Getting ready to walk up the gangplank to a cruise anticipating new places and experiences is exhilarating. New clothes, a fresh hair style, feeling fit, a result of a personal trainer and I am a new woman embarking on a journey of exploration. However, there is work to ensuring the cruise I am getting on is the one that is right for me. You will want to think about these considerations when you are contemplating a cruise.
1. Know the Experience You Want
Smaller ships have fewer people, better ports because of size of the ship and the ability to navigate shallower water, more intimate surroundings, quieter, more refined ambience, one or smaller swimming pools and fewer choices of entertainment.
The bigger the ship the more experiences you can have; excursions, events, dining options, larger casinos, hustle and bustle, and lots of people.
2. Decide Who You Want to Cruise With
Smaller ships are often adults only and will have minimal or no children’s entertainment.
The larger ships have whole day itineraries for children and teens.
Some cruise lines cater to families and others may cater to singles.
3. Assess the Value Proposition
The level of price doesn’t represent the total value so you need to unpack the components of the cruise in order to judge. Make sure to compare apples to apples. Asking questions and digging through the fine print will help you determine what is included such as:
- Airfare to arrival cities
- Alcohol, bottled water, soft drinks
- Shuttles to downtown centers in port
- Specialty restaurants
4. Determine How Much Rough Weather You Can Take
Focus on quiet waters and certain seasons if you are queasy. An iron clad constitution allows you to cruise anytime, even in rough seas. Remember ports can be cancelled depending on the weather, so you should be prepared to be flexible.
When hoping to relax by the pool, suntan and read, look for lots of sea days.
An explorer wants to see and experience new things, so choose an itinerary with lots of ports.
6. Consider Your Personal Circumstance
Single travelers look for cruises with single travel discounts as staterooms are typically priced on the basis of double occupancy. Some cruises have single cabins, but often they go quickly so you may want to consider a travelling companion.
Mobility or health challenges can often be accommodated on cruises. Some lines have better facilities than others. Carefully consider what port excursions you choose as many countries still do not have the handicapped services that North America does.
Become familiar with the benefits of various categories of staterooms. If you need to see the sky an inside cabin will not work for you. Contemplating spending a lot of time in your room means a veranda gives you the option of staying put and enjoying the ocean breeze. Luxurious suites have more room and added amenities.
8. Contemplate Specialty Options
Specialty cruises cater to a specific interest like Around the World, Disney, Caribbean, singles, or wine. The itinerary and services such as experts sharing their knowledge, entertainment and excursions are put together with that focus.
Themed cruises can be lots of fun and feed a particular interest or hobby such as Rock and Roll, bridge, sports, architecture, writing or knitting. There will be subject specialists and itineraries built around the theme.
Repositioning cruises are when a ship relocates from one region to another typically at the end of a season in one local and the beginning of the season in another. Typically, there are lots of sea days, little or no excursions, a shorter timeline and therefore less expensive.
Now, you will be better prepared for the cruise of your dreams.
Have you cruised? What tips do you have?