On these ships, there really is something for everyone. They are practically floating fun parks with a huge range of cabin types, restaurants, activities and entertainment on offer from morning to night. This makes them ideal for the first-time cruiser, families or anyone who likes to have a good time on holiday. But why choose a mid-range ship?
- The modern breed of megaliners are the most technologically advanced passenger vessels ever to hit the water. Cruise lines are limited only by their imagination and are adding a mind-boggling array of bells and whistles to their new vessels. Smart technology can do everything from tag your luggage to recognise your face in the onboard photo gallery. Simulators will let you experience skydiving and surfing in the middle of the ocean. Want to go rock climbing on the funnel or zip line across the top deck? No problem. Hold on to your swimmers as you fly down the steepest, fastest and longest watersides at sea. Watch movies underwater, under the stars, in 3D or even in “5D” (with moving seats and squirting water jets). Have a martini mixed by a robot bartender or sip on frozen cocktails in a bar carved entirely from ice.
- What other holiday provides your accommodation, transport, meals, activities and entertainment all for the one inclusive price? No matter what type of cabin you stay in or what rate you pay, just about everything you want to do onboard is free. There will be a main dining room serving a la carte meals (and you can order as many courses as you like), as well as at least one buffet restaurant and any number of cafes or fast-food joints. Free facilities include sports courts, mini golf courses, rock-climbing walls, ice-skating rinks and waterslides, as well as plenty of organised activities such as trivia, karaoke, dance classes and competitions. At night, enjoy a Broadway-style show in the theatre, live music in the bar or a movie. Plus, with so many ships cruising from Australian ports, you probably won’t even have to pay for flights.
- Resort-style ships can have up to 30 different types of cabin, ranging from the most basic interior stateroom to designer penthouses. While the choice may seem overwhelming, it also means there is a cabin for every cruiser. Cruising on your own? Budget-friendly solo cabins are perfect for singles. Travelling with family? Choose multi-bedroom or interconnecting cabins. Want a little extra luxury? Stay in a plush suite with access to private lounges, restaurants and even pools. Do your research (or have your travel agent do it for you) and you’ll find a cabin that’s the perfect blend of space, comfort and price.
- Modern megaliners can carry more than 6,000 passengers in perhaps 2,700 cabins. This all boils down to some serious economies of scale. With so many cabins to fill, some cruise line offer great deals to lure passengers. Look for two-for-one offers, free upgrades, extra onboard credit and last-minute deals, and you could be cruising for as little as $50 per person per night. Be sensible when choosing your cabin and you can save even more. If you plan to spend most of your time out and about enjoying the facilities, book a lower-priced interior cabin. A private balcony is nice, but there are plenty of outdoor areas for relaxing if you don’t want to spend the extra money.
- It’s not a holiday unless you can splurge a little – and mid-range ships let you splash out on extras at a reasonable price. Alcohol, juices and soft drinks can be expensive, so many ships offer value drinks packages that let you consume an unlimited amount for a set daily price. Treatments at the spa can be costly, but there will generally be special deals on offer on port days. If you don’t mind staying on the ship, you get a pampering session for a fraction of the usual cost.
Lines to try: Star Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean International.