Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

10 ways to cruise as a senior

<p>Just because you’re older, that doesn’t mean you can’t experience all that a cruising holiday has to offer. Follow our simple tips for a fun filled holiday on the water.</p> <p><strong>1. Choose the right ship</strong></p> <p>Cruise ships today carry anywhere from six to 6,000 people. The larger megaliners tend to be geared towards families with plenty of crazy rides and high-energy activities. They’ll also probably be crowded with kids. Smaller boutique ships operate at a slower pace and are generally stocked with an older crowd. Do your research and find one to suit you.</p> <p><strong>2. And the right cabin</strong></p> <p>Do you need an accessible cabin? Do you want to reduce walking with a cabin close to the elevators? Is it important for you to have some outside space of your own? These are all important questions that you’ll need to answer when you book. The right cabin can make or break a cruise.</p> <p><strong>3. Pick an appropriate itinerary</strong></p> <p>You’ll need to decide if you want to visit new places every day or spend more time onboard the ship. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Port heavy itineraries, where you’re stopping at a new destination every day, can be tiring. On the other hand, you might get bored with too many days at sea.  Think realistically about your needs and make the right choice for you.</p> <p><strong>4. Research your dates</strong></p> <p>One of the best things about being a senior traveller is that you are (generally) no longer bound by things like school holidays. By avoiding these times you’ll not only save money, you won’t be on a ship with an unusually high proportion of children. When cruising in the Caribbean, you’ll also need to keep in mind the US college holidays so you’re not trapped with a bunch of boozy spring breakers.</p> <p><strong>5. Allow extra time</strong></p> <p>It’s a sad fact of ageing that you’re not as quick on your feet as you used to be. That means you’ll need to factor in extra time for just about everything. Ships can be huge, so you don’t want to be rushing to make a dinner reservation or spa appointment. This applies on shore too. If you’re really late, the ship will leave without you so don’t cut it too fine.</p> <p><strong>6. Choose the right shore excursions</strong></p> <p>Before you book, have a chat with the shore excursions team and get a good idea of the physical requirements. What they consider minimal walking might not be the same as what you consider minimal walking. These tours aren’t cheap, so you want to be sure that you can enjoy everything it involves.</p> <p><strong>7. Look at onboard activities</strong></p> <p>You might not want to get off at every port (which can be exhausting) but still want to be entertained onboard. And adventurous activities like skydiving simulators and giant waterslides may not be your thing any more. Many cruise lines offer fantastic enrichment programs onboard where you can listen to world-class lecturers, learn new skills or watch performances from the likes of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts or the Lincoln Centre.</p> <p><strong>8. Give yourself time to relax</strong></p> <p>You’re on holiday! If you want to spend a day in bed, watching movies and ordering room service then do exactly that. Don’t feel any pressure to be up and about every day.</p> <p><strong>9. Travel with the right companions</strong></p> <p>Solo, couple, friends or family, there’s a cruise for every group. Cruising is hugely popular with multi-generational groups as there something for everyone to do, but it might not make for the most relaxing holiday. If you’re a solo traveller, you can book a single cabin all to yourself or find a room mate with any number of matching services. Just think carefully – because once you’re onboard with your travel buddy, there’s no getting off.</p> <p><strong>10. Think about medical care</strong></p> <p>Be realistic about any medical needs you may have. Most ships have a decent medical centre, but if you are spending multiple days at sea or cruising to very remote destinations and something happens it might not be enough to help you. If you are concerned, choose cruises that stay close to shore or visit developed countries where you can get proper treatment quickly.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

How one widow has changed how women solo travel

<p>After Yvonne Vickers' husband passed away in 2014, she thought her opportunities to travel and see the world had slipped away. </p> <p>Yvonne had always been a keen traveller and went on trips with her married friends after becoming a widow, but she "got over being the third wheel", she admitted to <a href="https://travel.nine.com.au/latest/cruising-solo-female-older-passengers/9553953c-84e8-418a-9c2b-8c9b847b9ba4" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>9Travel</em></a>. </p> <p>Still wanting to see the world on her own terms, Yvonne took to Facebook where she created a group seeking like-minded women who share her passion for adventure. </p> <p>Now, the Find A Female Cruise or Travel Buddy is an ever-growing group that has connected thousands of women looking for travel companions. </p> <p>Whether they're single, widowed, or just married to someone who doesn't want to travel, the group is open to women across the globe to join.</p> <p>Thanks to her newfound community, Yvonne has taken 41 cruises and dozens of land trips since her husband's death, all while making friends for life, and the rest of the group's members are in the same boat.</p> <p>"It's wonderful to get feedback from ladies saying that it's helped to change their life," Yvonne said. "That's the rewarding part of it for me."</p> <p>Members can make a post in the group, detailing a cruise sailing or trip that they have their eye on booking, to see if anyone else would like to join them.</p> <p>"We have a lot of widows in our group who are cashed up and want to travel but don't have anyone to travel with or share their experiences with," Yvonne said. "The group gives them the opportunity to be able to do that."</p> <p>"There are also a lot of ladies who are married but their husbands don't want to travel. It gives them the opportunity to be able to travel."</p> <p>Yvonne says that cruising is a perfect way for older females to travel, especially if they're on their own.</p> <p>"It's a really safe way to travel as a solo female," she says, also noting that it's an easy way to get around and see places. Recently, she did a 35-day trip around Hawaii with a group of women from the group.</p> <p>For the Find A Female Cruise or Travel Buddy group, there's even more fun trips on the horizon.</p> <p>Yvonne just came back from a trip to Japan with 14 group members, and is heading to Bali in August with a friend she made through the group.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Nine News \ Facebook</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Rough seas or smooth sailing? The cruise industry is booming despite environmental concerns

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frederic-dimanche-836528">Frédéric Dimanche</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/toronto-metropolitan-university-1607">Toronto Metropolitan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kelley-a-mcclinchey-1287281">Kelley A. McClinchey</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/wilfrid-laurier-university-1817">Wilfrid Laurier University</a></em></p> <p>Cruise ship season is officially underway in British Columbia. The season kicked off with the arrival of Norwegian Bliss on April 3 — the <a href="https://www.cheknews.ca/first-cruise-ship-of-the-season-to-arrive-in-victoria-in-less-than-2-weeks-1196426/">first of 318 ships</a> that are scheduled to dock in Victoria this year. Victoria saw a record 970,000 passengers arrive in 2023, with more expected in 2024.</p> <p>The cruise industry <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trip.2021.100391">was badly hit</a> by the <a href="https://financialpost.com/financial-times/the-2020s-were-meant-to-be-a-boom-decade-for-cruises-then-covid-19-hit-them-like-a-tidal-wave">suspension of cruise operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic</a> in 2020. Fuelled by heavy consumer demand and industry innovation, cruising has made a comeback. It is now one of the fastest-growing sectors, rebounding even faster than international tourism.</p> <p>While many predicted <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/05/carnivals-struggle-to-survive-the-coronavirus-as-outbreak-wipes-out-the-cruise-industry.html">a difficult recovery</a>, a <a href="https://cruising.org/en">recent industry report shows a remarkable post-pandemic rebound</a>. Two million more people went on cruises in 2023 versus 2019, with demand predicted to top 35 million in 2024.</p> <p>But environmental issues plague the sector’s revival. Are they an indication of rough seas ahead? Or will a responsive industry mean smooth sailing?</p> <p>Cruising has long been criticized <a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/their-purpose-is-to-be-fun-but-theres-a-dark-side-to-cruising-the-seas/dzxivdoos">for being Janus-faced</a>: on the surface, cruises are convenient, exciting holidays with reputed economic benefits. But lurking underneath are its <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2017.11.002">negative environmental and social impacts</a>.</p> <h2>Unprecedented growth</h2> <p>Newly constructed mega-ships are part of the industry’s unprecedented growth. Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas is the <a href="https://www.cruisehive.com/top-10-biggest-cruise-ships-in-the-world/66448">largest cruise ship in the world</a>, with 18 decks, 5,600 passengers and 2,350 crew.</p> <p>MSC World Europa with 6,700 passengers and 2,100 crew, P&amp;O Arvia with 5,200 passengers and 1,800 crew, and Costa Smeralda with 6,600 passengers and 1,500 crew also claim mega-ship status.</p> <p>Those sailing to and from Alaska via Victoria will be some of the <a href="https://hakaimagazine.com/features/cruise-ship-invasion/">estimated 700,000 passengers departing Seattle</a> on massive ships three sport fields in length.</p> <p>Baby boomers represent less than 25 per cent of cruise clientele. Gen X, <a href="https://www.thenewdaily.com.au/life/2024/01/15/cruise-millennials-gen-z">Millennials and Gen Z</a> have more interest than ever in cruising, with these younger markets being targeted as the future of cruise passengers.</p> <p>The Cruise Lines International Association asserts that <a href="https://cruising.org/-/media/clia-media/research/2024/2024-state-of-the-cruise-industry-report_041424_web.ashx">82 per cent of those who have cruised will cruise again</a>. To entice first-timers and meet the needs of repeat cruisers, companies are offering new itineraries and onboard activities, from <a href="https://www.timescolonist.com/business/royal-caribbean-quantum-cruise-ship-1st-at-sea-bumper-cars-skydiving-observation-capsule-4585987">simulated skydiving and bumper cars</a> to <a href="https://nationalpost.com/travel/cruise-ship-offers-pickleball-on-the-high-seas">pickleball</a> and lawn bowling.</p> <p>Solo cruise travel is also on the rise, and <a href="https://www.cruisetradenews.com/demand-for-multi-generational-cruise-holidays-on-the-up-data-finds/">multi-generational family cruise travel</a> is flourishing, explaining the extensive variety of cabin classes, activities and restaurants available on newly constructed and retrofitted ships.</p> <p>However, only a few cruise ports are large enough to dock mega ships. Cruise lines are responding by offering off-beat experiences and catering more to the distinct desires of travellers.</p> <p>In doing so, there is a <a href="https://www.positivelyosceola.com/2024s-top-cruise-trends-embracing-smaller-ships-solo-adventures-and-luxury-suites/">move towards smaller vessels and luxury liners</a>, river cruises and <a href="https://www.travelweek.ca/news/cruise/expedition-cruising-what-is-it-and-how-do-you-sell-it/">expedition cruising</a>. Leveraging lesser-known ports that can only be accessed via compact luxury ships <a href="https://www.cntraveler.com/story/small-cruise-ships-are-more-sustainble-and-on-the-rise">offers more mission-driven, catered experiences</a> for the eco-minded traveller.</p> <h2>Cruising and environmental costs</h2> <p>Cruise ship visitors are known to negatively impact Marine World Heritage sites. While most sites regulate ballast water and wastewater discharge, there are <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020611">concerns about ship air emissions and wildlife interactions</a>.</p> <p>Cruise ship journeys along Canada’s west coast, for example, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/09/us-cruise-ships-using-canada-as-toilet-bowl-for-polluted-waste-alaska-british-columbia">are leaving behind a trail of toxic waste</a>. <a href="https://foe.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Comparison_of_CO2_Emissions_v2.pdf">A study by environmental organization Friends of the Earth</a> concluded that a cruise tourist generates eight times more carbon emissions per day than a land tourist in Seattle.</p> <p>Also, a rise in expedition cruising means more negative impacts (long-haul flights to farther ports, less destination management in fragile ecosystems, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2024/03/03/briefing/last-chance-tourism.html">last chance tourism</a>) and a rise in carbon dioxide emissions.</p> <p>Toxic air pollutants from cruise ships around ports are higher than pre-pandemic levels, <a href="https://www.transportenvironment.org/discover/europes-luxury-cruise-ships-emit-as-much-toxic-sulphur-as-1bn-cars-study/">leaving Europe’s port cities “choking on air pollution</a>.” Last year, Europe’s 218 cruise ships emitted as much sulphur oxides as one billion cars — a high number, considering the introduction of the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30002-4">International Maritime Organization’s sulphur cap in 2020</a>.</p> <h2>Rough seas ahead or smooth sailing?</h2> <p>Royal Caribbean said its Icon of the Seas is designed to <a href="https://www.reuters.com/business/environment/worlds-largest-cruise-ship-sets-sail-bringing-concerns-about-methane-emissions-2024-01-27/">operate 24 per cent more efficiently than the international standard</a> for new ships. International Maritime Organization regulations <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-01-22/royal-caribbean-s-icon-of-the-seas-highlights-climate-impact-of-cruises">must be 30 per cent more energy-efficient</a> than those built in 2014.</p> <p>But despite the industry using liquefied natural gas instead of heavy fuel oil and electric shore power to turn off diesel engines when docking, industry critics still claim <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2024/jan/26/icon-of-the-seas-largest-cruise-ship-human-lasagne-climate-fuel-lng-greenwashing">the cruise sector is greenwashing</a>. As a result, some cities like Amsterdam, Barcelona and Venice are <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/maryroeloffs/2023/07/21/war-on-cruise-ships-amsterdam-latest-port-to-limit-or-ban-cruise-liners">limiting or banning cruise ships</a>.</p> <p>Environmental critiques remain strong, especially for <a href="https://dergipark.org.tr/en/pub/ijegeo/issue/65449/957262">polar expeditions</a>. The industry must respond and <a href="https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-01949-4_131">increase sustainability efforts</a>, but their measures remain reactive (i.e., merely meeting international regulations) rather than proactive. In addition, by sailing their ships under <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/05/13/real-problem-with-cruise-industry/">flags of convenience</a>, cruise companies evade taxes and demonstrate an unwillingness to abide by a nation’s environmental, health and labour regulations.</p> <p>In any case, environmental concerns are escalating along with the industry. <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/article/cruising-green-eco-operators-make-waves">Travel agents and industry figures are aware of these impacts</a> and should help promote cruise lines that demonstrate a commitment to sustainable practices.</p> <p>Local residents need to expect more from port authorities and local governments in order <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annals.2024.103732">to cope with cruise tourism</a>. Cruise consumers should recognize the environmental costs of cruising, and demand accountability and transparency from cruise lines.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/228181/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frederic-dimanche-836528"><em>Frédéric Dimanche</em></a><em>, Professor and Director, Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/toronto-metropolitan-university-1607">Toronto Metropolitan University</a> and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kelley-a-mcclinchey-1287281">Kelley A. McClinchey</a>, Teaching Faculty, Geography and Environmental Studies, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/wilfrid-laurier-university-1817">Wilfrid Laurier University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/rough-seas-or-smooth-sailing-the-cruise-industry-is-booming-despite-environmental-concerns-228181">original article</a>.</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

