Cruising

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The 4 things you will ALWAYS find in a cruise expert's suitcase

<p><strong>1. Highlighter</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Believe it or not, a highlighter on a cruise is not that common to come across – so pack one! Cruises always hand out programs, itineraries and other handy pamphlets and it will be easier to highlight things of interest to you. All the papers you receive really add up, so while this tip may seem silly – it WILL help!</span></p> <p><strong>2. Ziplock bags / plastic bags</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Snacking is a common occurrence. If you’re travelling with children, they may get peckish while on the islands, in the rooms or by the pool so pack a few little snacks in a ziplock bag at the buffet so they never need to leave your sight. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Plastic bags are also a big help for any wet clothes or towels you don’t have the chance to wash or dry out while on your cruise. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Refillable water bottle</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This tip is a must as water bottles cost a lot on the ship! While water itself is free as well as some juices, having a water bottle will be the lifesaver you didn’t know you needed while lying underneath the sun or while on the islands. </span></p> <p><strong>4. Lanyard</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lanyards are very handy when you’re onboard as the whole ship is cashless – you will have to pay for everything with a cruise-given card. So instead of paying $8-10 at the cruise shops, bring your own (it is a lot cheaper if you’re a big group).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What are some of the little things you pack in your suitcase for a cruise? Let us know in  the comments below. </span></p>

Cruising

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Are cruise ship drink packages worth it?

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruising always seems like a very cheap way to travel, but unfortunately your purchase price doesn’t always mean it is an inclusive cost. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your fare will include your meals on board, but with some</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">cruise lines</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">alcohol is a cost that is not included and you will have to pull out your onboard spending card for every single drop. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The prices for beer, wine, spirits and even soft drinks and water are high enough to make you consider jumping overboard and swim to that high-end restaurant in the city whose prices now seem like a bargain. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The question does beg though, is the drinking package (if it is available on your select cruise line) worth it? </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ultimately, it depends. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For some, a cruise getaway means being permanently tipsy with a drink in your hand at all times. For others, it might just be a glass of red on a nice night overlooking a black sea. You also could just be looking for a good, rowdy night </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">one </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">time on the cruise and plan to recover for the rest of the trip. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Drinking packages usually come at a heavily discounted price. If you plan to be drinking every day/night while onboard then perhaps exploring the drinking package options might be the way to get what you need at a good price. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is important to remember though, you will not be spending everyday onboard your cruise ship, and your drinking package purchase does not extend to the restaurants and bars on land. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Either way, it is extremely important to read the fine print carefully – there are always little hidden details in there you might not have been aware of. For example, your drinking package may not count on the days you are at port – which could make purchasing the package something you don’t want to do.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What are your tips to consider when wanting to purchase the cruise drinking package? Let us know in the comments below.  </span></p>

Cruising

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What it’s really like to cruise with grandkids

<p>As our cruise ship left Tilbury in England there were four passengers on board with very mixed emotions. Two teenage girls (13 and 15) full of excitement but with absolutely no idea what to expect, and two 70-year-old grandparents wondering if we had made the biggest mistake of their lives.<br />We booked 15 days cruising with seven sea days.</p> <p>What were we all going to do? How would the girls survive without Wi-Fi? They normally have their phones superglued to their hands unless they are eating.</p> <p>We oldies on the other hand view cruising as a great relaxation and have our kindles loaded with books.</p> <p>So off we sail.</p> <p>“Dinner at 6pm girls. No you can’t wear board shorts and have your midriff showing.”</p> <p>We left them to unpack, then explored the ship together. The swimming pool looked small, the theatre big like something out of the west end. How many lifts? Why is there no deck 13? Which way is the back (aft) and which the front (fore)?</p> <p>Dinner was a great success. They were more dressed up and made-up than we were. Three courses and a lovely waiter.</p> <p>“Tomorrow it’s Amsterdam so we need to be up at 8am,” we say. No word of protest but “can we please skip breakfast?”</p> <p>And so the pattern of shore days was set. Up and disembark early. See the sights. A quick trip to Starbucks (“just to check our messages”) take photos and find somewhere back near the ship to do Snapchat, Instagram and WhatsApp.</p> <p>Next three days were sea days. So now what?</p> <p>The girls found us in the lounge at about 12pm, which was just as well as if they weren’t in their cabin we had no idea where they might be.</p> <p>We quickly learnt to be in one of two places and let them find us if they wanted. As the days went by that was less and less often.</p> <p>Dinner at 6pm was always sacrosanct and a great way to catch up on the day. We also always went to the evening shows together and much to our surprise the girls loved them. Talks by guest speakers were a no-no and having tried a couple of the activities laid on by the entertainment crew these were deemed to be for “young kids”.</p> <p>One of our worst fears before we went on the cruise was that there would not be enough other teenagers. That fear was unfounded.</p> <p>Certain areas of the ship were out of bounds to unaccompanied children (casino and bars) and so we began to relax. We purposely didn’t activate the girls’ ships cards so they couldn’t make any purchases and insisted on their coming to our cabin to say goodnight at 10pm. Despite listening carefully for the opening and shutting of cabin doors we never heard anything. But we did have a knock on our cabin door one night at 11pm to be faced with a very embarrassed young man holding one of our granddaughters’ hoodies having got the wrong door. Best not to ask we decided, and anyway we had been chatting to his parents in the bar earlier.</p> <p>The itinerary was ideal – Amsterdam, Gibraltar, 3 Canary Islands, Madeira and finally Lisbon. As far as teenagers are concerned anywhere new is exciting and days at sea are not a problem to them as that is their free time to spend with their new friends.</p> <p>From a Grandparents perspective, it’s a great way to spend time with your grandchildren in a safe environment with the ability to have time to yourself as well.</p> <p>It’s not a cheap option of course, but when you factor in all meals being provided plus entertainment and, doing as we did, our own shore excursions (not the exorbitant ones offered by the Cruise lines) it’s not bad value. You need to make sure it’s school or college holidays in the country of embarkation to ensure there are enough other young people. Our cruise was advertised as multi-generational.</p> <p>We asked our two teenagers for their opinion about the cruise. They said they loved it and “when can we go again?”</p> <p>They found meeting up with other teenagers easy. They really enjoyed visiting different ports and the good food. They liked that dinner was served but lunch was a help yourself buffet. Breakfast didn’t feature in their experience. The only negative was that there was very little organised entertainment for teenagers compared to under 12’s and over 18’s.</p> <p>As for planning for a cruise with grandchildren, we found it a good idea to ask them to do a bit of research about ports of call so they could contribute to the day’s planning. We took card games (never opened) and bought them a new book each. Otherwise, we just went with the flow.</p> <p>I think I can safely say a good time was had by all.</p> <p><em>Written by Wendy Fernandes. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/cruise-with-grandkids/"><em>MyDiscoveries.com.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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13 totally bizarre spa experiences around the world

