Tag Archives: travel tips

Impressions of a first time cruiser

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in  July 2014 issue.   


I have always had cursing on my bucket list but never thought it would happen soon.

During Christmas 2013, I was desperately looking for places to go for our holiday. After evaluating our list and considering our finances, we booked our first cruise on Carnival Spirit to New Caledonia and thus our journey began.

Once we booked and paid for the trip, it was time to do our research and I have to admit there were so many different opinions on the internet that it was hard for us to make up our mind on what to expect. We both decided that no matter what happened, we would try our best to make the cruise holiday memorable.

The first thing we noticed when we went to Circular Quay to board the ship was how massive it was. We joined other excited holidaymakers clearing the customs and boarded the ship. Our luggage was checked in and would be taken directly to our room.

Embarkation was as easy as giving them our credit card and getting a Sail & Sign card (Sail & Sign is Carnival’s on board cashless credit program, which allows you to charge all your services and purchases during your cruise to your room.) We were told to wait on the top deck where drinks and lunch was waiting for us until our rooms are ready and the luggage is delivered.

As we walked in, we noticed that the ship was huge and amazing with Christmas decoration everywhere. I was excited to see so many different bars, lounges and restaurants on the map. It was as if I was in a different city and it was going to be our home for the next 2 weeks.

Once we finished lunch, we were told that our room was ready. We got a room with a window and it was just perfect. It was not very big but enough for two with en suite, a big wardrobe, TV and mini bar. By the time we went to our room our luggage had already arrived. While unpacking, I was really glad that I didn’t need to re-pack until the end of the trip. I also didn’t need to learn a new culture, to speak a different language or to stick to transport schedules but could just relax and enjoy our time on board and look forward to an awesome time in New Caledonia.

The first impression for both of us was really good, starting from the nice lunch to the room, we were assigned and the things we learned. I was quite surprised by how much there is to do on a cruise ship. It is your choice, if you like to have a day full of nonstop activities or simply relax on one of the deck chairs or hammocks and read a book. Every day there is an enthusiastic voice through the loud speaker system, telling us what is happening that day, where we can go, what we can eat and what we can buy on an hourly basis so you are always informed.

We utilise all the facilities on board and were always busy doing one thing or another. My best place to relax was definitely the Serenity area and it was always fun to go and ride in the Green Thunder.

Food was always available no matter the time of day or night. We had most of our breakfast and lunch on the Lido deck and dinner in the Empire dining room. The few times we had afternoon tea, we were very impressed by the selections of cakes and fruits. We saw kids running around with pizzas and ice cream all the time. We had no complains about the food at all.

The one thing I really loved on board the Carnival Spirit was the entertainment. There was always something happening especially during the night that we had no time to be bored. Most nights we were going from one event to another fully enjoying each performance. From stand up comedian to hypnotist, juggler, Vegas style show they had everyone covered. If you are into trivia and games, you could always find one area hosting the event.

They tried their best to make the sea days more entertaining and full of activates to every kind of travellers. Apart from kids club for the young ones, they could be entertained in many other ways. They will definitely enjoy the rides in Water Park so just get wet. They will love the Chocolate extravaganza day and they will never worry you regarding food.

Port days were fun and well managed. If you want to know the details on what to do, please research before you board so you can Google the images and read reviews of the things to do in each island.

Disembarkation at all ports was easy and no stress at all. We really enjoyed different ports in New Caledonia but we were glad to come back to the ship and carry on with our holiday with awesome food waiting for us each time.

I might sound vain but I also enjoyed the fact they made our room twice a day. Every time we came back to our room, it was clean and the bed was made :).

After reading, my experience if you are wondering if cruise is your cup of tea, here is the list of pros and cons I experienced which I hope will help you make up your mind.


  • The most important pro of cursing is that it is definitely value for money. Your cruise package includes room, dining, most entertainment and many extras. Except alcohol and soft drinks, you don’t need to buy anything unless you are shopping. This gives you a clear picture on how much you are going to spend in advance.
  • Less hassle as everything is planned for you.
  • If you are a social person, it’s a great way to meet new friends. We made a few friends while on board.
  • No need to worry about food. It is always there and always changing. No matter what kind of taste you have, they cater for you.
  • I felt more relaxed during the whole trip as there was not much to plan and no running around. There are fewer unexpected problems to solve.
  • Pack and unpack only once.


  • Less exploration time as you are in one port for a day only. (May be multiple days depending on cruise but still less than if you go to one place only.)
  • Fewer destination options as your destination will be the coastal areas only
  • If you are after a quiet, relaxing getaway, then cruise may not be your cup of tea.
  • Motion Sickness can be a problem for many people. Do not forget to take some medicines of it.

I hope this has given you some useful insights and helps you make up your mind if Cruising is for you.

Happy Cruising!!!

Take care everyone ,

M from nepaliaustralian


Published : Itchy feet

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in  June-July 2012 issue.    