5 ways to avoid going overboard on a cruise

<p>Falling overboard is the stuff of cruising nightmares (and it happens surprisingly more frequently than you might think. Just this year we’ve brought you two stories about passengers falling overboard, but this fishy fate is by no means unavoidable.</p> <p>Here are five ways to ensure you keep your feet dry.</p> <p><strong>1. Limit your alcohol intake</strong></p> <p>If the prices weren’t enough of a reason to go easy on the sauce on your cruise, perhaps the risk of tipping over the balcony will persuade you. Think of it this way – the effect of alcohol on a cruise is the same as the effect of alcohol on dry land, but when you’re on a cruise you’re travelling through sometimes heavy seas at about 20 knots.</p> <p><strong>2. Stay in your room during inclement weather</strong></p> <p>If your ship is sailing into dicey conditions, you’re better off keeping to your quarters. You never know how a cruise liner is going to stand up to the ocean’s wrath, and even if you want a good view of Mother Nature’s nasty side, you’re safer below deck. </p> <p><strong>3. Keep clear of dark corners</strong></p> <p>It’s not a very pleasant thing to think about, but when there are 4,000 passengers on a cruise they’re not all going to be good eggs. Be aware of your surroundings, just as you would be on land, and be sure to report any suspicious activity to a crew member.</p> <p><strong>4. Pay attention during the practice drills</strong></p> <p>Even if you’ve been on 20 cruises it’s a good idea to pay attention during the practice drills. This will reinforce what you need to do in an event of an emergency, and might just save your life (or someone else’s by knowing where to find the safety gear).</p> <p><strong>5. Don’t re-enact the <em>Titanic</em> scene</strong></p> <p>Because going overboard will make you look like anything but, “The king of the world.”</p> <p>Have you ever been on a cruise? Did you ever feel unsafe at any point? Let us know in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Clive Palmer's plans to build Titanic II resurface

<p>Just when you thought we'd exhausted all of the possible billionaire pet projects, Clive Palmer, the Queensland mining magnate with pockets deeper than the Mariana Trench, has once again proven us wrong.</p> <p>For more than a decade now, Palmer has harboured a peculiar obsession: resurrecting the ghost of the <em>Titanic</em>, the world's most infamous maritime disaster.</p> <p>Palmer wants to build <em>Titanic II</em>, because when you've got more money than you can count, why not embark on a maritime venture that's already synonymous with catastrophe?</p> <p>Palmer, with the audacity only wealth can afford, has been pushing for this <em>Titanic</em> replica since 2012. Not content with merely one failed attempt, he launched the project again in 2018. Now, after another six years and a global pandemic, he's dusting off his captain's hat and setting sail once more, announcing the <em>Titanic II</em>'s re-launch at the Sydney Opera House (because when you're Clive Palmer, a press conference venue like the local community centre just doesn't cut it).</p> <p>But why, you may ask? According to Palmer himself, it's a simple matter of economics: "I’ve got two options, either give my wife more money for shopping or spend it on the <em>Titanic</em> and I’m spending it on the Titanic because she’s shopped enough."</p> <p>Ah, yes, the age-old dilemma of whether to buy your spouse another designer handbag or fund a one-billion-dollar replica of a ship that sank over a century ago. We've all been there.</p> <p>Despite the naysayers who dismissed Palmer's dream as nothing more than the folly of a rich eccentric, he remains undeterred. Now, with the pandemic in the rearview mirror and cruise ships once again cruising, Palmer sees this as the perfect time to resurrect his <em>Titanic</em> dream. Because what better way to celebrate the end of a global health crisis than by building a monument to maritime tragedy?</p> <p>Palmer assures us that this time around, things will be different. The plans are similar to previous iterations, but now they comply with current regulations. Tenders are being sought, with plans to confirm a shipbuilder by year's end with the intention of setting sail by 2027.</p> <p>And what can prospective passengers expect from this seafaring spectacle? Well, according to Palmer's team, an eight-minute video featuring period costumes and a layout straight out of the early 1900s. Passengers will even be encouraged to dress the part (though that's not compulsory; nothing screams "fun vacation" like wearing corsets and three-piece suits in the middle of the ocean).</p> <p>But fear not, third-class passengers, you won't be left out of this <em>Titanic</em> experience. You'll get to enjoy stew and mash at communal dining tables, just like the good old days. Although, for those who prefer their meals without a side of historical accuracy, other options will be available. </p> <p>In amongst of all this, Palmer has grandiose visions of <em>Titanic II</em> as a symbol of world peace. “We all know how to make war," he announced at the press launch. "We get armies and we fund wars. People know about that. But it is a lot harder to make peace. To make peace you have got to stick with it every day. You progress inch by inch.</p> <p>“<em>Titanic ll</em> is something that can provide peace. It can be a ship of peace between all countries of the world. Millions have dreamt of sailing on her, seeing her in port and experiencing her unique majesty. <em>Titanic ll</em> will be the ship where those dreams come true.”</p> <p>So, as Palmer sets sail on his quixotic quest to recreate history, we can't help but wonder: Is <em>Titanic II</em> a testament to human ingenuity or just another billionaire's folly? Only time will tell. But if history has taught us anything, it's that sometimes, even the grandest dreams can end up at the bottom of the ocean.</p> <p><em>Images: Rod Eime / Wikimedia</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Major Cruise line scraps entire season

