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HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR IDEAL RIVER OR OCEAN CRUISE

Ocean Liner

PLANNING YOUR IDEAL CRUISE

Are you planning to do a cruise but not sure where to start? There are so many options out there and it can be quite overwhelming trying to find the one that is going to give you everything you are hoping for in a cruise vacation. If you have never cruised before – I highly recommend that you read through this guide to help you choose the ideal cruise for you and your family or whoever you are planning to cruise with. If you haven’t cruised before then be sure to check out our blog for First Time Cruisers.

If you have cruised before but still struggling to decide whether you want to try out something a little different then you are in the right place!

WHERE TO START

Cruising is fast becoming a popular choice of vacation for couples, families, groups, extended families and anyone else who is looking for an easy relaxing vacation. Most cruises whether they are river or ocean include your meals, accommodation, transport and entertainment. Of course there are almost always upgrades on offer so if you want to try a specialty restaurant or do a ship shore excursion these are usually at an additional cost. Having said that – some cruises include all of these things and more. You are really only limited to your budget and destination.

There are budget cruises, luxury cruises, family cruises, theme cruises, luxury cruises, small ship, mid size ship, large ships and mega liners. Ocean cruises, river cruises, self drive cruises, barge cruising, adventure cruising, unique cruises. Cruise ships travel all over the world from the Arctic to the Antarctic and everywhere in between!

River cruises are often referred to as a “floating coach tour” as they are quite full on and very destination focused. The main difference being that on a river cruise you only have to unpack once!

WHO IS CRUISING? SOCIABLE OR PRIVACY?

Depending on who you are traveling with will have an impact on the type and duration of your chosen cruise. For example – If you are traveling with young children you are unlikely to find a suitable river cruise that will either allow children on board or even cater for them. Most young families prefer to cruise on an ocean cruise ship as they are more likely to find an option that has the facilities on board to look after your children and keep them suitably entertained. After all – you want to be able to have a holiday too!

River cruise ships tend to be very destination focused and because of their size they are unable to provide facilities on board for children. Having said that – there are a few that will be happy to take older children on their cruises and have cabin options that would suit a small family. However, there are no Kid’s Clubs on board and no baby sitting services are offered.

You might be looking for a romantic, peaceful getaway for a honeymoon or an anniversary. Therefore, a large party ship may not be quite what you had in mind. Or perhaps that is exactly what you want! It is entirely dependent on what you want. Of course even on a large mega liner you can still find some quiet places.

There are certain cruise lines that tend to have an older demographic on board such as Cunard, Seaborne, Azamara, Holland America, P & O International and Princess to name a few. These cruise lines tend to have longer itineraries and therefore do not really appeal to younger families as they usually have shorter holidays. That is not to say these cruise lines do not accept children or younger travelers – but there are fewer on board especially on longer cruises.

The same could be said for river cruises. Although they are becoming more popular with younger professional couples who want a more intimate, destination focused cruise experience. On a river ship you will usually have a maximum of 180 – 200 passengers on board. Ocean cruises range from 200 passengers (on a small luxury style ship) to upwards of 6000 passengers! In fact MSC is currently building a new ship that will hold up to 6850 passengers!

One would think that a large 6000 passenger cruise ship would be more sociable than a smaller river cruise but this can actually be quite the opposite! On a river cruise you see the same people every day as there is a smaller number of passengers onboard. This gives more opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers. On a mega liner you might be lucky to see the same person more than once on a 7 night cruise! Certainly the opportunities are less.

Although the nightly entertainment on an ocean cruise is far superior to a river cruise simply because they have the room for nightclubs, bars and entertainment options.

CRUISING WITH CHILDREN

There is a minimum age limit for children on board most cruises. The youngest they can travel is 6 months old and this only on certain cruise lines. Sometimes it depends on the destination and the duration so it always pays to double check with your travel agent to make sure your infant is eligible to travel on your chosen cruise.

On Norwegian Cruise Lines infants over 6 months old are welcome – however there are restrictions on this. For voyages that have three or more consecutive days at sea, infants must be at least 12 months old. Carnival Cruises will allow infants 6 months and over on their cruises as will Celebrity and Disney however again there are restrictions on the length or destination of the cruise.

On Princess Cruises the minimum age for babies is 6 months for cruises to Alaska, Europe, Canada & New England, Caribbean and Mexico and a minimum age of 12 months for all other destinations.

On Cunard children at least six months of age are welcome on Europe cruises, except Icelandic sailings where the minimum age is one year. For North America, Canada and Caribbean cruises, the minimum age is six months. For Transatlantic Crossings, Transpacific sailings, World and Exotic voyages, the minimum age is one year.

You get the idea.

On all cruises additional bedding or cots for babies must be requested before departure.

It is worth noting that there are a few cruise lines such as Viking Ocean Cruises that do not allow children on board at all! These ships are focused on adults only market and they definitely have a place in the cruising world as there are many experienced cruisers that are simply not interested in sharing their holidays with other peoples’ children.

Check out the Facilities Factsheet for family facilities on board some cruise lines.

HOW LONG DO YOU WANT TO CRUISE FOR?

The length of time you have will also have an impact on which cruise line would best suit your cruise. Some cruise lines focus on shorter sailings that attract families and young to middle-aged people who may have a shorter vacation time than a couple who are retired. Most river cruises are between 7 – 14 nights. Ocean cruises range from 2 night sea breaks up to the Ultimate World Cruise on Viking which is 245 days! Most people would book a short sea break or a 7 -14 night cruise if they are cruising for the first time. This allows them to try it out without being at sea for too long just in case it isn’t for them.

If you have the time, the longer you cruise the cheaper it gets! When you take into account that your meals, accommodation, entertainment and transport between destinations is all included, you would hard-pressed finding anything that is as well priced with the same inclusions and service levels.

DESTINATION CRUISING

A large part of deciding which cruise is the destination. You need to check to ensure the cruise line you choose is in fact able to visit the ports you want to experience. Not all ships are allowed or even able to go into every port. Mega-liners are restricted to deep harbor ports and can only dock in certain ports due to the sheer magnitude of these monstrous floating resorts! Most passengers on these mega ships are in fact considering the ship itself as the destination and tend not to be too concerned about the destinations they are visiting. For them it is all about the on board experience and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that! These passengers are the ones who wait until everyone else has left the ship and find a nice peaceful spot near the pool and curl up with a good book!

At the other end of the scale you have the expedition style cruise ships (see the below time-lapse youtube video going into Antarctica) where the sole focus is on the destination itself. Whether it is exploring the incredible wildlife inhabitants of the Galapagos Islands or the wilderness and wildlife of the Antarctic regions – these ships while still luxurious in service, food and comfort are predominantly designed to explore a destination or region and educate their passengers on those regions. You will often find on these cruises you will have access to a high caliber of lecturers and wildlife experts who are extremely passionate and well-educated in their particular field of expertise.

