Cruising

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3 simple cruise packing hacks you need to know

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Packing for a cruise may seem like the same ritual as it is for a holiday, however that couldn’t be further from the truth. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unlike resort getaways or adventure travelling, cruising can, for the most part, be a pretty isolated experience when thinking about how close your ship is to land. A quick trip to the local supermarket for a bottle of sunscreen and a floppy hat or a stop at the chemist to stock up on medicine is not possible when you are on a cruise if you are not willing to pay the hefty price tag.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So without further ado, here are some simple cruise packing hacks so you’re not left stranded without your swimmers or a spare pair of undies while you’re thousands of kilometres away from shore.  </span></p> <p><strong>1. Pack your carry-on like it is the only bag you’re taking on your trip</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruise lines do warn travellers to pack similarly to this tip, however, many overlook it although they NEVER should. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">When you climb aboard, it is important to keep in mind that your carry on is mostly the only bag you’re allowed to keep with you when you first step on the cruise vessel as your big luggage filled with all your necessities are delivered to you by stewards. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While this may seem convenient, it means your bags may not get back to you for hours or even days (depending on the cruise line’s size and efficiency). </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So make sure you are prepared to go the distance with your small backpack, sun bag or mini suitcase. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A carry-on can be the lifesaver you didn't know you needed if your bags decide to take a vacation on their own. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Pack all sorts of outfits</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Packing for a cruise can be pretty straightforward but you must come prepared for any occasion because depending on the length of your stay on board, there will be plenty of festivities guests are welcome to dress up or down for. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So whip out those heels and the gorgeous gown you’ve been wondering if you’ll ever get to wear again and pull out the suave leather shoes because most cruise lines famously host “formal” nights which ask guests to dress to the nines. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Depending on the itinerary as well, cruisers will be asked to bring supplies and a special outfit for themed holiday nights such as “Mexican Fiesta” or “‘80s disco.”</span></p> <p><strong>3. Bring the jacket you didn’t think you would need</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">No matter how hard the sun promises it will beat down throughout your trip, it is always essential to bring a jacket as those long, drawn-out nights at sea can get pretty chilly. It can also be a lightweight jacket and a windbreaker just to ensure those heavy winds are no match against you. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Most importantly, be safe and don’t pack what you’re not allowed to.</span></p>

Cruising

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Insider travel tips: 10 reasons not to travel on long weekends

<p>If you are retired, or enjoy independent work hours, one of the benefits is you don't have to run with the pack. Or do you just want to travel smarter, not harder and get more bang for your buck? School holidays and long weekends are good time to put off travel and enjoy a well-earned break at home.</p> <p>Here are 10 reasons why this travel insider says it is a good idea to sit back and relax and enjoy a staycation.<br /><br /><strong>1. Inflated airfares</strong><br />The crush of people wanting to travel on a long weekend means you'll rarely find a deal that is genuinely attractive. Those who have to travel will face high airfares due to demand. Airlines have perfected scaling airfares to maximise their returns so if you can travel when others can't you'll pay a lot less. <br /><br /><strong>2. Traffic jams</strong><br />Turn the radio or TV on towards the end of a holiday break and you just know there will be bulletins detailing the traffic delays getting back into the city in time for work. This is a Sydney speciality.</p> <p><strong>3. Crowded airports</strong></p> <p>The scene from <a href="http://t.dgm-au.com/c/185116/69171/1880?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.booktopia.com.au%2Fdvd-movies%2Fplanes-trains-and-automobiles%2Fprod9317206045683.html"><em>Planes, Trains and Automobiles</em></a>depicting crushing crowds and cranky patrons perfectly depicts the horror of long weekend travel. Do you really want to be one of them?<br /><br /><strong>4. Kids everywhere</strong><br />We love little people and traveling with the family can be a great experience but traveling with lots of other people's kids rarely is! If you’re a grandparent, give your kids a break and enjoy your grandchildren at home. <br /><br /><strong>5. Queues, queues, queues!</strong><br />Long weekend lines can be long. Whether it's a museum, gallery, or attraction you almost certainly will spend more time in the queue waiting for tickets or bustling to the end of the line.<br /><br /><strong>6. Madding crowds</strong><br />Once you do get into your event, the crowds don't miraculously disappear. You could be scrunched up against other patron with limited breathing room, or the precious prime vantage point for a picnic has already been discovered by another group or ten.</p> <p><strong>7. Dire dining</strong></p> <p>"I'm sorry, your selection is not available".  You've been salivating over those BBQ ribs ever since you spotted them on the menu, but long weekends inevitably means your favourite selection is sold out. And after that disappointment you’ll probably be slugged with a long weekend service fee. <br /><br /><strong>8. Sold out!</strong><br />Peak times means peak popularity so you need to do planning – and paying – ahead just to ensure you’ll get into the place you’ve travelled to visit.<br /><br /><strong>9. Harried staff</strong><br />Extra crowds put extra strain on staff, too. So don’t expect the same level of service when you’re just one of an endless stream of patrons.<br /><br /><strong>10. The last resort</strong><br />Resorts fill quickly for peak holiday times and while that’s great for their bottom line it may mean you can’t stay where you wish or in your preferred room. And forget about the welcome upgrade on arrival. <br /><br />The long weekend can instead be a perfect time to discover your hometown or neighbourhood while everyone else is away.</p> <p><em>Written by David McGonigal. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/10-reasons-not-to-travel-this-long-weekend.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

Cruising

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3 reasons why you need to visit Mystery Island