<p>Virgin Voyages has cancelled all of its sailings in Australia and New Zealand for the next year after they were left with "no choice" in the wake of escalating tensions in the Red Sea.</p> <p>The Resilient Lady ship will not return Down Under for its promised second sailing season next summer due to safety concerns following a series of strikes on container ships in the Red Sea. </p> <p>The cruise line revealed on Tuesday that a lengthier alternative return route around Africa was not viable for the company. </p> <p>"On the heels of these recent changes and based on the regional and government advice we have received, we remain very concerned about potential escalations in the Red Sea over the next 12 months," <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">a spokesperson from Virgin Voyages said. </span></p> <p>“This significant and ongoing conflict puts unacceptable risks for safe passage through the region for our Sailors, crew and vessel."</p> <p>“To say that we are disappointed to have come to this tough conclusion is an understatement.</p> <p>“These adjustments are happening now to minimise potential future disruption to our passengers’ holiday plans, knowing there is a high likelihood that changes would need to happen in the future.”</p> <p>The cancellations will impact customers with trips planned in late 2024 and early 2025 on repositioning voyages between Europe and Australia. </p> <p>Virgin Voyages have indicated that a return to Australian waters will remain a possibility, as they continue to look for available options.</p> <p>They also said that if the 2024/25 can go ahead, customers who had previously booked their holiday will be prioritised if they would like to re-book. </p> <p>Currently, impacted customers have the option to re-book a different trip or request a full refund. </p> <p>A few other cruise companies who operate seasonal sailings or world cruises through the Red Sea and Suez Canal have also had to cancel, reposition, or re-route their sailings. </p> <p>MSC have cancelled three repositioning sailings in April, while Cunard, Princess and Seabourn have re-routed their world cruises to avoid the Suez Canal.</p> <p><em>Image: Virgin Voyages</em></p> <p> </p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

The surprising reason you shouldn’t bring camouflage clothing on a cruise

<p><strong>Dress codes</strong></p> <p>If you’ve been on a cruise before, then you’re probably aware that dress codes are still a thing. In fact, clothing recommendations are quite common, as some of the best cruise lines have formal nights, dress-to-impress evenings and planned costume or themed cruise events. So rules about what you can and cannot wear aren’t abnormal.</p> <p>As such, packing for a cruise is no easy feat: You’ll need formalwear for nights, pool wear for the day, outfits for excursions and layers for inclement weather. I’m an avid cruise-goer, and there are a number of items I never board a cruise ship without, but there’s also one thing I absolutely never pack for a cruise headed for the Philippines or the Caribbean: camouflage clothing.</p> <p><strong>Why is camouflage clothing inadvisable?</strong></p> <p>It actually has nothing to do with the formality of your wardrobe. Camouflage clothing happens to be illegal to wear in many countries that are popular cruise destinations. According to cruise liner Royal Caribbean, the Philippines, Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago are among those that prohibit camouflage. </p> <p>And while camouflage print clothing and accessories, as well as military-style clothing, aren’t technically banned onboard cruises, most cruise companies will simply ask you not to pack them to curb any potential issues at ports.</p> <p><strong>Why is camouflage clothing banned in these countries?</strong></p> <p>In most countries that prohibit camouflage, it’s because the disguising clothing is reserved for military personnel only. And it’s important to be respectful of this camouflage-free rule, which I learned while travelling to Nevis about seven years ago. My friend was stopped by hotel staff who advised her to change out of her camouflaged pants if she planned to leave the property. Not understanding the seemingly odd request without any context or explanation, we asked what would happen if she didn’t comply. Their response? She could get fined or arrested. As you can imagine, those cute camo pants were then stuffed into her suitcase for the remainder of our stay.</p> <p>“It is a concern because of the affiliation with criminal gangs as well as armed forces,” says Lauren Doyle, a travel advisor and president of boutique travel agency The Travel Mechanic. She says that to avoid any confusion and help curb any potential issues in the future, cruise lines simply advise against bringing it onboard.</p> <p>Doyle, who has booked many cruises for customers, says this information is usually found on a cruise line’s website (which is why it’s important to brush up on cruise tips prior to setting sail), and that many cruise lines will include it in their daily newsletter or app if you’re going to any country that prohibits it.</p> <p><strong>What to do if you accidentally pack camouflage clothing</strong></p> <p>If you’ve packed a camo hat, bathing suit, cargo pants or the camouflage backpack you carry, just leave it on the ship, even if you’re unsure of restrictions on what to wear in certain ports of call.</p> <p>Generally, you can wear camo clothing while you’re onboard, just not during excursions or on land. So if you’ve packed it, go ahead and rock your camo print at the breakfast buffet or on the pool deck (as you ponder those big white balls on the cruise deck). And while you could probably technically wear your camo while chilling on your stateroom balcony, if it’s viewable to the country you’re visiting, it may still be considered disrespectful, so we don’t recommend it.</p> <p><strong>What else is prohibited on a cruise ship?</strong></p> <p>There are plenty of things you can’t do on a cruise, but what about things you shouldn’t bring to begin with? There are a few more surprising items Doyle recommends leaving at home. “Small appliances – like hot plates, steamers or irons – are also prohibited, along with electric blankets,” Doyle says. “Also, medical marijuana is not allowed on cruise ships. Drones are not allowed either.”</p> <p>Each cruise line lists prohibited items on their website, along with some exceptions, so be sure to consult their information before you start packing.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/cruising/the-surprising-reason-you-shouldnt-bring-camouflage-clothing-on-a-cruise" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Eye-watering price tag for "remarkable" first class Titanic menu

<p>A first class dinner menu from the Titanic has been found and sold at an auction in England for £84,000 (around $162,000 AUD) on November 11. </p> <p>The water-stained menu was dated April 11, 1912 just three days before the ship hit an iceberg, ultimately meeting it's ill-fated end causing over 1500 deaths. </p> <p>Wealthy passengers at the time were spoiled with choice, with oysters, salmon, beef, squab (baby pigeon), spring lamb among other dishes on the menu, and that's not including dessert. </p> <p>Auctioneers Henry Aldridge &amp; Son said it was unclear how the menu made it off the ship intact, but the slight water damage suggests that it was recovered from the body of a victim. </p> <p>The rare artefact, which is over 111 years old belonged to amateur historian Len Stephenson, from Nova Scotia, Canada, who passed away in 2017. </p> <p>No one knew he had it, including his family, who only discovered it after going through his belongings following his death. </p> <p>“About six months ago his daughter and his son-in-law, Allen, felt the time was right to go through his belongings,” auctioneer Andrew Aldridge said. </p> <p>“As they did they found this menu in an old photo album.</p> <p>“Len was a very well thought-of historian in Nova Scotia which has strong connections with the Titanic. The body recovery ships were from Nova Scotia and so all the victims were taken back there.</p> <p>“Sadly, Len has taken the secret of how he acquired this menu to the grave with him.”</p> <p>Stephenson worked at a post office and would talk to people, collect old pictures and write letters for them, which might be how he got the rare artefact. </p> <p>According to the auctioneer, no other first class dinner menus dated April 11, 1912 have been recovered from the titanic making this “a remarkable survivor from the most famous Ocean liner of all time”.</p> <p>“There are a handful of April 14 menus in existence but you just don’t see menus from April 11. Most of them would have gone down with the ship,” Aldridge said. </p> <p>“Whereas with April 14 menus, passengers would have still had them in their coat and jacket pockets from earlier on that fateful night and still had them when they were taken off the ship," he added. </p> <p>A few other items recovered from the Titanic were also sold, including a Swiss-made pocket watch recovered from passenger Sinai Kantor which fetched £97,000 (around $187,000 AUD). </p> <p>A tartan-patterned deck blanket, which was likely used during the rescue operation also sold for £96,000 (around $185,000). </p> <p><em>Images: Henry Aldridge &amp; Son of Devizes, Wiltshire</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

