Choosing your first cruise should be an enjoyable experience. Like the holiday itself, the planning stage is filled with possibilities, and the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.
But like everything these days, we’re confronted with an almost endless array of consumer options, and while that’s a good thing, the boundless array of choices can send a first-time cruise goer adrift.
With the number of cruises available today, finding that one that really ‘floats your boat,’ shouldn’t be much of a problem. From family friendly cruises and themed cruises, to luxury and boutique sailings, or adventure excursions, selecting the right cruise starts with a little planning.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you book your first cruise.
Where do I want to go?
We all have that dream destination – that special place that conjures up images of beauty and fun. It’s the ‘figuring out where I want to go’ part, which can really open your eyes to the endless possibilities that come with travel.
Picking your destination also allows you to narrow down your choice of cruise lines, cruise ships, itineraries and ports-of-call, and even the style and price of the cruises available.
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What’s the occasion?
Once you’ve settled on a destination, region or route (i.e. Trans-Atlantic, European River, etc.), consider the occasion. If it’s romance you’re after, perhaps a cruise devoted to adults would be more suitable. There are cruise lines devoted to just this type of occasion.
Likewise, multi-generational family holidays usually revolve around the kids, and there are cruise lines and ships such as P&O, Carnival and Royal Caribbean that provide non-stop family fun and entertainment on board – think water slides, swimming pools, ice skating rinks, wave riders and more. No matter where you want to go, there’s usually a cruise to accommodate every taste.
CHECK OUT… For a brief description of what each cruise line has to offer, be sure to visit our cruise line page.
Do I want to party, relax, see the sights, or do I long for an adventure filled with outdoor sport and recreation?
Every cruise line offers its own unique mix of onboard activities, shore excursions and tours, as well as dining and health spa venues. While one cruise line might cater more to the youth-oriented crowd, others offer high levels of luxury.
And while some cruises highlight the onboard experience, others might focus more on the destination, with on-land adventures being the main draw.
Whatever your motivation for travel, it’s important to consider just how you’d like to spend your time. Speak to one of our expert cruise consultants for the right cruise line for you.
What can I afford
At the end of the day, price plays a big role when it comes to booking a holiday. But even if you’re not able to spend a large amount, finding just the right cruise is always possible.
Many cruise lines offer a varied range of ships and classes, most of which sail to the same destinations. Even top dollar cruises offer specials.
Consider a value oriented cabin class or book a departure date in an off-peak travel period. Selecting a shorter itinerary can even drive down the price or search for a repositioning cruise.
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- Read up on all the top cruise lines on Well Travelled’s cruise line page.
- For comfort and convenience, book a cabin mid-ship, but for even better deals, consider a cabin farther forward or towards the back.
- Once booked, make sure all your travel documents are in order (i.e., passport, visas, boarding documentation).
- Most cruise lines require pre-check in online. Your consultant can help guide you through this.
- Print off your luggage tags at time of online check-in. These will be emailed to you.
- If flying to get to your cruise, consider getting there the day before the cruise departs. There’s nothing worse than missing a cruise because of a delayed or cancelled flight.
- Be sure to pack clothing essentials like swimwear, comfortable lounge clothes, a hat, sunnies and sunscreen, as well as comfy walking shoes for shore excursions. Some cruise itineraries may traverse several seasons.
- Read up on the required dinner time and evening attire. Some ships are more formal than others.
- Be sure to budget for drinks, souvenirs and onboard essentials.
- Consider a beverage package at time of booking to lower the cost. Choose from soft-drink packages, standard and premium alcoholic packages.