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While it may seem difficult to believe, there is more to cruising than endless cocktails and poolside lounging. Cruising is an efficient way to see new and exciting destinations that you really can’t find anywhere else. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One location that has proven to be a favourite amongst veteran cruisers is Mystery Island, not just for its mystique and beauty but also for its seclusion and being the perfect example of a South Pacific paradise. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here is why you must put Mystery Island on your cruising checklist. </span></p> <p><strong>1. Mystifying natural attractions</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This gorgeous island doesn’t have a whole lot of man-made eye sores and locals rely on the natural allure of the land and seascape to attract wide-eyed tourists. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of the incredible feature’s tourists are promised is the pristine white sands, the balmy waters that are perfect for a quick dip or a long swim as well as a wildly colourful marine life to get lost in. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The best part about this stunning attraction? It is all natural and all there for you to explore. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Endless island activities</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An awesome aspect of cruising is the among of island activities that are on offer for all cruisers. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">While there is the option of becoming one with the island culture and generally blending in amongst civilisation, there are options to snorkel amongst the stunning marine life and shipwrecks or take a dip or two into the waters far from land. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Travellers can also laze on the sand, take a stroll through the local markets and indulge in a souvenir or two and even dine on some fresh lobster while listening to a local band in complete serenity. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Incredible excursions to explore the sea world</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mystery Island truly is a clandestine journey you will not want to come back from, and the sea life and excursions are one of the main reasons you will want to stay on the tiny South Pacific dot. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just some options travellers can indulge in include, fishing with a local guide, glass-bottom kayaking through vibrant coral reefs and a short ferry village to see what modern life is like for the locals. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Further, tourists can get right up close to the best bits of the coral habitat by being taken through an intimate journey with local snorkelers and then marvel in the glorious sea life by taking a sea trip in a glass-bottom boat. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Either way, whether you are on land lazing in the shade, strolling through the local markets or putting your nose right up to the gorgeous coral life, you will never want to leave Mystery Island.</span></p>

Cruising

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The tips you need to know before jumping on a cruise

<p><strong>The earlier you book, the cheaper</strong></p> <p>Sorry, procrastinators: Most cruise lines now favour early booking promotions over last-minute deals, and the least expensive rooms sell out first. For the lowest price, book right when we announce an itinerary, often about 18 months out.</p> <p><strong>Got robbed? Not our problem</strong></p> <p>We’re not required to report thefts of less than $10,000, so no one knows how much petty crime really happens on board. But it’s a lot: Leave your valuables at home.</p> <p><strong>We can protect you from pirates</strong></p> <p>We really do train for pirate attacks (even though they’re extremely rare). We can’t share many details, but let’s just say that our ship’s fire hoses are good for more than fighting fires.</p> <p><strong>Leave your car off-site</strong></p> <p>If you’re arriving by car, do not park in the cruise terminal, as they invariably charge a small fortune. Off-site car parks typically cost half as much, offer shuttle service to port, and have your car waiting with the AC on at trip’s end.</p> <p><strong>The threat of sexual assault is real</strong></p> <p>You’re twice as likely to be sexually assaulted on a cruise as you are on land, a 2011 study found, and two thirds of assailants are crew members. Yet cases are hard to prosecute, with alcohol often involved and police often not on board. Stay safe by sticking with a friend.</p> <p><em>Written by Michelle Crouch. This article first appeared in <a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/24-secrets-cruise-lines-wont-tell-you?page=23">Reader’s Digest.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></p> <p> </p> <p> </p>

Cruising

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Why you must try a music-themed cruise

<p>Whatever your musical tastes, chances are there’s a music-themed cruise to suit you. But what is it all about?</p> <p><strong>Play on</strong></p> <p>The phenomenon of specific music-themed cruises started in 2004 with the Jam Cruise. Still running today, this annual floating five-day music festival departs Miami, Florida, and features funk, rock and jazz bands – plus musical workshops and other entertaining distractions.</p> <p><strong>Musical genres</strong></p> <p>Music cruises fall into two categories: single-themed ‘headliner’ cruises that showcase a well-known band or musician accompanied by one or more support acts; and gigantic music festival-style cruises with dozens of acts, often from across different genres playing on multiple stages, floating platforms, poolside and anywhere else a set of speakers can be plugged in.</p> <p>There is, quite literally, no musical genre that goes unrepresented, either. Rhythm and blues cruises, world music cruises, reggae, ska, bluegrass, pop, classical – whatever you are into, cruise companies will put a boat under it and push it out to sea. You can also set sail on a trip back in time on a ’60s Flower Power cruise, a ’70s Rock and Romance cruise, an ’80s cruise guest hosted by Rick Springfield and endless others.</p> <p>Theatre productions have also gotten in on the act, with Broadway Cruises becoming more popular, too. Exotic destinations include Cozumel, Jamaica and Grand Cayman. You could find yourself on board with the stars from Wicked, Beauty and the Beast, Les Misérables, Rent and more. Then there’s the Elvis tribute cruise, a genre unto itself, packed from port to starboard with hip-swivelling impersonators and featuring Elvis and Priscilla lookalike contests, Elvis trivia nights and even Elvis cooking shows.</p> <p><strong>Big names on big boats</strong></p> <p>If you’re wondering why you haven’t seen Status Quo, Def Leppard or Kenny Rogers doing the rounds of the music festivals lately, it’s likely they’re playing to fans on the high seas. Even mega-stars such as KISS have realised the potential of the cruising market and have been appearing on sold-out KISS Kruises for the past seven years.</p> <p><strong>Taking it a little slower</strong></p> <p>If your tastes lean towards more refined ocean-going, you might consider a European river cruise, plying the waters of the Rhine and the Danube. Some operators ferry passengers to and from the regions’ classical music festivals, while others hold classical concerts aplenty on board, with the Saxon Organ Academy delighting passengers along the Rhine from Amsterdam to Strasbourg, and the London Festival Opera offering the same service along the Danube from Budapest to Vienna – the cradle of European classical music.</p> <p><strong>What to pack</strong></p> <p>For an Elvis Cruise, pack your blue suede shoes. For all others, you’ll just need a sense of fun and a strong singing voice. Or, for the types of cruise where more energetic participation is called for – such as the flamenco, boot-scooting or ballroom dancing cruises – you’d be wise to pack sturdy flamenco shoes, boots and ballroom attire, respectively.</p> <p>Don’t forget to stow a few items you might want autographed, too. Cruise guests have been known to come aboard with old guitars, artists’ headshots and more in the hopes of snagging a celebrity signature. Now that’s a music cruise memento that will have you sailing back for more.</p> <p><em>Written by Greg Barton. This article first appeared in </em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/rockin%E2%80%99-boat">Reader’s Digest.</a><em> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a> </p> <p> </p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Cruising

