  </span></p>

Cruising

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What it’s really like to cruise with grandkids

<p>As our cruise ship left Tilbury in England there were four passengers on board with very mixed emotions. Two teenage girls (13 and 15) full of excitement but with absolutely no idea what to expect, and two 70-year-old grandparents wondering if we had made the biggest mistake of their lives.<br />We booked 15 days cruising with seven sea days.</p> <p>What were we all going to do? How would the girls survive without Wi-Fi? They normally have their phones superglued to their hands unless they are eating.</p> <p>We oldies on the other hand view cruising as a great relaxation and have our kindles loaded with books.</p> <p>So off we sail.</p> <p>“Dinner at 6pm girls. No you can’t wear board shorts and have your midriff showing.”</p> <p>We left them to unpack, then explored the ship together. The swimming pool looked small, the theatre big like something out of the west end. How many lifts? Why is there no deck 13? Which way is the back (aft) and which the front (fore)?</p> <p>Dinner was a great success. They were more dressed up and made-up than we were. Three courses and a lovely waiter.</p> <p>“Tomorrow it’s Amsterdam so we need to be up at 8am,” we say. No word of protest but “can we please skip breakfast?”</p> <p>And so the pattern of shore days was set. Up and disembark early. See the sights. A quick trip to Starbucks (“just to check our messages”) take photos and find somewhere back near the ship to do Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp.</p> <p>Next three days were sea days. So now what?</p> <p>The girls found us in the lounge at about 12pm, which was just as well as if they weren’t in their cabin we had no idea where they might be.</p> <p>We quickly learnt to be in one of two places and let them find us if they wanted. As the days went by that was less and less often.</p> <p>Dinner at 6pm was always sacrosanct and a great way to catch up on the day. We also always went to the evening shows together and much to our surprise the girls loved them. Talks by guest speakers were a no-no and having tried a couple of the activities laid on by the entertainment crew these were deemed to be for “young kids”.</p> <p>One of our worst fears before we went on the cruise was that there would not be enough other teenagers. That fear was unfounded.</p> <p>Certain areas of the ship were out of bounds to unaccompanied children (casino and bars) and so we began to relax. We purposely didn’t activate the girls’ ships cards so they couldn’t make any purchases and insisted on their coming to our cabin to say goodnight at 10pm. Despite listening carefully for the opening and shutting of cabin doors we never heard anything. But we did have a knock on our cabin door one night at 11pm to be faced with a very embarrassed young man holding one of our granddaughters’ hoodies having got the wrong door. Best not to ask we decided, and anyway we had been chatting to his parents in the bar earlier.</p> <p>The itinerary was ideal – Amsterdam, Gibraltar, 3 Canary Islands, Madeira and finally Lisbon. As far as teenagers are concerned anywhere new is exciting and days at sea are not a problem to them as that is their free time to spend with their new friends.</p> <p>From a Grandparents perspective, it’s a great way to spend time with your grandchildren in a safe environment with the ability to have time to yourself as well.</p> <p>It’s not a cheap option of course, but when you factor in all meals being provided plus entertainment and, doing as we did, our own shore excursions (not the exorbitant ones offered by the Cruise lines) it’s not bad value. You need to make sure it’s school or college holidays in the country of embarkation to ensure there are enough other young people. Our cruise was advertised as multi-generational.</p> <p>We asked our two teenagers for their opinion about the cruise. They said they loved it and “when can we go again?”</p> <p>They found meeting up with other teenagers easy. They really enjoyed visiting different ports and the good food. They liked that dinner was served but lunch was a help yourself buffet. Breakfast didn’t feature in their experience. The only negative was that there was very little organised entertainment for teenagers compared to under 12’s and over 18’s.</p> <p>As for planning for a cruise with grandchildren, we found it a good idea to ask them to do a bit of research about ports of call so they could contribute to the day’s planning. We took card games (never opened) and bought them a new book each. Otherwise, we just went with the flow.</p> <p>I think I can safely say a good time was had by all.</p> <p><em>Written by Wendy Fernandes. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/cruise-with-grandkids/"><em>MyDiscoveries.com.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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13 totally bizarre spa experiences around the world