From COVID to gastro, why are cruise ships such hotbeds of infection?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/thea-van-de-mortel-1134101">Thea van de Mortel</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p>Dual outbreaks of <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-12/grand-princess-ship-adelaide-covid-19-gastroenteritis/103095704">gastro and COVID</a> on the Grand Princess cruise ship that docked in Adelaide on Monday <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/nov/13/grand-princess-cruise-ship-covid-gastro-outbreak-docks-adelaide-south-australia">have now been declared over</a> by the <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/8421009/cruise-ship-doctor-declares-dual-virus-outbreaks-over/">doctor on board</a>.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Princess Cruises, which operates the ship, said a number of passengers had presented with symptoms <a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/grand-princess-no-double-covid19-gastro-outbreak-on-ship-cruise-line-says/5d02d423-3289-4a2b-a580-1ed565b78027">on a previous voyage</a>. But the ship has since been disinfected and the number of people who were ill when the ship arrived into Adelaide was said to be in single digits.</p> <p>While this is positive news, reports of infectious outbreaks on cruise ships evoke a sense of deja vu. We probably all remember the high-profile COVID outbreaks that occurred on cruise ships in 2020.</p> <p>So what is it about cruise ships that can make them such hotspots for infection?</p> <h2>First, what causes these outbreaks?</h2> <p>Respiratory infectious outbreaks on cruise ships may be caused by <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/air-land-sea/cruise-ship-travel">a range of pathogens</a> including SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID) and influenza viruses. These can be spread by <a href="https://www.pnas.org/doi/10.1073/pnas.2015482118">respiratory droplets and aerosols</a> released when people breathe, talk, laugh, cough and sneeze.</p> <p>Historically, <a href="https://jmvh.org/article/the-navy-and-the-1918-19-influenza-pandemic/">troop transport ships</a> also helped to spread the lethal 1918 flu virus between continents.</p> <p>Gastro outbreaks on cruise ships are similarly well documented. More than 90% of cruise ship gastro outbreaks are caused by <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/air-land-sea/cruise-ship-travel#infectious">norovirus</a>, which is spread from person to person, and through contaminated objects or contaminated food or water.</p> <p>Gastro can also be caused by other pathogens such as <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/air-land-sea/cruise-ship-travel">bacteria in contaminated food or water</a>.</p> <h2>What is the risk?</h2> <p>In 2020, around 19% of <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1632">Diamond Princess</a> passengers and crew docked in Japan tested positive to COVID. Ultimately, nearly one in four <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8739343/">Ruby Princess</a> passengers and crew docked in Sydney tested positive.</p> <p>However, COVID generally presents a lesser risk nowadays, with most people having some level of immunity from vaccination or previous infection. The outbreak on the Grand Princess appears to have been much smaller in scale.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1477893916300680">three-year study</a> before COVID of influenza-like illness (which includes fever), acute respiratory illness (which <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/glossary.htm">doesn’t require fever</a> to be present) and gastro on cruise ships found these were diagnosed in 32.7%, 15.9% and 17% of ill passengers, and 10.9%, 80% and 0.2% of ill crew, respectively.</p> <p>An <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/ss/ss7006a1.htm">analysis</a> of data from 252 cruise ships entering American ports showed the overall incidence of acute gastro halved between 2006 and 2019. Passenger cases decreased from 32.5 per 100,000 travel days to 16.9, and crew cases from 13.5 per 100,000 travel days to 5.2. This decline may be due to a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6382806/">combination</a> of improved hygiene and sanitation standards.</p> <p>The risk of getting sick with gastro was significantly higher on <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/ss/ss7006a1.htm">bigger ships and longer voyages</a>. This is because the longer you are in close contact with others, the greater the chance of exposure to an infectious dose of viruses or bacteria.</p> <h2>Why are cruise ships infection hotspots?</h2> <p>On cruise ships, people tend to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8739343/">crowd together</a> in confined spaces for extended periods. These include dining halls, and during social activities in casinos, bars and theatres.</p> <p>The risk goes up when the environment is noisy, as more droplets and aerosols are shed when people are <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6382806/">laughing, shouting or talking loudly</a>.</p> <p>Passengers may come from <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1477893916300680?via%3Dihub">multiple countries</a>, potentially bringing variants from different parts of the world. Influenza, which is usually seasonal (late autumn to early spring) onshore, can occur at any time <a href="https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/31/2/433/295546">on a cruise ship</a> if it has international passengers or is calling at international ports.</p> <p>Human behaviour also contributes to the risk. Some passengers <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jtm/article/15/3/172/1821220">surveyed</a> following cruise ship gastro outbreaks indicated they were ill when they boarded the ship, or they became ill but didn’t disclose this because they didn’t want to pay for a doctor or be made to isolate, or they thought it wasn’t serious.</p> <p>Those who became ill were more likely than those who did not to think that hand hygiene and isolation were not effective in preventing infection transmission, and were less likely to wash their hands after using the toilet. Given <a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/factsheets/Pages/norovirus.aspx">faecal contamination</a> is a major source of norovirus transmission, this is concerning.</p> <p>While there are usually a la carte dining options on board, many people will choose a buffet option. From personal experience, food tongs are handled by multiple people, some of whom may not have cleaned their hands.</p> <h2>What can help?</h2> <p>The <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/news/ahppc-statement-advice-to-support-safe-cruising">Department of Health and Aged Care</a> recommends cruise companies encourage crew and passengers to be up-to-date with flu and COVID vaccinations, and encourage anyone who becomes ill to stay in their cabin, or at least avoid crowded spaces and wear a mask in public.</p> <p>They also recommend cruise ships have a plan to identify and contain any outbreaks, including testing and treatment capacity, and communicate to passengers and crew how they can reduce their transmission risk.</p> <p>All passengers and crew should report any signs of infectious illness, and practice good hand hygiene and <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/faqs/respiratory-hygiene.html">respiratory etiquette</a>, such as covering their mouth if coughing or sneezing, disposing of used tissues, and washing or sanitising hands after touching their mouth or nose.</p> <p>South Australia’s chief health officer has <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-11-13/grand-princess-ship-covid-gastro-docks-in-adelaide/103096836">commended</a> the Grand Princess crew for their infection protection and control practices, and for getting the outbreak under control.<img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/217534/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/thea-van-de-mortel-1134101"><em>Thea van de Mortel</em></a><em>, Professor, Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/griffith-university-828">Griffith University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/from-covid-to-gastro-why-are-cruise-ships-such-hotbeds-of-infection-217534">original article</a>.</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

How to score yourself free onboard credit on your next cruise

<p>Everybody loves to splurge on holidays especially when you’ve been given free credit! Here’s how to score yourself some free cash.</p> <p><strong>Grab a deal</strong></p> <p>With so many cruise lines now sailing out of Australia, they will all be competing hard for your business. You can book a great deal at any time of year and, alongside things like free upgrades or 50 per cent off for a second passenger, you’ll find onboard credit. Do your research and you could easily score yourself hundreds of dollars to spend onboard at no extra cost.</p> <p><strong>Book through an agent</strong></p> <p>Specialised cruise travel agents develop strong relationships with the lines and will be able to secure you the best price. As part of their offering, they can also throw in some free onboard credit. This could be with an individual shopfront agent or one of the larger online third parties, so look around for the best offers. And if you don’t see anything advertised directly, it never hurts to ask!</p> <p><strong>Stay loyal to a line</strong></p> <p>Most major cruise lines will have a dedicated loyalty scheme that operates sort of like a frequent flyer program. Cruise multiple times with the one line and they will reward you with special fares, upgrades and (you guessed it) onboard credit. Make sure you use your unique identification number every time you book so that you don’t miss out on any of your points.</p> <p><strong>Book another cruise</strong></p> <p>If you’re loving your cruise, take advantage of the onboard sales office and book another one right away. You’ll be able to take advantage of exclusive offers that you won’t find on land and many of these include onboard credit. The line will be eager to get you to sign up again before you can look at other ships, so it’s a chance for you to grab some big bonuses.</p> <p><strong>Make the best of a bad situation</strong></p> <p>When something goes wrong on a cruise (like a change of itinerary, missing a port or a fault with your cabin) the line will very often compensate you with onboard credit. We’re not saying you can create a problem to grab some cash, but if you have a legitimate problem then alert the crew as soon as possible and see if they can offer you some in exchange.</p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

These are the top mistakes first-time cruise travellers should avoid, according to a cruise ship veteran

