After living and breathing the life at sea for just over five years, our Cruise Expert has a few tips and tricks to share for first-time cruisers and cruising pros alike. Meet Melissa Wand:
1. How many times have you been on a cruise?
I lived and worked on a cruise ship for five-and-a-half years.
2. How many countries have you visited just while cruising?
3. What is your favourite cruise line and why?
Princess Cruises. I worked for Princess for five-and-a-half years, so I feel I know their product inside and out. The thing I love the most about Princess is their dedication to their passengers. The staff go above and beyond to create the best atmosphere for the passengers to experience the cruise of a lifetime. They are also the destination leaders in the industry. Not only do they cruise to many places that other lines do not, they really embrace the fact that passengers come onboard to experience the destination and their entertainment, cuisine, and onboard lectures really reflect and enhance the full travel experience.
4. What is your favourite thing about cruising?
I love being able to see so many different cities/countries in such a short period of time and only having to unpack once.
5. What was the most memorable cruising experience/trip and why?
Cruising the Baltic Sea was by far my most memorable cruising experience. Scandinavia is incredibly majestic. I loved how clean and efficient everything is in that part of the world.
6. What’s your favourite port and why?
I absolutely loved Tauranga in New Zealand. It’s a quaint port of call with lots of adventure sports i.e. sky diving, as well as some beautiful beaches.
7. What are your top 3 cruise tips?
1. Book your shore excursions in advance. This will save you a lot of time waiting in line on embarkation day.
2. If it’s your first time, book a balcony stateroom – you will not regret it!
3. Make sure you try the specialty restaurants on board.
8. What cruise destinations would you recommend and why?
Make your way to Hawaii. I personally think the best way to see Hawaii is on a cruise. With most cruise lines you will embark somewhere along the west coast of Canada or the US, and spend five days at sea which allows you to rest up before you start your adventure. Five days in port to take as much in as you can, followed by another five days at sea to relax and reflect on what you’ve just experienced in one of the most romantic places on earth.
9. Big ship vs small ship – How do you help a client decide?
If you are looking for an action-packed itinerary with lots of activities onboard, love meeting new people, and want to feel like you are on land even though you are floating on water then a big ship is for you. If you want a more quiet intimate vibe, where the staff and your fellow passengers know you by name then I would highly recommend a small ship. The advantage of a small ship over a big ship is the little ships can get into many ports that the larger ships cannot. Less people also means quicker embarkation and disembarkation in each port-of-call which also means more time to see the things you really want to see.