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The 5 most beautiful beaches in the world

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Whether it’s a family-friendly holiday resort or a secluded oasis isolated by a stretch of sand – there are more than enough options for every type of traveller. Here are the 5 best beaches you must see.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Maundays Bay, Anguilla</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Blessed with the perfect beach, Maundays Bay might just be the ultimate destination. Ideal for families and even those wanting an undisturbed holiday to themselves – this getaway takes the prize as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><strong>2. Kiawah Island, SC</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kiawah Island is a mostly gated community however has public beach access where the sand is pristine white, the water is shallow and has lifeguards on duty. It’s the perfect family holiday in the United States.</span></p> <p><strong>3. Trunk Bay, St. John, USVI</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Considered one of the most photographed beaches in the Caribbean, Trunk Bay has calm and clear water, an underwater snorkelling trail and a fascinating history – what more could you want?</span></p> <p><strong>4. Parrot Cay, Turks and Caicos</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This 1,000-acre private island is what dreams are made of. Accessible only by a boat ride from Providenciales, it is home to one luxury resort and a few private and exclusive villas. This is the perfect vacay if you want to do it in perfect seclusion.</span></p> <p><strong>5. El Nido, Palawan, Philippines</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This gorgeous beach shockingly manages to be kept under the radar despite it being constantly being talked about online. El Nido is home to over 50 beaches and has some of the world’s finest white sand.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scroll through the gallery above to 5 of the most beautiful beaches in the world. </span></p>

Cruising

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How to make the most of your cruise holiday

<p>If you’ve always wanted to give cruising a try but you’re a bit worried you will end up feeling bored with nothing to do but to wander up and down the ship for days? Well, here’s some news for you, cruising can be anything and everything you want it to be. Here we list some tips on how to make the most of your next cruise holiday.</p> <p><strong>Take the right trip</strong></p> <p>It may sound obvious, but choosing the right cruise is the first step to making the most of it. Finding a balance between port stops and cruising time is important and above all it comes down to personal preference. If you’re more interested in spending time onboard a ship than you are exploring the sites then some of the larger cruise-liners might be the thing for you. Some ships are virtually floating cities, with pools, movie theatres, shops, clubs, gyms and live shows.</p> <p><strong>Make a plan</strong></p> <p>Most cruises will provide you with plenty of time to explore the local ports along the journey so to prevent yourself from merely passing time on land, you can do some research beforehand. Map out a handful of interesting sights for each destination or ask the crew for their expertise and advice on what to see. Isn’t it curious how the most memorable experiences often happen when we get out of our comfort zone!</p> <p><strong>Indulge</strong></p> <p>Cruising can be as entertaining or as relaxing as you prefer. You may want to set aside a whole day just for pampering. Now a-days most cruise ships will have a day spas where you can get a relaxing massage, sweat out the toxins in a sauna and coat yourself in all kinds of rejuvenating balms.</p> <p><strong>Bring a book</strong></p> <p>Consider bringing a good selection of books and magazines for when you’ve had enough of all the action and need some quality downtime. We recommend taking your iPad or Kindle so you can bring a virtual library without sacrificing precious bag space.</p> <p><strong>Learn something new</strong></p> <p>Being on a cruise is the perfect time to reflect on your goals and your dreams for the future and perhaps even learn a new skill. Download an audiobook on your smart phone and brush up on your foreign language skills or book in a personal training or golf lesson onboard the ship.</p> <p>However you chose to spend your time on your next holiday, we hope you have a blast!</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-cruise-holiday.aspx"><em>Wyza.com.au.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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3 ways to save BIG on your next cruise

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruise lines give families, couples and solo travellers affordable ways to holiday on a budget. However, there are always a few sneaky ways to skim hundreds of dollars off your cruise without losing out on any perks. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are three ways you can save BIG on your next cruise. </span></p> <p><strong>1. Travel agents are your best friend</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many may already know this, but travel agents can be a traveller’s best way to hitting the savings jackpot and skimming hundreds off your next holiday. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Not only is it their job to find you the best deals with the best perks and additional features, they’re an excellent source of information and a way to find an itinerary that works for you on the cruise line and cruise ship that suits your needs the best. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Look at the right time</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take advantage of new sailings by reading the itineraries released at different times of the year. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruise lines are constantly sending out email newsletters throughout the year, hoping to stumble on a traveller who is willing to dish out some coins for a holiday. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The best part is, these newsletters come with some of the best sales programs and peak travel options. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s also best to book 12-18 months prior your next cruise as this is when the sales are at an all-time high – after all cruise lines want to fill up their numbers quickly. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruise lines like Carnival release their itineraries between June and July each year while P&amp;O send out programs in the Spring/Summertime in March and in the Winter around October. </span></p> <p><strong>3. First in, best dressed</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Savvy cruisers typically have one essential skill under their belt – they’re notorious early birds. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The longer you leave yourself to book a cruise, more often than not you will get much less options. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Planning ahead not just allows you time to plan your travel, save upwards of hundreds of dollars and get the cabins and perks of your choice – it also gives travellers time to rethink their option. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you book a cruise 12-18 months out from when your holiday is set to sail, cruisers are given a cancellation option that can often leave you with all your money back in your bank account without even a cancellation fee. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While not every step or trick may work for you, it is best every traveller considers what will work best for them before they take the leap and book their cruise. </span></p>