<p><strong>Cruise tips for the perfect trip</strong></p> <p>For more than a decade, I have worked on some of the best cruise lines, and for the last six years, I’ve been a cruise director. It’s a dream job: I am the face and voice of a 3,600-person-capacity ship, organising entertainment around the clock for guests, creating the master schedules, coordinating excursions, hosting special events and so much more. I’ve been on hundreds of cruises and live on a ship for most of the year, so it’s safe to say that I know a few cruise tips you’ll find useful.</p> <p>I also know a thing or two about the mistakes people make when it comes to cruises, whether they’re first-time cruisers or regulars. From creating a smart cruise packing list to finding the best deals at sea, these insider cruise tips will ensure that you have the best trip possible.</p> <p><strong>Booking too late </strong></p> <p>It is true that if you’re very flexible with your travel plans and/or you live near a popular port-of-call, you can get some great bargains on cruises by booking at the last minute. But those opportunities are harder to come by these days, thanks to sophisticated computer algorithms that do a great job of adjusting prices to fill bookings earlier.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> If you’re sure you want to book a particular cruise or your travel plans aren’t flexible, book as early as possible – as in, the date bookings open. Prices will be at their lowest then, but if for some reason they do drop, you can ask customer service to match the new lower price. Just be aware that price adjustments need to be made before the “final booking window,” when all rates are locked in, usually one to three months before departure.</p> <p><strong>Not asking for an upgrade</strong></p> <p>Post-pandemic, a lot of ships are sailing at low capacity, so there are often plenty of open rooms. People are often nervous to ask for an upgrade, but those rooms will just be left empty if they’re not filled by departure time. We love making guests happy, and as long as you’re polite and phrase it as a question, not a demand, we’ll do our best!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> When you arrive, talk to any of the employees greeting guests about rooms available for upgrades. Different cruise lines have different policies, and the employees will know how to help you. And in case you were wondering, you can ask for an upgrade regardless of how you purchased your tickets. If you’re there for a special event, like a milestone anniversary or a honeymoon, definitely mention it – even if you can’t get an upgrade, they will find other ways to make your cruise special.</p> <p>Some cruises also allow you to “bid” for an upgrade, meaning that you can offer an extra amount of money for that nicer cabin. This is still a good deal, since even with the extra fee, it’s still cheaper than if you had paid the original rate for that room.</p> <p><strong>Not packing a carry-on bag</strong></p> <p>This is one of those cruise tips you’ll really be glad you know before your next trip. Many people overpack their main luggage and don’t give enough thought to what they’re toting in their carry-ons. Remember: It takes several hours minimum to get your luggage to you. Luggage times can range from a couple of hours to half a day, depending on staffing levels and your cabin location. This is why it’s essential to have a day pack with anything you’ll need right away – and don’t forget the fun stuff!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Pack a roomy carry-on with medication, contact solution, a change of clothing, a swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, sandals or other items you’ll want to have immediate access to.</p> <p><strong>Being rude or cold to the crew</strong></p> <p>We’re here to help you, but we’re not slaves. I’ve seen passengers have full meltdowns over everything from not being able to get prescription medication from the first-aid station, to the buffet not having a dish they ate on a different cruise line, to their towels being folded instead of shaped, like they saw on Instagram. Regardless of your demeanour with us, we’ll always do our best to help you, but we won’t be motivated to go above and beyond for you. Keep in mind that some events, such as dinner with the captain, are by invitation only or are not advertised, and having a crew member to help you get your name on the golden ticket could make your cruise experience something out of this world.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Be polite and kind to the crew. To be clear: You’re allowed to complain, and we definitely want to know if something isn’t right or if it could be better, but just remember that we’re people too – often operating on very little sleep.</p> <p><strong>Not taking advantage of flash deals </strong></p> <p>During booking or before boarding, many cruises offer limited amounts of “flash deals” for things like entertainment shows or drink packages. Many people wait, thinking they can just decide once they’re on board, but you won’t find those same deals on the ship. And these deals are worth it: Purchasing a flash deal ahead of time could get you half-off discounts for food and alcoholic beverages, a VIP excursion or priority seating at shows. Talk about an easy way to get perks and save some serious money!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> If they’re offering something you know you’ll use, it’s almost always cheaper to purchase it through a flash deal. Flash deals are publicised through a cruise’s site and via email, but the fastest way to be alerted is by installing the app for your cruise line and registering your trip. And be sure to purchase quickly, since many deals are available only for a short time and/or in limited quantities.</p> <p><strong>Using the internet a lot</strong></p> <p>Internet on cruise ships can be overpriced and unreliable. This is because ocean-going ships have to use satellite systems for internet, and they are slower and tend to lose service more easily. And expect to pay for the privilege of slower service – older ships still sell internet by the minute (50 to 75 cents), while state-of-the-art ships offer day passes. Day passes average about $US25 per device, per day. This can add up faster than you realise. So while it’s technologically possible to stream a Netflix movie to your cabin, it may not be the best use of your time or money.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> See it as a gift! My advice would be to switch off completely while at sea and save your money. Cruise ships are equipped for maximum entertainment, and you should take advantage of all the fun we have on board. (Plus, in a cruise tip that doubles as a life tip, it’s good for you to do a mini digital detox and take a break from social media every once in a while.) If you do need to use the internet – say, to check your work emails or contact family – it will be cheapest and fastest to wait until you’re at port and find a Wi-Fi hot spot. Otherwise, just plan to use the ship’s internet strategically; have a plan before logging on rather than just surfing.</p> <p><strong>Not signing up for the free loyalty program </strong></p> <p>All major cruise lines have loyalty programs that offer real perks, including discounts on tickets, free meals, free internet, priority embarkation and disembarkation, and even free cruises. If you don’t sign up, you’re missing out. While the perks will depend on what “tier” of the loyalty program you sign up for, top-tier loyalty programs are the best deal for serious cruisers. That’s where you’ll be treated like royalty, with upgrades, special events, free or heavily discounted tickets, priority booking and lots of other extras.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> The base programs are free to sign up, and you’ll want to register for them as soon as possible because you can start earning points immediately. Higher-tier programs are fee-based, but they can be a great deal depending on what amenities you want and how often you plan to cruise. You will be offered the chance to sign up or upgrade during the booking process, but if you miss it, you can sign up at check-in or at any point during the cruise – even when disembarking.</p> <p>Depending on the package and loyalty tier, some of your points will be available immediately for use on your current cruise. Some major cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, have partnerships with major credit cards that allow you to use your card to rack up loyalty points throughout the year.</p> <p><strong>Sticking to the buffets </strong></p> <p>Yes, buffets are fantastic because they offer a wide variety of popular foods, and it’s all-you-can-eat around the clock. But if you’re only eating at the buffets, you’re missing some of the best food on the cruise! The restaurants are designed to give you a full dining experience and offer regional or specialty cuisines that can’t be found on the buffet. Plus, you can order according to your taste and special-order dishes if you have particular dietary concerns. Many restaurants offer extras like dining with the chef, watching the food be prepared or special entertainment events.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Ask your host about special dining events, like the chef’s table, or to help you get reservations for a specialty meal – for instance, a Brazilian steakhouse meal or a five-course tasting with wine pairings. These dining experiences usually cost extra, but they’re totally worth it. Try to book two or three if you can.</p> <p><strong>Not using room service enough </strong></p> <p>When you’re staying at a hotel, you might forgo room service because it can get pricey – or because you can’t order whatever you want, whenever you want it. That’s not necessarily the case on a cruise. Post-pandemic, you can order anything off the menu through room service, 24/7… But not all the food is free. You may have to pay extra for that cheeseburger at 3am.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> While what’s included in room service varies from cruise line to cruise line, as well as what package you’ve booked, breakfast will likely be free – no matter what. Make the most of this cruise ship secret, and you never have to leave your room for breakfast again if you don’t want to! One etiquette-based cruise tip, though: While tipping isn’t necessary, if you do order room service in the middle of the night, consider tipping the staff a few dollars when they bring it.</p> <p><strong>Not reading the ship's insurance policy </strong></p> <p>If you enjoy doing adventurous activities like ziplining and surfing, make sure you know the risks and what you are covered for in case of an emergency. The ship’s insurance policy covers only the very basic things – those that are directly the cruise line’s responsibility, like cancelled cruises or lost luggage. But anything related to your health or other travel issues won’t be covered, so you’ll need to rely on personal policies.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Make sure to read through the insurance policy and ask your cruise host or travel agent if you have questions. Check with your personal insurance provider to see exactly what they cover for cruises and/or out-of-country trips. And it’s never a bad idea to purchase separate travel insurance.</p> <p><strong>Going to Medical for seasickness</strong></p> <p>Cruises are required to have a certified doctor on the ship, but it costs money to get medical care onboard. Doctors bill an hourly rate – often around $US100 per hour – plus fees for any services or extra supplies. Cruise-ship medical bills can range from $US50 to thousands of dollars if you end up needing to be helicoptered out. However, many medical items are available for free through the customer concierge, so save those medical trips for illnesses or injuries that really require a doctor’s attention.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Seasickness pills and other over-the-counter meds, such as ibuprofen and Tylenol, are free through guest services, as well as things like adhesive bandages, heating pads and wraps. Stop by the host station, ask any staff member or call directly from your cabin. Pro tip: If you’re prone to seasickness, ask for a cabin on a low deck and mid-ship, since they pitch the least in relation to the rest of the ship.</p> <p><strong>Taking sketchy DIY excursions </strong></p> <p>This really depends on the location, but in lesser-known areas, it is generally wise to stick to the ship-sponsored excursions as opposed to relying on sales pitches from locals, taking internet advice or just winging it. After all, you want to make sure you don’t get taken advantage of, you’re safe and the ship doesn’t leave without you if the excursion runs late!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Stick to reputable excursions. Your cruise director will have a list of ship-sponsored excursions and will also be able to advise you on local companies that the cruise line has worked with. It also never hurts to do research before setting sail, looking up your particular ports-of-call and seeing what excursions you might want to ask about.</p> <p><strong>Going too far from the ship</strong></p> <p>It’s fine to go ashore independently and find your own adventures, but I’ve seen too many guests end up losing track of time or distance, and then end up waving the ship goodbye from shore. If this happens, you’ll have to find your own travel to the cruise ship’s next port of call.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Instead of driving yourself, find a local taxi driver who knows the area well. Just be sure to negotiate the price and time before hopping in. If you do decide to go it alone, stay fairly close to port, watch the clock and build in extra time for things like traffic jams. Make sure to get back to the boat at least 30 minutes before boarding time.</p> <p><strong>Underestimating how windy it gets at sea</strong></p> <p>Anytime you’re outside on the ship, make sure to secure all your belongings. Hold on tightly if you’re walking around, and if you’re putting your items down, place them in a zippered bag attached to a chair or table, or tether larger items (like blankets) to furniture. It doesn’t take much wind to launch your mobile phone, hat or glasses into the ocean. This happens far more often than you might think!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> I recommend that guests always bring towel clips for securing towels, clothing, thongs and other flighty items. Your ship may come equipped with some anti-wind protections like special shelters by the pool, lockers or wind breaks.</p> <p><strong>Not honouring cruise traditions </strong></p> <p>Ships, cruise lines and even cruising culture in general have their own traditions. The most popular one on all cruise lines is the “Cruising Duck.” Never heard of it? Guests bring a rubber duck and hide it around the ship to be discovered by others. But there are many more traditions based on individual cruise lines, travel routes or themes (say, a Disney cruise), and part of the fun is getting to discover them. You can read up about them on online forums or just wait to be surprised.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Participating in these little traditions will make it more fun for you on your trip, and it’s a great way to integrate yourself into the cruising community. It’s especially fun if you’re doing a themed cruise.</p> <p><strong>Not following current health protocols</strong></p> <p>Health protocols change often, especially post-pandemic. For instance, most cruise ships now require proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Some are still doing rapid tests before boarding. Most prefer (but don’t require) you to wear a mask if you develop any symptoms of illness while aboard. If you test positive for an infectious illness, you’ll be quarantined. And remember, it’s not just COVID they’re concerned about: Outbreaks of norovirus and influenza are common in the close quarters of cruise ships.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Stay up to date on the current rules, and do your best to follow them. This information should be given to you the week before your cruise, via email or your online portal. You can also check the website, call customer service or talk to a host during the boarding process. But please don’t argue with us – we don’t make the rules. If you need clarification or an exception, speak to the ship’s doctor.</p> <p><strong>Not booking your next cruise while you're still on the ship</strong></p> <p>This may sound crazy, but it’s one of the smartest cruise tips. Booking your next cruise while on your current cruise is a terrific way to make the most of free onboard credit and loyalty points. Once you leave the ship, the deals they’re offering will be gone.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>What to do instead:</em></span> Ask your host about what deals they are offering before you disembark. This is the best time to get a great deal on your favourite cruises – and ones that won’t be available at a later date. Cruise lines really want you to book your next cruise while you’re still there and excited, so they may offer you a cheaper upgrade to a higher tier of the loyalty program and/or nicer perks on your next cruise. If you can book at this time, you definitely should.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/cruising/ive-worked-on-cruise-ships-for-10-years-these-are-the-mistakes-every-traveller-should-avoid?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

5 important things to check off your list before your next cruise

<p>The tickets are booked! Here’s what you need to do before you set sail.</p> <p><strong>1. Visit your doctor</strong></p> <p>Hope for the best and plan for the worst – it’s a good motto to travel by. Visit your doctor to see if you need any vaccinations or medications for exotic locations, and make sure you’re stocked up on all your regular medications.</p> <p>It is a good idea to bring some extras as well as some basic first aid meds (think pain killers and anti nausea tablets) as these can be expensive or hard to come by.</p> <p><strong>2. Research your ports</strong></p> <p>You only have a short time in each port, so you’ll want to make the most of it. Do some research before you leave and decide what you want to see, how long it will (realistically take) and think about whether you want to take an organised tour. </p> <p>We’re not saying you have to plan a rigid schedule and stick to it, but a rough plan of how you want to spend your day will save time and stress.</p> <p><strong>3. Check the weather</strong></p> <p>It’s amazing how quickly the weather can change or an unexpected storm can spring up. Keep an eye on the weather for the days before your cruise so you can pack accordingly. That might mean adding in a few extra jumpers or doubling up on the sunscreen. </p> <p>You will have limited opportunities to buy these things onboard and they can be really expensive. You also don’t want to waste a day in port running around looking for something to wear.</p> <p><strong>4. Talk to your travel buddy</strong></p> <p>How do you imagine you’ll be spending your days? Flopped by the pool or out exploring your next port? Hitting the dancefloor til the wee hours or getting an early night so you can be up for sunrise yoga? These are good conversations to have with your travel partner before you set sail. </p> <p>There’s no right or wrong answer, but many travel arguments have started because people have different ideas of the perfect holiday.</p> <p><strong>5. Organise your insurance</strong></p> <p>You really should do this when you book your tickets as you’ll be covered from then right up until your cruise at no extra cost. But if you’re left it to the last minute, never fear! Jump online and get yourself insured. </p> <p>Many companies offer policies specific to cruising, so everything you need will be covered. And don’t think that you can skip it if you’re only cruising in Australian waters – Medicare won’t cover you onboard.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Taking a cruise? Here are 10 things polite people never do on cruises