<p>I always adopt a ‘treat yo’ self’ attitude when I’m on holidays. “I’m already splurging on hotels and dinners out so why not book myself in for spa treatments while I’m at it”, I tell myself as my bank account slowly slips into the red. I’ll try anything twice (within reason). I’ve enjoyed extremely thorough hammam scrubs in Morocco, deep tissue massages in Vietnam and rice paper body wraps in Thailand. Each involved a little too much nudity and not a lot of relaxation, but I embraced each experience, all in the name of travel. A Japanese Onsen experience is next on my list. I have since stumbled upon a few strange spa experiences that truly put my adventurous attitude to the test. Would you try these 13 whacky spa treatments?</p> <p><strong>1. Irish seaweed bath</strong></p> <p>Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths, County Sligo, Ireland The Irish have been using this stuff to cure ailments since the 12th century. Monks would harvest a special type of seaweed called ‘dillisk’ and prescribe it to patients with all sorts of issues. The same seaweed used to eliminate parasitic worms could also apparently curb a “woman’s longing”. These days, Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths in County Sligo use steamed seaweed to enhance a bather’s spa experience. The bath full of murky, salty brine draws out toxins and supposedly leaves you feeling delightfully tingly. If you can tolerate the lingering smell of sea urchins for a few days, this might be right up your alley.</p> <p><strong>2. Thai fish spa</strong></p> <p>Thailand A decade ago, the strange phenomenon of fish spas swept the tourist traps of Thailand. Since then, this fishy foot spa treatment has spread all over the world, even in the west. A species of Middle Eastern carp have earned their nickname, ‘doctor fish’, by eating away all the dead skin on your feet. Some say it feels like “little delicate kisses”. Ticklish types say it’s more maddening than it is relaxing. However uncomfortable, it is effective. My feet were soft as a baby’s bottom after I tried it in Phuket in 2010. I don’t think I’ll be dipping my toes in the tank again though.</p> <p><strong>3. Japanese ramen noodle bath</strong></p> <p>Yunessun Spa House, Tokyo As a broke uni student living abroad in 2016, my diet consisted almost exclusively of ramen noodles. Today, I can barely look at the stuff, but it turns out, people are bathing in it. A theme park in Japan is offering visitors the chance to soak in a hot tub (shaped like a ramen bowl, of course) full of noodles and pork broth. It’s a family affair; up to 10 people can fit in the ramen bath at any given time. The treatment is supposed to give you a “healthy glow” for several days after. Unfortunately, the strong smell of soy sauce sticks around for just as long. This isn’t the only bizarre spa treatment at Yunessen Spa House. You can also bathe in coffee, red wine, green tea and sake.</p> <p><strong>4. Mexican cactus massage</strong></p> <p>Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Mexico Massage therapists use the paddle of a cactus to work out your knots. Ouch, right? Well, actually, the needles are all removed prior to treatment. The strange service is offered at the luxury Four Seasons Resort spa and will set you back a spicy $245. The not-so-spikey massage is followed by a lathering of lotion made from indigenous plants and a splash of tequila. The treatment is said to leave your skin feeling hydrated and rejuvenated.</p> <p><strong>5. Finish cryotherapy</strong></p> <p>Haikko Spa, Finland Cryotherapy is gaining momentum around the world. It’s a popular method of recovery for athletes after a hard workout or competition. Thought apparently beneficial, it’s not exactly a relaxing experience. It requires entering a chamber, sealing the door and enduring temperatures as low as -110 degrees Celsius. Yes, Celsius. On top of relieving sore muscles, it also aids in boosting your metabolism and making your skin glow. Although, that glow might just be from the layer of frost on your cheeks.</p> <p><strong>6. New Yorker bird poo facial</strong></p> <p>Shizuka Day Spa, New York, USA Controversially known as the ‘Geisha Facial’, this treatment involves having a concoction of nightingale droppings and rice bran spread all over your face. Celebrity facialist and namesake of the upscale Manhattan spa, Shizuka Bernstein, claims the traditional and natural Japanese ingredients help to soften and brighten the skin. Grossed out? This might ease your quease. The bird droppings aren’t collected from a local park. They’re sanitised under ultraviolet lights and milled down into a fine powder. The spa treatment is apparently highly sought after and costs US$180 for an hour session.</p> <p><strong>7. Japanese snail facial</strong></p> <p>Ci:z.Labo Spa, Tokyo, Japan It seems the Japanese will try just about anything. This slimy spa treatment is conducted by five celebrity snails. Raised in the spa on a strict, organic diet of carrots, Japanese mustard spinach, and Swiss chard, the snails are very well-looked after. This isn’t the first time these slippery suckers have been used in the name of beauty. Snail slime was all the rage in the 80s, praised for its miraculous healing properties. Today, the ‘Celebrity Escargot Course’ involves a human facialist rubbing snail slime into your skin for up to an hour, before setting a bunch of snails loose of your face for five long minutes.</p> <p><strong>8. Austrian beer bath</strong></p> <p>Moorhof Landhotel, Frankling, Austria Now this is a spa treatment that I can get around. Most people think alcohol introduces toxins to your body. A handful of Austrian spas claim it can do the opposite. Soaking in a barrel of foamy beer is said to draw out toxins and exfoliate the skin. Hedwig Bauer, an Austrian spa owner herself, goes a step further to say beer baths can help treat gout, eczema, kidney stones, strokes and stress. Beer baths have now spread to Germany and the Czech republic and are often treated us fun tourist experiences rather than legitimate healing practices. If you decide to give it a go, don’t be tempted to drink the beer from your bath because, well, that’s gross. Save it for the beirhaus.</p> <p><strong>9. Maldivian underwater spa</strong></p> <p>Huavafen Spa &amp; Pearl, Maldives The treatments themselves are not what make this spa unique. It’s the setting. The world’s first underwater spa transports you to an ethereal realm of underwater relaxation. Channel your inner mermaid as fish dart all around you just on the other side of the spa’s glass walls. A range of massages, facials, hair and beauty treatments are available and are performed by a team of renowned massage and beauty experts. The spa is part of the Huvafen Fushi Maldives resort whose luxury, overwater bungalows are so beautiful it hurts.</p> <p><strong>10. Balinese snake massage</strong></p> <p>Bali Heritage Reflexology and Sa, Jakarta, Indonesia In the interest of self-preservation, I refuse to give this one a go. However, the spa therapists at Bali Heritage Reflexology and Spa in Jakarta are adamant that their python massage spa treatments work wonders. The weight of the snake does little to penetrate sore muscles, but that’s not the point of the treatment. The idea is that the fear triggered by having a snake slither all over you will trigger an adrenaline rush that boosts your metabolism. The snakes are not venomous and a masseuse stands by at all times just in case things go awry. Still, it’s a no from me.</p> <p><strong>11. Chinese fire massage</strong></p> <p>Oriental Taipan Spa, Beijing, China Fire cupping is common practice in Chinese remedial therapy. The service is widely available in Australia too, but one spa in Beijing takes it one step further. Glass cups are strategically placed on a patient’s back and heated with a flame, creating a strong suction effect on the skin. It is said to relieve muscle tension and common colds but expect to be left with circular bruises for days after. At Oriental Taipan Spa in Beijing, the treatment is followed by a Chinese Meridian Oil Massage involves laying an oil-soaked towel over your back setting it alight. Sounds relaxing, doesn’t it?</p> <p><strong>12. Vietnamese Mud Bath</strong></p> <p>Nha Trang, Vietnam The medicinal properties of mud have been well-documented for centuries. You can buy powdered mud masks from the supermarket these days. But in Central Vietnam, these spa treatments have become a fun, social activity. The Vietnamese believe mud baths help to remove dead skin cells, strengthen bones, and reduce fatigue. They also use it to seek refuge from the heat. Nha Trang has developed a reputation for its mud bathing facilities, attracting locals and tourist alike. 100 Egg Mud Bath, 6km from the city of Nha Trang, has multiple mud pools and baths to choose from. Visitors can soak in their own private egg-shaped tub for around $18 per person.</p> <p><strong>13. Beverly Hills Vampire Facial</strong></p> <p>Nazarian Plastic Surgery, Beverly Hills, California, USA This is less of a spa facial and more a drastic, and potentially dangerous, cosmetic treatment. Even still, it didn’t stop Kim Kardashian from trying it out. Vampire Facials are a combination of microneedling (repeatedly puncturing the skin with tiny needles) and a mask made from your own PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma). Basically, a vial of you blood is drawn, placed in a centrifuge until the plasma has separated from the red cells. The plasma is then smeared all over your face, helping to repair skin damage. Supposedly this is a more “natural” option for skin rejuvenation, compared to botox and injectables. When you put it like that, I suppose it’s true. It’s just a little (a lot) creepy</p> <p>Would you try any of these? Let us know in the comments below.</p> <p><em>Written by Bethany Plint. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/weird-spa-experiences-world/?slide=all"><em>MyDiscoveries.com.au.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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What you need to know before hopping on a cruise