I believe everyone in this world likes to travel. I know there are a few people who are scared of flying, like Whoopi Goldberg, but those people still love travelling. They just don’t want to fly so they may drive everywhere. If you ask me, I love travelling; actually I should say I have a passion for travelling. I have a long list of places I want to see before I die and the list keeps growing thanks to travel channels and the internet. My mum told me once that I have itchy feet and I totally agree with her. I will travel at any and every opportunity I can get and I am proud to say that I am living my dream.

If you are like me, you may also empathize with this, the most difficult part of having itchy feet is that every time you travel, it costs lots of time and money. Time, I can manage as I am lucky to have a job which has flexible time off options but money has always been a problem and I am sure it will be so in the future as well unless I win a multimillion dollar lotto. Come on, one can dream and who knows, it may come true.

So today I am going to share a few of my travel tips to allow your itchy feet to wander around the world a bit more.

Budget! Budget! Budget! If you want to go somewhere, start planning for it and start saving ahead of time. It might take months or years but if you plan ahead, one day you will get there. They say – Wish, Plan, and Proceed – and I believe that is what we need to do.

For all of us who call Nepal home, we make sure to visit our family and friends at least once every few years. We may go for few weeks or few months but we always make sure we go as often as possible. Normally we don’t consider that as a holiday but if you think about it you can plan and make it a holiday. Why? Because you are already spending so much time and money on travelling anyway that if you plan a bit , you can squeeze holiday in.

As there is no direct flight to Nepal (I wish there would be one soon, as I hate those long transits as much as you do), we are forced to change planes in either in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, China, India or Hong Kong. So if you are going to Nepal why don’t you use this opportunity to take a few days holiday in one of these countries where you have to transit anyway?

Singapore doesn’t require visas for Nepali nationals while other countries have easy visa process. They are quick and cheap. Just think about it when you travel to Nepal the next time. And if you have an Australian passport you probably won’t need a visa, making it easier to visit those countries. Just make sure you check about the visa requirements.

I am sure you will love each of these stopovers. Beaches in Thailand or Shopping in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC – the famous twin towers) in Malaysia or the Culture in India, you will definitely have some unique experience every time.

If you want to go one step further, take a hop from these stopover countries with Air Asia (or any other low cost carriers) and you can get to Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan, Maldives or Laos quite easily. The flights are not so expensive either. Just remember, if you are planning to do this, Air Asia has its counters outside the international terminal in most of the countries. It means that may need to pass immigration to reach these terminals and so you may require visa in your stopover country as well even though you do not leave the airport, so don’t forget to check that with your travel agent and also cross check with Air Asia.

One who plans well always saves money while travelling, so do your research. Don’t be bored about spending a few hours on the internet because this might save you heaps of dollars while on your holiday. My best friend has been Trip Advisor (www.tripadvisor.com.au) for a long time. There fellow travellers share their good and bad experience which has definitely helped me to make a better decision than I might have otherwise. Always look at more than one person’s opinion to make sure that you get a well-rounded picture of whatever you are researching.

If it is possible book your holiday at least 6 months or more in advance, especially air tickets. Most airlines have a number of different ticket types even in economy unless you are used to travelling business or first class. The cheaper seats are sold out first and they are limited. It might make hundreds of dollars of difference in your budget if you act early. This saving may allow you to extend your trip or put money towards other activities.

Sign up to get a newsletter/email from airlines and travel companies. I know it can be really annoying when you get heaps of emails when you are not planning for a holiday but if you are smart, you may get a great deal. Just make a folder in your inbox for all travel emails. Setup a rule in your email options to send this email directly to the travel folder so if you are not planning holidays, you don’t need to look at them but if you are then there may be some offers which you can use for your next trip.

Become a frequent flyer member with the airline you fly frequently. I am a member of Star Alliance as I fly Singapore and Thai a lot. The last time I went to Nepal, I had enough points to spend my 13 hours transit in their lounge with my husband. It was great with free internet, food, shower and a bed as well. Also you may be lucky and get priority for some service or even upgraded seats.

When you are on holiday keep a budget and try to stick to it but don’t count every penny. It may cost you $100 to go to the top of Burj Kalifa (the top of the tallest building in the world) but as you are in Dubai, you might as well do it (by the way if you buy it online beforehand it only costs around $25 so you save $75!). You will never be able to do these once in a lifetime things unless you go back to the same place again. Believe me; you will regret that in the future.

Travel domestically if you can’t go international. Australia has so many beautiful places that you can drive to. Just hop into the car and drive away. Also while in Nepal, just pick a place and have a family holiday. Your family will love it and you will get to spend more time with them as well and your pocket will love it too.

I think every traveller will tell you and I agree with it as well – There is no bad experience when you travel. Just keep an open mind and enjoy what that place/country has to offer. Don’t look for what you have every day. You are travelling because you want to experience something different. Enjoy new places, new people and new culture. Open your eyes and your heart to the world. You will be surprised what you discover around the next corner.

Bon Voyage!!!

Please click here to see my travel photos.