Cruising is a great way to see different places without having to pack and unpack a bunch of times. There are quite a few factors to consider when planning a cruise vacation. Knowledge and research can help a lot. At Embrace the Journey Travel we assist with all parts so you get the most out of your vacation.
First Questions to Ask
When starting to plan the first questions you should ask yourself should be about location and environment.
Would you like to go somewhere warm or cold? Do you think a quick weekend or something longer would be preferred?
The ship you are on can be just as important as where you are going. If you are bringing children you will likely want a ship with lots of activities to occupy the sea days.
If you are all adults, then a smaller ship with lots of space to relax.
How Far in Advance should I Start Planning?
A year is a good median time to start planning. Most cruise lines have at least two years of itineraries available at a given time.
If you are wanting to go during a busy time of year; holiday season or spring break, then it is suggested to start planning as far out as possible.
Disney Cruise Line typically has the best pricing right when dates are released, while other cruise lines will fluctuate their pricing based on demand and availability.
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Departure & Destination
If you know where you would like to go then planning can be a little more simple, but if not then that is what to decide first. Many think of the Caribbean when they think of cruising and with good reason. There are many itineraries that can take you to all parts of the Caribbean.
Alaska is also a popular choice for a cruise, but you will only be able to travel during the summer months.
Europe has some really great and unique itineraries to consider and is a great way to see several different countries within a week or so.
When selecting a departure port you can go one of two ways. Many like to select what is convenient to them or easy to get to. Others select the departure port based on where they want to go. For instance, if you are wanting to go to Alaska, your departure port will be Seattle or Vancouver.
Quick Tip: If your destination is not a factor, take advantage if you have a port near you.
Most cruise lines have several cabin types to choose from. Your budget can come into play when selecting. Often the least expensive will be an interior cabin; one that does not have any outer windows or natural light. The middle ground is an ocean view cabin; these offer some natural light with a window or porthole. Balconies are cabins that offer a room and outdoor balcony space to enjoy.
Most ships also have suites, which tend to be larger and can accommodate more people. Suites also often come with other perks for the travelers who are staying in them.
Quick Tip: The middle of the ship or midship you tend to feel less motion.
Decide Your Wants
Every vacation should check boxes to make sure you have a good time and a cruise is no exception. Deciding what you want from a cruise will help greatly in your planning.
If you are looking for a lot to do and action, then going on a ship with a lot of activities and going to places with a lot of available excursions would be perfect.
If you are looking for laid back and mellow, then selecting a ship with above average spa services can help.
Are you a foodie? Then choosing a cruise line known for their culinary expertise is a must.
Quick Tip: Even though a ship may have sister ships that doesn’t mean they are exactly the same. Make sure to look at all the details.
Next blog I will take you through steps of planning once you have booked your cruise!
Each Journey Planner has experience with cruises. Reach out today to start planning your next cruise vacation!
Thank you to Stephenie Surber, the Embrace the Journey Travel’s Cruise Manager for writing this blog. Learn more about Stephenie here.