<p>I always adopt a ‘treat yo’ self’ attitude when I’m on holidays. “I’m already splurging on hotels and dinners out so why not book myself in for spa treatments while I’m at it”, I tell myself as my bank account slowly slips into the red. I’ll try anything twice (within reason). I’ve enjoyed extremely thorough hammam scrubs in Morocco, deep tissue massages in Vietnam and rice paper body wraps in Thailand. Each involved a little too much nudity and not a lot of relaxation, but I embraced each experience, all in the name of travel. A Japanese Onsen experience is next on my list. I have since stumbled upon a few strange spa experiences that truly put my adventurous attitude to the test. Would you try these 13 whacky spa treatments?</p> <p><strong>1. Irish seaweed bath</strong></p> <p>Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths, County Sligo, Ireland The Irish have been using this stuff to cure ailments since the 12th century. Monks would harvest a special type of seaweed called ‘dillisk’ and prescribe it to patients with all sorts of issues. The same seaweed used to eliminate parasitic worms could also apparently curb a “woman’s longing”. These days, Kilcullen’s Seaweed Baths in County Sligo use steamed seaweed to enhance a bather’s spa experience. The bath full of murky, salty brine draws out toxins and supposedly leaves you feeling delightfully tingly. If you can tolerate the lingering smell of sea urchins for a few days, this might be right up your alley.</p> <p><strong>2. Thai fish spa</strong></p> <p>Thailand A decade ago, the strange phenomenon of fish spas swept the tourist traps of Thailand. Since then, this fishy foot spa treatment has spread all over the world, even in the west. A species of Middle Eastern carp have earned their nickname, ‘doctor fish’, by eating away all the dead skin on your feet. Some say it feels like “little delicate kisses”. Ticklish types say it’s more maddening than it is relaxing. However uncomfortable, it is effective. My feet were soft as a baby’s bottom after I tried it in Phuket in 2010. I don’t think I’ll be dipping my toes in the tank again though.</p> <p><strong>3. Japanese ramen noodle bath</strong></p> <p>Yunessun Spa House, Tokyo As a broke uni student living abroad in 2016, my diet consisted almost exclusively of ramen noodles. Today, I can barely look at the stuff, but it turns out, people are bathing in it. A theme park in Japan is offering visitors the chance to soak in a hot tub (shaped like a ramen bowl, of course) full of noodles and pork broth. It’s a family affair; up to 10 people can fit in the ramen bath at any given time. The treatment is supposed to give you a “healthy glow” for several days after. Unfortunately, the strong smell of soy sauce sticks around for just as long. This isn’t the only bizarre spa treatment at Yunessen Spa House. You can also bathe in coffee, red wine, green tea and sake.</p> <p><strong>4. Mexican cactus massage</strong></p> <p>Four Seasons Resort, Punta Mita, Mexico Massage therapists use the paddle of a cactus to work out your knots. Ouch, right? Well, actually, the needles are all removed prior to treatment. The strange service is offered at the luxury Four Seasons Resort spa and will set you back a spicy $245. The not-so-spikey massage is followed by a lathering of lotion made from indigenous plants and a splash of tequila. The treatment is said to leave your skin feeling hydrated and rejuvenated.</p> <p><strong>5. Finish cryotherapy</strong></p> <p>Haikko Spa, Finland Cryotherapy is gaining momentum around the world. It’s a popular method of recovery for athletes after a hard workout or competition. Thought apparently beneficial, it’s not exactly a relaxing experience. It requires entering a chamber, sealing the door and enduring temperatures as low as -110 degrees Celsius. Yes, Celsius. On top of relieving sore muscles, it also aids in boosting your metabolism and making your skin glow. Although, that glow might just be from the layer of frost on your cheeks.</p> <p><strong>6. New Yorker bird poo facial</strong></p> <p>Shizuka Day Spa, New York, USA Controversially known as the ‘Geisha Facial’, this treatment involves having a concoction of nightingale droppings and rice bran spread all over your face. Celebrity facialist and namesake of the upscale Manhattan spa, Shizuka Bernstein, claims the traditional and natural Japanese ingredients help to soften and brighten the skin. Grossed out? This might ease your quease. The bird droppings aren’t collected from a local park. They’re sanitised under ultraviolet lights and milled down into a fine powder. The spa treatment is apparently highly sought after and costs US$180 for an hour session.</p> <p><strong>7. Japanese snail facial</strong></p> <p>Ci:z.Labo Spa, Tokyo, Japan It seems the Japanese will try just about anything. This slimy spa treatment is conducted by five celebrity snails. Raised in the spa on a strict, organic diet of carrots, Japanese mustard spinach, and Swiss chard, the snails are very well-looked after. This isn’t the first time these slippery suckers have been used in the name of beauty. Snail slime was all the rage in the 80s, praised for its miraculous healing properties. Today, the ‘Celebrity Escargot Course’ involves a human facialist rubbing snail slime into your skin for up to an hour, before setting a bunch of snails loose of your face for five long minutes.</p> <p><strong>8. Austrian beer bath</strong></p> <p>Moorhof Landhotel, Frankling, Austria Now this is a spa treatment that I can get around. Most people think alcohol introduces toxins to your body. A handful of Austrian spas claim it can do the opposite. Soaking in a barrel of foamy beer is said to draw out toxins and exfoliate the skin. Hedwig Bauer, an Austrian spa owner herself, goes a step further to say beer baths can help treat gout, eczema, kidney stones, strokes and stress. Beer baths have now spread to Germany and the Czech republic and are often treated us fun tourist experiences rather than legitimate healing practices. If you decide to give it a go, don’t be tempted to drink the beer from your bath because, well, that’s gross. Save it for the beirhaus.</p> <p><strong>9. Maldivian underwater spa</strong></p> <p>Huavafen Spa &amp; Pearl, Maldives The treatments themselves are not what make this spa unique. It’s the setting. The world’s first underwater spa transports you to an ethereal realm of underwater relaxation. Channel your inner mermaid as fish dart all around you just on the other side of the spa’s glass walls. A range of massages, facials, hair and beauty treatments are available and are performed by a team of renowned massage and beauty experts. The spa is part of the Huvafen Fushi Maldives resort whose luxury, overwater bungalows are so beautiful it hurts.</p> <p><strong>10. Balinese snake massage</strong></p> <p>Bali Heritage Reflexology and Sa, Jakarta, Indonesia In the interest of self-preservation, I refuse to give this one a go. However, the spa therapists at Bali Heritage Reflexology and Spa in Jakarta are adamant that their python massage spa treatments work wonders. The weight of the snake does little to penetrate sore muscles, but that’s not the point of the treatment. The idea is that the fear triggered by having a snake slither all over you will trigger an adrenaline rush that boosts your metabolism. The snakes are not venomous and a masseuse stands by at all times just in case things go awry. Still, it’s a no from me.</p> <p><strong>11. Chinese fire massage</strong></p> <p>Oriental Taipan Spa, Beijing, China Fire cupping is common practice in Chinese remedial therapy. The service is widely available in Australia too, but one spa in Beijing takes it one step further. Glass cups are strategically placed on a patient’s back and heated with a flame, creating a strong suction effect on the skin. It is said to relieve muscle tension and common colds but expect to be left with circular bruises for days after. At Oriental Taipan Spa in Beijing, the treatment is followed by a Chinese Meridian Oil Massage involves laying an oil-soaked towel over your back setting it alight. Sounds relaxing, doesn’t it?</p> <p><strong>12. Vietnamese Mud Bath</strong></p> <p>Nha Trang, Vietnam The medicinal properties of mud have been well-documented for centuries. You can buy powdered mud masks from the supermarket these days. But in Central Vietnam, these spa treatments have become a fun, social activity. The Vietnamese believe mud baths help to remove dead skin cells, strengthen bones, and reduce fatigue. They also use it to seek refuge from the heat. Nha Trang has developed a reputation for its mud bathing facilities, attracting locals and tourist alike. 100 Egg Mud Bath, 6km from the city of Nha Trang, has multiple mud pools and baths to choose from. Visitors can soak in their own private egg-shaped tub for around $18 per person.</p> <p><strong>13. Beverly Hills Vampire Facial</strong></p> <p>Nazarian Plastic Surgery, Beverly Hills, California, USA This is less of a spa facial and more a drastic, and potentially dangerous, cosmetic treatment. Even still, it didn’t stop Kim Kardashian from trying it out. Vampire Facials are a combination of microneedling (repeatedly puncturing the skin with tiny needles) and a mask made from your own PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma). Basically, a vial of you blood is drawn, placed in a centrifuge until the plasma has separated from the red cells. The plasma is then smeared all over your face, helping to repair skin damage. Supposedly this is a more “natural” option for skin rejuvenation, compared to botox and injectables. When you put it like that, I suppose it’s true. It’s just a little (a lot) creepy.</p> <p>Would you try any of these? Let us know in the comments below.</p> <p><em>Written by Bethany Plint. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/weird-spa-experiences-world/?slide=all"><em>MyDiscoveries.com.au.</em></a></p>