Cruising

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The magic of the Maldives

<p>The dark water is alive with hungry sharks, and I’m in the middle of this frenzy. The ravenous beasts, the bigger ones easily three metres long, jostle me as the chunks of food are doled out under the glare of a waterproof floodlight. A brave lone stingray also tries his luck while a few timid reef sharks patrol the pack’s perimeter.</p> <p>Thankfully, these nocturnal sharks are not your typical man-eaters, like an understudy for JAWS. They are the big brother of our own Wobbegong and clearly used to human proximity here in the waters off the Alimatha resort in the remote Maldives. Nevertheless, an inadvertent nip from any of these gregarious ‘puppy dogs’ is going to be painful.</p> <p>So, what the heck am I doing here? I challenged my local guide, Teddie, to show me some sharks, and he certainly rose to the challenge. This little tale is all part of my ‘cruise’ aboard a local dhoni boat among the lesser visited regions of the Maldives.</p> <p>When people think of expedition cruising, it’s easy to think it’s all about ships like the trusted and sturdy ex-Soviet oceanographic vessels through to the new wave of luxurious ‘champagne’ adventurers venturing to out to the remote corners of the world’s oceans.</p> <p>Here in the Maldives, expedition cruising takes on a much more rudimentary guise in the form of these traditional local ‘dhoni’ boats. These antique-looking wooden vessels have worked the Maldivian atolls for centuries, transporting goods and ferrying locals across the vast expanses of water that separate the inhabited islands making up this expansive oceanic republic.</p> <p>Global operators like World Expeditions work with local boat owners to provide this fundamental, yet enriching experience here in the middle of the Indian Ocean.</p> <p>Our all-wooden vessel, the 20m ‘Gahaa’ (meaning: North Star) cruises at a leisurely eight knots between the atolls that comprise this aquatic country to the SW of Sri Lanka. Accommodation is in four twin cabins with a crew of five who look after our every need. Our ‘cruise director’ is young ‘Teddie’ who guides us on snorkelling trips out on the myriad coral reefs and enlightens us on the ways of the Maldivians who have lived, fished and traded on these flat, tropical islands for centuries.</p> <p>Don’t bring your sequins or tuxedo, this is rustic, bare boat travel in the local style. If you’ve travelled on a sailing yacht or small motor cruiser, you’ll get the idea, but don’t get the notion you’ll get a turndown service and pillow chocolates.</p> <p>Geographically, the Maldives are one of the most widely dispersed nations anywhere in the world, but is the smallest autonomous Asian country in terms of usable land area and population, which numbers around 400,000. The capital Malé occupies its own little island, on the southern edge of North Malé Atoll where the airport is also located.</p> <p>The vast majority of international visitors will land at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (MLE) and be whisked away by floatplane or speedboat to some platinum resort to spend their time in blissful isolation. As wonderful as these resorts are, the experience does little to expose travellers to the culture and wider environment of these vast tropical atolls*. Our modest little boat, on the other hand, can stop pretty much anywhere we like to either stroll the sandy beaches or snorkel the clear waters and reefs.</p> <p>We spend our days in a blissful state relaxing on the sun decks, swimming and snorkelling with interruptions in the form of meals prepared by our resourceful cook. Fish, salads and vegetables cooked to local recipes are delicious and healthy and occasionally supplemented by something we catch along the way.</p> <p>Maldivians, however, are at something of a crossroads. With the highest point of land anywhere in the country just 3m above sea level, the rising oceans threaten the very existence of these hardy people whose ethnicity and language is a unique mix of Tamil, Hindu and Arabic. Even their native tongue shows influences from all races and their written script is an endemic blend of the complicated-looking squiggles of each culture and language group.</p> <p>The famous coral reefs of the Maldives are under the same pressures as similar reefs all around the world as ocean acidification, water warming and the many human influences take their toll on the beautiful marine formations created over millennia of slow accretion. Nevertheless, we see all manner of common ‘aquarium’ species of reef fish, hawksbill turtles, rays and dolphins.</p> <p>The dhoni experience is certainly a contrast to that typical of most visitors and a unique way to explore local communities and the environment away from the cloistered environs of the fairytale resorts.</p> <p><strong>Fact file</strong><br />The World Expeditions 5-night dhoni adventure includes all meals, airport transfers and accommodation on board a private Dhoni on a twin share basis, tourist taxes and tour permits as well as basic snorkelling equipment with local guide and crew.</p> <p>The writer travelled as a guest of <a href="http://www.worldexpeditions.com/au/index.php">World Expeditions.</a> </p> <p>* the word ‘atoll’ is derived from the Maldivian language and means “circular groups of coral islets” that are most often formed by the subsidence of extinct volcanoes.</p> <p><em>Written by Roderick Eime. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/exploring-the-lesser-visited-atolls-of-the-maldives-aboard-a-traditional-dhoni/"><em>MyDiscoveries</em></a><em>. </em></p>

Cruising

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Exploring Bali: An island of culture and tradition