<p>The best thing about cruising is there are so, so many options available for travellers.</p> <p>However, there are a few things you MUST know before you step aboard, whether it’s to save you a few dollars to getting privacy on a ship that fits thousands of people.</p> <p>Here are some of our best tips that you might not have thought of.</p> <p><strong>Don’t shop on the first night </strong></p> <p>It surely is tempting to spend whatever is on your cruise card as soon as it is in your possession, however, hold off. There are usually deals near the end of your cruise, and sale events later into your trip so you can score better deals (ESPECIALLY on sea days).</p> <p><strong>Try the speciality restaurants </strong></p> <p>Your food is already covered – you know this and so do we. But there is such thing as serious buffet abuse and you shouldn’t force yourself to glug it down every night.</p> <p>We all love a fancy dinner, so why not try one out on a cruise where the prices are dramatically reduced onboard in comparison to when you’re back on land.</p> <p><strong>You don’t have to get off at every stop </strong></p> <p>It can be hard to find some time for yourself on the beautiful decks, particularly in the adult section. If you’re wanting some time on your own or with your special someone, maybe decide to stay on the ship instead of getting off – the queues are minimal, and the serenity is unlike any other.</p> <p><strong>Tip your room steward</strong></p> <p>Although it isn’t a requirement to tip your room steward, it’s a good idea to do it anyway. Not just for the inevitable perks and top-notch service you will receive in return for your generosity, but because at the end of the day, it’s a nice thing to do if you appreciate someone’s time and dedication into ensuring you are satisfied. A minimum of $10 a day can make your room stewards day, so don’t skimp out on this tip.</p> <p><strong>Wash your hands</strong></p> <p>This one may seem obvious, but you are barely in your stateroom during the day, and bathrooms are not as common to pass by as you may think.</p> <p>Avoid the dreaded norovirus and the communicable diseases passed on by ill passengers and wash your hands and sanitise them at <em>every</em> opportunity you get.</p> <p>What are some of your MUST know tips for cruising? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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8 top tips for saving money on a cruise