Cruising

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What you need to know before hopping on a cruise

<p>The best thing about cruising is there are so, so many options available for travellers.</p> <p>However, there are a few things you MUST know before you step aboard, whether it’s to save you a few dollars to getting privacy on a ship that fits thousands of people.</p> <p>Here are some of our best tips that you might not have thought of.</p> <p><strong>Don’t shop on the first night </strong></p> <p>It surely is tempting to spend whatever is on your cruise card as soon as it is in your possession, however, hold off. There are usually deals near the end of your cruise, and sale events later into your trip so you can score better deals (ESPECIALLY on sea days).</p> <p><strong>Try the speciality restaurants </strong></p> <p>Your food is already covered – you know this and so do we. But there is such thing as serious buffet abuse and you shouldn’t force yourself to glug it down every night.</p> <p>We all love a fancy dinner, so why not try one out on a cruise where the prices are dramatically reduced onboard in comparison to when you’re back on land.</p> <p><strong>You don’t have to get off at every stop </strong></p> <p>It can be hard to find some time for yourself on the beautiful decks, particularly in the adult section. If you’re wanting some time on your own or with your special someone, maybe decide to stay on the ship instead of getting off – the queues are minimal, and the serenity is unlike any other.</p> <p><strong>Tip your room steward</strong></p> <p>Although it isn’t a requirement to tip your room steward, it’s a good idea to do it anyway. Not just for the inevitable perks and top-notch service you will receive in return for your generosity, but because at the end of the day, it’s a nice thing to do if you appreciate someone’s time and dedication into ensuring you are satisfied. A minimum of $10 a day can make your room stewards day, so don’t skimp out on this tip.</p> <p><strong>Wash your hands</strong></p> <p>This one may seem obvious, but you are barely in your stateroom during the day, and bathrooms are not as common to pass by as you may think.</p> <p>Avoid the dreaded norovirus and the communicable diseases passed on by ill passengers and wash your hands and sanitise them at <em>every</em> opportunity you get.</p> <p>What are some of your MUST know tips for cruising? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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8 top tips for saving money on a cruise

<p>Cruising is getting more and more popular in Australia and New Zealand, so why not take advantage of all the little deals, discounts and bargains you can get that usually only come with taking a voyage across the seas.</p> <p>Here are a few sneaky savings to look out for when booking a cruise.</p> <p><strong>1. Pick interior cabins</strong></p> <p>You really don’t need that balcony or extra perk suite, because let’s face it – you’re on a ship for a limited time. How much time will you be spending in your stateroom anyway?</p> <p><strong>2. Ask for some money back</strong></p> <p>If you notice your cruise fare is lower than when you booked it, it wouldn’t hurt in asking your cruise liner to lower your fare too. There is no harm in trying, even if you get knocked back.</p> <p><strong>3. Follow cruise lines on social media</strong></p> <p>Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts for cruise lines can be gold mines to scout deals and discounts. Maybe even a giveaway, too.</p> <p><strong>4. Sail on older vessels</strong></p> <p>If you’re not too picky or don’t really mind which cruise ship you sail off in the sunset to, then opt for an older vessel.</p> <p><strong>5. Subscribe to emails from cruise lines</strong></p> <p>Golden nuggets are always hiding in your emails, so don’t be afraid to be flooded with a full inbox of deals and offers – there are hundreds of dollars, and even thousands to be saved.</p> <p><strong>6. Travel in the off-season</strong></p> <p>You may get a rainy day here or there, but the big discounts may be worth the trouble.</p> <p><strong>7. Book your cruise onboard</strong></p> <p>Already on a cruise and want to book a new one? Book your next passage at the friendly help desk and reap big rewards for remaining loyal.</p> <p><strong>8. Get a cabin guarantee</strong></p> <p>If you’re not too fussed about where exactly your cruise ship room is, then you can lock into a room-type tier on a large cruise and guarantee a minimum level of comfort. If your chosen category fills up, you get bumped up to a better room with no price difference.</p> <p>Do you have any tips when it comes to saving money on a cruise? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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The latest travel trends worth trying

