13 Tips To Experience Australia Through A Cruise
One of the best ways to experience beautiful Australia is through cruises. You’ll find many cruises to and within Australia, such as by Big-Ship Lines, Luxury Lines, Soft-Adventure Lines and River and Barge Lines. The tipping rules and expected etiquette vary according to the kind of cruise you take, but other rules remain similar.
Must-Experience Australian Cruises
1. The Great Barrier Reef Cruise: There are small, comfortable cruise ships that can access otherwise inaccessible island sites and reef.
2. The Whitsundays Cruises: Explore the islands and their fringing coral reefs on small passenger cruises, and snorkel and dive in the deep waters.
3. Sydney Harbor Cruise: Take weekend cruises to explore the upper reaches of the Parramatta and Lane Cove Rivers, past famous colonial luxury waterfront dwellings.
4. Murray River Cruises: Experience the Aboriginal Cultural Centre, and the breathtaking bio-diversity of the land and the backwater wildlife.
5. The Kimberley Cruise: Follow Captain James Cook’s voyage of discovery, through the Cape York Peninsula, the Great Barrier Reef, Arnhem Land and the Coburg Peninsula.
6. KNOW THE TIPPING ETIQUETTE IN ADVANCE
Always talk to your cruise manager about what’s expected from you in regards to tipping. Some cruises collect tip gratuities every night, some include tips into charges and some leave it to the passengers.
7. OPT OUT OF THE AUTOMATIC SERVICE CHARGE
Most cruises include an automatic service charge of $10 or $12 per person in your bill. You can choose to opt out of this automatic charge and tip only those that serve you.
8. WHEN TO TIP
Tip your cabin steward, butler, dining room waiters, assistant and head waiter on the last day of the cruise. Again, if you use their services for private entertaining, or if someone in your party needs additional care, tip them in the beginning too.
9. WHOM TO TIP AND HOW MUCH
• Cabin Stewards ($5 a night)
• Room Service Stewards ($2 per visit).
• Bartenders ($5 a day).
• Wine Stewards($10 for a week’s cruise)
• Head waiter ($1 per meal and $5 for a special service)
• Dining Room Waiters ($5)
• Shore excursions guide ($2 or $4 for a full-day excursion, or $10 for a personal tour)
• Baggage Handlers ($1 per bag)
• Spa (20% of your cabin cost, at the end of the cruise)
10. BEST TIME TO CRUISE AROUND AUSTRALIA
• The high season for Australian cruises is during the summer, December to April.
• Large cruises are available year found, while smaller, specialty cruises are usually seasonal.
• Tasmanian cruises are best between November to March, which is the Southern summer.
• Top End cruises operate between April to October, in the winter months.
• The low cruise season is usually in winter, between June to August, best timing to explore hot regions.
11. PREPARING FOR YOUR CRUISE
• Review your ticket booking.
• Validate that your personal details, emergency contact details and other information are as provided.
• Always take out a travel insurance policy to cover medical conditions, accidents, adventure sports, hospitalization, etc.
• Let the cruise company know of existing medical conditions or disabilities in advance, along with details of medical care, prescriptions and dietary restrictions.
• Give your doctor the list of ports you’ll be visiting and obtain advice on vaccinations (Influenza (seasonal), Tetanus/Diphtheria and Hepatitis A)
• Ensure that your passport is valid for 6 months beyond your travel date.
• Pack sufficient prescriptions to last your cruise.
• Share your itinerary and contact numbers with your friends and family.
• Study cruise safety guidelines on the Department of Foreign Affairs website at smartraveller.gov.au.
• Reserve shore tours at least 14 days in advance so that you don’t lose out.
12. WHILE ON THE CRUISE
• Any local tours that you book will be at your own risk, so be sure to fully research the tour operator in advance.
• Carry your travel docs, insurance policy, prescription medicines, money and jewelry in your hand luggage.
• Surrender cigarettes, alcohol and cigars for storage when you embark.
• Obtain a free copy of Australia’s personal duty-free concessions and prohibited and restricted goods laws and from www.customs.gov.au.
• On a summer cruise, dress is casual during the day and warm during the evenings.
• Wear a long-sleeved t-shirt and a wide-brimmed hat in the hot sun. Slap on sunscreen before and after swimming.
• Drink plenty of water while on board, and avoid alcohol as it dehydrates you.
• Use an insect repellent that contains at least 20% DEET.
13. RETURNING TO AUSTRALIA
• If you are an Australian resident, you can avail a per adult duty-free exemption of AUD900.
• If you’re carrying plant or animal products, you will have to declare them to for quarantine. They will either be returned to you inspection, or destroyed if found to be contagious.
Post by Sidney, who found the best birthday gift for her man on adrenalin.com.au.