<p><strong>Argue in the cabin</strong></p> <p>Especially late at night, be courteous. “Cruise ship rooms tend to have thin walls; therefore you always want to be respectful when you’re walking through hallways so as not to disturb other guests,” says Bonnie Tsai, founder and director of Beyond Etiquette. </p> <p>“This also includes being as quiet as you can when you’re inside your cabin.” Cruisers who really want to avoid as much noise as possible shouldn’t book their room under the gym or pool deck, if possible.</p> <p><strong>Pretend the cruise is a personal yacht</strong></p> <p>The ship is your home away from home for a set amount of time. You should still keep in mind your behaviour and presentation, according to Tsai. “There’s no need to show off your immense collection of expensive jewellery or wear lingerie or PJs in the hallways,” she says. </p> <p>There are plenty of other guests sharing the same space, and they may not want to see your plaid PJs.</p> <p><strong>Hog lounge chairs </strong></p> <p>It’s impolite to save seats for your family and friends, whether it’s by the pool or in the theatre. Tsai says if you must save a seat, do so for only 30 minutes. Ships have a limited amount of seating, so be mindful. Another important tip to keep in mind is if your group wants to sit together, show up at the same time. </p> <p>“If it’s a situation where every lounger is sure to be occupied by 10 am, many cruises allow guests to place towels on loungers for a maximum of 30 minutes before they arrive,” Tsai says. “Gauge the situation and act with consideration for other guests.” Don’t fall for one of the most common cruise misconceptions, either.</p> <p><strong>Spread germs </strong></p> <p>If you’re not feeling so great during your cruise, do your best to keep your germs to yourself. “When one person is sick on a cruise, it’s easy for the whole ship to get infected as everyone’s staying in close quarters,” Tsai says.</p> <p>If you feel a cold coming on, try to avoid being in overly-crowded areas, so you don’t get others sick as well. And always cover your mouth with the nook of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.</p> <p><strong>Skip the tip</strong></p> <p>Many major cruise lines charge a daily fee for tips, but lots of people have confusion about tipping, according to Tsai. Confirm the tipping policy before booking your cruise. “If the cruise line doesn’t include tip in your payment, be sure to factor that into your budget when you plan for your trip,” Tsai says. </p> <p>“If tipping isn’t included and there is a standard tipping policy, then be sure to deliver it to the staff who’s helped you during your trip.” If tipping is expected, it’s customary for room service, dining services, childcare, and any additional alcohol.</p> <p><strong>Constantly complain</strong></p> <p>There’s no reason to be rude if something doesn’t go your way during the cruise. Polite people never take issues out on crew members, according to Emilie Dulles, an event protocol and etiquette expert. “The crew is there to ensure that every traveller has the best experience onboard possible, yet they are also skilled human beings who should be treated with respect, grace, and kindness,” Dulles says. </p> <p>“Nothing is as tacky as yelling at a server, or complaining at the turn-down staff for forgetting an extra blanket, or hitting on a mixologist after one too many daiquiris.” Pay respect and attention to cruise workers.</p> <p><strong>Drink too much </strong></p> <p>Everyone should enjoy their cruise, and if that means sipping on fruity cocktails, that’s your business. If drinking regularly isn’t something you do, or you don’t know how to handle your liquor, it could lead to lots of rude behaviour. </p> <p>“Inhibitions go down as blood alcohol content goes up, so to avoid embarrassing oneself and disrupting other travellers’ cruise experience, it’s more polite to keep one’s cocktail count in check,” Dulles says.</p> <p><strong>Let kids run wild </strong></p> <p>Many families don’t keep a close eye on their kids while on a cruise, Dulles says. “There are assigned areas for children to run, jump, and be themselves with full energy under the supervision of trained staff,” Dulles says. “The entire ship is not their playground.”</p> <p>Polite people recognise that not all cruise travellers want to see or hear kids all the time. Mind the signs that show what areas are only for adults, families, or kids. “By respecting those boundaries, not only will children enjoy themselves more, but also adults will be able to relax and make the most of their time at sea.” Some cruises are especially for families.</p> <p><strong>Hoard food </strong></p> <p>All-inclusive food is very alluring. It’s easy to take things to the extreme. And although the buffet is tempting, remember not to be wasteful. “When it comes to the all-inclusive aspect of cruise voyages, many travellers will see this as an opportunity of getting as much as possible out of their fare,” Dulles says. </p> <p>“By piling more food than they can consume on their buffet plate and ordering cocktail after cocktail just because they can, travellers can be very wasteful and inconsiderate towards the crew who spends a lot of time and energy putting together the meals and drinks available.” Instead, take enough food for one sitting. You can always choose to go back for seconds, but this is more elegant than throwing away platefuls of perfectly good food.</p> <p><strong>Dress inappropriately</strong></p> <p>During the daytime, there are generally no dress code requirements on cruises. Tsai notes, however, if you plan on a formal dining experience with other guests, dress appropriately for the occasion. Generally, dress code requirements for the evening are in the cruise’s daily program, according to Tsai.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/10-things-polite-people-never-do-on-cruises" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

What happens to old cruise ships?

<p><strong>Cruise control </strong></p> <p>Cruise ships are a way to explore the world and have a holiday out on the sea. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, going on a cruise to a new destination was a popular way for people to travel to new countries while being mindful of their travel budget. However, have you ever wondered what happens to cruise ships after they’re no longer in use?</p> <p><strong>Where do cruise ships go?</strong></p> <p>Like every other work of machinery in the world, cruise ships can’t run forever. Typically, a cruise ship is built to run about 30 years. When a cruise ship is no longer running smoothly or it’s time for it to retire, there are a few different factors for consideration which include the state of the ship when it goes into retirement along with how many people are interested in purchasing the cruise ship.” </p> <p>In some cases, retired ships could have a second life and be sold to other companies,” Colleen McDaniel, editor-in-chief of <em>Cruise Critic</em>, tells Reader’s Digest. “In other cases, they’re sold for scrap – meaning the ship will dock at a shipyard and the most valuable parts will be sold piece-by-piece, and the rest of the ship stripped.”</p> <p>While cruise ships can be sold to other cruise lines and repurposed that way, given the current climate with the pandemic, ships may skip that route and go straight to the scrapyard. “Currently, as cruise lines are retiring select ships, we’re seeing a mix of both– some ships have been transferred to different cruise lines, others are headed to shipyards to be sold as scrap,” says McDaniel.</p> <p><strong>How is a cruise ship taken apart?</strong></p> <p>Like retired airplanes, cruise ships have their own final resting place. “The term ‘cruise ship graveyard’ is usually meant to describe those final destinations for ships that have been scrapped,” McDaniel says.</p> <p>You might be surprised to know that the largest scrap yard for ships in the world located in Alang, India recycles around 50 per cent of decommissioned cruise ships. Cruise ships either use their own power to go or they’re towed, which is a bit more difficult. Then there is a process in order to tear cruise ships down.</p> <p>“If the ship is no longer profitable or has mechanical or other systemic issues, then it will be sold for demolition. In recent years, the most popular place for old cruise ships to get demolished has been Alang, in India, where there is a ten-mile stretch of beach with a 25-foot tidal variance,” says Peter Knego, a cruise journalist and historian. </p> <p>“Ships are beached there at high tide, then when the tide recedes, workers head out, remove all salvageable fittings and begin cutting the ship down. As the ship gets cut away, it is gradually winched ashore until it finally disappears.”</p> <p><strong>Cruise ships as tourists attractions </strong></p> <p>Another option is to use retired cruise ships as popular tourist attractions. While we may never know the mysteries of the Titanic, one of the most famous cruise liners of all time, we can get an inside look at other ships like the Queen Mary. </p> <p>With tours and attractions and various dining options available, you’re able to learn more about Queen Mary’s history and learn fun facts, like how the building of this ship was a technological achievement.</p> <p><strong>What has happened to cruise ships due to the pandemic?</strong></p> <p>The pandemic has upended many aspects of everyday life. “The pandemic sped up the process of cruise ship disposal since cruise lines could not afford to keep vast fleets in warm layup (with full crews to make sure all systems are in working order, the ship is clean, safe, etc.) or even cold layup,” says Knego.</p> <p>Sadly, many cruise ships have had their lives cut short due to the pandemic. “The eighteen ships that the Carnival Corporation (parent company of Carnival Cruises with multiple cruise lines) and three that Royal Caribbean have thus far disposed of were still viable and popular ships until the pandemic struck,” explains Knego. </p> <p>“For the most part, they could have all been kept in service for several more years but without the demand and with the overhead being so high, they had no choice and had to begin paring down their fleets. If the pandemic continues for much longer, what we have seen thus far is only the beginning of a much larger purge.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/what-happens-to-old-cruise-ships" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