<p><strong>Ride a bike</strong></p> <p>Cycling-based tour operators are reporting a 25-30% increase in demand, thanks to travellers’ desires to stay active and eco-friendly on their getaways.</p> <p><strong>Take all the generations along</strong></p> <p>Cruise lines specialise in multi-generational travel. Climb aboard and watch a poolside movie on a 28m2 screen while the kids practise downward-dog in a youth-focused yoga programme.</p> <p><strong>Step inside your favourite story </strong></p> <p>Now you can follow in the footsteps of your favourite onscreen characters. Several Downton Abbey (Highclere Castle in Berkshire, UK, is pictured above) and Game of Thrones packages were launched in 2013, while searches for hotels in Las Vegas rose by 159% following the release of The Hangover Part III, according to hotels.com.</p> <p><strong>Track your genealogy</strong></p> <p>Relax and find your roots with genealogy tourism: a trip with a twist of uncovering your past. Each year, thousands of people in search of ancestral adventure plan trips to Europe, and beyond.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/activities/travel-trends-worth-trying"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></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=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a><span> <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V"></a></span></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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3 reasons to trust a travel agent when booking a cruise

<p>Cruising with a travel agent may not have been who you were thinking of turning to when you decided you wanted to book a holiday.</p> <p>Afterall, there are many options already available at the touch of a finger. Online directories, websites and information pages are just some of the many options available when you want to book a holiday.</p> <p>However, there is a level of expertise and passion for finding what is best for a prospective traveller that you just can’t find anywhere else.</p> <p>Here is why travel agents make booking a cruise that much better.</p> <p><strong>1. They know more than you do </strong></p> <p>If you’re not a regular cruiser, there are a number of things you may not know about booking a holiday or ways to make it the best one possible.</p> <p>A good travel adviser is extremely important when booking a holiday, as they can match your interests with the right cruise to make sure you have the best options possible.</p> <p><strong>2. They’re on the ball</strong></p> <p>New itineraries, deals and bargains are usually released to travel agents first.</p> <p>Those looking for a good cruise steal that works for them and their needs are better off opting for one of their local travel agents who have the most up-to-date information.</p> <p><strong>3. They organise <em>everything </em></strong></p> <p>Once your cruise is booked, your travel agent has access to some of the best extras as well. A travel agent is able to look after you from start to finish -whether that is flights, pre ad post-accommodation packages and even visas.</p> <p>Will you use a travel agent when booking your next high seas getaway? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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The ultimate cruise guide: Everything you need to know about cruising

<p>Cruising is fast becoming a number one option for Australians in terms of travel and holidaying. However, there are still a number of Aussies who have never had the chance to take a cruise and are therefore a little apprehensive to take the leap and try one for themselves.</p> <p>Here are all the questions you have been wanting to know about cruising, all in one handy place.</p> <p><strong>1. Will I feel trapped? </strong></p> <p>The best part about cruising is although there can be over a few thousand passengers and crew members hustling around the ship, there is so much room for everyone to enjoy.</p> <p>As cruise lines continue to meet demands for potential customers, their needs are increasingly being kept in mind. So even if space is an issue for you, and you fear you may not have much – don’t worry as cruise lines are only getting better and better at making your sea scape holiday one you won’t forget (in the best way possible).</p> <p><strong>2. When is the best time to take a cruise? </strong></p> <p>Depending on where you want to go, cruising can be an all year-round experience.</p> <p>Take a trip to Alaska, Canada, the Arctic Circle, Iceland and the Baltic during the winter months as they are seasonal cruises only.</p> <p>However, lucky for Aussies – departures to the South Pacific, Caribbean and Mediterranean are across the whole calendar. The only stipulation is you may have to catch your cruise from another port that isn’t in Australia (Hawaii for example).</p> <p><strong>3. When is the best time to book a cruise?</strong></p> <p>Depending on who you ask, the best time to book a cruise can either be up to a year in advance, or just a few weeks before disembarkation.</p> <p>Both periods of time are great opportunities to get the best deals.</p> <p>Book your cruise up to a year in advance if you’re a first timer who wants to be sure of their investment. The upside of scheduling much sooner is you can pay off your cruise in instalments, with plenty of time to cancel without incurring a fee. This way, you can really marinate on the idea of cruising and if it is the right time, place, or cruise line for you.</p> <p>Alternatively, cruise lines will often throw out heavily discounted cruise prices to get rid of any empty cabins – this can be weeks or days before the cruise date.</p> <p>Take advantage of this little bargain if you dare – it can be a little heart racing to try and get on the cruise you want when it is down to its last numbers!</p> <p><strong>4. Is there Wi-Fi on cruise ships? </strong></p> <p>Cruise ships do offer wireless network plans – but beware, they are expensive and notorious for being very slow.</p> <p><strong>5. How much time do I have on land and on the ship? </strong></p> <p>You can spend your whole cruise on the ship if you so wish – and opt out of seeing any of the sights on land.</p> <p>However, there are time restrictions when leaving the ship. Each cruise line and port destination can vary about what time cruisers have to be back on board – but don’t worry, there is more than one port to spend hours on!</p> <p>Make sure you read your cruise itinerary thoroughly to be sure of when you can get off the ship and when you can get on.</p> <p>What are some questions you have about cruising? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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5 easy ways to save big on your next cruise

