Fine Travel Tips

The insiders guide

Holiday Packages | Cruise Holidays

Fourteen tips to avoid “If only I had known” holiday package stories.

  1. Anticipation of your holiday is a key element, so book early to get the best price and range of options, then put a copy of your itinerary on your fridge.
  2. Your holiday feels like it has started when you are welcomed with a “Bula” entering the try using the local airline of the country you are travelling to.
  3. Resorts have varying room categories where you can enjoy a view, more space or a balcony and the additional investment is often less than you would think.
  4. Room location. Having your room located near the restaurant can be good if you want a short walk to breakfast but hell if they have a band playing at night.
  5. Are you celebrating a birthday or an anniversary during or close to your holiday? A nice surprise can be waiting in your room if you tell us.
  6. Having breakfast included is a great bonus but full meal plans can be over priced, and tie you to the resort for dining. The exception being Club Med or a Cruise.
  7. Don’t make your holiday too short. Day one we arrived and unpacked, day two we got familiar with our surroundings, day three we started to unwind, day four we tried to do everything as we knew we were leaving on day five.
  8. “I forgot it was the school holidays and there were kids everywhere.” You get the picture...time your holiday and check your resort type.
  9. Pre-book “must do” activities, sightseeing tours, excursions, Spa treatments, Fishing Trips etc. “We went all that way but couldn’t...”
  10. Always take Travel Insurance when making the first travel payment, often the deposit. You are at risk from many and varied events beyond your control. Protect your financial investment and have peace of mind.
  11. Check your passport validity, visa requirements and that your booking name matches passport name. Delays and even worse, being turned away at airport check-in, is stress that can be avoided.
  12. What is the baggage allowance on the airline you are flying? Repacking at the airport to avoid costly penalties is not fun.
  13. If you submitted your airline Frequent Flyer numbers, keep your boarding passes until the points appear on your statement. You can’t claim them retrospectively without the original copies.
  14. Take copies of your passport info pages and both sides of credit cards then leave a copy at home and take a copy with you. Keep the copies in a separate place to your passport and credit cards.

Remember...a fine holiday is an investment with the memory staying long after the price is forgotten.


Twenty-nine tips to avoid "If only I had known" cruise holiday stories

  1. An inside cabin is the least expensive for a reason. There is no natural light so you need to set your alarm to announce the sun has risen and they may also have slightly less space.
  2. The word luxury is used loosely when describing a cruise ship. Make sure your expectations on quality are going to be met or even better, exceeded.
  3. Waiting for last minute specials is often a fruitless task. Quality cruises are anticipated and usually sell well in advance...especially if the ship is small to medium size.
  4. A true luxury cruise line offering bonus inclusions like all beverages, onboard credits, gratuities and sometimes shore excursions, is often better value once you consider how much you might otherwise spend on such things.
  5. True luxury cruise lines are by no means necessarily stuffy or snobby. Often they present the best opportunity to make life- long friends plus the crew can be friendlier and more attentive as well.
  6. Having drinks included leads to great camaraderie due to the lack of hesitation in reciprocating for a round of drinks or ordering wine for the table.
  7. There are destination focused cruise itineraries and itineraries where the cruise ship is the destination. Make sure you get the one you want.
  8. Cruises can be great for families. You know where they are, while they are being entertained and fed plus they will make some great friends from around the world.
  9. On a one-way cruise try to find one that goes from a cool climate to a warm. E.G. Auckland to Honolulu via South Pacific Islands then fly home. Not visa-versa.
  10. It is good to consider what is loosely termed a ‘’repositioning cruise,’’ when a ship has to get from one world region to another, as these usually present great value for your money.
  11. Don’t get caught out by over-hyped marketing by some cruise lines...such as vast percentages off. Like rack rates at hotels, cruise lines have brochure prices that they rarely sell at.
  12. Gratuities (tips) can be a vexed question for the NZ (and Australian) cultures. But they are part of the cruise industry structure worldwide and cannot be avoided. Get an estimate so you aren’t surprised.
  13. There are certain famous ships and voyages which attract more than average interest. Cunard world voyage sectors spring to mind. If you definitely don’t want to miss out, you need to book as early as a year in advance.
  14. Many cruise lines offer cabins on guarantee basis. This means that you are guaranteed a certain minimum cabin grade and may be in line for an upgrade.
  15. Always be extremely wary of booking a cruise from a source outside New Zealand. Many lines do not permit cross border sales of their cruises and reserve the right to deny boarding at the pier.
  16. While generally all modern ships have great seagoing traits, if you do happen to be particularly sensitive to motion sickness, you might prefer to book more mid-ships and lower down. After mid-ships, aft generally has less movement than forward.
  17. If you like an all round view maybe consider an aft facing balcony cabin. You see all sides from there and the sound of the wake can be soothing. A similar cabin forward is far less likely to have usable balcony space due to wind speed.
  18. Keep in mind that the fastest cabins to sell are usually the most expensive and the least expensive. When it comes to the most expensive largest suites, this stands to reason when considering there may only be one or two on a whole ship.
  19. For river ship cruising, it can pay to avoid the lowest deck aft as there may be some engine noise.
  20. For river ships...never leave it too long to book as their limited occupancy fills quickly.
  21. Don’t be overly worried if your cabin might face away from coast. Ships are rarely in very close proximity to coasts anyway and the opposite side might also get more sun...depending on the itinerary.
  22. The term ‘’suite’’ is only used on ships when cabin is actually a dedicated suite with additional space and facilities as opposed to a cabin/stateroom.
  23. Don’t be concerned about so called ‘’formal nights’’ on board. If you don’t want to partake there are usually alternate dining options, even if just the self service buffets. But if you do want to be in main dining room on those nights then ships do expect a higher dress standard.
  24. Don’t expect to be able to wear jeans in most ship dining rooms in the evening, even if not a formal night.
  25. Don’t plan your departure flight for earlier than midday on day of ship debarking. The cruise line will never guarantee you can make it otherwise. If you have to debark early for some reason, always discuss with Concierge on board.
  26. There are still some countries where you cannot tour freely without a visa...(eg Russia/China/India) In Russia though, you can partake in ship shore excursions minus visa, but the tour must be ship to ship with no private touring, unless contacted to a licensed operator.
  27. If you choose first or second dinner dining on ships still offering traditional dining choice, then you share the table with same diners each night. This can be a nice way of getting to know new friends.
  28. On ships, every chargeable item (drinks, shore excursions, Spa etc) is charged to your cabin so you only need cash or credit card at cruise end to settle your account. If you don’t have a credit card you will need to deposit a certain amount in ship’s currency at start of cruise.
  29. Always pack some wet weather or wind protective gear. Winds can be cool at sea even in warm climates. 

Remember...a fine cruise is an investment with the memory staying long after the price is forgotten.

Travel partners


Satisfied Client

“Dear Heather, Your part of the trip was GREAT! Thank you. Hotel, suggestions to visit, - superb! ANZAC Day was GREAT! Corrina and I have some wonderful and emotion memories to savor. Thanks again.”
View all

For expert Holiday Planning