<p>Cruising is getting more and more popular in Australia and New Zealand, so why not take advantage of all the little deals, discounts and bargains you can get that usually only come with taking a voyage across the seas.</p> <p>Here are a few sneaky savings to look out for when booking a cruise.</p> <p><strong>1. Pick interior cabins</strong></p> <p>You really don’t need that balcony or extra perk suite, because let’s face it – you’re on a ship for a limited time. How much time will you be spending in your stateroom anyway?</p> <p><strong>2. Ask for some money back</strong></p> <p>If you notice your cruise fare is lower than when you booked it, it wouldn’t hurt in asking your cruise liner to lower your fare too. There is no harm in trying, even if you get knocked back.</p> <p><strong>3. Follow cruise lines on social media</strong></p> <p>Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts for cruise lines can be gold mines to scout deals and discounts. Maybe even a giveaway, too.</p> <p><strong>4. Sail on older vessels</strong></p> <p>If you’re not too picky or don’t really mind which cruise ship you sail off in the sunset to, then opt for an older vessel.</p> <p><strong>5. Subscribe to emails from cruise lines</strong></p> <p>Golden nuggets are always hiding in your emails, so don’t be afraid to be flooded with a full inbox of deals and offers – there are hundreds of dollars, and even thousands to be saved.</p> <p><strong>6. Travel in the off-season</strong></p> <p>You may get a rainy day here or there, but the big discounts may be worth the trouble.</p> <p><strong>7. Book your cruise onboard</strong></p> <p>Already on a cruise and want to book a new one? Book your next passage at the friendly help desk and reap big rewards for remaining loyal.</p> <p><strong>8. Get a cabin guarantee</strong></p> <p>If you’re not too fussed about where exactly your cruise ship room is, then you can lock into a room-type tier on a large cruise and guarantee a minimum level of comfort. If your chosen category fills up, you get bumped up to a better room with no price difference.</p> <p>Do you have any tips when it comes to saving money on a cruise? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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The latest travel trends worth trying

<p><strong>Ride a bike</strong></p> <p>Cycling-based tour operators are reporting a 25-30% increase in demand, thanks to travellers’ desires to stay active and eco-friendly on their getaways.</p> <p><strong>Take all the generations along</strong></p> <p>Cruise lines specialise in multi-generational travel. Climb aboard and watch a poolside movie on a 28m2 screen while the kids practise downward-dog in a youth-focused yoga programme.</p> <p><strong>Step inside your favourite story </strong></p> <p>Now you can follow in the footsteps of your favourite onscreen characters. Several Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle in Berkshire, UK, is pictured above) and Game of Thrones packages were launched in 2013, while searches for hotels in Las Vegas rose by 159% following the release of The Hangover Part III, according to hotels.com.</p> <p><strong>Track your genealogy</strong></p> <p>Relax and find your roots with genealogy tourism: a trip with a twist of uncovering your past. Each year, thousands of people in search of ancestral adventure plan trips to Europe, and beyond.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/activities/travel-trends-worth-trying"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>h</em></a><span><em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V">ere’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p> <p> </p>

