Cruise 101: The Essential Guide for Australians Planning Their First Voyage

May 9, 2024 | Cruises

Cruise holidays cater to a wide array of travel styles and interests, making them a top choice for Australians seeking a unique vacation experience. Whether looking to book a cruise that offers adventure, relaxation, or cultural exploration, there’s a cruise for every taste.

This travel guide will provide Australians planning their first cruise with essential tips on choosing the right voyage and understanding the costs associated with cruising. The goal is to ensure a seamless and memorable holiday experience.

Choosing the Right Cruise for You

Research Your Preferences

  1. Identify Your Interests: Consider what you enjoy most—relaxation, adventure, or cultural exploration. This will guide your choice of cruise.
  2. Consider Cruise Length: For beginners, a five-to-seven night cruise is recommended to provide a balanced experience without overwhelming you.

Select the Right Ship

  1. Ship Size and Amenities: Larger ships often offer more activities and amenities. Mega-ships cater to families and fun-seekers, while luxury ships provide a more intimate, high-service environment.
  2. Cabin Selection: The location of your cabin can affect your comfort, especially if you are prone to seasickness. Middle-ship cabins are generally more stable.

Consider the Type of Cruise

  1. Family vs. Adult-Only: Choose based on who is traveling. Family-friendly options include Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, while adults might prefer the quieter, luxurious settings of Virgin Voyages or Viking.
  2. Destination and Itinerary: Look for itineraries that balance sea days with port days to maximize your experience both on and off the ship.

Booking Your Cruise

  1. Direct Booking vs. Specialist: You can book directly with a cruise line or through a specialist who might provide additional insights and handle logistics.
  2. Cabin Types: Balcony cabins are popular for their views but sell out quickly. Inside cabins are more budget-friendly but lack windows.

Plan for Onboard and Shore Activities

  1. Shore Excursions: These are worth investing in if you’re exploring a destination for the first time. Book early to secure your spot on popular excursions.
  2. Onboard Entertainment: Plan your dining and entertainment options to avoid peak times, especially on sea days.

Evaluate the Cruise Atmosphere

  1. Luxury and Ambience: Ships vary widely from luxurious to casual. The atmosphere will influence your attire and activities onboard.
  2. Consider Service Levels: Smaller luxury ships tend to offer personalized service and gourmet dining, suitable for those seeking a refined experience.

By carefully considering these factors, you can ensure your cruise from Australia is perfectly matched to your preferences and expectations, making your first cruise a memorable adventure.

banner_cruise_south pacific_600x200_desktop_v1

Understanding the Costs Associated with Cruising

Cruise expenses can vary significantly, influenced by factors such as cruise line, duration, and the type of cruise selected. Here’s a breakdown to help you budget effectively for your cruise holiday.

Cruise Fare Variability

  1. Basic Costs: Prices for a standard cruise can range from as low as $115 to $185 per night, with luxury options soaring to $500-$1000 per night.
  2. Cruise Lines Comparison:
    • Carnival Cruise Line: Typically, $200 to $580 per person for double occupancy on 4 to 12-day itineraries.
    • Disney Cruise Line: A 10-night cruise may cost about $2400 for two, breaking down to $120 per person per night.
    • Princess Cruises: Charges about $140 to $300 per person per day for 5 to 28-day cruises.
    • Royal Caribbean: Rates for Australian itineraries range from $120 to $290 per person per night.

Additional Costs

  • Taxes and Fees: These prices generally do not include additional costs such as taxes, fees, and gratuities which can significantly increase the total expense.
  • Onboard Extras: Expenses such as spa treatments and special dining options can add up quickly and usually need to be booked early due to high demand.

Budget Options

  • Economical Cruise Lines: For those looking to save, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line offers rates from $109 to $179 per person, excluding taxes and fees.
  • Cost-effective Itineraries: Consider shorter or repositioning cruises, and shoulder-season sailings for better deals.

Understanding these cost elements will ensure that your dream cruise from Australia aligns with your budget expectations, paving the way for a stress-free holiday.

Preparation Checklist Before Your Cruise

Book Ahead for Special Experiences

  1. Dining Reservations: Secure your spots at specialty dining venues early, as they fill up quickly.
  2. Shore Excursions: Pre-book to ensure participation in popular tours and activities.

