Longing for a bit of R&R at sea, but don't have enough time for a leisurely two-week holiday? Or maybe you haven't been on a cruise before and want to try it out without committing to more than two or three days? Well, you're in luck – several short cruises are departing from Sydney, Brisbane and other State ports over the next few months.
P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line all operate a variety of two, three and four-day cruises.
P&O Cruises has a huge selection of SeaBreaks. The next one to depart is the three-day Food and Wine cruise on board Pacific Jewel. However, you'll have to be quick if you want to jump on board as it leaves Sydney on November 7. If you can't make this one, how about a three-night Comedy cruise, leaving Sydney on Pacific Jewel on December 11? You can take a four-day cruise from Sydney to Victoria's beautiful Mornington Peninsula, or from Brisbane to the Whitsundays. Check out pocruises.com.au more itineraries.
Royal Caribbean has three ships sailing around Australia this season; Rhapsody and Radiance of the Seas are both here already, and Voyager of the Seas arrives in December. Two three-night sampler cruises on Voyager depart from Sydney on January 22 and February 19. This is your chance to try out the new FlowRider surf simulator and all the other new features that are being added in the ship's multimillion-dollar makeover. The shortest cruises on the other two ships are seven nights.
Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend will both do three-night round-trip cruises from Sydney after Christmas; Spirit departs on January 29 and Legend on February 20. Legend also cruises from Sydney to Hobart, a four-day jaunt leaving on April 16.
Princess Cruises has a number of short escapes; Diamond Princess's five-night Melbourne to Sydney roundtrip on December 14 can be taken as Sydney to Melbourne (three nights) or Melbourne back to Sydney (two nights) – just add flights. Similarly, there are a few two to three-night cruises between cities when the ships reposition; see princess.com.
Cunard Line has released three two- to eight-night Australian sectors for Queen Mary 2's 2015 world voyage, which go on sale on October 28. The two-night Brisbane to Sydney cruise, departing March 10, includes the Royal Rendezvous with Queen Victoria on arrival in Sydney on March 12.
MEET THE CREW
Name: Jessica Schumann, German-American dual citizen
Position: Hotel director, on board Holland America Line's Oosterdam
My typical day: There really is nothing typical about any given day on board a cruise ship. Each day starts with arriving at or heading towards a new destination. If anything, my job is something of a daily adventure that has me navigating through the many wonders only a floating hotel has to offer. In addition to collaborating with a host of managers and employees from a variety of departments, I also make time to socialise with our guests. I find it fascinating to be around so many people from all over the world. They all have a story to share.
Favourite cruise moment: Waking up in the morning, pulling back the curtain and seeing something spectacular like the Sydney Opera House, the Space Needle in Seattle or the Statue of Liberty. It is simply amazing even after 16 years at sea.
Favouriet ports: Sydney, Hong Kong and Barcelona.
Tip for passengers: Might be hard to believe, but my husband and I recently treated ourselves to a cruise. We booked all our specialty dining reservations, shore excursions and spa appointments online before we boarded the ship. It really simplified things and allowed us to just enjoy our experience on board.
TIP: Before you travel, scan your passport and travel documents and give copies to family or friends. Email the scans to yourself too, so you can access them through webmail if the originals get lost or stolen.
CHOOSE YOUR CRUISE
Silver Discoverer in Kimberley
Silver Discoverer, the latest addition to the Silversea Expeditions' fleet, is sailing six Kimberley itineraries between March and May next year. Seeing as its first season in the Kimberley (last year) sold out you had better get in quick if you are planning to get on board. The Kimberley is top of many adventure travellers' wish lists and cruise lines are reported unprecedented demand for cruises in north-western Australia's remote wilderness. Silver Discoverer is one of the few expedition vessels to boast a swimming pool – in true Silversea style, a refreshing dip after a hot day's hiking goes down very well with a pre-dinner cocktail. See silversea.com/expeditions
Celebrity Century in Oz
Celebrity Century is back in Australia, for its last season before it moves to its new home (and new owners) in China. The popular ship has sailed with the line since 1995 and was the first in the Celebrity fleet to feature the Martini Ice Bar and specialty restaurant Murano. "It's been a few years since we were in Australia, and the crew and I are looking forward to another stellar season as we love having the fun, friendly Australian guests on board," Celebrity Century's Captain Theodoros Zakkas says. The 1800-passenger ship is sailing 11 cruises between now and January 11. Younger, bigger sister Celebrity Solstice arrived in Sydney three days ago and will be cruising out of Sydney until March. See celebritycruises.com.au.
Princess Cruises has announced two world cruises in 2016 for its Australian-based ships Sea Princess and Sun Princess. Sea Princess's 104-night voyage includes a transit of the Panama Canal, visits to Lima, Pisco, Quito and Santiago in South America, and calls to ports in the Baltic region. It leaves Sydney on May 15. Sun Princess will sail a 75-night Circle Pacific cruise that will make three calls in China, four ports in Alaska, and an overnight stop in San Francisco, departing Sydney on June 21. Making it easier to see the world from your doorstep, cruises can embark on the full world voyage from Sydney, Fremantle, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide and, for the first time, Auckland.
Offer of the week
Travelmarvel's eight-day river cruises between Budapest and Vilshofen next April are on sale for $1999, a saving of $1500 person. Cruise highlights include a private Oktoberfest with the locals in Vilshofen, the chance to explore Vienna and a guided tour of Melk Abbey. Offer valid until November 30. Phone 1300 208 712, see travelmarvel.com.au.
CRUISECO: Save 25 per cent on a 33-night Australia circumnavigation on CMV's Astor, round-trip departing Fremantle January 27. Ports of call include State capital cities and smaller ports such as Kangaroo Island, Esperance and Exmouth. From $3670, until sold out. See cruising.com.au.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL: Book a European cruise for 2015 between now and November 30 for bonus onboard credits worth up to $570. Fares start from $999 for a seven-night Greek Isles and Turkey cruise onboard Splendour of the Seas, departing October 10. Phone 1800 754 500, see royalcaribbean.com.au.