The Road Ahead : February March 2014
ROADAHEAD.COM.AU 30 IMAGES CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: CHILLING OUT, CHEFS AND THEIR CREATIONS (COURTESY P&O CRUISES), RELAXING ON DECK (COURTESY PRINCESS CRUISES), ROYAL COURT THEATRE (COURTESY CUNARD). THE ROAD AHEAD FEB/MAR 2014 Did you know that RACQ Travel does not charge a credit card fee? This could save you a considerable amount of money next time you book your next cruise holiday. Conditions apply. For more information, contact RACQ's travel team on 1300 188 713. OFFER RACQ TRAVEL MEMBER OFFER conservative and MSC is focused on the European market. Asian river cruising has become popular and seven and 10-day cruises on Myanmar's (formerly Burma) Irawaddy River are in heavy demand, as are those boats plying the Mekong between Vietnam and Cambodia. HERE'S THE DEAL ... More ships mean more cabins and more cabins mean greater competiveness, which leads to better deals for consumers. When it comes to getting the best deal, there are two schools of thought, these being the book-early school and the book-at-the-last- minute school. Almost all cruise lines offer early bird savings and, if you are sufficiently organised to commit to a holiday more than a year in advance, then Security is also a consideration. Valuables are stored in your cabin safe and passports held by the Purser, so ashore, you need carry only your ship's ID card, a small amount of cash and a credit card. Cruising also allows people to anticipate with some accuracy the likely total cost of the holiday, as meals and on-board entertainment are included in the ticket price. Meals are generally of a high standard and, as well as the main dining areas, most ships now also feature restaurants where, for a charge of around $20, passengers can dine in more exclusive surrounds from a specially designed menu. It's a relaxed affair and, generally speaking, you can dine when you want and be seated with whomever you wish. Most ships have a limited number of couples- only tables, so speak to the restaurant manager about reserving one of these. In planning your cruise, it's important to note the differences between the various cruise lines. P&O is popular with families and young people, Holland America caters to a more mature market, Carnival enjoys a party boat reputation, Cunard is more TRAVEL | DEPARTURE INTERNATIONAL RACQ Travel's consultants are experts in steering their clients towards the right cruise and the right ship. Phone 1300 096 166 or visit racq.com/travel/cruises. the savings that can be achieved are significant. You can also take advantage of deals offering cabin upgrades that provide a cabin or suite with a balcony at no extra cost, or shipboard credits which you can spend on board. If you book late, you may or may not get a good deal, may not get the cabin you want or may miss out entirely. If, however, you don't care particularly where you go and are only interested in getting the best possible price, the book-late approach may well work. Bon voyage!