<p>Cruising can be as inexpensive as you make it, if you know what to do to get the best deal possible.</p> <p>If you’re looking for a cruise bargain, then keep an eye out for these easy ways to get heavily discounted prices and perks.</p> <p><strong>1. Early bird catches the worm </strong></p> <p>Cruise lines love to fill their cabins early and offer seriously good early bird deals for those who might be willing to book a year or so ahead.</p> <p>To entice prospective customers, cruise lines will offer discounted deals, free flights to places like Europe and Asia, drink deals, on-board spending credit, discounts for the second guest, specialty dining deals and discounts for second guests.</p> <p><strong>2. Snap it up last minute </strong></p> <p>This is a risky way to get the cruise you want at the best price but waiting for the last few weeks before embarkation means cruise lines are usually keen to fill the leftover cabins that have not been booked yet.</p> <p>Heavily reduced prices are typically on offer for those willing to wait until last minute but be aware, if the ship is full – you’ll miss out altogether.</p> <p><strong>3. Find the line you love and be loyal </strong></p> <p>Regular cruisers who use the same line will progressively earn more extras. From free laundry to Wi-Fi, and discounted to even free cruises, there are perks on offer when you remain loyal.</p> <p><strong>4. Attended an expo </strong></p> <p>Travel companies hold expos to show off travel deals and their services, and often include cruises which offer lucrative discounts on the day</p> <p><strong>5. Buy your next cruise while on your current cruise </strong></p> <p>Near the reception desk is usually an information desk which tells you about future cruises coming up. These information stands don’t just have heavily discounted prices but can maybe be haggled down to get something just a little bit better than what’s already being offered.</p> <p>Do you have any tips when it comes to landing a bargain on cruises? Let us know in the comments below.</p> <p> </p>

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Couples’ guide to cruising: 4 ways to romance on the high seas

<p>Cruising on a budget can come with many perks. However, even if you’re an outgoing person who enjoys making friends on a cruise, there are moments when you want to spend some alone time with your partner.</p> <p>Although it may not seem like it, even large vessels carrying thousands of passengers and crew members can offer a surprisingly wide array of experiences and opportunities, so you can have an intimate time during your holiday getaway.</p> <p>Here are a few tips and tricks on how to find private time on a cruise.</p> <p><strong>1. Stay onboard to avoid crowds </strong></p> <p>You can opt to stay on the ship when it reaches a port, giving you the opportunity to have the ship to yourself and a few other passengers. Choosing to stay in on a port day means you have more activities, space and alone time with your partner.</p> <p><strong>2. Arrive early for the shows </strong></p> <p>The featured shows offered on board each night attract large crowds. However, getting to the theatre or entertainment space earlier than everyone else, allows you to find a seating setup for just the two of you.</p> <p><strong>3. Use off-peak time to your advantage </strong></p> <p>The discoes, bars and lounges can be quite packed and busy during scheduled events and the evenings. If you look at your cruise’s daily program, you can find what spaces onboard are not busy during certain times and opt to enjoy some time there for privacy and intimacy.</p> <p><strong>4. Table for two</strong></p> <p>Even if you would prefer not to eat at the special eateries that cost to sit in, you can choose your cruise’s flexible “my time” dining program and ask for a table for two when you go to eat.</p> <p>What are some of your cruising tips for a more intimate cruise? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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The best cruise tips to get the most out of your holiday

<p>Cruising is becoming a prime way for Aussies to travel and is one of the most popular attractions for those looking to get away during the holidays.</p> <p>There are a few things you should be aware of though before you step foot on a dreamy seascape to ensure you get the best trip possible.</p> <p>Here are the best cruise tips and tricks to help make the most out of your water holiday.</p> <p><strong>Check in</strong> online before sailing and make sure all your documents are prepared before you step in line to board – you won’t win the favour of other people queuing to get aboard.</p> <p><strong>Avoid making</strong> a beeline for the buffet once boarded – they are packed, cramped and not the best way to start your awesome holiday. Instead, go get a drink to bide your time or pop down to the adult-only pool to get away from any chaos that might be hurting your ears.</p> <p><strong>Being late</strong> for shore tours is a pet peeve of many guests. You slow everyone down and sometimes being the last one to arrive to an island excursion can mean everyone misses out on sights, fun or learning experiences to be had.</p> <p><strong>Book your shore tour</strong> before you board, because although they do have booths set up to help you book while sailing – you could miss out on an excursion you were hoping to go on.</p> <p><strong>Do not</strong> miss the safety muster – attendance is compulsory and latecomers ruin everything from running on time.</p> <p><strong>Make sure </strong>you try all the dining options you can while onboard. It is not often top-notch meals are at your disposal and it is best to try something and not like it rather than not know.</p> <p><strong>Look carefully </strong>at the inclusions offered when comparing prices such as gratuities, room service and alcohol as it can all add up – unfortunately not everything on a cruise is free.</p> <p><strong>You cannot</strong> forget your passport, visas and travel insurance or else you might risk losing access to a port.</p> <p>What are some of your tips so cruisers can have the best cruising experience? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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Cruise myths you should stop believing

<p>You may be unsure if cruising is for you, even if you have considered sailing away on the high seas.</p> <p>Given that there are numerous clichés painted on cruising and misinformation thrown out there, it’s not surprising if you were to be a little nervous at the thought of jumping on a large vessel for a number of days.</p> <p>Here are a few common myths that might have made you nervous to book your first cruise.</p> <p><strong>1. You don’t have to eat dinner every night with strangers </strong></p> <p>While it is encouraged to put yourself out there on a cruise and meet new people, there is no pressure from staff to stay in your assigned seating. Enforced seating on cruise ships is no longer an obligation, so if you’re feeling uncomfortable with your dining partners or the conversation is a little too boring for your taste – talk to your waiter to be moved.</p> <p><strong>2. Cruising can be a culturally immersive experience </strong></p> <p>Look for cruise itineraries offering late departures or overnights in ports. Options like these ones while travelling gives passengers the opportunity to have authentic cultural experiences where you feel like a traveller rather than a tourist.</p> <p>Many ships offer culturally enriching experiences and a chance to see your port for what it really is apart from the touristy glamour.</p> <p><strong>3. Cruises can be as expensive or as budget-friendly as you like</strong></p> <p>With the increasing popularity of travelling by sea, there are many cruise experiences for every price range. Whether you’re searching for a 10-day island getaway for the family or a romantic seascape with the most opulent ports and experiences – cruising has it all.  </p> <p> </p>

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4 key differences between ocean and river cruises