The smaller the ship the more interesting the ports of call can be. Smaller ships can get a lot closer to a city or a village! Take Alaska as an example. The larger ships are very restricted to the ports of call they can access like Juneau, Seward, Ketchikan and Skagway whereas the smaller ships can get right into some lesser visited bays and glaciers. Smaller ships like Seabourn Sojourn boast amazing itineraries that include ports such as Wrangell, Rudyard Bay, Prince Rupert, Klemtu to name a few – giving a far more exciting and comprehensive itinerary.

THE BUDGET – AFFORDABLE LUXURY CRUISES

You may be pleasantly surprised to find out exactly how affordable luxury ocean cruises can be. When you calculate the daily rate on a cruise and consider what is included it is fantastic value. Some cruise lines offer amazing deals such as Kids cruise free (or at a discounted rate), On board credits, Drinks packages, complimentary shore excursions, WiFi, flight credits, cabin upgrades, low deposits, early booking/payment discounts, past passenger discounts, complimentary specialty dining, Butler services and more. Try getting that sort of deal at a resort!

Check with your cruise travel agent to make sure you are getting the best available deal. Some people are firm believers in waiting for last minute deals – however the problem with this is that you are only going to get the least desirable cabins in the least desirable locations. So, if cabin location or type of cabin (IE balcony, suite, ocean view etc) is important to you these do not wait until the last minute or you may be disappointed!

If you are not bothered by the cabin or location these by all means – hang off until the last few months before departure and see what comes out. But be prepared to miss out altogether if you are after a particular cruise. Some cruises do sell out – especially the round world cruises!

Luxury River Cruises are a bit more expensive than ocean cruises but still offer great value for money. There are different levels as with ocean cruises but you do tend to get a few more inclusions. For example on a river cruise you would normally receive a guided walking tour in each port of call. Some river cruise lines offer fully inclusive options that include ALL your shore excursions and exclusive experiences. Beer and wine are usually included at lunch and dinner and some offer an open bar. Gratuities are also normally included on a river cruise which is not always the case on an ocean cruise.

A river cruise is usually a destination focused cruise so no days at sea! Every day offers a new port and a new experience. Have a look at Avalon Suite Ships for a peek into life on board a luxury river cruise!

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD!

On a luxury river cruise you would get fewer choices for dining options although the food on board is still amazing! The focus also tends to be on local cuisine so as you travel through different areas the chefs on board will prepare dishes that are unique to that destination or area. The food also tends to be very fresh as while you are off on your guided walking tour or whatever you have chosen to do that day the chef and his crew are off at the market getting the freshest produce to prepare your amazing dinner!

Larger ocean cruise ships will always have plenty of dining options. Usually the A la Carte main restaurant and buffet are included in your cruise fare. But if you fancy trying something a little different or want a more intimate dining experience these there are usually plenty of alternatives. You will almost always find some sort of Italian or French restaurant on board and often a Steak and Seafood, Asian, Burger or Pizza style restaurant and many more variations. It really depends on the cruise lines. Most cruise lines also have some sort of celebrity Chef that has created the menu for an on board specialty restaurant. So you could be dining on cuisine created by Curtis Stone, Jamie Oliver, Thomas Keller, Roy Yamaguchi, & Jacques Pepin to name a few!

BEVERAGES

On most river cruises you will likely have beer and wine included with lunch and dinner. (Just check with your travel agent!) Some will even include all beverages at any time. It will depend on who you cruise with and the package you have chosen. Even if your price does not include the beverages sometimes you can purchase a beverage package once on board and sometimes prior to departure. It does pay to work out the value though.

Ocean cruises do not usually include a drinks package although some luxury cruise lines do offer all-inclusive packages. However, – many cruise lines now offer drink packages that are able to be purchased on board or at the time of booking. Some also offer packages that allows you to choose out of several options at the time of booking including a drinks package.

If you are not a big drinker don’t bother with a drinks package. Most alcoholic beverages on board are reasonably priced (Starting from around $7USD for a wine maybe a bit less for a beer. Cocktails can range in price depending on the cruise line but usually start around $8 -10USD.

ENTERTAINMENT

Entertainment on a river cruise tends to consist of local artists who come on board for a few hours to entertain and these leave the ship either before it leaves for the next port or they will cruise to the next port and these disembark. You might get a lovely quartet or a glassblower or a local singer. It will depend on the area you are cruising in. Sometimes the entertainment is off the ship. For example in Vienna you might be lucky enough to get invited to listen to a Viennese choir perform just for you!

Of course there is always a bar or two on board and there will be a library of sorts. Some river cruise ships have small pools or a spa pool on board. Viking River Cruise ships in Europe have an outdoor games area with Chess and other activities to keep you busy.

Entertainment on the European River Cruises will be different from an Asian River cruise.

If you are cruising on a large ocean going cruise ship these you will likely have access to some amazing entertainment. From Broadway style shows to comedy acts, nightclubs, Karaoke, Ice skating shows, Movies under the stars, bars galore, live bands, Quartets, Duos, Piano players, Cirque de Solei style shows, acrobats, water shows, TV reality style game shows and many more! Of course, you don’t get ALL of this on one ship! But you will get at least half a dozen or so of these options. Most cruise ships will have two performances at night for the main show so everyone gets a chance to see the show.

Some shows I have seen are better than the shows on land! Absolutely incredible! The high caliber of performers is amazing. My favorite so far would have to be on NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines). They performed the best rendition of “Priscilla – Queen of the Desert” I have ever seen!

Download Broadway and West End Productions for a sample of some on board entertainment available on some ocean cruise lines.

ON BOARD ACTIVITIES

Ocean cruises usually offer a plethora of on board activities to keep passengers busy during sea days. River cruises do not usually offer more than a small jacuzzi (if you are lucky!), a spa, small gymnasium and maybe a few deck games as they are usually in port for a whole day. If you need more stimulation then look at ocean cruising!

There is a misconception that active travelers will get bored on a cruise but this simply is not the case! The number and range of activities differ between cruise lines and the size of the ship. Mega liners offer an amazing array of activities such as:

  • Swimming pools
  • Spas
  • Gymnasium
  • Fitness classes
  • Bingo
  • Casinos
  • Pool tables
  • Video arcades
  • Simulators
  • Skydiving at sea
  • Ice skating
  • Bumper cars
  • Waterslides
  • Zip-lining
  • Rock climbing
  • Escape rooms
  • Cocktail making classes
  • Ten Pin Bowling
  • Wine tasting
  • Culinary classes
  • Game Shows
  • Dance lessons
  • Karaoke
  • Photography classes
  • Art classes
  • Art auctions
  • Lectures
  • Pub Quiz
  • Martini making classes
  • Glass blowing shows
  • Basketball
  • Mini Golf
  • Golf Simulators
  • Flow riders
  • North Star (Royal Caribbean)
  • Observatory
  • Laser Tag
  • Shopping
  • Language classes
  • Movies under the Stars
  • PlayStation/Xbox
  • Sports Courts
  • Ship tours
  • Science at Sea
  • Library
  • Games room
  • Water Parks
  • Trapeze School
  • Jewelry Making Classes,
  • Scuba Diving Certification
  • Night clubs
  • Rope Courses
  • Walk the Plank

And many more!!