<p>There’s really something quite special about Bali – and forget the hype, the reality is far more impressive. Too many don’t experience the real essence of the Island of the Gods, which, once you find it, appears to lodge itself firmly in your heart.</p> <p>Discover (or rediscover) an island steeped in culture and tradition which has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years, with a dash of astounding natural beauty.</p> <p>Leave Kuta to the party animals and check out Bali’s east coast. Around the same distance from the airport as the very touristy west coast, Sanur is the perfect mix of tranquillity with a load of dining and entertainment thrown in. Sitting on the edge of a large, shallow reef, the calm waters are perfect for a long ocean swim, kayaking at dawn, or quiet float carried only by the tide as it moves in and out. Hire a jukung (a local boat) and take a leisurely sail or cast a line and do some fishing.</p> <p>The five-kilometre, tree-lined beach has a heavenly walkable path for a stroll or bicycle ride with plenty of restaurants and cafes for an impromptu freshly juiced watermelon, cocktail or a nice cold Bintang – the extremely drinkable local beer. Fill your shopping bag while wandering the small market stalls and enjoy the banter while bartering with friendly locals without huge crowds of tourists.</p> <p>Sanur’s main street (Jalan Danau Tamblingan) is great for a walk too. Adjacent to the beach select from an increasing number of eateries from fine dining to relaxed cafes. Even with the inevitable hum of taxis and motorbikes, there’s a relaxed rhythm that’s far removed from the hectic bustle of Kuta, Seminyak and Legian.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7827284/bali-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/bf2a990fcc6b42a48759de53a008bb55" /></p> <p>To the south of Jalan Tamblingan, the road twists through the oldest part of Sanur where the trees seem taller and the atmosphere notably changes. There’s a couple of larger resorts down this end yet there’s a sense of authenticity and discovery in the variety of tiny shops, spas, cafes and restaurants, and an even slower pace.</p> <p>The road curves back to the beach (pantai) where a litany of small market stalls and warungs (small local food stalls) filled with the smells of barbecued corn on the cob, satay sticks and nasi goreng (fried rice) entice the tastebuds. Unlike the other side of the island, the locals enjoy the beach as much as the visitors which is why Sanur seems so different. This is also the location for the famed Kite Festival during Bali’s windy season each June, where locals compete with the largest and most creative kites you’re likely to ever see.</p> <p>Sanur is also home to elite Hindu priests and legends of sorcery abound. Streets often close down for ceremonial processions from the banjar (local village councils) to the temples for all manner of celebrations, blessings and special religious days.</p> <p>Bali’s first hotels were actually built in Sanur and attracted writers and artists, largely from Europe although Australian Donald Friend resided here for twenty years in the 60’s and 70’s. Even further back, Brussels-born artist Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur fell in love with the island and spent his life there from 1932 till his passing in 1958, marrying his muse – a local Legong dancer. A snapshot of his idyllic life remains at his beachside Sanur home, now the Le Mayeur Museum, which is open to the public.</p> <p>Ubud, around a thirty-minute drive from Sanur, is undoubtedly the artistic hub of Bali. The lush, jungle hinterland is revealing a number of new villas, homestays and hilltop restaurants. Spend an afternoon lazing beside the chic infinity pool at Jungle Fish while grazing from its fine menu or climb a volcano if you’re feeling energetic. Mount Agung and Batur are a worthwhile trek for sunrise from the summit.</p> <p>Enjoy a morning tea amidst the spectacular landscape of Ubud Hanging Gardens and take a walk or bicycle ride through the rice paddies while a local guide shares his knowledge of the island’s unique herbs and spices growing alongside them.</p> <p>Splash out on a five-star eco-retreat or spend a couple of nights in a small homestay on Ubud’s main drag – Monkey Forest Road. From as little as $25 per night, it’s a great option for a base while you wander the town and explore the myriad of tiny artisan villages in the pretty mountainous surrounds with a private driver. Save at least one day for a visit to Tirta Empul – one of Bali’s holiest temples and home to bubbling hot springs, considered spiritually and physically purifying.</p> <p>Back on the east coast, take a trip up north. Around a twenty-minute drive from Sanur, and home to a number of famed international surfing competitions, Keramas Beach is spectacular. Spend a day at Komune Resort and Beach Club and watch some amazing surfing skills in style from your underwater infinity pool seats and gigantic sunbeds. The volcanic, black sand beach is framed by giant bending palms that appear to sway in time with the crashing ocean. Stay in a beachfront pool suite or villa breathing in the fresh sea air and complete serenity, free from crowds and civilisation.</p> <p>Further north the tiny coastal village of Candidasa is gaining in popularity with visitors, but not enough to lose its magic. Oceanside homestays and small hotels dot the coast and there are many day trips you can take to inhale more of the real Bali essence.</p> <p>Forget what you’ve heard, the island has so much to offer. Try everything from the spa menus, take Balinese cooking lessons, visit the markets where locals shop in Denpasar and explore the hinterland and magical east coast. Flash resorts and raked sand are aplenty if that’s what you prefer but there’s only one true Bali. Find it and it will never leave your heart.</p> <p><em>Written by Anita Duffin. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/bali-experience-the-real-essence-of-the-island-of-the-gods/">MyDiscoveries.</a> </em></p>

Cruising

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5 ways to stay safe on a cruise

<p> </p> <p><strong>1. Drink responsibly</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Alcohol can make it hard to think clearly and despite wanting to have fun on your holiday, it is important to know your limits. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is plenty of alcohol onboard and it can be easy to get carried away, so stay mindful of how much you are consuming. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Use your safe</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your safe is not just an object that takes up necessary room in your stateroom – they are there for a reason. You can fit jewellery, important paperwork, electronic devices and other valuable items in your cabin safe. As trustworthy as your cabin stewards may seem, don’t take risks. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Get to know your steward</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ask his or her name and be kind to your steward, they can be a friend in scary situations where you might be lost or in danger. They will also notice if someone is trying to get into your room. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Don’t carry large amounts of cash</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is no real reason to bring large amounts of cash onboard – even if you are gambling. All onboard transactions can be carried within your room key as a credit card. When you are going to get off the ship on a port day, don’t advertise any cash you take with you. Keep any money on you in a money belt attached to your body. </span></p> <p><strong>5. Pay attention at the muster drill</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Before your vacation begins and the real fun starts, it is mandatory for every passenger to attend a muster drill. This is where passengers will get an idea of where their muster station is, how to wear a life jacket and what the alarms mean if they ever sound off. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Even if you have heard the drill a thousand times, pay attention because it could come in handy.</span></p>

Cruising

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What happens to your poop on a cruise ship?

