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How to Plan Cruise Vacation

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Make a List Before You Book a Cruise

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Who is going with you?

The first point on the list is easy: Who is going with you? You can always find a cruise that’s age group friendly. If you’re taking the kids, find a kid friendly ship or if the teenagers are going, find a cruise ship that caters to them. If you’re single, there are several choices depending on your lifestyle. There are gay and lesbian cruises, as well as single only cruises. There are love and dating cruises and special attraction cruises, as well as seasonal cruises.

How much do you want to spend?

Most cruises are all inclusive meaning airfare, meals and entertainment are part of the package, but more cruises are offering extras, which can get expensive. Some people budget about $100 a day, per person for the cruise without the extras, which are alcohol, alternative dining, gambling and other purchases. You can save some money by booking early and by having more than 2 people in a cabin or by taking your chances and booking late. Cruise companies will drop the price to fill the ship at the last minute, but it’s safe to say you’ll spend about $500 per week, per person on any cruise you take.

How long do I want to cruise?

If you have less than a week, you might want to choose a trip to one part of the Caribbean, Mexico or the Bahamas. There are cruises to nowhere, which are long weekend trips out to sea with no ports of call. If you have a week or longer you can pick your spot; Alaska, the South Pacific, Europe and Hawaii are all doable in that amount of time, depending on where you live.

When do I want to travel?

Cruises tend to be cheaper in the fall or spring. Winter is high season if you’re traveling to an island or a beach location and summer cruises can be expensive because the kids are out of school. Places like Northern Europe and Alaska have shorter seasons, which usually last from May through September and Antarctica cruises are November through February. Going to the Mediterranean or the tropics are a little easier; some cruise lines travel in these areas year-round.

The amount of choices is almost endless, so pick a cruise one that fits your interests. African Cruises, Asia Cruises, Bermuda Cruises, Canadian Cruises, Mexican Riviera Cruises, North American Cruises, South American Cruises, South Pacific Cruises, Panama Canal Cruises, Trans Ocean Cruises and World Cruises, as well as other cruises are designed for travelers who want to learn, as well as enjoy the experience.

What do you like to do?

There are so many different cruise ships, it’s easy to find one that fits your interests. You can hike, scuba dive, visit cultural and historic locations, tour islands, play golf, tennis or water sports, take a helicopter ride around a volcano or take a private tour of the Vatican. Almost any experience is available, so be picky and find one that offers you the activities that you enjoy.

What kind of cabin do you want?

What kind of cabin do you want? Cabins on the lower deck and mid deck ride better in rough seas than cabins on the upper decks or near the bow, so look at deck plans before you leave. If you book early you might be able to upgrade to a better cabin on the shore side, if you’re traveling to certain locations where that’s important for seeing some of the sites. You may just want to get a cabin with a small window or might want a cabin with a private balcony or veranda.

It’s also a good idea to pick the time you want to eat. There are usually three options. There’s an early seating at 6:00 pm and a late seating around 8:30, but you can also take advantage of open seating between 6:30 and 9:30 pm. Most cruise lines offer open seating for breakfast and lunch.

If you like to dress-up, most cruises have one or two nights on a seven day cruise where semi-formal or formal attire is appropriate and the other nights are resort casual or country club attire nights. If you like to eat in jeans or in very casual attire, look for small ships that offer cruises; the larger ships are more rigid about the evening dress code.

How do I get to the cruise ship?

The last point is: How do I get to the cruise ship? You certainly can fly or drive at your own expense, but look for cruise packages that have air included in them. It’s a good idea to check the independent airfare first, that may be the cheaper option. The Fly-cruise option does include luggage handling and you won’t miss the ship’s departure. If you do travel to the ship on your own, it’s best to leave a day early to avoid any travel problems that can ruin the trip.

Now you’re ready to book the cruise. You’ve done you’re homework and it’s up to you to make the most of it. There’s always a cruise ship waiting to help you enjoy your perfectly planned cruise.


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