Have a sneak peek at some amazing features on Carnival Horizon and some adrenaline junkie options on Royal Caribbean here:

 

THEME CRUISES

If themes are your thing these chances are you will be able to find a cruise that has a theme to suit you and your interests. They range from music themes, comedy, Art, Food & Wine, active travelers, Festival themes, LGBT, Singles and many more. Check with your travel agent to see when your preferred themed cruise is departing. Typically, these need to be booked quite far in advance as they are extremely popular and sell out quickly!

THE SCENERY

River cruises offer amazing scenery every day! From the castles along the Rhine to fishing villages on the Mekong – there is always something to see. Ocean cruises on the other hand can often be several days of expansive ocean with the odd smattering of far off distant lands. Occasionally you may be lucky to spot a pod of playful dolphins or depending on where you are cruising you may see whales and other marine life.

TECHNOLOGY

For those that simply cannot do without WiFi you will be pleased to know that these days most cruise ships both river and ocean offer either free WiFi or WiFi packages. Prices do differ between cruise lines so get your Cruise Specialist to check to see what is available for your cruise option.

River cruises tend to include WiFi and it is usually of a good speed given they are close to land for the duration of the cruise. Ocean cruises however usually offer packages as the costs of the WiFi is much higher at sea. Prices are slowly coming down but if you can hold off waiting until you are in port this will be a much cheaper option for you.

Ocean cruises usually offer technology classes and have access to computers. Some river cruise ships give their passengers iPads to use during the cruise! On all cruises there will be a TV screen in your cabin. This enables the ship to send you important information regarding safety onboard as well as destination information. Some offer TV shows or movies.

TOP TIP!!!

If you are cruising through China or another region that restricts what websites you can use then you will need to download a VPN prior to departure if you want access to your favorite websites and social media platforms. I recommend VirtualShield.com  They have some great options and are reliable. Of course it pays to set this up PRIOR to departing your hometown as it could be difficult once you are in China.

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE

Ocean cruise ships all offer excellent medical facilities onboard and most can even perform minor surgery if required. However on a river cruise there are very limited medical facilities onboard and may in fact be limited to a first aid officer. This is because of the limited space onboard but also you are never far from shore so getting help quickly is usually quite straight forward.

DRESSING UP

The dress code on your cruise can be quite confusing! Most river cruises these days expect a country club casual type attire with a smart casual look for dinner (collared shirt no shorts). Ocean cruises vary depending on who you are cruising with. Cunard for example still expects gentlemen to don a dinner jacket and tie for the evening meal and ladies to wear after 5 attire. During the day however it is a bit more casual with resort style clothing the norm.

Other cruise lines are a bit more casual but there is still an expectation that if you are dining in the main restaurant in the evening then no shorts or t shirts are allowed. Of course most ocean cruises also have theme nights and formal nights where you are expected and encouraged to get dressed in all your finery or dress up according to the theme.

River cruises often have a welcome dinner and a farewell dinner where there is an opportunity to dress up if you wish but it is not compulsory. If you are not sure then check with your cruise specialist who should be able to point you in the right direction! Feel free to check out my blog for some packing tips on cruising! You can find some more travel tips here.

If you have enjoyed this blog please feel free to leave your comments below. Of course if you have any other amazing cruise tips or experiences you would like to share with us please feel free to comment as well! We look forward to hearing your tips!

About The Author

Melanie Peacock is a Senior Travel Consultant at award winning travel agency – YOU Travel in Christchurch New Zealand. She is a CLIA accredited certified Cruise Specialist and is passionate about cruising – both river and ocean. She has completed over 10 cruises in various destinations around the world including river and ocean cruises. If you would like to chat with her about your next cruise feel free to call her on +64 3 3842700 or email melanie@youferrymead.co.nz.

YOU Travel  creates amazing travel packages for travelers across the globe.

 

 

Reef Shoes
Child on Plane
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TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN

Do your children look this relaxed on their travels?

No? Do you want them to look this relaxed on your holiday?

Well look no further!

There are many ways to ensure that both you and your little ones have a pleasant or at least bearable vacation as well as their fellow-travellers. Here are a few tips to hopefully ensure a smooth and happy trip. Of course this is not exhaustive and if you have a miracle working suggestion please by all means add it on the comments below! Who knows – you may have the suggestion that works on for a frazzled parent who has tried everything else!

1. PLAN! PLAN! PLAN!

Planning ahead can save you and your child a lot of heartache and unnecessary stress. Use stopover transits to stretch the legs and use up some pent-up energy. Don’t be scared to book longer stopovers to allow time to get to your next gate with time for toilet stops and eating. Perhaps play a game or two to alleviate any stress or boredom.

It also pays to book ahead when traveling with children rather than playing it by ear. The last thing you want when you arrive at your destination tired and hungry is to have to try to find a hotel that can fit you all in or worst case find out that your chosen destination isn’t suitable for children.

2. HAVE A BACK UP PLAN

What are you going to do if your flight is delayed? Do you have a contingency plan in place if the ferries or trains suddenly go on strike? Researching your transit destinations may relieve some stress of not knowing what is around if you do have to kill some time due to unexpected delays.

3. BE PREPARED FOR YOUR DESTINATION

Reef or Beach shoes
Reef or Beach shoes

Make sure you research the type of climate you are traveling to. Will it be cold or hot? Is it likely to rain? Pack according to the expected weather and the type of environment you are holidaying in. Pack the beach or reef shoes if you are heading to a beach to protect little feet! If you are heading to the snow make sure you have suitable and well fitting gear for the children so they are comfortable. Comfy kids make happy kids!

4. PACK A SURPRISE!

Kids LOVE surprises! Pack a special travel pack full of surprises for those times when other distractions are just not working! Make sure it is something they don’t already have and don’t let them have it all at once. Spread out the surprises to make it last. You could even use it as a reward for good behavior on the plane or train. Some good suggestions would be a new book, coloring book and crayons, magic markers, maybe a puzzle game for older children, a new soft toy etc.

You could also get them a disposable camera for them to take some holiday pics with. They will love getting them developed and you may find some really interesting mementos! Click on the links below for some great ideas!



 

5. DON’T FORGET THE SNACKS!

A hungry child can turn the start of a lovely vacation into your worst nightmare really fast! Make sure you pack some good healthy snacks to stave off the hunger monsters. Just remember to check airline and country of destination regulations to make sure you are not breaking any rules or customs violations with your snack stash. Remember that most airline regulations don’t allow liquids over 100ml. Baby formula is excluded from the restrictions in most cases.

6. GET THEM INVOLVED

Let the children help make the decisions on what to do and where to go. This will start to get them excited about the trip and give them a vested interest in what is happening. This can also teach them organizational skills in making sure everything fits into the schedule. It also means they will be able to do some things they want to do. You may be surprised at some of their suggestions!