The best cruise cabin for every type of need

<p><strong>So many options</strong></p> <p>Cruise accommodations – also known as staterooms or cabins – are your home away from home while at sea. Far from a one-size-fits-all decision, there are numerous factors to consider when determining the best rooms on a cruise ship to fit your and your companions’ needs.</p> <p>From size to location to view and beyond, there are many things to keep in mind when selecting your stateroom, says Gianluca Corneli, hotel director at Royal Caribbean International. “How many will stay in the room? Is your room a place to hang out or just where you sleep?” Also, think about what you’d like to be near on the ship. “For example, consider if you would like to be near the elevator for convenience or prefer a location down the hallway with fewer guests passing by,” she says. Also factor in any ways you’d like to elevate your stay, like maybe a balcony or a suite for your next Caribbean cruise.</p> <p>It’s no wonder that some of the best cruise lines offer up to 28 different types of rooms on a single ship – they want to ensure there’s an ideal solution for every guest. Let’s focus on upgrading your room choice to the perfect fit for your specific needs.</p> <p><strong>Best for avoiding seasickness</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Choose</em></span>: the middle of the ship, on a low deck</p> <p>Picture a ship like a seesaw – the most movement will be felt on either end, while the middle stays fairly even-keel. “Middle and low, that’s where you want to be,” says cruise expert Dori Saltzman, senior editor with trade publication Travel Market Report. “While you don’t need to be on the absolute lowest passenger deck, you don’t want to go above the middle of the ship (vertical wise). You also want to try to be as middle (horizontal wise) as possible.</p> <p>If cabins in the middle of the ship aren’t available, she says to choose aft over forward, because the more forward a cabin is, the more you’ll feel the motion of the ocean. And while this may seem counter-intuitive, be sure to book a cabin with a window or balcony, so you can keep your eyes on the horizon if you start feeling queasy.</p> <p><strong>Best for great views</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Choose</em></span>: a cabin with a balcony, preferably at the back of the ship</p> <p>While you can always go to the upper decks of any ship for 360-degree views of your surroundings, there’s no greater cruise ship luxury than enjoying the scenery from your own private balcony. They may also be called verandah cabins. Balconies are the perfect place to enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning or glass of champagne during a spectacular sunset and pretend you’re all alone at sea.</p> <p>And some of the absolute best rooms on a cruise ship are located at the rear, where you’ll also be treated to the photo-worthy wake left behind, which is a fun way to mark your ship’s progress. Balconies are also nice for having access to fresh air when you want it, it can be very soothing to listen to the sounds of the ocean from your stateroom, and you’ll have a better chance of spotting wildlife along your cruise too.</p> <p><strong>Best for light sleepers</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Choose</em></span>: a deck filled with other guest cabins and away from elevators</p> <p>Finding the best rooms on a cruise ship for light sleepers usually takes a little research, but that due diligence will pay off come bedtime. “You need your cabin to be located away from any bank of elevators, but also away from crew entrances,” says Saltzman. So being surrounded by other cabins of people who want to sleep too is a safe bet. “You also don’t want your cabin to be located above the ship’s main theatre, underneath any restaurants where you can hear the chairs scraping on the floor or under/over any of the lounges that have music late into the night.”</p> <p>Finally, you don’t want to be on a low deck that’s too aft or too forward, as you may end up above the engines or the anchor, which makes a lot of noise when it’s lowered and raised. You may feel a bit like Goldilocks trying to choose that perfect cabin on your next romantic cruise, but the reward of peace and quiet will be priceless.</p> <p><strong>Best for a little more space</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Choose</em></span>: a forward-facing cabin</p> <p>While you aren’t likely to find a balcony on a forward-facing cabin, you may find more interior space than similarly priced mid-ship cabins. Why? There are some odd angles in forward-facing cabins that the designers had to work around, thanks to the slanted style of the front of a ship. Those odd angles may work in your favour when it comes to square footage.</p> <p>It’s important to note that while these are some of the best rooms on a cruise ship for extra space, you will experience the most movement in a front-facing cabin, so this choice is not an ideal position for anyone prone to motion sickness.</p> <p><strong>Best for cruising with little kids</strong></p> <p>Most cruise lines offer family-friendly cruises and specific cabins suited for kids, which can be a mix of in-room amenities and proximity to other areas of the ship children will love. “On Disney’s ships, all cabins have two bathrooms, one with a sink and toilet and the other with a shower/bath combo (a small minority of rooms do not have the tub) for families that need the little one to be able to take a bath, while everyone else is still able to wash up,” says Saltzman. </p> <p>“Another good option is the Family Harbour cabins on Carnival’s Vista-class ships (Vista, Horizon, Panorama) and Excel-class ships (Mardi Gras, Celebration). Similar to the Disney cabins, these have two bathrooms, one a full one with a shower, sink and toilet, and the other with a sink and shower/tub combo.”</p> <p><strong>Best for staying on a budget</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Choose</em></span>: an interior cabin</p> <p>Unless you’re worried about feeling claustrophobic – since there will be no porthole or window to the outside world – an interior cabin is a nice option for saving money (we’re talking $300 for 7-day cruises). Not only is it the lowest-priced cabin type, which means you’ll have more funds to put toward excursions, a drink package or souvenirs, but you’ll also be able to take midday naps or sleep in later because there won’t be any light sneaking in.</p> <p>Another positive is that an interior cabin might encourage you to spend more of your free time roaming around the ship, meeting other people and getting more involved in activities, since you may not find it desirable to spend your time beyond sleeping and showering in a windowless box.</p> <p><strong>Best for mobility disabilities </strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Choose</em></span>: an accessible stateroom</p> <p>For passengers with limited mobility or no mobility, most major cruise lines offer accessible staterooms in a variety of room types (inside cabin, ocean view and balcony). These options do vary based on the cruise line and the age of the ship, so it’s best to research this in advance and factor the accessible options available into your cruise planning process.</p> <p>Accessible rooms tend to be larger than standard cabins to accommodate wheelchair or scooter users, and they also feature larger bathrooms. Additionally, some rooms will have emergency-call buttons or specific amenities for hearing or vision-impaired guests. For instance, the fully accessible rooms on Holland America Line provide adequate turning space, accessibility routes throughout the room, roll-in showers, wheelchair access on both sides of the bed, handlebars in the shower and hand-held shower heads, says Sissel Bergersen, director of rooms division, Holland America Line. Before you lock in a booking, it may be best to call the cruise line and explain your needs so they can help steer you toward the perfect cabin.</p> <p><strong>Best for being spoiled rotten</strong></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em>Choose</em></span>: a cabin with butler service or a spa cabin</p> <p>For travellers who like adult-only cruises or who are yearning for a little extra pampering, the best rooms on a cruise ship fall into one of two categories. The first is a suite that comes with butler service, where you’ll have someone helping with all the details you don’t want to spend your precious holiday time tending to – like reserving prime-time dinner slots at specialty restaurants, booking shore excursions, packing and unpacking and even drawing rose petal bubble baths. Rooms at this level may also come with exclusive access to private pools, clubs and lounges with more luxurious touches and solitude than you’ll find elsewhere on the ship.</p> <p>The other category that’s becoming increasingly popular is spa suites. On Norwegian Cruise Line, the Haven Spa Suite, Spa Club Balcony Suites and Spa Balcony (available on the Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Bliss and Norwegian Epic) have varying amenities that range from more tranquil room décor with an oversized shower and body spray jets to priority access to Mandara Spa. And on Celebrity Cruises, the AquaClass staterooms are focused on wellness, with a pillow menu, complimentary fitness pass, preferential rates on spa packages, healthy room-service menu options, an exclusive restaurant, a spa concierge, access to the SEA Thermal Suite and a yoga mat for use onboard.</p> <p><strong>Best for solo cruisers</strong></p> <p><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Choose</span></em>: a cruise line that offers single rooms or waives single supplements</p> <p>Solo cruises are a wonderful experience, yet so many cruise lines penalise single cruisers by forcing them to pay a ‘single supplement.’ This surcharge is added to the fare of a solo passenger, since cruise room pricing is generally based on double occupancy. This fee can be an additional 10 per cent all the way up to a full 100 per cent of the rate, making solo cruising unaffordable for many travellers.</p> <p>Instead, look for cruise lines that offer single staterooms, like Celebrity, which has the Edge Single Stateroom with Infinite Veranda (available on Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Ascent) and the Single Inside Stateroom on Celebrity Silhouette. Other cruise lines, including Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, also offer single cabins – these special solo and studio cabins aren’t subject to single supplements. Occasionally, you may even find cruise lines running special promotions and waiving their single supplement for a regular-size room.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/cruising/the-best-cruise-cabin-for-every-type-of-need" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

6 cruise ship disasters

<p>While a cruise nowadays is a safe way to explore the world in consummate luxury, in the early days catching a cruise ship was by no means smooth sailing. Here are 6 cruise ship disaster stories.</p> <p><strong>1. The Titanic</strong></p> <p>After colliding into an iceberg somewhere in the North Atlantic the “unsinkable” Titanic sank two miles to the bottom of the ocean. More than 1,500 lives were lost, with the disaster continuing to intrigue. </p> <p><strong>2. S.S. Eastland</strong></p> <p>In 1915 Western Electric hosted an employee picnic aboard the S.S Eastland on the Chicago River which took an unfortunate turn when the ship tipped over (while still at the dock!).</p> <p><strong>3. The Norwegian Dawn</strong></p> <p>In a journey between New York City and the Bahamas, The Norwegian Dawn was hit by a 70-foot wave that ended up flooding 62 cabins. Thankfully only two people suffered minor injuries. </p> <p><strong>4. The Splendor</strong></p> <p>On a seven-day cruise to Mexico the engine room of the Splendor caught fire. The cruise was shortened to three days, and 3,299 passengers didn’t have access to toilets for 13 hours.</p> <p><strong>5. The Costa Concordia</strong></p> <p>The Costa Concordia unfortunately sank in 2012, after the ship hit shallow seas off the coast of Italy. Navy divers reportedly used explosives to access the inside of the ship, and managed to refloat the vessel to dismantle the wreckage. 32 lives were lost.</p> <p><strong>6. Carnival Conquest</strong></p> <p>Well, we’re just going to have to take their word for it, but apparently the Carnival Conquest ship is haunted by a tall man in a trench coat, who appears in the middle of the night. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

