Seeing the world one port at a time and indulging in top notch service are two of Cruise Expert Katherine Ruschiensky’s favourite things about cruising. A seasoned cruiser with more than 50 sailings under her belt, Katherine shares her favourite itineraries for 2016 and shares her top cruise tips:
How many cruises have you been on to date?
I spent two years working for Princess Cruises. I’ve been on more than 50 sailings – approximately 10 different itineraries within that.
What is your favourite cruise line and why?
I love sending my clients to sail with Celebrity Cruises. Every single guest has come back in awe of the service provided, the high quality of the dining options and very excited for their next adventure with Celebrity!
What is your favourite thing about cruising?
I love the opportunity to visit multiple destinations and countries all in one trip. The quality of service onboard is unmatched on land. Most cruise lines have a very small staff to guest ratio so everyone onboard feels very well taken care of.
What was your most memorable cruising experience and why?
During a New Zealand Cruise (which is amazing in itself) I had the opportunity to enjoy a scenic cruise through Fjordland National Park in New Zealand. The amazing natural beauty, especially around Milford Sound, was unforgettable.
What’s your favourite port and why?
My favourite port so far is Nadi, Fiji. This is a great resort area where in a day you can enjoy shopping, touring a nearby National Park or visiting a Luxury Resort for a fraction of the price of staying there overnight.
It’s a beautiful setting, very relaxed and the Fijian people make sure you have a great time during your visit.
What are your top 3 cruise tips?
1. Prepare for and participate in the theme nights or formal dining nights wherever possible. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy some fun activities with onboard staff or make some memories with family and friends while everyone looks and feels amazing!
2. If you’re a frequent cruiser, try sailing with the same line as often as possible. There are great benefits that you will start to enjoy and you’d be surprised at how fast the crew members will recognize you on board. It will feel like travelling with family!
3. Choose one day during your trip to stay onboard the ship, even for half a day, while most other passengers are on land. It is a great way to relax and you get the feeling that you have most of the ship to yourself. This is especially good if you are new to cruising as staff is still on board and they have a bit more time to provide advice for your trip, or tips on how to make the most of your time onboard during days at sea.
Big vs small ships – How do you help a client decide?
I would consider the duration of the cruise and the group that is travelling. For a shorter cruise I would recommend a smaller ship so that it doesn’t take too long to find your way around and get comfortable. However if you’re travelling with a family including kids, go for a bigger ship that will have more activity options for all ages. This is also true for longer itineraries or those that have a bit more time at sea – you will have endless options to keep you busy and entertained every day!
What cruise destinations would you recommend for 2016 and why?
Both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity have introduced very interesting itineraries through Asia. Normally served by smaller ships, these ports are unique and offer amazing history and ‘off the beaten path’ excursions.