Essential Items to Pack

  • Travel Documents: Ensure you have your passport, visas, and cruise documentation ready.
  • Medications and Health Items: Pack sea sickness medication and a personal health kit.
  • Electronics: Include chargers for all devices, a travel adapter, and any necessary gadgets like cameras or mobile phones.

Day of Embarkation

  1. Arrival Time: Aim to arrive during off-peak hours to dodge long lines.
  2. Carry-On Essentials: Pack swimwear, a change of clothes, and any immediate necessities in your carry-on bag.

Onboard Tips

  1. Stay Hydrated: Carry a refillable water bottle to use throughout the ship.
  2. First Day Strategy: Take it easy on your first day to familiarize yourself with the ship’s layout and offerings.
  3. Engage with the Crew: They can offer valuable insights and enhance your cruise experience.

Tech and Connectivity

  1. Avoid Roaming Charges: Use the ship’s WiFi and turn off data roaming to prevent unexpected fees.
  2. Power Needs: Bring a multi-outlet power plug to charge several devices at once.

Safety and Comfort

  1. Balcony Door: Keep it closed to avoid unwanted wildlife or inclement weather disruptions.
  2. Cash for Tips: It’s customary to tip crew members for exemplary service.

Preparing Your Home

  1. Security Measures: Arrange for someone to check on your house, and don’t forget to stop all deliveries.
  2. Utility Management: Consider turning off water and power where appropriate to avoid any issues while you’re away.

By following this checklist, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable start to your cruise adventure, focusing on relaxation and discovery rather than last-minute stresses.


Embarking on your first cruise journey as an Australian traveler offers a gateway to unparalleled adventures and relaxation, tailored to your personal tastes and interests. Whether you seek the thrill of discovery, the peace of tranquil seas, or the enrichment of cultural exchanges, the insights provided in this guide are designed to pave the way for a voyage that not only meets but exceeds your expectations. By considering factors such as the type of cruise, onboard amenities, and the costs involved, travelers can make informed decisions that align perfectly with their dream holiday vision.

Understanding the logistical and financial aspects of cruising is crucial for a seamless experience, from selecting the right cruise line to budgeting for additional expenses. This article has aimed to equip you with the knowledge to navigate the complexities of planning your cruise, ensuring that every aspect of your holiday—from embarkation to the journey itself—is as enriching and enjoyable as possible. As you set sail on this exciting journey, remember that the magic of cruising lies not just in the destinations you explore, but in the voyage itself and the memories you create along the way.

Book your dream cruise today!


Preparing for Your First Cruise

Q: What should I do to get ready for my inaugural cruise experience? 

A: To prepare for your first cruise, ensure your travel documents are up to date. Contact your bank and acquire local currency if needed. Create a comprehensive packing list and start planning your excursions and adventures. Familiarize yourself with the layout and offerings of your ship, make reservations at specialty restaurants, schedule any desired spa appointments, and stock up on any necessary medications.

Boarding the Cruise Ship

Q: Upon boarding the cruise ship, what is the initial procedure? 

A: When you first board a cruise ship, the security crew will check you in using your cruise card. You’ll typically enter near the main atrium where you’ll be greeted with enthusiasm by the staff, possibly with live music, a glass of champagne or a cocktail, some finger foods, and other entertaining activities to kick off your voyage.

Managing Stomach Issues on a Cruise

Q: How can I prepare my stomach for cruising to avoid discomfort? 

A: To prevent stomach discomfort on a cruise, it’s advisable to steer clear of high-fat and spicy foods before your trip, as these can irritate your stomach lining and exacerbate nausea. For those with slower digestion or digestive issues, it’s especially important to avoid greasy foods that can make digestion more challenging.

Best Time to Cruise in Australia

Q: When is the optimal time of year to go on a cruise in Australia? 

A: The ideal time for a cruise in Australia is during the summer months, from December to February. This period offers sunny weather and inviting beaches, perfect for outdoor activities. While tropical North Queensland may be experiencing its wet season, the major cities like Sydney and Melbourne generally enjoy dry conditions, making it a great time for cruising.

Disclosure: Some links in our articles may be affiliate links. This means may earn a commission if you click the link and make a purchase. This helps support our work in bringing you the latest news and reviews. We strive to recommend products and services based on their quality and value, regardless of affiliate relationships.