Where's the best value, backpacking or cruising?

Best value: backpacking or cruising? [https://www.istockphoto.com

As the choice of cruise ships, itineraries, destinations and shore tours expands every year, so does the age-range of travellers who choose to cruise. They're not all oldies! A 2018 report by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) found that about one in four Millennials have taken a cruise in the past three years – and a much higher percentage of Millennials are planning a cruise in the near future.

A Sydney-based company that provides cruise travel insurance mostly for 45-plus cruisers, Travel Insurance Direct (TID), looked at the stats and further explored the idea of cruising for younger generations. It researched popular gap-year plans and destinations for Aussies in the 18-24 demographic, then matched these to existing cruise itineraries to calculate and compare cost, time and effort for the two travel options. The results might surprise budget-minded Millennial travellers.

TDI found that backpackers could save $685 on an eight-night round-trip to Fiji, by opting for a cruise rather than a backpacking holiday, and $439 for a 14-night trip to south-east Asia, starting in Singapore and visiting Bali, among other popular holiday and party hotspots. Across both trips, cruisers could save up to 38 hours that they would otherwise spend in airports, planes or buses to free up more time for "activities and sunbathing".

CLIA Australasia's managing director, Joel Katz, was not so surprised. He said: "A lot of cruise lines have put a greater focus on things like contemporary design, modern food and craft beverages, more advanced onboard experiences and more engaging excursions on shore, which have been very successful in attracting younger passengers."

SAY I DO IN FIJI

Marry the love of your life on a private island, in an idyllic Fijian village or onboard a small (or tall) ship in a selection of wedding packages organised by Captain Cook Cruises Fiji. The Reef Endeavour Package offers weddings on three, four, seven or 11-night cruises in the Yasawa Islands, onboard MV Reef Endeavour or ashore at a variety of stunning locations. A wedding planner organises all the details and packages can be extended for groups of up to 30. Check the website for more options. See captaincookcruisesfiji.com [https://www.captaincookcruisesfiji.com]

BUMPER ADELAIDE SEASON

P&O Cruises is ramping up its presence in South Australia, scheduling Pacific Aria for a 65-day season cruising out of Adelaide between January and April 2021. Highlights include two new 10-night Southern Discovery itineraries to Western Australia calling at Albany, Busselton, Fremantle and Esperance, and P&O's popular 1980s Tribute Cruise. The 1260-passenger Pacific Aria will also offer five three-night Short Comedy Breaks, four-night hops to Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln and one seven-night itinerary visiting Melbourne, Hobart and Kangaroo Island. See pocruises.com.au [https://www.pocruises.com.au]

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SCENIC SOUTH-EAST ASIA

Scenic's 2020-21 south-east Asia river-cruise program features new cruise and land itineraries and, for a limited time, the company is offering earlybird specials that include free flights, suite upgrades and discounts. Scenic's sister ships, Scenic Spirit and Scenic Aura, cruise on the Mekong and Irrawaddy rivers respectively; both are the most spacious, luxurious ships in the region. Cruise-tour packages range from 11 to 31 days; itineraries such as the 27-day 'Grand Indochina and Luxury Mekong' from Hanoi to Bangkok take in three different, fascinating countries. See scenic.com.au [https://www.scenic.com.au]

CRUISEQUIZ

What is the name of the biggest Royal Caribbean ship to cruise Down Under? Its most recognised feature is a London-Eye type viewing capsule called North Star. Last week's answer: Brisbane

STOW IT

UNDERWATER ADVENTURES

Wild Dives by Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown is a beautifully produced book that covers 25 of the authors' most memorable diving adventures from around the world, including shark encounters in the Bahamas, swimming with giant manta rays in the Pacific, and cavorting with Cape Fur Seals in South Africa. Packed with photographs and dive site info, it is in bookshops now. RRP $35. See www.newhollandpublishers.com

CONSTANT CRUISER

PAUL AND CATHERINE TAVUZZI, MOSMAN, NSW

NUMBER OF CRUISES TAKEN Many – Catherine has taken at least 30

LAST CRUISE In March 2019 we sailed on Oceania Sirena from Lima in Peru along the western coast of South America, then around Cape Horn to disembark in beautiful Buenos Aires. We experienced  incredible tours, visiting huge archaeological sites in Peru, cities on the Chilean coast such as Valparaiso, the amazing Chilean fjords, wineries in Uruguay and seeing the passion of the tango in Buenos Aires. It was a super trip and the quality of service and food was of the first order.

NEXT CRUISE An Oceania Baltic cruise in September. The ship will spend three days in St Petersburg and a highlight will be visiting the Hermitage Museum.

DREAM SHIP It would be not unlike the Oceania ships we have travelled on. We prefer small ships, which allow a greater sense of belonging and more personalised service.

DREAM CRUISE We're already talking with Mosman Travel about our dream cruise – around the Mediterranean to visit more obscure ports in such islands as Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics.

DREAM PORT Trieste, because the last time I boarded a ship there was when I left that city on my ninth birthday in 1955 as an emigrant from Italy.

BEST CRUISE TIP Leave all your cares or worries behind. Enjoying the moment is what cruising should be about, so you can experience and embrace the best that different cultures have to offer.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CRUISE

Send 250-word submissions for Constant Cruiser to sally.macmillan@traveller.com.au. Use the same format as right and attach a high-resolution photo of yourself. All published contributions receive a $50 voucher from Travelgear.com.au.

Travelgear.com.au has a huge range of travel accessories, from international SIM cards to luggage and gift suggestions and ships free to Australia and New Zealand. See travelgear.com.au [https://www.travelgear.com.au]

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