<p>Although river cruising has been in operation for decades, the popularity and modernisation of the sector has come in leaps and bounds in the past decade. Not only are more modern ships coming to keen cruisers but expanded amenities, alluring itineraries that are only reachable by small boats and the promise of an immersive culture to be a part of, are just some of the few perks on offer.</p> <p>The question arises though by people who have never been on a river cruise: Is it any different to an ocean cruise?</p> <p>Here is a list of key things expert seafarers should be aware of before booking their first river cruise.</p> <p><strong>1. River cruises and cabins are smaller </strong></p> <p>Ocean cruises carry thousands of passengers and crew members while riverboats carry only a few hundred or much less. The upside to a small and intimate cruise is the social and friendly atmosphere that doesn’t require you to elbow a few other passengers just to get a handshake in. On the downside, anonymity is not an option. The small size of the boat means that it is likely for there to only be a few lounges, one gym, computer centre and a small spa to dip your feet into. Some do not have these amenities at all as the ports are considered to be the most attractive feature.</p> <p>River cruise staterooms can also be much smaller than an ocean ship, but they’re not short on comfort and relaxation. Newer riverboats are getting better and more creative with their designs though, adding balconies and features that are very unique to river cruises.</p> <p><strong>2. Entertainment is not guaranteed </strong></p> <p>Splashy production shows, guest comedians, talented musicians and karaoke are forms of entertainment you might expect to find on a large ocean vessel, but when sailing the river – low-key, ensembles, lone residential pianist and local troupes are brought on board for evening or daytime shows.</p> <p>Days on river cruises are often jampacked with educational seminars, cooking demos, wine tastings, quizzes and scenery watching. Unlike ocean cruising, river boats host intimate and stunning scenery that changes as you go.</p> <p><strong>3. Most sailing is done at night </strong></p> <p>Full sailing days are a rarity with <em>most </em>river cruising expeditions. The majority of sailing is done throughout the night or very late in the evenings and you will spend most of it while sleeping or relaxing.</p> <p><strong>4. Itineraries are port-intensive </strong></p> <p>River cruises don’t have many leisurely days where you can go at your own pace – they are typically jam packed as you may visit one to two destinations a day and four countries in a week. The ports are the main attraction, not the ships themselves.</p> <p>This type of travelling is exciting and fresh but can also be exhausting – so don’t feel any pressure to go on every single port tour.</p> <p>Have you tried a river cruise, or would you like to? Let us know in the comments below. </p>

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4 things that will surprise you on your first cruise

<p>We all remember our first time – our first cruise, that is. There’s something very special about stepping onboard to experience the grandeur of a vessel, the saltiness in the air and the buzz of all the travellers you will spend the duration of your time with.</p> <p>Although you may know what to expect, there are always little quirks that can surprise you. Here are the myriad of little shocks you may get when you first set sail on your oceanic getaway.</p> <p><strong>1. The ship is massive </strong></p> <p>We all know cruises carry thousands of passengers and crew members. However, taking in the sheer size of it is shocking when you see it for the first time. Even if it is a relatively small ship, getting your bearings and learning your way around takes a fair few days until you’re completely confident to know where you are at any given moment on the large ship.</p> <p>The great thing about technology in relation to cruises though, is that getting lost isn’t such a big deal anymore because there are apps that allow you to find your way around without having to ask one of the staff members or another traveller who is just as confused as you.</p> <p><strong>2. The Wi-Fi is expensive</strong></p> <p>We have all heard the rumours and warnings to “beware” of the wireless internet that is offered onboard to passengers. Not only is it incredibly expensive to have the most basic access to your friends and family back on land, the actual connection is not that great.</p> <p>Take our advice when we say the Wi-Fi is not a wise investment unless you absolutely need to maintain contact with family and friends who are not onboard the ship with you.</p> <p><strong>3. The food is better than you expect</strong></p> <p>Some ships carry more than 7,000 crew members and cruises, so it is very easy to assume the food is not as good as it is off land.</p> <p>However, despite what might seem like an accurate assumption, skilled chefs are hired to fulfil your stomachs cravings.</p> <p>Onboard, there are exceptional food standards and it may be your favourite part of the trip. The best part about cruising, is that the food is not only incredibly tasty – it is never-ending!</p> <p><strong>4. Everyone dresses up </strong></p> <p>The occasional wedding might be one of the only places you see people dress to the nines, as on land there are not too many reasons to pull out your best suit or party dress. What you can definitely expect to see while cruising is people dressed to their absolute best during fancy dinner nights.</p> <p>If that’s not your cup of tea though, you can always opt for room service, head to the buffet or even rock your day shorts and summer blouses to the dress up nights – no one really minds.</p> <p>What surprised you on your first cruise? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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First-time cruiser? Which cruise ship is best for you

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Booking your very first cruise can be an extremely overwhelming experience. With all the options available to us, it is hard to decide which decision is the right one for you. All the choices, from relaxing cruises with luxurious destinations to a glamorous holiday by sea that takes you to the best destinations, can sometimes come with a hefty price tag. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carefully considering what type of experience you want to have for yourself Is extremely important, while also factoring in the departure port, the length of your trip and your budget. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are just a few things to consider if you’re a first-timer. </span></p> <p><strong>Luxury</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re seeking indulgence and luxury, then Celebrity Cruises</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">might be the pick for you. The interior designing is elegantly refurbished, so you feel like you’re getting bang for your buck. The line also dabbles in cuisine dining choices including French, Italian, Asiana and so many more as well as having beautifully decorated restaurants and top-of-the-line service. </span></p> <p><strong>Value</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While P&amp;O does come with a few extra fees, like paying for poolside burgers and ice cream, the cruise line has perfectly catered to the customers of Australia – adding smart refurbishments, celebrity chef restaurants, new menus and a neverending list of itineraries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cruise deals are constantly offered by P&amp;O, so if you’re looking for an inexpensive getaway, they might be the cruise for you.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carnival Cruise lines is an alternative option and comes at an extremely affordable price. The downside is it’s also a family favourite spot. Although there are adult-only spaces, this may not be your prime option if you’re looking for a trip far away from children. </span></p> <p><strong>Relaxation</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Princess Cruises is not like any other line available in Australia and New Zealand. While a little pricier than a value cruise, Princess Cruises offer hot deals and bonuses as well as upgrades to balcony cabins and extra spending money to spend onboard. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Relaxation and peace is promised if you choose to travel with Princess as they offer an adult-only pool area, as well as sanctuaries to enjoy the calmness of the ocean.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Celebrity Cruises are also a premium cruise line which is a cut above other ships. Not only does it offer luxury, it promises an oasis to put your feet up and forget your worries. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Will you travel with any of these cruise lines? Let us know in the comments below. </span></p>

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We have just discovered the world’s most dazzling skies