Solutions to common cruising problems

<p>Have you ever encountered any of these problems while you were out at sea? Here’s how to solve the most common problems encountered on a cruise.</p> <p><strong>1. You haven’t received your luggage</strong></p> <p>Most cruise lines ask passengers to be patient for the first few hours of the cruise after sailing. If you haven’t received your luggage after a few hours then you need to talk to someone at the purser’s desk. If your luggage was lost in transit then the cruise line will begin to trace their location and try to have them delivered to the ship at the next cruise port. If your luggage was loaded by a porter then it is possible that it is missing because there is a contraband item (like candles or alcohol) in your bag or it has been delivered to the wrong cabin.</p> <p>It’s helpful to carry on a bag with an outfit for your first day on the cruise along with toiletry essentials and medication.</p> <p><strong>2. Something in your cabin doesn’t work</strong></p> <p>The first step is to check with a cabin steward that there is a legitimate problem with the object and that it doesn’t just require a change of batteries. If the object still doesn’t work then call the front desk and notify them of the issue. If the problem can’t be fixed they may offer you a cabin upgrade or a gift like onboard credit. If they don’t offer you anything, be sure to ask!</p> <p><strong>3. You are unhappy with your dinner arrangements</strong></p> <p>If you are unhappy with your assigned dining time then you can request a switch in time slots or swap assigned dining for flexible dining. All dining requests cannot be accommodated, however, due to the high demand, but the staff will do their best to cater to your preferences.</p> <p>If you are not getting along with your tablemates then be upfront with the dinning staff when you request a new table. Often, the other party will also request for other arrangements.</p> <p><strong>4. Your ship had an itinerary change</strong></p> <p>All cruise contracts note that ports calls are not guaranteed and may be bypassed or changed. Usually, passengers will be refunded the port tax in the form of onboard credit, however, it is only a small amount of money. If you book excursions through the cruise line then you will be refunded your money but if you booked an excursion through a different company, you will need to contact them to find out about cancellation policies and refunds. It is always best to do your research in advance when booking a tour so if you do miss a port you won’t be short changed.</p> <p><strong>5. Your ship’s medical facility won’t accept your insurance</strong></p> <p>Cruise ships do not accept regular health insurance but keep your receipts as some insurance companies will reimburse you for medical expenses you incurred while travelling. A safe bet is purchasing a travel insurance policy that will cover any healthcare expenses.</p> <p><strong>6. Your onboard account is inaccurate</strong></p> <p>Incorrect account information can be fixed if you go to the purser’s office or call and explain the discrepancy. It’s best to keep an eye on your account throughout the cruise so you are not hit with any surprises at the end. It is helpful to save your receipts from onboard purchases if you need to contest anything.</p> <p><em>Images: Shutterstock</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

19 cruise hacks to make travel easy

<p>Cruising can be wonderful. The wide-open space of the sea gives you time to relax and reconnect. You can tick off multiple destinations and only unpack once. </p> <p>But there are a few little tricks that cruise experts tell us will make your cruise even cruiser. </p> <p>Here’s the best tips we have uncovered.</p> <p><strong>1. Pack duct tape</strong></p> <p>On occasion the cruise may hit rough seas. If drawers begin to open, or cabin items go rolling, grab your duct tape and secure them. </p> <p><strong>2. Pack balloons</strong></p> <p>When our office manager told us to bring balloons on the cruise, we did think it was for a party. But in fact, she says that most cruise ships only have one or two hooks. Even the door handles don’t have surfaces for you to hang things. If you plan on doing washing in your room, then you can blow up the balloons and drape the clothes over them to dry. </p> <p><strong>3. Pack magnets</strong></p> <p>Another way to get organised is to bring magnets with you. Many cabin walls are made from metal. So, head to the hardware store and grab a bunch of magnets. Then you can attach hooks or even stick up important notes and your itinerary on the wall. </p> <p><strong>4 Put your bag under the bed</strong></p> <p>Normally when you travel, you stow the suitcase in the cupboard. Experts tell us that on a cruise, you should stow your bag under the bed. Wardrobe space is limited and storing your bag in there will reduce the space for clothes and shoes. </p> <p><strong>5. Steam your clothes</strong></p> <p>Most cruise ships don’t have irons. Fire and cruising don’t go together. They don’t want to take any chances. But what about when you need to wear a fancy shirt or dress to dinner and it’s been wrinkled from packing? Use the steam from the shower. It will un-wrinkle your clothes in no time flat. Alternatively, we’ve been told that you can buy “de-wrinkle spray” for clothes. We haven’t tested it though, so we can’t guarantee this will work. </p> <p><strong>6. Bring a multi-charger or power board</strong></p> <p>Most cruise cabins only have a few power points. These days most people travel with multiple devices. Grab a multi-charger and you can plug in multiple devices to the one power port. Or you can always bring a power board. </p> <p><strong>7. Pack a first aid kit</strong></p> <p>Yes, they have first aid on the ship. Yes, they have shops. But save your money and pack medicines that you may be likely to use such as Panadol, gastro-stop, antihistamines and antiseptic cream in a first aid kit. </p> <p><strong>8. Bring a HDMI cable</strong></p> <p>Love a great night in bed with a good film? Download them onto your laptop and you can use the HDMI cable to watch the films you want to see on the cabin’s TV. </p> <p><strong>9. Pack an extension cord</strong></p> <p>As we said, cruise cabins often have limited power points and sometimes they are in annoying locations. If you want to use your laptop and it has run out of battery, you will thank us for telling you to pack an extension lead.</p> <p><strong>10. Buy in bulk</strong></p> <p>This is one that surprised us. Apparently, some cruise lines give you a discount for buying drinks in bulk. Five beers for the price of four can save you $8 a round. Just pop the extra in the fridge for later. </p> <p><strong>11. Book excursions in advance</strong></p> <p>A huge part of cruising is visiting the onshore destinations. If you plan on cruising on a large boat, make sure you book your on-shore excursions early. That way you can be sure that you will be going. There would be nothing worse than getting off the boat only to find out that the tour you want to do is all sold out. </p> <p><strong>12. Budget for excursions</strong></p> <p>It seems obvious, but many first-time cruisers forget to factor in the added extras. Make sure you know which excursions you want to do and how much they cost. Then factor that into your budget. </p> <p><strong>13. Pack sticky notes</strong></p> <p>Need to remember the departure time? What time the bar opens? Or the time you will have your massage? Bring sticky notes and make your own message board on the cabin wall. </p> <p><strong>14. Stay fit</strong></p> <p>A lot of cruises have endless and bottomless food options. You will indulge. You will enjoy it. But maybe find some time to stay fit on board, even if it is just taking the stairs instead of the lift or swimming daily and doing early morning laps in the pool. </p> <p><strong>15. Pack ginger</strong></p> <p>First-time cruiser? Not sure if you are going to get seasick? Ginger is your friend. Ginger helps ease seasickness. </p> <p><strong>16. Choose your cabin wisely</strong></p> <p>Worried about seasickness? You are better off booking a lower deck room in the middle of the ship. Want a great view and never feel sick? Go for the upper deck edges. Whatever room you choose, think long and hard about what you really want to get out of the cruise. How long will you actually spend in the room?</p> <p><strong>17. Be hygienic </strong></p> <p>Sickness can and does spread on ships. To avoid nasties, make sure you have good hygiene habits. Wash your hands properly and perhaps pack some hand sanitiser. </p> <p><strong>18. Notify the ship of any medical conditions</strong></p> <p>Even if it is minor. In the event of an emergency, the staff will be the ones to help you. </p> <p><strong>19. Wear rubber shoes</strong></p> <p>It can get slippery on board. </p> <p><em>Written by Alison Godfrey. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/travel-hacks-to-make-your-cruise-easier/">My Discoveries</a>. </em></p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

10 things cruise lines won’t tell you

<p>Cruiser industry insiders reveal the secrets that cruise lines choose to conceal from passengers.</p> <p>1. “Our ships might sink, but we won’t.”</p> <p>Not necessarily sink, but there are numerous examples of accidents, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at sea waiting for assistance.</p> <p>2. “Feeling queasy? It might be more than seasickness.”</p> <p>Remember if the food seems strange, it might be best not to eat it.</p> <p>3. “We’ve got a drinking problem.”</p> <p>The cruiser liners WANT you to drink as much as you can. It’s where the money is at.</p> <p>4. “Hire a tour guide, just not through us.”</p> <p>If you book excursions through the cruise liners, you are paying an inflated price. Go to a local operator at your cruise destination instead, or even book online.</p> <p>5. “We’ll find a way to hit you up.”</p> <p>The cruise liner is always going to try to convince you to pay for all sort of extras. And like travellers stuck at an airport, passengers on cruises are a captive audience.</p> <p>6. “You need a Ph.D. to choose your cabin.”</p> <p>With thousands of passengers and therefore thousands of rooms, choosing the right cabin is an art. Space is limited and rooms are inevitably near engines or decks.</p> <p>7. “Running late? See you later.”</p> <p>Don’t expect your cruise to give you your money back the closer it is to your departure date.</p> <p>8. “There is still plenty of peril on the sea.”</p> <p>Cruises sounds like a nice, relaxing, safe holiday option but there’s still plenty of danger on board. Because of the heavy drinking, rates of sexual assault are 50 per cent higher than on land.</p> <p>9. “Labour laws don’t always apply to us.”</p> <p>Passengers rarely appreciate how hard the staff in the cruising industry work, and since cruise liners can be registered in other countries, it means sometimes staff don’t get minimum wage, over time or sick time.</p> <p>10. “Don’t swim in our wake.”</p> <p>From sulphurous engine emissions that contribute to smog to so-called blackwater (essentially what goes down the toilet), cruise liners leave a lot of waste in its wake.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Cruising

Placeholder Content Image

5 common questions about cruising with grandchildren

<p>Travelling with your grandchildren can be a rewarding experience. By the same token though if you're not properly prepared it can be quite a trying experience. In many ways that's why cruising is such a great option for family holidays.</p> <p>With everything taken care of a lot of the problems that normally come with travelling with children simply don't exist. In case you need a little more convincing, here's the answers to five of the most common questions about cruising with grandchildren.</p> <p><strong>1. Will our grandkids get bored?</strong> Cruise lines are becoming increasingly family friendly and incorporating a range of activities all the kiddies will enjoy. Some cruise lines offer kids clubs which are dedicated spaces with camp-like programming, others have activities like scavenger hunts, cooking classes and sports tournaments.</p> <p><strong>2. Will our grandchildren be able to eat the meals?</strong> On bigger cruise ships most menus have a kids menu that caters to children’s tastes and buffet usually has a range of kid-friendly options that will have your grandchildren happy enough.</p> <p><strong>3. Can grandkids bring their portable game devices aboard?</strong> Most cruise lines are more than accommodating when it comes to things like portable video game players, tablets, e-book readers and computers. There are generally also game systems set up in kids clubs for your children to enjoy.</p> <p><strong>4. Will my grandchildren be safe in common areas?</strong> Generally yes, but it’s also important to be responsible. Consider cruise ships like mini-floating cities carrying thousands of people you do not know at any one time. So it stands to reason that you’re doing yourself a huge favour by taking the general precautions that you’d take elsewhere.</p> <p><strong>5. Is it worth taking my grandchildren on a cruise?</strong> Of course it is! Travel is the only purchase in life that makes you richer, as they say, and instilling a thirst for travel in your grandchildren is a gift that sees their possibilities expand. And cruising really is one of the safest, most convenient ways to show your grandchildren the world.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

Cruising