How to choose a great cruise for you and your family
Cruising the ocean on a fabulous ship is a dream for most of us. But, how to choose a great cruise is the first step when planning. There are many options; from small ships to super-mega ships to ferry/cargo ships which allow passengers too. There is something for everyone and every budget. But, before you say “I do” to your perfect cruise, here are a few tips to make sure when you return to your dock back home, the perfect feel will still be there.
Here are our tips to consider before booking your cruise.
- Ask yourself where you want to go. You might be surprised to find out that there are cruise lines all over the world. Once you pick an area or destination, research which cruise lines are the most popular in that region. They will likely have the widest variety of journeys which will allow you to tailor your trip more closely to your liking.
- Decide how long you want your journey to be. There are some cruise lines that offer shorter trips while others only offer journeys that are longer than 10 days.
- Decide your budget. Your budget can be impacted by the length of your trip, the cruise line you choose, and even the location of your cabin. Cabins that do not have balconies or ocean views can sometimes cost hundreds of dollars less than cabins with balconies.
- Also make sure to research all that is included in the upfront cost. Some cruise lines include Internet, entertainment and meal plans while others only offer them as an additional cost.
- Your budget can also be affected by the season. You might be able to cut costs if you choose to travel in the offseason.
- It’s important to factor in any additional costs – such as souvenirs in port towns, airfare, and any attractions you might come across in your travels.
4. Think about the personality of the cruise – if you’re looking for a quieter experience, a cruise like Carnival may not be right for you because it caters more to the fun-loving and social crowd. You can find out more about the personalities of cruise lines through reading reviews and asking friends for recommendations.
- Another trait to consider is how formal the cruise line is. Some cruise lines like Princess Cruises have dress codes and assigned seating while others are more relaxed and casual.
5. Think about who will be coming with you. If you are bringing kids, Disney and Carnival cruise lines might have more to offer for them. There are also cruise trips catered towards senior citizens, members of the LGBT community, and more.
6. Decide how important food and entertainment are to you. Some cruise lines offer world-class dining, even featuring renowned chefs, and some cruise lines promise show-stopping entertainment. If that’s what you’re looking for, bigger cruise lines might be a better fit for you.
7. If you are worried about seasickness, bigger cruise ships are typically a smoother ride, while smaller ships might be more affected by the ocean waves.
8. Decide if you are more interested in a cruise ship experience or if you want to be able to get out and explore. While the Caribbean is a popular cruise destination, there isn’t as much emphasis on exploring the nearby locations. On the other hand, there are often more detailed itineraries and a wider variety of ports on cruise lines that travel near Africa, South America and Europe.
9. Plan in advance to catch early-bird deals.
- Also try to schedule massages and spa days on the ship as far in advance as possible too because there are limited treatment rooms and appointments fill up quickly.
10. While smaller ships may have fewer meal and entertainment options, they are able to dock in smaller ports and provide a more unique experience.
11. The time to splurge on cabins with a view may be appropriate when you are traveling through scenic areas such as the Alaskan coast or through the Mediterranean; while others may only offer a view of the open ocean for most of the trip.
- If you want to go on an Alaskan cruise, pick a cabin on the right side of the ship for northbound trips and on the left side for southbound trips so that you will always have a view of the coastline.