7. KEEP THEM SAFE

If you are holidaying in a busy tourist area or attraction it pays to have some sensible safety options in case your child gets separated from you. There are a couple of suggestions to aid in the speedy return of your little adventurer!

  • Use a location tag device such as a GPS tracker.
  • Try a Universal Tag System such as pickles.pro tags. These tags can be attached to a wrist band, back pack, carabiner etc and basically all the finder needs to do is scan the QR code and it automatically sends you a sms or an email. You can then send them a message straight away to advise your location.
  • Write your cell number on their arm. A simple but easy option.
  • For older children set a meeting point so if you get separated you can meet up at the chosen point. This is especially useful at theme parks or a shopping mall.

8. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SHOULD PACK

Depending on your destination you may be better off with a stroller as opposed to a baby carriage or a baby sling. Check the destination first as you may find it easier to pop baby into a sling if the streets are cobbled. Similarly, if you are going to be doing a bit of walking you may find it easier with a stroller than a baby carriage. Of course this will depend on what your baby is used to. Strollers are quite versatile and a good lightweight one can be a godsend.

Don’t over pack as usually on a flight an infant does not get the same luggage allowance as an adult or full child fare. So you need to be smart. Remember a nappy bag is also classified as carry on luggage and normally you are only allowed one piece. Packing Cubes will be a big help here. Check out my review here.

9. AIRCRAFT SEATING

If your family adventure involves a long distance flight then you will need to consider where on the aircraft you need to sit. As most airlines these days now like to charge for seating it means you can prepay for your preferred seats at the time of booking. The earlier you book the more options you will have.

Some airlines such as Air New Zealand and China Airlines offer the SkyCouch. This is a revolution in economy class seating and is an absolute godsend for families. How it works is you purchase a whole row of seats and once in the air the seats can be converted into a couch by pulling up the foot rest. You get a mattress and duvet and comfy pillows to use. This means your little ones can lay down and have a decent sleep! If there are three of you in the row it is a really cheap option – prices start from $200. Please note that sometimes there is a blackout period where purchase of the skycouch is restricted.

Check with your travel agent for the best options to suit you.

10. DON’T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!

Making memories is what a vacation is all about! Don’t sweat the small stuff. So what if junior is an hour late for bedtime – sleep in! Who cares if they only want to wear their favorite t shirt to Disneyland? Does it really matter that they have not eaten veges for two days? As long as they are safe and happy let things happen. After all – that is how we create the magical memories that will be talked about for decades to come. Your children will thank you for letting them be a bit independent.

Finally,….

I hope you enjoyed my post and if you have anything you would like to add please comment below and share your knowledge with our readers.

Finally – I have found a really great blog that has even more fantastic tips on how to travel with kids and survive! Check it out below:

https://mybabyinsider.com/air-travel-with-baby-keeping-everyone-calm

 

HAPPY TRAVELS!

New to Cruising? Best First Time Cruiser Tips & Hacks

Cruising Tips & Hacks

So you have booked your first cruise (or are thinking about it) but would like to know a little more about what is involved? Perhaps your neighbors have just returned from their third cruise and are telling you all about it as they unload the car – looking all tanned and relaxed! They promise to show you the holiday snaps as soon as they load them off the camera.

Finally, you decide to take the plunge and book your first cruise! But what do you need to know? What are the essential tips for a successful cruise? What does a “First time Cruiser” need to know?

Note: The links to Amazon and other sites used below are affiliate links. Should you make a purchase, we receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.

1st time cruising tips

There are a few things that you need to know when cruising for the first time or when deciding where your first cruise will be. The following cruise tips will help ensure you are prepared and ready to relax and enjoy this amazing holiday experience.

Initial Inquiry Stage

Find an experienced Cruise Consultant – An experienced Cruise Consultant can make all the difference to ensuring a great experience from the time of booking until the day you return. They will be able to advise the best times to cruise in the destination you choose to cruise to and what you need to know

Do your research on the cruise ship and the destination. Some cruise ships are geared up for families and some are more for couples or older cruisers. When you take a young family on a cruise you do not want to be fighting an army of zimmer frames! Likewise, if you prefer a quiet cruise then you may want to look at one more suitable to a mature mix of passengers.

Decide how long you want to cruise. For a first time cruise I would suggest up to 7 nights. This gives you a good taste of what cruising is all about.

Choose whether you want to do an Ocean or River cruise. These are both very different (stay tuned for my next blog on the differences!) River cruising is not as popular with families as cabins are much smaller and not usually suitable for young children.

Booking Your Cruise

YOU Travel FerrymeadThis is the easy part! Once you know which cruise you want to book just head on down to your Cruise Specialist and lock it in! Your Cruise Specialist will be able to tell you if there is a special deal out for your chosen option which may include on board credit to spend on your cruise, reduced deposits, WiFi deals, specialty dining options, shore excursion deals and more. The deposit will vary from cruise line to cruise line as will the final balance due date. Your Cruise Specialist will be able to advise you of this at the time of booking.

Just remember – the best deals are usually outside of the normal vacation times.

First Time Cruise Packing Tips

Packing cubes are a fantastic way of being able to fit everything you are going need on your cruise into your suitcase. One good thing about most cruises is that you can take more than one suitcase per person. Although this will depend on how many passengers are in the one stateroom as you do need to store your suitcase in you cabin. (These usually fit under the bed.)

Do not bother with your hair dryer! There is always one supplied in your cabin. You will also be supplied with towels (including pool/beach towels). Having said that – the cruise ship hair dryers are a low wattage so if you feel you may need extra power by all means bring your own.

Bathroom amenities are included in each cabin so you can save a bit of room here if need be. Unless of course you like to take your favorite shampoo and conditioner!

On most cruises every cabin has its own en suite bathroom so leave the bathrobes at home – unless you are traveling with friends! Some cruise lines will supply bathrobes and some you have to pay for the privilege of using them – again check with your cruise consultant for your particular cruise. (Same with slippers).

Take a Lightweight Day Pack for your shore excursions! You will thank me for it! This will enable you to take all the necessities with you when out and about such as water, hats, sunscreen, reading material, maps and whatever you need for the day. Just make sure it is a comfortable one as you will be wearing it for a while!

Don’t forget to pack suitable clothing for the destination and season. No point taking your bikini on a winter wonderland cruise or a cruise to Antarctica (unless there is a spa on board!). Likewise, – it can get chilly at nighttime out on deck when cruising in the cooler months. When you want are heading to the sunny Caribbean then you may get away with just a bikini or board shorts and some nice summer attire. But even the Caribbean can cool off a bit at sea so take a wrap or light jacket just in case.

One essential item is your Universal Travel Adapter. It will depend on your cruise ship as to what kind of power sockets are in your cabin. With a Universal adapter it won’t matter which type of power socket you have and if you have one with the USB Ports you can charge multiple devices at the same time. [Insert link here] I also take either a small power board or a double adapter as there are usually very limited power sockets in you cabin. Some have a maximum of one or two only. Just make sure your power board does not have a surge protector on it as recent rule changes have restricted the use of surge protectors on board as they can interfere with the electric systems on the ship.

Portable travel clothes line – these are useful if your cruise line does not have a self-service laundry on board. You can at least hand wash a few items as you go which will lessen the amount of clothes you need to take. This is relevant on a longer cruise of over 7 nights or so. Some cruise lines do have self-service laundromats on board. Some charge a fee and some are included.

Waterproof Dry bag – these will keep your valuables, phones, clothes etc dry while you are at the beach or poolside. Insurance won’t cover you if you leave them unattended so this is a great solution as you can have them with you all the time!

Extra Coat hangers! When you want like to hang up your clothes make sure you take along extra coat hangers as you never seem to get enough in your wardrobe! Check out these cool folding travel clothes hangers! They don’t take up much room and best of all they are light! When you want are from outside New Zealand please use this link for Folding Clothes Hangers.

Checking In For Your Cruise

When you want have not been allocated a specific boarding time then this information is crucial for you. You must be on board your cruise ship at least one hour prior to the scheduled departure time. This is so the cruise line can conduct the mandatory Maritime Safety Drills before getting underway.

Most people on their first cruise are super excited to get on board and turn up at the crack of dawn ready to jump on and explore the ship straight away. Well – I am sorry to tell you that you are going to be bitterly disappointed! Once a cruise ship docks and all the necessary docking procedures are completed (this can take an hour or more!) the ship will need to disembark all the current passengers before allowing any new passengers on board. After they disembark current passengers the ship gets a thorough clean. Naturally this is far easier when there are few people around.

The best time to start your embarkation is about 2 – 3 hours prior to departure. You will avoid the majority of the queues this way. Unless of course you have priority boarding as part of your cruise fare.

In normal circumstances a ship may dock at say 7am, disembarkation is usually completed by about 9am and the incoming passengers don’t start boarding until about 11am – 12pm at the earliest. Sometimes it is even later than this depending on the size of the ship and the departure time.

On Board Your First Cruise – What You Can Expect in Your Cabin

Balcony CabinMost cabins have the same basic layout – bed, en suite, wardrobe, desk and if you are lucky a sofa.

Depending on the number of passengers in your cabin you may have a king bed or you may get two bunks with an upper and lower berth on each bunk. This configuration tends to be the most cramped.

Unless you are planning to spend a lot of time in your cabin then the configuration may not be a big deal to you. However, when you have more than two people in a cabin things start to get a little tight! Planning ahead will save you some grief on lack of space. Check out the section on Packing Tips for some good ideas.

If budget is an issue then consider an inside cabin as this will offer the best price. Some cruise lines have started creating “virtual balconies” in an inside cabin such as the one in the below video. Quite clever really and at a much more affordable price than a balcony cabin – just without the fresh air!

 

 

Shore Excursions – How to Choose the Best Options

Choosing the best shore excursions can be tricky. You want to make sure you don’t miss out on anything amazing but you don’t want to pay through the teeth for them either! When you want to make the most of your time in port it takes a bit of forward planning. Most cruise lines will give you access to their Shore excursion options 60 days prior to departure. Of course this differs from cruise line to cruise line. Check with your Cruise Specialist as to when you are able to access your shore excursions.

If you have found a well informed and educated Cruise Specialist they may have already made some suggestions for your particular itinerary or at least shown you how to find information about shore excursions or alternatives available in your ports of call.

One thing to note – a lot of people say that you are better to book your own tours when in port as the ship options can be quite expensive. This may be a good idea if you are an experienced traveler. However, – be warned – if you book your own tours and you are delayed in getting back to the ship they will not wait for you. This means you will be responsible for paying your own way to meet the ship at its next port of call.

Food Glorious Food – What Are We Going to Eat on Our Cruise?

It’s true that most people who choose to cruise for their vacation will come back at least a few extra kilos than when they left and I’m not talking about shopping and souvenirs! Cruise ships are renowned for their amazing food options and selections on board. After all – it is a massive part of cruising!

On the medium to larger sized cruise ship you can find upwards of 5 different dining options on board. Some cruise lines charge an additional fee for specialty restaurants but on every cruise there are at least two options that are included in your cruise fare. This is the Buffet (or food court style) dining and the main A La Carte Restaurant. Opening hours will depend on whether it is a sea day or a port day.

Specialty restaurants cater for the more discerning diner. You may have a choice of Italian, Steak and Seafood, French, Asian, Brazilian and many more. These differ between cruise lines and cruise ships. But the service and the food is far superior to that of the buffet or main restaurant. When you want can fit it into the budget I highly recommend trying these out. The surcharge ranges but can be as little as $10 up to $90+ for a degustation or Chef’s Table experience.

Whichever option you choose – you will not go hungry!

Some cruise lines have started using Celebrity Chefs to create their various menus which has really made the food on board something to behold! Sometimes these are restricted to specialty restaurants and you may need to pay a surcharge but again – nowhere near as much as you would if you were to visit one of their shoreside restaurants (if you can even get a reservation!).

 

What About Liquid Refreshments?

You may have heard about the fabulous cocktails you can get on board a cruise. It’s all true! There is plenty of competition out there to find the quirkiest bar or novel experience for cruise passengers. But whatever tipple you fancy you will have no problem finding it on your cruise.

Most cruise lines are starting to offer drink packages for guests to purchase either before or during the cruise. It is worth noting that they often start around $60 – $80 per person per day USD. Some are cheaper and some more expensive. But the trick is to work out whether you are going to get good value out of it. Most cocktails are around $8 – $12 and a glass of wine about the same. So you would need to consume around 6 – 7 drinks per day just to break even.

The best value drinks package I have ever seen (other than the ones that are already included) is on Viking Ocean Cruises. Their package is only $19.95USD/day and includes everything except champagne and some drinks at the Torshavn bar. Awesome value!

Some cruise lines will let you bring a bottle of wine on board but most have restrictions on where you can enjoy it. There are a few cruise lines that will allow you to bring your own drinks on board such as Viking – They don’t mind what you take on board but their prices are already really good so why would you bother? Unless you have purchase a few bottles of nice wine from one of the vineyards you visited along the way!

Then there are cruise lines that are very strict and won’t even let you bring your own water on board. So best check before you go.

Entertainment On Board – What Activities Will There Be On Board?

Most big ocean cruise ships have many forms of entertainment – the problem is trying to fit it all in! The Broadway style shows are usually of a very high standard albeit a shortened version. Then you often have a Casino, Bingo, Pools, Spas, some have a bowling alley, ice-skating rink, bumper cars, FlowRider, rock climbing walls, hydro slides, ping pong, shuffleboard, mini golf, glassblowing, movie characters, movies under the stars, simulators, and so much more! Of course – as usual – it depends on what ship you are on so check with your cruise consultant first.

