If the idea of a holiday that includes NO shopping, cooking, cleaning, sitting in traffic or scooting around to after school activities sounds appealing, then read on Mums (and Dads)! Cruise Expert Kathy Fossati from Cruise Express shares her experiences.
For most of us, getaways over the years have involved packing up the car for the trip up or down the coast, a few nights here and there, trips to the airport, stopovers and jetlag…and what part of that is a ‘holiday’?
Instead, imagine starting your well-deserved break with a short trip (just a few minutes down the road), which then allows you to travel to new destinations, enjoy delicious meals (that you didn’t make), have someone else make your bed and even clean the bathroom – every day! Yes, we are talking about a cruise holiday.
Here’s what to think about when organising a local cruise:
- The adventure starts close to home: Once those bags are checked in at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay (or White Bay depending on which ship you are cruising on) you are officially ‘on holiday’ – it’s that simple!
- Cruise holidays can be all-inclusive: You can enjoy twice daily cabin service, almost all day dining, 24/7 room service, entertainment around the ship day and night including live shows, a gymnasium, and many child friendly activities – it’s all included. PLUS revel in spa treatments, high-end dining and local touring (at additional cost).
- Kids can be looked after in a Kids Club: No surprises here! Kids Club is divided into age groups (from 3 years old) with age appropriate activities, facilities and evening events. Some cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International offer baby ‘club’ (usually from 6 months) and evening babysitting services – usually for a nominal fee.
- Heaps of onboard fun for kids (meaning life is easier for you): At the end of the day, you want the entire family to have a wonderful holiday. Many of the ships cruising to and from Sydney have water slides, rock climbing walls, wave-surfing pools and zip lines which are huge hits with older kids. On these child-friendly cruises, there will be lots of kids onboard so your troops can make friends easily. Word of warning, if you actually want to spend lots of time with your children then cruising may not be for you!
- There are holiday festivities: Yes, there are more children onboard in school holidays (although you’d be surprised how many cruise outside these times) but if you are able to sail during peak holidays such as Christmas and Easter, the experience onboard is out of this world. For example, during Christmas ships are decked out with all the trimmings and you might spot the odd roaming group of carollers! Or perhaps you might experience a ship-wide Egg Hunt during an Easter cruise. Remember the onboard staff are also celebrating and are far away from home, family and friends so be extra nice to them.
- Make it intergenerational: Cruising is a great holiday option for three or more generations of the one family as you can be as independent or together as you like. There are so many activities onboard that everyone will have something to do from bingo to enjoying cocktails at a fancy bar to simulated skydiving.
- Remember these room tips: If your children are small, sharing a four-person cabin with bunks is ideal but if they are older, you’ll be falling over each other. Many ships offer interconnecting cabins or you can opt for neighbouring cabins – next to each other or an Oceanview or Balcony cabin and an Inside cabin directly opposite the hallway to save money.
- A word about balcony safety: Some parents may worry about little ones falling off balconies – it’s actually not possible to ‘fall’ as they are high. It is hard to even access the balcony for littlies as your balcony door is so heavy. However if your little monkeys are young (and love climbing), we suggest a Balcony cabin requires adult supervision at all times. An Interior room with a virtual balcony or Oceanview cabin with a window or porthole will be just as exciting for the kids and you won’t need to keep an eye on them as much.
While cruises are available year round to and from Sydney, during the warmer months (Nov-Apr) more ships visit our shores giving even greater options. Let Cruise Express at Gordon help you work out which ship is best for your family and then place you in the best cabin/s available. Call Jo or Vanessa at Cruise Express, Gordon on 9056 1115 or drop into to the premises at 2 St Johns Avenue in Gordon (opposite the train station) – and mention you’re a North Shore Mum fan for a special offer. There’s nothing to lose and a whole lot of R&R to gain. Take a look at the website and let them organise your cruise, anywhere, anytime!