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Each year tens of millions of people around the world sail away by boat to their cruise destinations. Not many people know what happens when they flush the toilet though. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re one of the many people who cruise every year then you should know what happens each time you flush the toilet. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is easy to assume the sewage is just dumped out straight into the ocean, even kept below deck in septic tanks to be released somewhere else or even left until we get off the boat at the end of our holiday. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the answer isn’t far off. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Not so long ago, cruise passengers’ remnants were thrown overboard through “storm valves” attached to the ship. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These days, cruise lines must follow strict international maritime laws which requires vessels to be three nautical miles (5km) away from land before letting go of treated sewage, according to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollutions from ships via MARPOL (Marine Pollution). </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The environmental manager for Carnival Cruise Lines, Natalia Vecchione told </span><a href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/cruises/what-really-happens-to-your-poo-when-staying-on-a-cruise-ship/news-story/c4f45391a07a51863efc3d5633d51c8e"><span style="font-weight: 400;">news.com.au</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that each ship has a wastewater treatment system as well as an environmental officer on-board to make sure all matters run smoothly. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So, while it may seem like the answer to where our bodily fluids go on a cruise ship is difficult, it actually turns out it is not all that different to our home sewage systems. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“When you flush the toilet, the wastewater is sent to the wastewater treatment systems on-board. The systems on-board treat the wastewater similarly to how it is treated on land. It goes through a multistage process including biological treatment and disinfection,” Ms Vecchione explained.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Also, the treatment units are designed and approved to stringent International Maritime Organisation standards and they’re installed and operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s rigorous instructions and procedures.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To put it more simply, when a passenger or staff member flushes the loo, all the sewage goes directly to the treatment plan on the ship, which treats and disinfects it until it is safe to drink and pump it back into the ocean – far, far away from dry land. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ms Vecchione said Carnival Cruise Lines goes the distance, choosing to dump their sewage 12 nautical miles (22km) away rather than the expected three nautical miles. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Once treated, when the ship is far enough from land, the treated water is discharged. And, once it’s discharged, the sea water one metre behind a ship is chemically indistinguishable from the water one metre in front of the ship,” Ms Vecchione said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Respecting and protecting the waters we sail in and the environment of the destinations we visit goes beyond being an operating necessity, it is also the right thing to do.”</span></p>

Cruising

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5 things you shouldn’t do on a cruise

<p><strong>1. Don’t use the elevator</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you can avoid it, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s a good way to keep the kilos off after the many buffets you will be feasting on. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Don’t forget to relax</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s your holiday, enjoy it while you can because unfortunately, you get straight back into reality once you arrive at your doorstep. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Don’t forget to save room for souvenirs</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are so many great deals and bargains that are available while you’re on board so take advantage of them. The places you may port at will also have some of the best deals you can get for your loved ones. So make sure you save a bit of luggage space for these keepsakes you will be taking home, so you don’t have to purchase another suitcase just to carry them all. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Don’t forget to pack well</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Packing your luggage is a practice that takes time to master – so make sure you do it well. Afterall, you don’t want to be getting on your cruise ship and realising you have forgotten to pack a fundamental item. </span></p> <p><strong>5. Don’t drink too much alcohol</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While it is your holiday, getting a bit </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">too </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">loose is something you don’t want to be doing. Take short breaks when you start feeling lightheaded – it will save you a headache and some bad memories! </span></p>

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What to know about small ship cruising in New Zealand

<p>The myriad wonders and blockbuster scenery of Aotearoa (the land of the long white cloud) are well known thanks to movies like Lord of the Rings and it seems everyone wants a piece of the action.</p> <p>But looking at the map, it’s easy to see how much of this intricate coastline would be overlooked if one were restricted to port-hopping with the larger cruise ships. Captain Cook himself, aboard the tiny Endeavour, was perhaps the first European to sing the praises of his new found southern paradise and he used every opportunity to return and rest his men in the peaceful surrounds of places like Queen Charlotte Sound. Tasman, a century earlier, had received unwelcome attention from the Māori and wasn’t so keen to hang around.</p> <p>From my own experience, many great attractions exist in the smaller cities and towns where large numbers of disembarking passengers could well spoil the special appeal of these out of the way places. One cruise I enjoyed immensely was in the Bay of Islands where kilometre after kilometre of intricate coastline, little nooks, coves and crannies, thickly wooded islands and headlands are all interwoven to create a convivial natural latticework perfect for smaller vessels.</p> <p>Another time I dropped in to little Kaikoura where I discovered their secret – a very deep secret. But now the word is out. Only a few hundred metres off shore, the seabed rapidly plunges into a massive submarine canyon well over a kilometre deep. When warm tropical currents flowing southward crash head-on into the cold Antarctic stream heading north, a swirling mass of nutrient-rich water is sucked up from the depths. This marine smorgasbord attracts an array of aquatic mammals, fish, birds and tourists. Whales, dolphins, seals and all manner of aquatic birds abound in and around Kaikoura.</p> <p>One of the cruise areas that you will see on many itineraries is the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Fiordland which encompasses Milford Sound, Dusky Sound and Doubtful Sound. If you want to get pedantic, it was James Cook who named them ‘sounds’ when in fact they are proper, glacial fjords. No one has dared correct him. While the big ships cruise in and out, it is the smaller ships which will occasionally land guests ashore and conduct excursions as far afield as Queenstown.</p> <p>Napier is another intriguing port. Totally destroyed by an earthquake in 1931, it was rebuilt in the art deco style. Many buildings remain and the city is making full use of its unique assets which, apart from the heritage architecture, include the vast Hawke’s Bay, widely recognised as New Zealand’s leading wine and food region. Walking the ornate streets is a thrill in itself and guided walking tours are great fun.</p> <p>Around the corner from Napier is the Bay of Plenty, regularly visited by the big ships, but an attraction for smaller ones as well. While the large vessels send their guests off to Rotorua from the deep sea port at Tauranga, ,ore adventurous types head out to volcanic White Island where, depending on weather and volcanic activity, tenders may put guests ashore for a steamy excursion.</p> <p>Way down at the very foot of the South Island is Stewart Island, insulated from the world by its remoteness, Stewart Island is a haven for travellers looking for nature, tranquillity and adventure. While it is ideal for small ship visits, bigger ships occasionally creep in too, putting passengers ashore by tender to visit the small village or take shore excursions into the Rakiura National Park which makes up 85 per cent of the island.</p> <p>Now for those really looking for a dash of adventure, New Zealand has a whole bunch of sub-Antarctic islands hundreds of kilometres south of Stewart Island. These little specks of land have been variously used for agriculture, seal hunting and even military surveillance, but all are now returned to national parks and are occasionally visited by expedition ships. Names like Auckland, the Snares, Enderby and Campbell Island all contain wonderful birdlife, particularly albatross and petrels as well as rare fur seals.</p> <p>Thankfully several specialist cruise lines have taken a particular interest in New Zealand and its potential for boutique travel. Bear in mind, you’ll be paying a bit more for these cruises.</p> <p>Cruise lines regularly visiting New Zealand on comprehensive itineraries include Silversea Cruises, Seabourn, APT, Hapag-Lloyd, Ponant and Regent Seven Seas. Niche adventure operator, Heritage Expeditions regularly sail from Bluff, near Invercargill and local small (tiny) ship line Island Escape are also of note.</p> <p><strong>Writer’s Tip: </strong>There’s no bad decision about cruising in New Zealand, so don’t be too worried about choice. Small ship cruises, however, require a bit more attention to detail. Identify as closely as you can what you want to see and do, then go after a vessel that does it. Some of the waters down south can get ‘choppy’.</p> <p><em>Written by Roderick Eime. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/new-zealand-small-ship-cruising-for-mature-adventurers/"><em>Wyza.com.au.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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4 most common cruise questions – answered

