People are sometimes apprehensive about taking a cruise. If you have a good travel agent, they will match you with the right cruise line. Remember, there is a cruise out there for every budget. You might be surprised at how much a luxury cruise may be more affordable than a standard cruise line. Cruises are floating hotels and include meals, some beverages (depends on cruise or package selected) some on board activities. They also have on-board, for a charge, Spa's, different classes, on-shore excursions, and some can even package airfare and pre and post hotel packages. Airfare is usually cheaper if bundled with the cruise package.
1. It matters what line you choose. How well a cruise suits your personality can have a big impact on your overall onboard experience. Some lines attract fiercely loyal customers with a party vibe; others draw them in with a quieter, more sophisticated ambience. The premium brands are great for first time cruisers. 2. Consider the Internet and alcohol packages before you board. When Internet costs around 79 cents a minute and drinks are upwards of $10 each, a few minutes of web surfing here and a couple of cocktails there can really add up. Research the packages carefully before boarding — they may seem pricey, but you’ll likely end up saving money. Sometimes booking a suite, it will include premium beverage packages, gratuities, internet, and more.
3. Don’t try to do everything on the daily calendar. You’ll get a schedule each day of events happening on board, but if you try to participate in every little activity — from seminars to trivia contests — you might end up feeling overwhelmed. Pick and choose what you want to participate in; otherwise you’ll be running around the ship constantly.
4. Make reservations as soon as possible. Book shore excursions and specialty restaurant reservations online prior to your trip, or as soon as you board. Spots fill up quickly! If you’re hoping to go to the spa on a day at sea, remember that this is the most popular time for bookings. When booking your cruise with your travel agent, all of this can be done at the same time, so when its time to go, all you have to do is sit back and relax.
5. It’s normal to order multiple dishes at meals.
Want to try more than one entrée? Go for it. A few appetizers? Sure. They’re included in the price of your fare (except at some specialty restaurants). You will never be hungry, and food is typically available all the time. If you are celebrating a special occasion, book one of the specialty restaurants, they range from $15-25 per person and are prepared by chefs, some James Beard award winners.
6. Sit back and relax — you don’t have to plan much. This is definitely a vacation for the easygoing. It’s hard to see the downside of waking up in a new port each day without the hassle of planning how to get there — and what a relief it was not to have to book hotels, find restaurants, and coordinate itineraries.
7. The cruising experience is what you make of it. The beauty of cruising is that you control the type of day you have, from quiet to active. If you prefer to sleep in and lounge at the pool, you can. But if you want to work out, get a facial, and attend a Broadway-style performance, that’s an option, too. Your schedule on board is totally flexible.