<p>Active volcanoes, island sanctuaries and breathtaking views sound like a dream to many, but can quickly become a reality when visiting New Zealand’s vast North Island. A location rich in Māori culture, the sprawling farmlands and geothermal wonders will give you plenty to talk about and even more to remember as you journey through a trip of a lifetime.</p> <p>The awe-inspiring enclave is one that must be seen to be believed, and there is no better way to truly immerse yourself in the experience of a lifetime than with <span><a href="https://www.princess.com/">Princess Cruises</a></span>. As you make your way around the highly coveted regions of New Zealand, you will feel at ease knowing that you’re touring with a company that prides itself on delivering quality service and an unforgettable experience.</p> <p>Here are three reasons as to why you should visit North Island in New Zealand:</p> <p><strong>1. The picturesque sights</strong></p> <p>The Great Barrier Island is ideal for those who enjoy stargazing. It’s one of only four Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world, which allows people to witness the Milky Way. A Dark Sky Sanctuary is a location that is known for its distinguished quality of starry skies and is an area that has been protected.</p> <p>Dark Sky Sanctuaries are usually in remote locations and there are few if any, nearby threats to the quality of the dark night sky. This means that stargazing at these locations is ideal, as you’re bound to see everything and anything that the sky has to offer.</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7825104/great-barrier-island-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/e980d6927c784ec2a40792d90c174b1c" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>What the Dark Sky Sanctuary looks like at night</em></p> <p>As the Great Barrier Island is the sixth-largest island in New Zealand, it’s not the easiest place in the world to get to. Princess Cruises recognise this and have expanded their <em>Across the Ditch</em><em> </em>program to include access to the Great Barrier Island. Now, It’s no longer a challenge to get out there.</p> <p>Princess Cruises’ Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, Stuart Allison has explained the reason behind the expansion:</p> <p>“With New Zealand attracting more repeat cruisers than any other itinerary, we’ve broadened our <em>Across the Ditch</em> Program this year by partnering exclusively with a number of regional experts to offer our guests a number of truly immersive and authentic tourism experiences.”</p> <p><strong>2. The serene sounds</strong></p> <p>With specific regional adventures at each New Zealand port, a variety of different sounds will be heard. As Princess Cruises takes you through a number of ports across North Island, you will be able to hear traditional Māori chants that come with the Haka War Dance or Poi Dancing. You’re also able to perform these dances yourself!</p> <p><img style="width: 0px; height: 0px;" src="/media/7825103/princess-native-ship.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/943c154d344e458a962ac850d7f9db72" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>A Princess Cruise ship on the sea</em></p> <p>But if you prefer activities that aren’t so high strung, you can choose to experience the complete silence that comes with exploring the glow worms in Auckland, as the Glowworm Grotto will leave you in awe.</p> <p>Princess Cruises has partnered exclusively with a number of regional experts to offer their guests a variety of truly immersive and authentic tourism experiences, like the one mentioned above.</p> <p>Mr Allison explains:</p> <p>“Princess Cruises has a long association with New Zealand and the many regional communities we visit, which share in the success of cruising. We look forward to growing in partnership with communities in ways that support sustainable tourism across culture and landscape.”</p> <p><strong> 3. </strong><strong>The immersive experiences</strong></p> <p>One of the many highlights of the trip takes you off the beaten track as you take a ride through North Island’s gorgeous countryside towards Rotorua.</p> <p>Your driver – who also doubles as your guide – will take you to the first stop of the day, which is Agrodome, a sheep and beef farm complete with scenic views wherever you turn.</p> <p>The tour involves activities appropriate for the entire family, such as sheep shearing demonstrations and the opportunity to watch sheep dogs in action.</p> <p>Also included in the itinerary is Te Puia, home of the internationally renowned spouting Pohutu geyser. And to give you the most authentic experience possible, your guide will be of Māori heritage, and will tell you stories and legends of the beautiful country.</p> <p>The last 45 years, visitors have had the opportunity to immerse themselves in Māori culture with the help of the Te Puia’s Māori Arts &amp; Crafts Institute. During your visit, you will enjoy a delicious lunch and the world-famous haka – a war dance used to frighten enemies.</p> <p>To finish it off, your drive back takes you through the stunning Rotorua and kiwifruit country, giving you the perfect opportunity to take photos and relax.</p> <p>The North Island of New Zealand has a lot on offer, and luckily there’s a way to see it all. Princess Cruises offer a range of packages to suit all budget and time allowances. For more information on Princess Cruises, see a licensed travel agent or visit <span><a href="https://www.princess.com/">www.princess.com</a></span>.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to witness the beautiful starry sky of North Island. </p> <p><em>This is sponsored content brought to you by </em><span><a href="https://www.princess.com/"><em>Princess Cruises</em></a></span><em>.</em></p>

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Secrets cruise lines won’t tell you

<p><strong>No trip is all-inclusive</strong></p> <p>That ‘all-inclusive’ rate typically doesn’t include alcohol, tips, shore excursions, internet, dining outside the dining room, and what you spend on casino or bingo play. And please, do come play: Your odds are often even worse than on land.</p> <p>And when it comes to buying travel insurance for your overseas adventure, make sure you check the small print.</p> <p><strong>Choose your room carefully</strong></p> <p>Always look at the ship’s deck plan before you choose your cabin. Don’t pick one directly under the gym, the pool deck, the disco, or any late-night venue. Know that if you book a cabin at the front of the ship, you’re going to feel some up-and-down motion.</p> <p><strong>Come prepared to charge</strong></p> <p>If your ship permits it, pack a charging station or a power board. Many cruise ships still have only one or two outlets per cabin – and that’s not going to cut it in 2019.</p> <p><strong>Don’t buy excursion packages from us</strong></p> <p>Shhh… here’s a secret: You can book many of the same land excursions we offer for a fraction of the cost by arranging them privately with tour companies beforehand.</p> <p><strong>Above all, wash your hands</strong></p> <p>There were 11 disease outbreaks on cruise ships in the first six months of 2016, almost as many as in all of 2015. Most were norovirus, a highly contagious bug that causes stomach cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea.</p> <p><strong>Wait until you reach land to go online</strong></p> <p>Our wi-fi prices can be crazy high for sub-part performance. So save your surfing for port days, and ask the crew for the nearest free hot spot. (Since they can’t afford ship wi-fi either, crew members flock to internet cafés when they disembark.)</p> <p><strong>We make our own water</strong></p> <p>Ever wonder where we get all that fresh water? We make it. That’s right – giant onboard desalination systems remove salt and impurities from ocean water so it’s safe to drink.</p> <p><em>Sources: Sherry Kennedy, founder of cruisemaven.com; Jim Walker, a maritime attorney who specialises in cruise line law; Brian David Bruns, former crew member on six cruise lines and author of Cruise Confidential, a former cruise crew member from Thailand and three current cruise line employees who asked to remain anonymous.</em></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><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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6 tips for maintaining a healthy lawn at sea