<p><strong>1. Are all cruise ships the same?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruise ships are each built incredibly differently, and believe it or not, one is not like the other. Cruise ships have a myriad of variations: Big ships, small ships, luxury ships, family ships and so forth. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is important to research what sort of cruise will best suit you. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Are cruise ships all-inclusive?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While cruises may seem all-inclusive, they are not. Depending on your cruise, you may be required to pay for alcohol, soft drinks, or even a cup of coffee. The same line can offer you free soft drinks and amenities, if you got a good deal. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Will I get sick?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may be aware that cruise air is not the cleanest (depending on where you are on a cruise ship) but diseases like the norovirus (a stomach bug that can spread easily if you’re not washing your hands properly or practicing proper hygiene) are a little harder to get than you may think. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stay healthy by washing your hands often and use the hand santisiation systems that are usually on every deck with multiple locations. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sea sickness can be treated with a trip to your local GP. If you know you are prone to sickness easily, ask for a prescription. If you prefer to buy some on board, you can do so but be aware it might be a little pricier. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Is cruising safe?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ships have a number of rules and regulations that not only staff must follow, but passengers as well. The reason why you shouldn’t be too worried about safety concerns, keep in mind being onboard a vessel is like a floating mini city. Protect your personal and valuable items by not leaving them lying around, and placing them in your cabin safe. </span></p>

Cruising

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Explore the great Yangtze River

<p>The Yangtze River is a massive tempestuous monster. For centuries it has been both the life  and death of the Chinese people, providing food, water for irrigation and a critical transport  route, but turning fierce with immense and destructive floods. In 1998, the last such flood  drowned some 2000 people and millions more made homeless. This final malicious act of the  Yangtze would be the last. If China was to grow and prosper, the beast must be tamed and  made to work for the masses.</p> <p>Our journey begins in Chongqing, a vast, sprawling metropolis now bearing the title of world’s largest city. With a population of 32 million it is three times the size of New York City thanks mainly to the relocation of former riverside inhabitants displaced by the Yangtze’s rising.</p> <p>Both shores are undergoing momentous transformation with great cranes and concrete pourers working overtime to construct new apartment blocks and shopping centres. The ancient riverside villages are gone, replaced by the energetic and progressive new 21st Century China.</p> <p>We visit some of the few remaining archaeological sites en route and the macbre Ghost City of Fengdu is a standout. Visitors are welcomed by a parade of stone demons each depicting unholy vices and terrifying acts. Displays inside the temple are guaranteed to leave you squeamish.</p> <p>The Three Gorges themselves are Qutang, Wu and Xiling, occupying a section of about 120 kilometres of the river between Fengjie and Yichang. Despite their stunning scenery it was one of the most hazardous stretches. As river levels rose and fell with the seasons, navigating the fury of its waters was a white-knuckle experience for crew and passengers alike.</p> <p>We divert from the main channel to the Daning River and proceed up the “Lesser Three Gorges” (Dragon-Gate, Misty and Emerald) where former farmers and river traders are now tour guides in one of the most scenic locations in all of China. The few farms and dwellings we see are slowly being consumed by the rising waters.</p> <p>Mr Zhang, our boatman, now sports smart leather shoes and trousers but dons a traditional fishing jacket and headdress as he sings a song and poles us up the narrow tributary bordered by dizzying, sheer cliffs. He’s happy that his boat is full of paying travellers, but the notes of his song are tinged with sadness. He’ll never sing this tune like his father and grandfather did, hauling in the nets and selling the fish.</p> <p>After four days cruising, we meet the manmade monster designed to subdue the Yangtze and in the middle of the night, we toast the new Great Wall as we descend 100 metres via a series of locks to the old riverfront at Sandouping.</p> <p>Any way you look at it, the Three Gorges Dam is one of the world’s engineering marvels, rivalling the Panama Canal or even the original Great Wall itself. Always controversial, the dam was first proposed in 1919. Proponents argued that flood mitigation would save many thousands of lives and improve irrigation, navigation and water utilisation The hydro-electric plant would produce 22,500MW or the equivalent of ten per cent of China’s industrial requirement.</p> <p>Opponents cited the dislocation of millions of residents, hundreds of tonnes of damaging sediment, loss of historic relics and the danger of catastrophe due to earthquake or landslide.</p> <p>Begun in 1994 and completed in 2006, the dam comprises 27 million cubic of concrete, all of which had to be laid in one continuous pour. The dam wall is 2335 metres wide, 101 metres high and contains 39.3 cubic kilometres of water.</p> <p>After breakfast we gather our cameras and floppy hats and prepare to embark a fleet of buses. Clearly visiting the dam is a popular outing for the Chinese. Hundreds of folk are jostling and nudging, as is the Chinese way, for the few vantage points and I hurriedly snatch a few photos before my arbitrary time limit.</p> <p>Downstream of the dam, the river is much less affected and the water levels are more-or- less unchanged. Traditional villages reappear and there are glimpses of what life must have been like once upon a time on the other side. While we can lament how the Three Gorges Dam has transformed the Yangtze forever, the enormous upheaval thrust upon those along its course is indicative of a rapidly changing China, a country throwing off the ancient shackles of reluctance and charging headlong towards a prosperous future with the promise of plenty for all. Let’s hope the Eastern wisdom doesn’t repeat the many mistakes of the West.</p> <p><em>Written by Roderick Eime. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/locations-in-china-including-the-great-wall-for-the-mature-adventure-traveller/"><em>MyDiscoveries.</em></a></p> <p> </p>

