Time to set sail
24 May 2018
By Shadforth Financial Group
No longer the sole domain of retirees, cruises offer travellers the chance to add yoga classes, Michelin-starred menus and exotic explorations to their itinerary.
Research released by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) last year revealed that global cruise travel is continuing to grow at a steady pace, and Australians are among the top travellers ready to jump on board.
In 2015, the number of Australians taking a cruise reached one million following years of double digit growth — a growth rate second only to the Chinese1.
Who’s cruising where?
A closer look at the cruising crowd reveals that 46 per cent of all passengers are now under the age of 50, and new generations — including Millennials — will embrace cruise travel more than ever before this year2.
While Australian cruisers continue to prefer travel within Australia and the South Pacific, those cruising to New Zealand rose by 13.5 per cent and the number of Australians taking an ocean cruise in Asia jumped 71.5 per cent1.
If you’re keen to get on deck, here are some of the top cruising trends to consider when travelling the seven seas.
The demand for expedition cruises is on the rise as nomad travellers dream of sea adventures to destinations that can still only be accessed by water. Smaller ships can reach some of the most fascinating destinations on earth, like remote islands, exotic rivers and fjords inaccessible by larger ships. The Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, Irrawaddy and Indonesia should all be on the list.
Fine dining at sea
Food, wine, sunshine and sea — it’s no wonder travellers are embracing gastronomy cruises. The on-board chefs, some of which hold Michelin stars if you do your research, will serve up a variety of dishes sure to awaken your taste buds. But the experience is heightened by many of the foodie cruise providers offering cooking lessons on board, visits to local markets and,should you choose to head to France, guided tours of renowned vineyards and wineries.
River cruising is also on the rise as travellers seek out experiences that stand apart from the larger, family-friendly ocean ships. Meandering along the Seine or Rhine-Danube rivers remain firm favourites. But, if you’re after something a bit more exclusive, some cruises now invite along expert guests so you can learn from historians, writers or restaurant owners while you cruise. Or, if you’re after something a bit more exotic, you might want to consider the Mekong or the Russian Far East. Whatever your destination, you’ll enjoy the flexibility to explore cities during the day or night and experience the bespoke classes offered on board including mixology or yoga.
Before you set sail, ask yourself, have you got the right travel insurance in place for your cruise? Without it, you could be facing significant financial loss, or worse, being stuck in a country with poor medical facilities while waiting for family back home to raise the money to send for payment.
Darren Reilly, an Insurance Adviser at Shadforth Insurance Brokers, says it’s crucial Australians understand the hidden costs of overseas travel including cruising — especially since as soon as you leave Australian waters, Medicare no longer applies.
“To see a doctor on board incurs immediate costs, then add to this the medication you may need to purchase. However, if you are travelling to a destination with no or poor hospital facilities, you may need to be air-lifted to another country. These costs can exceed $50,000 and include plane charter, a doctor or nurse to travel with you, and return flights for yourself and carer to the original point of departure,” says Darren.
He also points out that a single, one-off travel policy for the duration of your trip is all you’d need to ensure you’re protected — which can be extended to cover family or dependent children, or be condensed to a more competitive price under an annual travel policy
if you’re planning more than three trips in the one year.
"For those considering a cruise this year, my top tip would be to always declare previous medical conditions," says Darren. “Failure to do so means you won’t have cover if you have a relapse, whether it’s due to a previous illness or simply an accident. By working with your insurance broker and disclosing previous issues, you may be able to pay a little more to ensure your condition is covered under your travel policy. Otherwise, you can extend the cover and set sail knowing you’re travelling safely and within your limits.”
Are you planning an adventure on the high seas? Get in touch today and we’ll make sure you’re well-placed to set sail.
1 Cruise Lines International Association ‘Ocean Cruise Passengers Australia 2015’.
2 Cruise Lines International Association, ‘2018 Cruise Industry Outlook’, December 2017.