Cruising

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The ultimate cruise guide: Everything you need to know about cruising

<p>Cruising is fast becoming a number one option in terms of travel and holidaying. However, there are still a number of potential cruisers who have never had the chance to take a cruise and are therefore a little apprehensive to take the leap and try one for themselves.</p> <p>Here are all the questions you have been wanting to know about cruising, all in one handy place.</p> <p><strong>1. Will I feel trapped? </strong></p> <p>The best part about cruising is although there can be over a few thousand passengers and crew members hustling around the ship, there is so much room for everyone to enjoy.</p> <p>As cruise lines continue to meet demands for potential customers, their needs are increasingly being kept in mind. So even if space is an issue for you, and you fear you may not have much – don’t worry as cruise lines are only getting better and better at making your sea scape holiday one you won’t forget (in the best way possible).</p> <p><strong>2. When is the best time to take a cruise? </strong></p> <p>Depending on where you want to go, cruising can be an all year-round experience.</p> <p>Take a trip to Alaska, Canada, the Arctic Circle, Iceland and the Baltic during the winter months as they are seasonal cruises only.</p> <p>However, lucky for Aussies – departures to the South Pacific, Caribbean and Mediterranean are across the whole calendar. The only stipulation is you may have to catch your cruise from another port that isn’t in Australia (Hawaii for example).</p> <p><strong>3. When is the best time to book a cruise?</strong></p> <p>Depending on who you ask, the best time to book a cruise can either be up to a year in advance, or just a few weeks before disembarkation.</p> <p>Both periods of time are great opportunities to get the best deals.</p> <p>Book your cruise up to a year in advance if you’re a first timer who wants to be sure of their investment. The upside of scheduling much sooner is you can pay off your cruise in instalments, with plenty of time to cancel without incurring a fee. This way, you can really marinate on the idea of cruising and if it is the right time, place, or cruise line for you.</p> <p>Alternatively, cruise lines will often throw out heavily discounted cruise prices to get rid of any empty cabins – this can be weeks or days before the cruise date.</p> <p>Take advantage of this little bargain if you dare – it can be a little heart racing to try and get on the cruise you want when it is down to its last numbers!</p> <p><strong>4. Is there Wi-Fi on cruise ships? </strong></p> <p>Cruise ships do offer wireless network plans – but beware, they are expensive and notorious for being very slow.</p> <p><strong>5. How much time do I have on land and on the ship? </strong></p> <p>You can spend your whole cruise on the ship if you so wish – and opt out of seeing any of the sights on land.</p> <p>However, there are time restrictions when leaving the ship. Each cruise line and port destination can vary about what time cruisers have to be back on board – but don’t worry, there is more than one port to spend hours on!</p> <p>Make sure you read your cruise itinerary thoroughly to be sure of when you can get off the ship and when you can get on.</p> <p>What are some questions you have about cruising? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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3 reasons to trust a travel agent when booking a cruise

<p>Cruising with a travel agent may not have been who you were thinking of turning to when you decided you wanted to book a holiday.</p> <p>Afterall, there are many options already available at the touch of a finger. Online directories, websites and information pages are just some of the many options available when you want to book a holiday.</p> <p>However, there is a level of expertise and passion for finding what is best for a prospective traveller that you just can’t find anywhere else.</p> <p>Here is why travel agents make booking a cruise that much better.</p> <p><strong>1. They know more than you do </strong></p> <p>If you’re not a regular cruiser, there are a number of things you may not know about booking a holiday or ways to make it the best one possible.</p> <p>A good travel adviser is extremely important when booking a holiday, as they can match your interests with the right cruise to make sure you have the best options possible.</p> <p><strong>2. They’re on the ball</strong></p> <p>New itineraries, deals and bargains are usually released to travel agents first.</p> <p>Those looking for a good cruise steal that works for them and their needs are better off opting for one of their local travel agents who have the most up-to-date information.</p> <p><strong>3. They organise <em>everything </em></strong></p> <p>Once your cruise is booked, your travel agent has access to some of the best extras as well. A travel agent is able to look after you from start to finish -whether that is flights, pre ad post-accommodation packages and even visas.</p> <p>Will you use a travel agent when booking your next high seas getaway? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising