Thinking of going on a cruise in 2018? Here are five really, really good options.

Video by MWN

More and more Australians are taking to the high seas every year on a cruise ship. To keep up with the demand, major cruise companies are sending more and more ships our way. With this in mind, Skyscanner Australia looks at some of the best cruise ship companies and cruise ships offering cruises from Sydney, Brisbane and other ports in Australia.

Favourite cruise destinations for Australians include Noumea, Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. But there is more to cruising than attractive ports. The cruise ships themselves make getting there more than half the fun. You can pick up cheap cruises, cruise deals, and last minute cruises online.

1. P&O cruises

Flying is cramped, walking takes too long and driving can be infuriating, especially when everyone is setting off on holiday at the same time. As for cruising… Well, unless there’s a force seven gale and the whole ship is lurching, there can be no better way to travel. It’s a resort on the high seas, with cocktails, show times, movies, activities and meals coming and going at all times of the day.

P&O Cruises offer great cruise deals to the South Pacific and other ports of call on the Pacific Explorer, Pacific Aria, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Eden, and Pacific Jewel. All P&O ships have that casual Aussie feel. The Pacific Explorer and the Pacific Aria are the newest ships in the P&O fleet.

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2. Royal Caribbean cruises

One of the best things about cruising is that there is generally nothing much to do apart from relax. Once your bags are unpacked and you have explored the ship, the stress of everyday life disappears. You don’t have to cook or wash up, someone cleans your room for you and not to forget, parents and children have time apart from each other thanks to the kids’ club and swimming pools.

You can also mooch around the library, read books and magazines from the comfort of a seaside recliner, scan the sea in search of dolphins and flying fish, enjoy an onboard massage at the spa, loll around in a hot tub and take an afternoon nap after a satisfying lunch. You’ll return looking so relaxed that everyone will comment on it.

There are five Royal Caribbean cruise ships based in Australia, including the giant Ovation of the Seas, which offers cruises from Sydney. Also part of the fleet is Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, and Legend of the Seas. A typical Royal Caribbean cruise to the South Pacific can include Noumea, the Isle of Pines and Maré in New Caledonia, and Vila and Mystery Island in Vanuatu. Royal Caribbean often offer last minute cruises and cruise deals.

3. Princess Cruises

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You can always find somewhere to be away from the crowds on a cruise ship. In many ways, it’s the perfect place to rekindle a romance or create a new one. Parents will enjoy the longest time together since the kids came along – a few cocktails as the sun goes down or a hand-in-hand stroll around the deck on a sunny day can do wonders for a relationship. A kiss and a cuddle in your cabin is an option if you have nothing else to do but while away the hours.

Princess Cruises offers cruises out of Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. Cruise on either the Sea Princess, the Sun Princess, and the Golden Princess. The Majestic Princess will be based in Sydney during the 2018/2019 cruising season. Look out for cruise deals.

4. Carnival Cruises

What goes on tour stays on tour – which is just as well if you try line-dancing for the first time, or take part in a belly flop competition at the ship’s main pool. A great thing about cruising is that you get to try things that you might not do in real life, like play bingo every afternoon, or try your hand at shuffleboard, or learn to make cocktails.

With ships from different companies vying to have more and more spectacular play things onboard, you may even do a bit of rock climbing, or learn how to swing on a trapeze, or go ice skating on an onboard rink, or plummet to the ground on a skydiving simulator. On the Carnival Legend, the big thing is the water park with its giant water slides.

Carnival Australia has two ships operating out of Sydney. There are cruises onboard Carnival Spirit all year round, while Carnival Legend is based in Sydney during the summer cruising season.

5. Celebrity Cruises

There’s nothing quite as exciting as waking up in the morning, realising the rocking has stopped, pulling apart your curtains and seeing a busy port or a tropical island feathered with palm trees. Whether you are docked at a town in Alaska, a South Pacific lagoon or are a tender-boat away from Venice or Dubrovnik, the excitement builds as you wolf down breakfast and then head out to the world beyond the deck railings.

Shore excursions operated by cruise ship companies can be expensive but you can get a real taste of a place with local guides leading the way. Otherwise, ditch the group and head off by yourself.

Celebrity Cruises has one ship based in Australia, the beautiful Celebrity Solstice.

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