<p>Maintaining a healthy green lawn can be difficult enough on land, so we were really impressed when we discovered there was a cruise ship that maintains real grass onboard.</p> <p>The highest deck on the cruise ship, Celebrity Solstice, is covered in a lawn of luscious green grass. It is the only cruise ship in Australia to have real grass onboard.</p> <p>Can you imagine the challenges involved in trying to maintain a thriving lawn at sea? There’s wind, salt spray, humidity and climate changes to contend with. Not to mention the fact that the grass is not actually taking in root in the earth.</p> <p>Yes, there are problems aplenty but the crew at Celebrity Solstice seem to have it figured out. The ship employs two highly trained lawn keepers and an onboard Environment Manager who is tasked with overseeing grass maintenance, among other things.</p> <p>To keep the lawn in peak condition, the keepers monitor the area daily and undertake vigilant pest control practices. The grass is mowed to precisely 35mm, as often as every day where conditions are warmer and every three days in cooler climes, using a non-gas emitting cylinder mower or reel mower.</p> <p>The lawn is watered using automated sprinklers, sub-surface sprinklers, as well as old fashioned manual watering.  Mineral and organic lawn care products feed and protect the grass, and of course deck chairs and high heels are discouraged. </p> <p>The lawn consists of Couch grass during the warmer months. In places like Alaska, where temperatures are much cooler, the Couch grass is overgrown with Rye grass seeds that germinate and provide green grass even in arctic conditions.</p> <p>The grass grows on a porous base made of lightweight calcium clay, crushed and blended together with sieved and washed volcanic pumice. Not only do these materials have nutritional benefits for the grass, the calcium clay and volcanic pumice provide great drainage after rain and when the area is irrigated.</p> <p>Staffers were really impressed with the quality of lawn care practiced at Celebrity Solstice so when Environment Manager Nick Asproudas offered to share his lawn care tips with us we jumped at the chance. Nicks says his tips for maintaining healthy grass can be easily applied to residential lawns.</p> <p>We agree. Nicks tips are in line with our own advice when it comes to keeping the lawn green and luscious. Here are Nick's tips.</p> <p><strong>6 Tips For Maintaining A Healthy Lawn At Sea Or At Home</strong></p> <p><strong>1. Cut with care</strong></p> <p>Never cut your grass too short – I suggest taking off no more than 10% of the leaf at one time because more than this can damage your grass.</p> <p><strong>2. Control weeds</strong></p> <p>While herbicides are great for preventing weeds from spreading, it can take days before the chemicals kick in, not to mention the damage most do to the environment. So if you have a smaller backyard there is nothing better than good old fashioned manual weeding - it’s what we do on Celebrity Solstice’s lawn - just make sure the whole root is removed from the soil.</p> <p><strong>3. Fertilise</strong></p> <p>A slow-release fertiliser is always best and won’t burn your grass. I recommend you fertilise every 6-8 weeks -just don’t forget to water your lawn after the application.</p> <p><strong>4. Water the lawn</strong></p> <p>It’s vital to water your grass all year around, but it is especially important to do so during Australia's harsh summer months. Watering by hand is always best as sometimes sprinklers do not provide a sufficient amount of water.</p> <p><strong>5. Eliminate brown patches</strong></p> <p>Firstly, check soil moisture levels using a soil probe. If you find your lawn soil is quite dry, water it manually or use an oscillating sprinkler. If it isn’t, brown patches are often caused by a disease. If this is the case, isolate the area so nobody steps on the grass and apply a fungicide to stop the disease from spreading.</p> <p><strong>6. Mow with purpose</strong></p> <p>Change your mowing directions each time you mow your lawn to increase the density of your turf and reduce scalping.  The round the clock technique works best, which involves changing your mowing pattern based on the numbers on an analogue clock. For example, one day you may mow from 12 to 6, another day from 9 to 3 and then another day from 2 to 8.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.handyman.net.au/6-tips-maintaining-healthy-lawn-sea">Handyman.net.au.</a></em></p>

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All three Queens to visit Australia

<p>The Luxury cruise line unveiled full details of its 2020-21 program on Thursday. It will include world voyages by flagship Queen Mary 2 and her younger sister Queen Victoria, as well as a record 118-day Australian deployment for Queen Elizabeth.</p> <p>It’s the first time in five years all three ships will visit Australia during the same season.</p> <p><strong>Cruise itineraries revealed</strong></p> <p>From November 2020 to May 2021, Cunard’s three ships will travel 139,000 nautical miles, calling at 94 destinations in 38 different countries. The cruise lines will make maiden calls to Hualien in Taiwan, Miyakojima in Japan and New Plymouth in New Zealand.</p> <p>Sailings range from short two-night breaks to a 108-night world voyage. The itineraries blend world-class cities with smaller, less well-known destinations. Each journey promises to deliver a refined and immersive Cunard experience.</p> <p>Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 will depart Southampton on January 10, 2021. The cruise will embark on a classic voyage of global exploration from southern Africa to Southeast Asia and the Mediterranean as well as Australia. Once Down Under, the Queen Mary will visit eight ports, from Fremantle to Cairns and Darwin.</p> <p>Queen Victoria will set sail on a western circumnavigation of the globe. The Queen Victoria itineraries are packed full of ‘must-do’ experiences, including scenic cruising in the Panama Canal and overnight stays in San Francisco, Honolulu, Hong Kong, Singapore, Cape Town and Sydney. In Australian Queen Victoria will cruise to Brisbane, the Whitsundays and Darwin.</p> <p>Queen Elizabeth will offer more regional-focussed itineraries, including a record 118-day season Down Under. Expect a range of short sojourns between major Australian cities as well as longer journeys around Australia and New Zealand.</p> <p>“With all three Queens visiting Down Under during our 2020-21 program, and Queen Elizabeth spending a record number of days in Australian waters, Australians will have more opportunities than ever before to experience all the pleasures of a holiday at sea with Cunard,” Katrina McAlpine, Cunard Senior Manager for Australia and New Zealand says.</p> <p>“This new program offers a wonderful mix of unique and interesting itineraries, from voyages circumnavigating the globe through to short local sailings for those who’d like to explore more of Australia in style.”</p> <p><em>This article was republished with permission by <a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/cunard-queen-cruise-itineraries/">mydiscoveries.com.au.</a></em></p>

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