The Step by Step Guide to Planning Your First Cruise
Going on a cruise is one of the most popular ways to travel. You can take in many different places at once and enjoy the journeys in between too. Going on a cruise is often like being in a floating hotel. When you’re not enjoying a shore excursion for the day, you can experience what’s on offer on the ship. You can also find smaller cruises. They focus more on the stops and journey than the restaurants and onboard entertainment. If you’ve never been on a cruise before, you might be wondering where to start. Luckily, planning and booking a cruise doesn’t need to be difficult. It’s often like booking a package trip, with many of them being all-inclusive. Start planning a cruise using this guide.
Deciding If Cruising Is for You
Before you go on your first cruise, you have to work out if cruising is your sort of thing. Some people think they like the idea of a cruise but soon change their mind. Others don’t like the sound of a cruise but have fallen victim of myths about what they are really like. The first thing you should consider is if you can handle being at sea. If you suffer from motion sickness, you might want to give cruising a miss. However, if you think you won’t like cruising for other reasons, it’s important to consider them. For example, perhaps you think that cruises are all mega-ships with one-day stops and no chance to explore. This isn’t true, and cruises can come in many shapes and sizes.
Cruising can be suitable for a wide range of people. If you enjoy spending your vacations in resorts, you might enjoy a cruise on a mega-ship. If you’re an adventure lover, an expedition cruise could be more your speed. A small, boutique cruise could be better for you if the idea of a huge cruise ship sounds overwhelming. And you can pick cruises with longer stops if you want time to get to know each destination.
River Cruise or Ocean Cruise?
One of the things you should consider is whether you want to cruise on a river or on the sea. On a river, you can travel through a state, country, or several countries. Ocean cruises could take you around different islands, along a coast, or both. Some ocean cruises will be largely based on the water. For example, you might go on a sea kayaking expedition with a cruise ship acting as your support vessel. There are benefits to both types of cruise, so you should consider which one you want to try.
A river cruise is often smaller and more intimate, which is a bonus for a lot of people. However, you might prefer to resort-like feel of an ocean cruise liner. River cruises can also take you into the heart of a city, instead of to a more remote port that might need a transfer. Ocean cruising is a better-established market, so you might feel you have more choices. There are often many more facilities, from restaurants and bars to swimming pools and casinos.
There are so many cruise options to choose from that you might need some advice. The best place to turn to is often anywhere you can talk to experienced cruisers. People who have been on lots of cruises before are all too happy to make recommendations. You could start by talking to a travel agent, who reps should have experience of the packages they offer. You can also use forums like the Bolsover Cruise Club to talk to people who love cruising. You can ask for advice and recommendations to help you find the right trip. Once you’ve made a decision, helpful communities will also give you the tips you need to prepare.
Your Cruise Budget
How much you can spend is obviously important when you’re choosing your cruise. As a general rule, the smaller the cruise is, the more you could find yourself paying. A massive cruise liner can accommodate hundreds of people, so they’re better value. They are sometimes all-inclusive. But when they’re not you need to be careful of other expenses. You have to factor in the cost of food and drink, as well as any other activities on board. There’s also shore excursions to consider, which can add further costs to your cruise.
You might also choose a fly-cruise. So you’ll have to pay for flights to get to your departure point. On a smaller cruise, you won’t get all the facilities of a large ship. However, for many people, that’s the whole point. You might not like the resort atmosphere of a mega-ship and prefer to pay more for a smaller ship.
Booking Your Cruise
If you have chosen a cruise, your next step should be to book it. Most of the time it’s as simple as booking your cabins online. However, even choosing a cabin type can be confusing. There are different sizes and locations, with different levels of luxury to consider. You could be on the inside of the ship, with no window in your cabin. An outside cabin gets you a window and possibly a view too. If you want to upgrade, you could have a balcony or even a suit, with more space and a living area. Before you book your cruise, shop around for deals to find the best price.
Planning Your Cruise Itinerary
Once you have booked your cabin, the cruise planning isn’t over. You have other parts of your cruise you should organize. For example, when you stop, you might want to have a shore excursion to enjoy. Some people just like to wander around, but others prefer an organized activity, such as a tour. You might also want to make plans for eating and drinking. For example, you can book restaurants either on the ship or at one of your destinations. It’s also important to take care of the less exciting stuff, though. You need to make sure you’re aware of any rules and regulations, get up to date on vaccinations, and buy travel insurance.
Your first cruise experience could be a revelation. Once you start, it’s likely you won’t be able to stop cruising.