Cruising has become so much more than a means of island hopping around the Caribbean. These days, you can enjoy world-class dining, spas, zip lines, a meeting with Mickey Mouse, golf, or even a ride on a water coaster, all while on the ship! Due to a seemingly endless array of options, choosing the right cruise can make or break your vacation experience. With new cruises, itineraries, and amenities being unveiled all the time, finding the right cruise can seem like a daunting task—especially for first timers. Here are a few tips to help take out the guesswork and help you find the perfect cruise experience.
1. Where to go ?
Often vacations must be planned around school schedules and holidays, so you’ll want to choose a destination that has optimal weather for the time of year you can travel. For winter cruising, the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Mexico are popular destinations, but South America and Southeast Asia also offer prime cruising weather for travelers looking for something more adventurous. In the summer, consider Alaska or Europe. The warm weather in these regions is worth the crowds you’ll likely experience. If you’re hoping to save money and avoid crowds for any destination, consider sailing during shoulder season when prices are lower but weather is still pretty reliable.
2. Choosing the right cabin
If you’re someone who plans on spending a lot of time on the ship relaxing, you may want to splurge on a larger cabin. But if you plan to leave the ship and take advantage of excursions everyday, then you may wish to book a smaller room and save your budget for tours. Likewise, if you’re an extremely social person and plan to spend a lot of time socializing, it may not be worth it to invest in a private balcony. It’s important, though, to be realistic about what you can tolerate. If you’re someone who will get seasick or claustrophobic without a window, an upgrade is mandatory. Otherwise, the money you’ll save will come at the cost of a pleasant vacation.
3. Consider your companions
Next, you’ll want to consider who you’re traveling with. Are you traveling with your spouse for a romantic getaway, your children for a fun family vacation, or a multigenerational group looking to enjoy some memorable shared experiences together? If you’re with your entire brood, consider Disney Cruise Line, which specializes in entertaining the whole family. However, if you’re looking for a line that will whisk you away in an intimate and romantic setting, luxury lines like Azamara Club Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises offer exceptional style and some of the best value.
4. Getting the most value
Think about what you want out of your cruise experience and where you’ll end up spending the most money and then choose a cruise that offers the best value for that element. Food connoisseurs should look for a line with a heavy focus on culinary quality.
If you value fine wine and spirits, consider choosing a cruise that offers all-inclusive packages that include alcoholic beverages in the cruise price. Some Cruises offers complimentary standard spirits, sodas, and specialty coffees, with unlimited premium packages starting from only $12 per person/per day.
5. Consider how you want to spend your time
When you envision yourself aboard, are you unwinding by the pool or up early taking advantage of excursions offered in each destination? If you’re hoping to spend most of your time aboard, you’ll want to choose a boat with plenty of activities so you don’t go stir crazy. Some cruises cater to cruisers of all ages with on-board zip lines, bumper cars, rock climbing walls, and even ice-skating rinks.
But If you are less concerned with flashy on-board amenities and more interested in what you’ll see when you leave the ship, consider choosing a cruise that specializes in destination immersion and caters to a sophisticated clientele whose priorities are to maximize time off the ship, with overnight stays at ports and late port departures.
6. Size matters
Typically, the longer the cruise, the older the average passenger. Cruises in peak seasons like Christmas and school holidays attract younger passengers. The style of ship you cruise on is also influenced by the nationality of the cruise line operator. Many cruise lines are American which suits most Aussie cruisers but others are English, German, Japanese, Spanish, Italian or French. Of course there are locally based cruise lines here in Australia tailored just for Australians. If you like your spa
treatments or gym workouts, there are some ships that have bigger and better health and beauty facilities than others.
Some ships have traditional, fixed dining times, which certainly have their appeal – while others allow you to dine any time you like and other ships offer both systems. And then there are ships (mostly older vessels) with mostly twin beds instead of double beds. Some ships have no balcony cabins and a handful of suites while others have all balcony cabins or whole decks of suites. And there are cruise lines which offer enrichment and learning via numerous on board lectures and workshops while on others bingo and belly flop contests are the go.
Choosing ship size mega ship or boutique vessel has a huge impact on the cruise environment. Large cruises offer an exceptional array of entertainment options, dining venues, and amenities and are typically the way to go if you’re traveling with younger children or a large group looking for lively nightly activities. However, if you’re hoping for a more intimate, relaxing luxury experience with attentive service and a sophisticated ambiance, consider choosing a smaller luxury cruise.
So when you next choose to cruise, contact us and let us help you find the cruise just for you.