Planning a cruise vacation can be a daunting task, but if you follow these simple steps youíre sure to avoid the most coming obstacles.
Choose Your Cruise
There truly is a cruise for every vacation desire, but the hard part is finding one that is just right for you. Each cruise line (and in some cases each ship) has a unique reputation. Their uniqueness comes from characteristics such as the shipís amenities, destinations, crew, food, the vacation season, and of course the guests. For these reasons do your research by asking about things that matter most to you. If youíre a mother then ask about day care, if you a student then ask about the pool deck activities, if you enjoy fine wine then inquire about the wine bar. Travel agents are a great resource so spend some time with your travel agent to ensure they know what you plan to get out of your vacation.
Choose Your Stateroom
On many cruise ships the size and location of your cabin can have a big impact on the price of your trip. Some people opt for the cheapest room (typically an inside cabin with no windows) and use it strictly for sleeping and showering while others prefer a room with a balcony for their private outside oasis. Itís important to keep in mind that cabins come in many shapes and sizes and even two cabins in the same price range on the same ship are not always equal. Most cruise lines allow you to view room configurations online and you can always call the cruise line to inquire about differences between the rooms.
Choose Your Flight
The packaged airfare offered by many cruise lines is optional and price sensitive travelers can typically find a better price by booking a flight on their own. If you book your own airfare then youíll need to make sure the flight provides ample time before the ship boards. Also, youíll want to make sure you have transportation from the airport to the port. The travel insurance provided by most cruise lines will not cover a delayed flight so you may want to look into third party travel insurance especially if book your own flight.
Pick Your Activities
For those who are interested in planned activities during port calls it is important to understand that space is limited and the most popular activities sell out quickly. Shore excursions can make or break the vacation for some so find out which activities interest you and then make sure have openings before you book your cruise. Typically the shore excursions are booked after you book your room but before you board the ship, make sure you understand the process so youíre not left behind on shore.
Plan Your Spending
Find out whatís included before you book your trip. Many cruise lines are all inclusive but it is an important factor to consider when budgeting for your trip. Ask about alcohol, snacks, meals, and room service. Understand how tipping is handled and remember to set aside some money for the casino if you plan to spend time at the slots. Many of the most popular shore excursions have costs associated with them and youíll be spending money on food and shopping when you are on shore.
Hopefully these simple guidelines help you keep focus during the overwhelming process of planning a cruise vacation.