Cruise Style – are you Ship Shape?
Top tips from Avanti Travel Insurance on cruising the world
Over 1.7 million Britons took a cruise in 2012 (according to the Passenger Shipping Association). ‘Fly-cruises’ are the most popular (this is where you fly to a departure point e.g. Miami, or you fly home to the UK). There is no doubt that cruises are fast gaining a huge fan-base. Once the preserve of the rich and famous, cruises are now more affordable, and more fun.
Whether you are a ‘cruise virgin’ or a seasoned cruise ‘addict’ this feature has been lovingly written for you so read on, you might just be surprised what you learn.
CRUISE FAST FACTS on cruising
– One in every eight package holidays booked is now a cruise
– More than four in every ten cruises were bought for less than £1,000
– Four out of every ten passengers took their first-ever cruise last year
– Western Europe, Atlantic Islands, Norway and the Mediterranean are popular cruise destinations
– Nearly half of all cruises booked were for less than eight nights
– Eight in ten passengers book cruises through travel agents
(source: the Passenger Shipping Association)
If you haven’t yet been on a cruise, then we would like to answer some common questions. Here we dispel two common myths with home truths to put your mind at rest.
Myth number 1: Cruising is too expensive
FALSE: Cruising is surprisingly affordable. You do get what you pay for so, the equivalent of a 5 star hotel in cruising terms will be much more expensive than a budget cruise. And then within each cruise ship there are different levels of accommodation. So, for example an ‘outside’ (with external portholes), deluxe suite will usually cost much more than an interior room. It’s worth remembering that more than four in every ten cruises were bought for less than £1,000 last year.
Myth number 2: It will be too formal
FALSE: Cruising can be glamourous – a chance to get really dressed up for a ‘night out’ on-board ship. BUT in general the atmosphere on-board ships is relaxed and informal. The perception (or mis-conception) that you will have to spend a fortune on black tie and cocktail dresses is simply unfounded. If you are worried then check before you book. Flip flops and T shirts will probably not be allowed for dinner, but then they would not be acceptable for most hotels too. Black tie will usually be optional so a cruise can be a great chance to enjoy a bit of glamour and a bit of informality all mixed into one package.
Expert Cruise Travel Insurance
Avanti Travel Insurance specialises in travel insurance for the over 50s. Every day we insure hundreds of people to go on cruises. Europe is probably the most popular destination, although many Avanti clients travel much further afield with the Caribbean being a particular favourite with mature travellers.
Being experts in cruise travel insurance we cover things like:
– Up to £10,000 trip cancellation cover per passenger
– Missed Port cover
– Cabin Confinement cover
– Supplier insolvency
– Scheduled Airline Failure cover
– Ash cloud delayed departure
– Additionally, Avanti Travel Insurance has no upper age limit on travel insurance policies. We believe that age should not be a barrier when it comes to travel and adventure. In fact, we have recently insured people in their 90s to take the holiday of a lifetime.
Do get out of your cabin: There is bound to be a lot of activity planned on-board like quizzes, cinema, competitions etc, so although it’s nice to have the odd nap in your cabin, do get out and about. There will probably be something planned for every hour of the day so, you’ve paid for it – why not go ahead and make the most of it?!
Do take it easy on day one: Modern cruise ships are HUGE. There is a lot of distance to cover, up and down stairs, in and out of rooms etc. It is tempting but don’t rush to cover the entire ship on day one. You’ll wear yourself out and nobody wins any prizes for walking the greatest distance on board.
Do choose your restaurants carefully: Some cruise ships now offer speciality restaurants where you have to pay a fee. Although these restaurants are great, the cost can quickly add up if you are not careful. The main dining room usually offers extensive choice anyway and has a wonderful atmosphere and excellent service.
Do join the on-board activities: There are always some pretty corny (but great fun) activities on-board. Whether you try cheesy karaoke, battle of the sex’s games or even bingo, they can all be a good laugh and a fab way to make new friends whilst letting your hair down. Of course, if you just want to lounge by the pool then that’s fine too.
Do be nice to the crew: Crew on-board are very hardworking and don’t get much free time to relax. Being nice and courteous to them will really make their day. You will be rewarded by extra special service and a friendly greeting. You might even find that the nicer you are the more they go out of their way to help you every day.
Do book up: Whether you want to visit the spa, gym or go on an excursion its best to get booked sooner rather than later. You can book some excursions online prior to departure but you will always have the chance to book whilst on-board. Again, spa and gym bookings can be made prior to departure. The cruise channel on the TV in your cabin will also give you details.
Cruise Style for Ladies – How to look the part
Going on a cruise is an ideal chance to ‘glam up’. It’s definitely not compulsory, but we love to make the most of the occasion and here is our expert advice on what to pack and what to leave behind.
Shoes: less is more. Pack only a couple of pairs of multi-functional shoes like trainers, mules and sandals. Choose a neutral colour for your dress/evening shoes and take a pair of lovely ballet pumps too.
Jackets: Layering is key. Rather than take one thick jacket, go for lots of co-ordinating layers which can be taken off or put on as required. Cardigans, pashminas and wraps are probably your best bet. Obviously if you are going on a cruise to Alaska then you WILL need to be properly attired.
Hats: On a sunshine cruise you will definitely need a hat to protect your head from the sun. Baseball caps are a bit naff and don’t really provide cover to the back of your neck. Best go for a wide-brimmed floppy hat that can be folded or rolled – you won’t want to be carting hat-boxes on board.
Dresses: Jersey/T shirt material dresses in neutral colours can be great on-board. You can accessorise the hell out of them for a number of different looks and they can serve for day or evening wear. Again, choose colours that complement each other – whites, creams, taupes, beiges, mushrooms all go together very well and suit most skin tones. Granted you will need some glam and dressy clothes but try and keep to classics like LBDs. Smart separates like glitzy tops and dressy trousers are a good bet.
Accessories: Sunglasses are a must-have as the sea gives off a real glare. Take two handbags (one smart, one casual) as well as a backpack/bum bag.
All in all, cruising is a lovely way to spend time relaxing with lots of amenities which are on hand if you want them. You can enjoy 5 star luxury or the simplicity of a budget cruise – it’s up to your own personal preference. Whatever you choose, don’t forget your travel insurance. It’s not only common sense for peace of mind but most cruise operators make it mandatory.