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Written by Sally Macmillan, Travel Editor at Traveller.
At last, a short break beckons! You’ve got a three-day window, so where to go? If a road trip is your first choice, have another think. A short cruise offers a lot more bang for your buck – on many levels.
Taking time out from our everyday lives to de-stress and refresh is one of life’s essential luxuries. Jumping in the car with your partner or a friend and heading off on a quick road trip might seem like the obvious way to go, but when time is short and distances are huge – as they are in our big, beautiful backyard – it’s not quite as carefree as it might seem.
Before you start planning your route and booking accommodation, why not consider the many advantages of taking a short cruise? For a start, it’s easy to organise. Find your nearest departure port (P&O Cruises Australia sail from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Fremantle), take your pick from a great range of P&O 2-5 Day Short Cruises, book one and that’s it – your holiday is sorted.
You don’t have to spend hours working out how long you have to drive to get somewhere interesting, book accommodation months in advance, check your car is roadworthy, budget for meals, fuel, tolls and incidental activities, or factor in time stuck in traffic jams.
Budgeting is the big one and it’s no secret that cruises offer excellent value for money, particularly if you check out current Deals. Your fare covers all meals in designated restaurants, Entertainment and onboard activities, so you know exactly what you’re up for. On top of the fare, you can easily work out a personal allowance for extras such as drinks or a spa treatment!
Looking at one popular cruise as an example, a three-night jaunt from Sydney to Eden and back, fares start from $499 per person when there’s two of you. That’s for an oceanview room (with a window) – for an extra $50 you’ll be upgraded to a balcony room, which is money very well spent. Look for campaigns which offer room upgrades, you could book a balcony room and be upgraded to a mini-suite or suite. Wouldn’t that be nice?
There’s nothing quite like stepping through the glass door to your private balcony and taking in uninterrupted ocean views, sipping a glass of wine as the sun goes down or enjoying an al fresco breakfast delivered to your door. And there’s nothing so relaxing as drifting off to sleep to the soothing sound of the sea.
There are many more benefits of taking a cruise when you consider all the features you’ll find on a modern Australian ship. Everything is a short stroll from your room: a great choice of restaurants, stylish bars and lounges; pools, sports deck, jogging track and gym; the child-free Oasis retreat; theatres staging an array of live shows; an outdoor movie screen and more.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a holiday venue anywhere in Australia at the height of summer that could offer anything like these facilities!
As for Dining, P&O Cruises has upped the ante on its free options, all of which showcase top-quality Australian sourced produce. The Pantry and Waterfront Restaurant are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, while Angelo’s and Dragon Lady serve up excellent Italian and Asian cuisine for dinner every night. The Pantry offers everything from curries and Mexican dishes to fish and chips, healthy salads, seafood and pasta, and menus change daily. The Waterfront Restaurant also offers a wide range of delicious dishes in a light and airy space.
If you feel like splashing out for an extra special dinner, check out 400 Gradi Pizza, from award-winning Melbourne chef Johnny Di Francesco; Shell & Bones for seafood lovers; or one of internationally renowned restaurateur Luke Mangan’s venues. These specialty restaurants are incredibly good value – where on land can you order a kilo of steamed blue mussels for $20? Or a perfectly cooked steak for $17?
Another reason why cruises are so popular is that they can be as relaxing or action-packed as you like. On a road trip, one of you has to be fully alert at the wheel and if you do the right thing and take a break every couple of hours, the overall journey time to your destination gets even longer. Driving can be tiring, being the passenger can be boring and stretching your legs on a motorway rest stop might be the most exercise you can fit in before and after lunch.
On a short cruise, you can spend your precious holiday time winding down during the day and in the evening go out for dinner and drinks, then see a comedy act or take in some live music at a lounge or bar. Walking or jogging around the promenade deck, soaking up ocean views and breathing in fresh salty air are among the great pleasures of life at sea. If you want to amp up the fitness factor, you can head to the gym for a work-out or join a yoga class on the open deck – there are plenty of options to suit all types of traveller.
Still not convinced which trip is right for you? Check out Article: 10 Cruise Secrets You Should Know About.