Over Sixty Winter 2022 Digital

WINTER 2022 | OVERSIXTY.COM.AU 40 TRAVEL Which ship is right for me? Choosing the right ship can be the difference between having a good cruise, and a great cruise. Here’s how to pick the perfect one JOANNA HALL TRAVEL I f you’re excited about the resumption of cruising, but you haven’t been on a high seas holiday before, there are a number of things to consider before booking. While your budget, where to cruise, and the time of year are key considerations, it’s also important to pick a ship that best matches your cruise “personality”. Cruise lines are not all the same, and the experiences they offer can differ significantly. While some are high-energy and more family friendly, for example, others are quieter and favoured by a more mature audience. They also differ when it comes to what’s on offer onboard, and ports of call. Getting it right isn’t just about choosing a cruise line either, as some cruise lines have different ship sizes and classes. Additionally, the size of a ship is a major determining factor in how your high seas experience will play out. Bigger ships are better suited to anyone who’s unsure of their sea legs or who suffers from seasickness, with the bonus of non-stop action, and more dining options, activities and entertainment. But they are also more popular with families, thanks to a broader choice of stateroom options and facilities specifically for kids. Take Royal Caribbean’s new Wonder of the Seas , for example. Debuting in Barcelona last month, the world’s biggest cruise ship carries a total of 6,988 guests, and is more than a third of a kilometre long at 362 metres. She also boasts eight distinct neighbourhoods, 20 eateries, an outdoor AquaTheater, and a dizzying array of other attractions including an ice rink. When it comes to a more formal and traditional cruise experience, one of Cunard’s three “Queens” may tick all the right boxes. Embracing a “Golden Era” of ocean liner travel, its cruises are famous for glamorous black-tie nights, bridge sessions, dance classes, afternoon tea, and guest speaker programs featuring big names from arts, politics and science. Smaller ships, such as those operated by Silversea and Seabourn, are more upmarket and combine ultra-luxury with a calmer vibe. Space, suites, five-star service and destinations are a priority, rather than a bells and whistles on-board experience, and they’re largely child-free as well as all- inclusive. This means you won’t receive a bill at the end of the cruise for many perks including alcohol and specialty dining. Silversea’s new Silver Dawn , which launched in Lisbon in May, is a good example of this style of cruising. The third ship in the line’s elegant Muse class, highlights include 298 all-suite accommodations, eight finediningoptions, and museum-quality art in spacious public areas. And in its maiden season in the Mediterranean, port-intensive itineraries include glamorous destinations such as Monte Carlo in Monaco, Portofino in Italy, and Piran in Slovenia. If a small luxury ship is out of your budget, there are plenty of elegant mid- sized ships with child-free zones worth considering. Some of the most popular for the 60-plus market belong to Princess Cruises thanks to a feature called The Sanctuary, an exclusive adults-only retreat offering a refined, relaxing alternative to the hustle and bustle on deck elsewhere. Here you can indulge in everything from drinks and a light meal to an al fresco massage, with Serenity Stewards on hand to provide you with chilled face towels and water atomisers. Finally, if travelling alone, medium to large sized ships are a better way to cruise for a lineup of reasons. Holland America Line is famous for catering well to solo cruisers with quality programs that don’t require partners, for example, while some ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet have studio cabins which are aimed at, and priced for, single travellers. Clockwise from top: Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 ; dining on Holland America Line’s Noordam ; Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas ; Norwegian Spirit ’s champagne and wine bar Bigger ships are better suited to anyone who’s unsure of their sea legs CRUISING