What Will The Children Do?

On cruises that allow children you will usually find a comprehensive Kids Club on board. These are usually split into different age groups so the children are socializing with others in the same age group. There are always planned activities and programs based on the age group and will keep the kids entertained for hours! Of course this means parents/caregivers get to spend some quality time together (or alone) and feel like they too have had a holiday! Check out this cool video on Disney Cruise lines to see just how much fun your kids are going to have! (Makes you want to be a kid again!

Please note that on some ships there is a no child policy and some smaller ships that do allow kids on board do not offer a children’s program so please double check if this is important to you.

Is There A Doctor On Board?

Almost every cruise ship has a medical facility of some sort on board. On larger ships this can be quite sophisticated but on smaller vessels there may just be a designated first aid provider. This is usually on the river ships and other vessels that don’t stray too far from land.

Of course if you have any medical issues it pays to let the ship know in advance so they can be prepared. In some cases you may not be able to cruise at all depending on your condition so please check with your doctor prior to booking your cruise.

In Summary – To Cruise or Not to Cruise

So – now that you have the low down on cruising you can decide if it is the kind of holiday that you would enjoy. Of course there is only one way to truly find out and that is to get yourself off on a short break cruise and try it out! Who knows, – you might just get addicted.

When you want enjoyed this post or if you think there is something else that I need to add please leave a comment below for me! Or if you want to share your cruise tips or hacks please feel free to share in the comment section below.

HAPPY CRUISING!!!!

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See Hong Kong in 5 Days – Travel Review

Hong Kong City in 5 Days

Have you ever been to Hong Kong? Perhaps you are thinking of going or you might be stopping over there on your way to another destination. This article outlines a few things that you may find useful for your visit – whether it is long or short!

ARRIVING INTO HONG KONG

Prior to 1998 if you were flying into Hong Kong you would have experienced the somewhat hair-raising approach into Kai Tak between the tall, imposing sky scrapers of the city of hong Kong. Well – rest assured those days are long gone! The new airport in Hong Kong is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok. In fact that is the name of the airport. The airport was built on reclaimed land as the sheer size requirements meant there was no other location big enough.

The commercial trade industry in hong Kong is so large now that the old airport was simply unable to cope with the level of traffic flowing in and out.

HKIA is the worlds’ busiest cargo airport and one of the busiest passenger terminals in the world. It is a major hub for many airlines connecting to over 220 destinations around the world! You can read more about Hong Kong airport here.

HOW TO GET INTO THE CITY

Getting into Hong Kong city is a relatively easy and straight forward process. There are several options depending on your preference, budget and how long you have.

You can get the Hong Kong express which will have you into Kowloon in under 25 minutes. But it is not necessarily the cheapest option. This option will set you back between $80 – $100HKD.

The bus is slightly longer but a bit cheaper. This ranges from $30 – $45HKD.

A taxi is going to be the most direct option and will deliver you straight to your hotel. However, this will cost between $370 -$450HKG! Ouch!

Of course there is always the good old Uber option but again this is similar to a taxi although is also going to deliver you straight to your hotel for between $270 – $350HKD.

Naturally it will depend on where you are staying as Hong Kong is not just one big massive city! More about that next!

If you can’t be bothered with the hassle of finding a taxi, Uber or getting the train then I suggest getting your travel agent to book your arrival transfer. This is the option we chose and it was easy and seamless. The ride in was relatively quick – around 30 minutes or so.

We were met at the airport and directed to our transfer. We did have to drop off a few other passengers along the way but I always view this as a good opportunity to orientate yourself to a few landmarks.

HOT TIP!

***Just one thing to note here – please be aware that some hotel locations do not allow big buses to drop off or pick up outside the hotel lobby so be prepared to walk a small distance with your luggage. If you don’t want to do this then get a private car transfer.***

WHERE IS THE BEST PLACE TO STAY?

So this is where it all gets quite interesting! Most people would recommend staying in Kowloon area. The reason for this is that you are close to major transport options, shopping, restaurants, shopping, tailors, restaurants, more shopping, markets, etc. Did I mention the shopping? There are shopping centers everywhere in Kowloon!

The other popular location is on Hong Kong Island. This is more of a commercial hub where there are a lot of businesses and company premises, factories etc. Although on the waterfront you can find some really top-notch accommodation such as the Sheraton, Excelsior, Grand Hyatt, JW Marriott just to name a few. Hong Kong Island view from Kowloon

Along with this caliber of hotel you can be assured there will also be shops and restaurants nearby. However, you will find that most of the hotel guests are there for business. There are some interesting shopping places to note such as Cat Street and the wet market.

It is super easy and very cheap to go from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island or vice versa. Just jump on the metro, bus or ferry. The ferry is really quick and very easy. Plus of course you don’t need to contend with traffic congestion. The cost is also minimal but it pays to have the correct change as you may not get any back!

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN HONG KONG

Now that you have arrived what is there to do? Here are my top 10 things to do while staying in Hong Kong. Of course a lot of this will depend on how long you have and your budget.

  1. CITY TOUR
  2. DAY TRIP TO MACAU
  3. OCEAN PARK
  4. DISNEYLAND
  5. SHOPPING
  6. HARBOUR CRUISE
  7. SYMPHONY OF LIGHTS SHOW
  8. HOP ON HOP OFF BUS
  9. TRAM RIDE UP TO VICTORIA PEAK
  10. LANTAU ISLAND & GIANT BUDDAH

 

I strongly advise organising your tours prior to arriving into Hong Kong as this will help ensure you are not wasting time trying to get on a tour that may be already fully booked. There are many tour options from private to group tours. I love doing a group tour as you have an opportunity to meet people from all around the world!

In fact – we came across a couple who live in the same city as us on one of the tours we did. Later that day as we were heading out to join another tour we bumped into them again! What are the chances? Pretty good actually as it happened twice while we were in Hong Kong with different people!Sampan Ride in Aberdeen Fishing Village Hong Kong

We did a half day Hong Kong Island city tour which took us to Aberdeen fishing village and then up to Victoria Peak. The only thing I didn’t really think much of was the visit to a jewelry making factory and show room. Trust me – stay on the bus!

The visit to Aberdeen was interesting and we had an option of doing a sampan ride around the floating fishing village. Be aware that you will pay extra for this option!

We also did a day trip out to Macau. We had a fantastic guide who was extremely informative and knowledgeable. We had time to visit the largest Casino in the world – the Venetian. This is modeled on a much larger scale to the one in Las Vegas. It was HUGE! but if you are planning to have a wee flutter – make sure you bring lots of money! Minimum bet on the tables was $500HKD!

HOT TIP!

***Oh and just so you know – you do not need to change your Hong Kong dollars to the Macau currency as they take $HKD everywhere and will give you $HKD in change. If you do have any Macanese Pataca (MOP) you will not be able to exchange it in Hong Kong so do it in Macau before you leave.***

SHOPPING TIPS

If you are planning on doing some shopping in Hong Kong then here are a few tips for you.

  • If you are after cheap clothes, t shirts, fake brand hand bags, cheap electronics (that may or may not last very long) then the markets are a great place for you to visit. There are a few market options with the more popular being Temple Street Night Markets, Ladies Market and Stanley Market. They are generally open until about midnight and the streets become pedestrian only until midnight. Please be aware of pickpockets in these areas!
  • If you want to check out some traditional type markets then in the Mong Kok area where the Ladies market is located you can also find the Goldfish market, wet market, flower market, Bird market and many more.
  • If markets are your thing then consider doing a guided shopping tour so you don’t miss anything!Night shopping in Hong Kong - Heading to Temple Street Night Markets
  • If you are after brand name stores then you need to get yourself to the Harbor City. This is the largest shopping mall in Hong Kong and is home to pretty much every name brand you could think of and then some! It is easy to get to and has a 270 degree observation deck. Harbor City is a one-stop shopping mecca with over 450 shops, 60 food & beverage outlets, a gallery and 3 hotels! It is massive! We actually found it by accident when taking shelter from a downpour. We went in one entrance and came out another in a completely different location!
  • Nathan Road has a plethora of shopping options from name brands to cheaper options. Along Nathan Road you can find stores such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, every single name brand watch company and many more! Watch out for the hawkers trying to sell you a watch or a suit! Stay away from these as they are not recommended and in most cases not licensed.
  • Tailored Suits and Clothing – Hong Kong is a great place to get a suit tailor made and there are plenty of reputable tailors in Hong Kong. Do your research and find one that comes recommended by someone you know. Your Hotel Concierge can assist you if you don’t have a personal recommendation. Please note that it can take up to three days to get a suit made. Sometimes they can speed this up. So if you are only in Hong Kong for a few days then make this your day one priority to allow plenty of time for any adjustments etc.

HOT TIP!

Please note that in the markets you can bargain a bit but the vendors will only drop the price by about 10 – 15 %.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO TO HONG KONG?

The hottest time to travel to Hong Kong is between June and September. However, these are also the wettest months and you are far more likely to get caught in a torrential downpour! The last thing you need when you have an armload of shopping! It can be hot and humid from May through to August.

The coldest months are November through to February but even the low is only around 14 Celsius so still a good time to visit.

The best times to travel to Hong Kong is March, April, September and October.

PACKING ESSENTIALS

If you are planning to do a bit of shopping then I suggest you take a very lightweight back pack, definitely some comfy shoes as there is a lot of walking to be done in Hong Kong. You will want a good set of Packing Cubes. These will help keep your suitcase organized but the best thing is – you can fit more in!

Learn more about Packing Cubes.

I would also suggest a good lightweight umbrella as the clouds can roll in pretty quickly and catch you unawares!

As far as clothes go I suggest light cotton or breathable clothing especially if it is going to be humid. Shorts and t shirts or comfy summer dresses are also fine.

A light Jacket is a good idea if you are heading out on the harbor.

FOOD

There is an absolute plethora of restaurants in Hong Kong with many flavors and cuisines. It is truly a foodie heaven!

Some of my top recommendations:

Try the Portuguese Egg Tarts in Macau – they are to die for! We were lucky in that our tour guide Cisco actually got us to pre-order them as they sell out every day! If you are there on your own make sure you get there early so you don’t miss out!

I would also recommend doing a foodie tour of some description. But forget about the Harbor cruise with seafood dinner! It is a waste of time and money. It was interesting to note that most of the seafood is actually imported into Hong Kong from all around the world.

Street Food in Hong Kong
Delicious street food in Hong Kong

Apparently the seafood in and around Hong Kong is quite depleted and now most of it comes from Australia and South Africa among other places.

If you are into Asian style food you will find everything in Hong Kong from Taiwanese to Shangainese and everything in between.

HONG KONG – DEFINITELY WORTH A LOOK!

So would I come back to Hong Kong? Absolutely! It is a very safe city with plenty to see and do. Great option for a stopover or even a destination. Lots of Islands to explore and loads of activities to keep you all busy! I can’t wait to hear all your stories about your visit to Hong Kong and your tips!

Feel free to comment below and share it with us all!

 

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Why Use Packing Cubes? 10 Great Reasons Why You Should

Everyone seems to have an opinion on whether to use packing cubes or not. “Why use packing cubes?” you ask. “What difference is it really going to make?” Well I am hoping this article will convince you that packing cubes are truly amazing! I am a complete convert and have made it my life mission to ensure everyone around the world who travels whether for business, leisure or otherwise knows what packing cubes are and what using packing cubes will do to their travelling life.

So What Are Packing Cubes?

Packing cubes (or packing cells as they are sometimes referred to) are usually made out of a lightweight material and come in many shapes and sizes. Some are square or oblong and are designed to store larger items such as shirsts, pants and dresses etc. Some are smaller and ideal for t’shirts, shorts and clothing items that aren’t so bulky. Then you have the smallest ones that are perfect for socks and jocks and other “delicate” items that you prefer to have hidden away. (Nothing worse than having your suitcase contents on show if your suitcase has a malfunction!).

How Do I use Packing Cubes Effectively?

The idea of packing cubes is that once you pack your clothes and items into the cubes or cells you can then transfer them directly into you suitcase, backpack or other luggage. This not only creates additional space (for all those shoppers out there!) but it also does a great job of protecting your clothing, shoes and other personal belongings in your luggage. Now the best part is that once you arrive at your destination you can open up your suitcase and lift out each cube or cell and put them directly into the hotel room drawers or cabin drawers if you are fortunate enough to be on a cruise!

Now this is where they really come into their own! You will never again have to go searching for missing socks, or spend ages trying to find your favourite t shirt. They are exactly where you placed them! Once you finish with them (and if they are clean of course!) you can just fold them straight back into the packing cube you got it out of and it is there for when you want it next time!

Packing Cubes are also really useful if you are limited on luggage space or only want to take carry on luggage. You will find that if packed correctly you can fit far more into your carry on!

10 Great Reasons You Should be Using Packing Cubes

  1. They are the best way to organize your suitcase when travelling. Whether it is for business travel or for leisure, vacation, sports travel or even cruising, packing cells are an absolute godsend!
  2. There is nothing worse than trying to find your favourite socks or tshirt or finding your matching bikini bottoms when all you want to do is get down to the pool!
  3. Keeps your clothes and personal items clean and free from whatever dreaded germs the person who stayed in your room before you has left in the drawers! (Think smelly socks and dirty undies!)
  4. Quick and efficient way to pack and unpack a suitcase with the minimum amount of fuss and bother so you can get on with what you want to do without having to waste time packing or unpacking. Just get straight off to the pool for a cocktail!
  5. Reusable – you can use them over and over again! In fact I have two sets and it is perfect for a 2 week vacation! I can take everything I need and everything I don’t need! (Who wants to pack light when you can fit it all in?)
  6. You will be the envy of your fellow travellers! Especially if they don’t have any! Trust me – as soon as they see your amazingly organised suitcase they are going to buy some the first chance they get!
  7. You can even use these at home to organize your drawers and wardrobes.
  8. Great to use for the kids to keep their secret things secret but best of all – tidy!
  9. Shoe pouches are great for using at the gym even when you are not travelling as it keeps them away from the rest of your gear.
  10. They just make life and travel so stress free!

