Many Australians have a cruise initially on their “Bucket List” but are not sure it is for them. Many have heard stories of wild weather, sea sickness as well as diarrhoea. These are really events that occur less frequently than the media would have us believe.
The best way to start is to select a short cruise at a time when the weather is sure to be kind. Here in Australia the best time is in the latter half of the year. The best cruise to begin with, in my opinion, is not the three or four day sample cruises but a cruise of seven days up the Queensland coast from Brisbane or Sydney to Airlie Beach, Cairns and Port Douglas. (The cruise from Sydney will be a couple of days longer but you will call into Brisbane on the way).
If you are worried about the expense, select an interior stateroom. If you book late, you may even be able to reduce the costs further to as little as $100 a day. You don’t need to spend any money on or off the boat as all your meals and entertainment on board are part of your fare. Tipping is included in your price for cruises from Australia.
At each of the ports you visit, there are cheap shuttle buses to take you into the Airlie Beach and Cairns. At port Douglas, once you embark from the tender at the marina, it is only a short walk into town.
There are some great tours off the boat but most include many sights and animals that the average Aussie has most likely seen. The Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays are mostly new experiences to many Aussie’s. You can see these areas with onshore tours organised through the cruise line.
If you are trying out cruising for the first time, leaving and arriving in Brisbane is a delight with the sun setting over the hills beyond the city, passing under the huge Gateway Bridge and arriving. At dawn as the city wakes up.
In Airlie Beach, you can browse the beachfront market, gaze at the sand beach sculptures or have a cup of coffee and watch the world go by.
In Cairns, you can jump on the shuttle at Yorky’s Knob to go into Cairns city area, have lunch on the waterfront and wander among the hundreds of backpackers basking in the sun around the waterfront parks and pools.
In Port Douglas, you can visit a lovely little historical church with windows behind the altar overlooking the mouth of the creek and the open sea and then walk up town for a bit of window shopping, perhaps a purchase or two plus a coffee.
On board, there are many activities from Bingo to art lectures to quiz shows to entertainment in the atrium, bar and musical productions in the theatre. There are pools, spas, outdoor overs, and a gymnasium to mention just a few activities. You could, of course, just sit and read in many places on board.
Once last point I would make. Not all the cruise lines cater for the full range of passengers. Princess Cruises cater extremely well for the more mature passenger while P and O Cruises cater very well for the younger passengers, children included. There are many other cruise lines coming to Australia. I note these two cruise lines because they service this particular cruise regularly each year.