Tourists the winner over price war

IT IS the best time to go on a cruise from Australia with a war having started on our shores, according to a travel expert.

Kerri Cottell is an accredited cruise consultant with Escape Travel based at Tweed City.

"There are so many cruise companies coming to Australia right now there is definitely a price war," Ms Cottell said.

"People like cruising because it is affordable, value for money and relaxing.

"Once P&O were the only cruise company in Australian water but now other companies have seen the potential of the Australian market and now there are so many options."

The US-based Carnival, Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean cruise lines all have ships that regularly visit Australia.

Ms Cottell said about 50% of Escape Travel's business was in cruises and its popularity was growing.

"It's what's popular in the Tweed market with the aging population," she said.

"People going on cruises don't have to worry about organising trips, everything is organised for them."

Escape Travel on the Tweed has recently changed, with the Centro Tweed office closing and staff being moved to the Tweed City shop.

"Three staff were moved into the Tweed City store it just made business sense to combine the two," Ms Cottell said.

"We have a group of people here that have more than 50 years' experience in the travel industry.

Ms Cottell said people who had organised a trip through Escape Travel at Centro Tweed can find those same travel consultants working hard from the Tweed City office.

With so much experience in the industry, Ms Cottell has some advice for people who were considering cruises.

"It's never too late.

"You don't need to book a cruise 12 months before the departure date, if you wait until a month before you can usually get last minute specials," she said.

"Also you should always talk to someone who is an accredited cruise consultant with the International Cruise Council of Australasia." Mr Cottell said accredited consultants knew the ins and outs of cruises, and had all the answers that people needed.

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