 

There Are So Many Packing Cube Options – How Do I Choose?

Big ones, square ones, pouches, rectangles, funny looking ones that fit your bras in perfectly – there are so many shapes and sizes out there. Not to mention brands and the number of cubes in a set.

So which one to choose? Well it is largely going to depend on how often and how long you travel for. If you are only going away for short periods of time such as a weekender then a smaller set would suffice. But if you are heading off on a Round World Cruise for 6 months I would recommend a couple of larger sets.

The quality will also be a factor worth considering. If you want a set that is going to last then be prepared to pay a bit more for a better quality – such as the Pro Packing Cubes 6 piece set. They are a great size and the quality is excellent.

It’s very easy to combine sets and I use two completely different patterned sets as i find it helps me find things faster. I can divide things up in smaller categories so it is far easier to find them. Of course you may want to take a couple of empty ones along for any spontaneous purchases while you are away.

Check out the below You Tube review on various brands.

Okay – Where can I Buy Packing Cubes?

www.packme.co.nz offers Kiwis (New Zealanders) some very cheap sets and you can even get a great deal when you buy 2 sets! Check out the deal here: Set of 2 Packing Cells. Otherwise – if you prefer you can purchase a couple of different set options by visiting our store.

I can recommend the Pro Packing Cubes. They have different sized sets for all budgets and types of travel. They are lightweight but robust. They have plenty of different size options so cover all your packing requirements. They also have a great range of colours.

The options they have are as follows:

 

 

 

We would also love to have your comments or ideas on how you use your packing cubes so if there is anything I haven’t already covered please feel free to share!

If you have any questions on packing cubes feel free to leave a comment below and I can answer it for you.

So what are you waiting for? Go get some!!!

Don’t be the last person on the planet who doesn’t have a set! Go and get your Packing Cubes today!


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The Travelmixa® Review

Many of my friends enjoy having a smoothie or health shake at work, after the gym, at home or whenever they can’t be bothered cooking! I came across the Travelmixa® when I was setting up the packmetravel.com website. I knew I had to try it as had just started on a meal replacement program and the “shaker” that I was using to mix up the powder just didn’t do a very good job. (Although be aware it is not a liquidizer so if you are blending fruit it can still be a bit pulpy.)
Travelmixa blue
Travelmixa – Blue colour
Click on the picture to the left to check out a video of the Travelmixa in action.
Once I started using the Travelmixa® I knew I had found an awesome product and immediately added it to our store products. The best thing is – it is a NZ designed product!
TAKE IT ON HOLIDAY!

When I went on holiday I took the Travelmixa® with me. It is so light and easy to carry and I loved being able to use it while I was away. I just packed in among my Packing Cells Big plus is that it is super easy to clean so no messy blender blades that never seem to clean properly and no chance of getting any food left in it. You can also put the flask and lid in the dishwasher but NOT the base! I prefer to just unscrew it all and rinse it off in warm water and let it drip dry.

Travelmixa in Hong Kong
Travelmixa in Hong Kong!
I can personally vouch that you will be allowed to take your travelmixa on board a flight in your carry on luggage – i just took mine all the way to Hong Kong via Australia and had absolutely no issues whatsoever!
HOW DOES THE TRAVELMIXA WORK?
The other amazing feature with the Travelmixa is that you can charge it up with a USB connection and the charge lasts for between 2 – 4 weeks! Depends on how often you use it of course – but I use mine at least once a day and it usually gets me through about 4 weeks before I need to charge it again. You can recharge the Travelmixa® anytime by plugging the USB cable into your USB Travel adapter, ipad, laptop or other device with a USB port or even the USB connector on a flight.
Travelmixa blue
Travelmixa – Blue colour
This means it is perfect for camping or tramping trips where you may be away from a power source for any length of time. Even if you are just heading away for a day trip it is so light and compact that you can pop it into your backpack and make a fresh smoothie or protein shake when you need it!
PARTY! PARTY! PARTY!
The Travelmixa® is also great to take to a party if you are wanting to make your own cocktails! Although it is not suitable for ice so don’t try making anything with ice in it unless you have crushed ice and not too much at once! I have used frozen fruit in my smoothies before but only small fruit such as blueberries and raspberries.
Of course you can also use any other kind of soft fruit and cold liquid to make delicious smoothies or cocktails! The Travelmixa is not designed to blend hard items like ice, nuts, carrots, beets etc. Because it is a small travel sized mixer, it is not suitable to deal with all those great big jobs that a bench-top blenders do. Use fridge cold water and milks to make your smoothie and then pour over ice cubes if you like your drinks really chilled.
 So what are you waiting for? Jump into the shop and get your Travelmixa today! You will wonder how you ever managed without it!
Travelmixa Purple
TravelMixa – Purple
Have you used the Travelmixa before? Please feel free to share your tips or even your favourite recipes! We would love to hear from you!

 

Melanie in Hong Kong

About PackMe Travel Accessories

WELCOME!

Welcome to PackMe Travel Accessories. This website was designed to create a place you could go to for all your travel accessories and packing solutions ensuring a pleasant, safe and stress free travel experience. We want to provide good sound travel advice as well as some useful tips and tricks for a smooth travel experience.

MELANIE’S TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

As a travel consultant I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity and privilege to travel to more than 33 different countries around the world! (And still counting!!)

From solo travel to group travel, family travel to travelling as a couple I have experienced all of these and I look forward to sharing some of my stories with you! I would also love to hear some of your stories.

Aberdeen Marina Hong Kong
Aberdeen Marina Hong Kong

My favourite part of travel is meeting new friends and experiencing the many and diverse cultures that make up our amazing planet! Oh and the food! I admit it – I’m a foodie! I love trying out new cuisines – although I draw the line at deep fried spiders and bugs! Yuck!

I am currently working full time in an award winning travel Agency in Christchurch, New Zealand and really love it! I look forward to meeting you all and sharing my knowledge and ideas with you.

WHAT CAN I OFFER YOU?

Eight years of travel consulting and travel has taught me many lessons in what to avoid and how to make life easier for oneself and your family while travelling. I can’t wait to share my tips and tricks with you to make your travel experience just a little safer, a little more organised and a lot more stress free! I will also be reviewing different products and experiences so I can share these with you.

OUR GOAL

Our goal is to ensure travelers have the opportunity to ensure a safe and stress free experience when it comes to your travel accessories and your security and safety while travelling or enjoying the things you love to do outdoors. We also want you to be well informed about travelling and what it can offer you.

If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Melanie
www.packmetravel.com