Cruising

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8 do’s and don’ts for a successful cruise

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are a few cruise tips to help your trip sail as smoothly as possible.</span></p> <p><strong>1. Join in on everything</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take advantage of all the free activities available to you – they are options that may not be available again without a hefty price tag. You also don’t realise how many friends you can make and all the people you can meet if you put in a little effort to join in on events offered to you while cruising. </span></p> <p><strong>2. Don’t forget important documents</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Believe it or not, cruising takes passports, visas and travel insurance </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">extremely </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">seriously. Do not skip out on doing a double or triple check through your bags to see if your important documents are there. You will most likely not be able to jump onboard without them, which means a lot of money wasted for you. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Anytime dining option is better</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Depending on what type of experience you are looking for while on a cruise, anytime dining could be the superior option for you. Unfortunately, long lines are a guarantee when going to dinner each night aboard your cruise, however anytime dining gives a traveller the option to return later in the evening, or earlier. Whenever you get a little peckish and hope to join the line for dinner, the anytime dining option will rescue you. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you are a stickler for routine, stick to the reservation option available to you. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Do your research</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Don’t pick the first cruise you see – look around. If you are willing to sit on it, do so but make sure you subscribe to mailing lists, so cruise lines know you are interested. More often than not, incredible deals are on offer all from the comfort of your inbox. </span></p> <p><strong>5. If you bring kids – don’t be that person</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Taking your family on a trip with you may seem like the dream situation if it’s a cruise – afterall, there are so many babysitting and daycare options available as well as other young adults and children looking to make friends aboard. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, do not be that parent, grandparent or family member who allows children to run wild – it is annoying and frustrating to have anyone ruin your peaceful experience. Take them to a kids club where they can find other wild friends to have fun with, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">under supervision. </span></p> <p><strong>6. Take the stairs – you will need it</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is a simple way to get exercise, and you may need it after all the buffet meals you will be feasting on while cruising. </span></p> <p><strong>7. Learn some of the local language</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Learning a few phrases and sentences can be helpful to locals you are visiting while on their island. It makes life easier for you also. </span></p> <p><strong>8. Don’t be rude to the cruise ship photographer</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It can get a little annoying after a while when it seems like you are being hounded by staff photographers, but remember they are only doing their job. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A polite no will always suffice; however you should say yes and decide whether or not you want to purchase the image later as they are usually on display for you to check out. They are a little pricey in the end, but at least you know the memories can always be there in front of your eyes. </span></p>

Cruising

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6 essential items you need to pack for your river cruise

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You may think river cruises are similar to ocean ones if you have never travelled down the stream before – but they could not be anymore different. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">River cruises are a lot more focussed on frequent stops and minimal lounging onboard – afterall, the spectacular experiences that come with travelling through small towns and beautiful cities are once in a lifetime opportunities. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are a few items to take on your river cruise. </span></p> <p><strong>1. Walking shoes</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You won’t be in your cabins a lot and walking from the start of your cruise vessel to the end will not be the only exercise you can expect while on holiday. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are many sights to see, so pack a good pair of shoes that are sturdy, reliable and can go the distance.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Comfortable clothing</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Comfort is an important part of your holiday, so bring a practical wardrobe in which you can explore the great sights by foot, bike or even train. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For evenings aboard your vessel – or even for the small town restaurants – bring smart casual pieces. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Medication</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take all the medication you need – unlike ocean cruises, trusty shops are not located on your vessel and it can be frustrating to have to walk through the gorgeous cities you paid thousands of dollars to be in, just to find some headache tablets or allergy pills. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bring a mini first-aid kit just in case, as well as travel-sized bottles and hand sanitiser. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Adaptor</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Remember, European adaptors differ from our own ones, so bring the cords you require and all your electronics can be charged for another day. </span></p> <p><strong>5. Exercise clothes</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many river cruises have gyms and swimming pools, so pack some exercise gear and swimmers in case they offer classes. </span></p> <p><strong>6. City Guidebooks, phrase books and currency calculator</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For a seamless trip with minimal challenges, bring a city guidebook so you don’t miss out on all the sights to see. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Phrase books can be helpful too if you are in a country where the common tongue is not familiar to you. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A currency calculator can also be extremely helpful if you want to keep a close eye on your spending habits by converting all your money.</span></p>

Cruising