It is hard to ignore the cruise bargains that are floating around the internet and the print media right now. Whichever port a traveller wants to cruise to, there seems to be a bargain cabin (they are called suites these days) waiting to be snapped up.
In Australia the offers are reaching their peak as school holidays have ended – increasingly families are taking their brood on cruises during the summer break – and the loads have eased.
Cruise line websites offer special deals, so do wholesalers, and travel agents. It is just a question of where to cruise to, and when.
Those who are free to go at a moment’s notice will often wait for last-minute sales, or book around 90 days before a cruise to snap up a good price, and a reasonably situated cabin.
And let’s face it, a cruise holiday is great value. Often prices start around $A100 a day which includes accommodation, all meals, entertainment, and most facilities on board. Where on land is such value offered?
Australians have taken to cruising like ducks to water and are one of the world’s fastest growing passenger markets. Tentative first-timers usually book their first cruise holiday from the port nearest their home, then look further afield, often taking a long haul flight to join a cruise with an itinerary of ports that really appeal.
As australiancruisingnews.com notes, word-of-mouth has played a huge role in the success of cruising Down Under where more than 1-million Australians (just over 4 per cent of the national population) took a cruise in the past 12 months. The popularity of cruising among Australians has not gone unnoticed by the major cruise lines that now send many more ships from their fleet Down Under. Until recently only the locally based P&O Cruises based ships permanently in Australian waters, but now other shipping lines stay in local waters for many months through summer.
Indeed, the major problem in Australian ports right now is capacity, particular in Sydney – the main attraction for international visitors – to accommodate more and larger ships at existing terminals, especially as some mega liners are unable to sail under the iconic Harbour Bridge.