Pick the Cruise That’s Right for You
Your first choice is the most enjoyable, for it allows your mind to wander around the globe and back again, revisiting every destination your dreams have ever taken you to. Where in the world do you want to go and for how long? The length of your trip largely depends on how much you can afford.
Cruises offer everything from one or two-night excursions out to sea and back to journeys that take you around the world in 100 days. Three-day weekend, four-day midweek, week and two-week cruises are the most popular.
With 70 percent of the planet covered in water, the next question should not be where to go to but where to go to first. Cruise ships visit more than 1,800 ports around the world, providing you with rare glimpses into many cultures all in one eye-popping vacation.
Many first-time cruisers choose the Caribbean or Mexican Riviera, where you pleasantly float from one island paradise to the next. Soak up the sun, learn a water sport or discover a new flavor of margarita-the tropics never disappoint.
For a local alternative try Alaska, where you’ll experience calving glaciers and curious whales while following either the Inside Passage or the Gulf of Alaska route. Or, take a fall cruise to New England and Canada, where you’ll be introduced to our neighbors of the north while watching the leaves turn on shore.
Aim for Europe with cross-Atlantic trips to Paris or Rome, Mediterranean cruises to the likes of Italy, Greece and the French Riviera, or tour the Scandinavian capitals from the sea, where historic cities like Copenhagen and Helsinki reign with centuries of heritage.
Finding a Good Rate and the Right Cabin
Paying the brochure rate
for a cruise is like paying full sticker price for a car. To lessen the sticker shock, book early—generally 120 days prior to the sail date—and be flexible about your travel plans, for just like the rest of the travel industry, off-season cruises are typically cheaper.
Aim for a four-day cruise in the middle of the week instead of the popular three-day weekend cruise. You might get that extra day at a great rate!
If you plan to spend significant time in your cabin, choose the biggest room you can afford. Standard cabins have twin beds, which can usually be converted into a queen-sized bed, while bunk beds in other rooms cannot be converted.
The most-expensive and least-expensive cabins are likely to sell out first, so book early if you have set your sights on either. Cabins are listed as inside (no windows) or outside (with windows), with outside cabins naturally higher priced. If you are booking a cabin with windows, check with your travel agent to ensure that your view is not obstructed by equipment such as a lifeboat.
What’s Free and What Costs Money?
The price of your ticket will include your cabin, on-board entertainment and food. Other items to consider when budgeting your trip include:
Taxes, surcharges, and fees, including airport fees, handling fees, departure taxes and port charges. You should verify which fees and port taxes are included in your cruise rate.
Alcoholic beverages, bottled water and occasionally soft drinks. Some ships offer "soda packages" that feature unlimited sodas during the cruise for about $15-$20.
Cost of reaching the ship, airline tickets not booked as part of the package, shuttle service or in-port parking fees, if not included.
Cost of staying at port before or after the cruise, such as hotel, transportation and meals. › Shopping purchases made both on and off the ship.
On board extras, such as gambling, spas, massages and ship-to-shore calls.
Tipping.Most cruise lines use a billing system for your convenience. They will take an imprint of your credit card and set up a tab for the cruise, presenting you with the total bill at the end. Keep all the little receipts you sign to verify the tab’s total.
Family Cruise with Children
Most cruise lines allow children on board, but not all design activities specifically for kids. Following are some basic questions you should ask your travel agent and/or find out from the cruise line when selecting a cruise for a family with children.
Be sure to check with your travel agent before booking to get the specifics on each cruise ship. Some ships have different age categories, and others don't offer their kids programs year-round
Cruise Deals : Bermuda, Hawaii, Bahamas and Caribbean
Whether you want to take a Disney cruise with your children or just plan an all inclusive getaway aboard a cruise line headed for Bermuda, there is a cruise line that has your interests in mind.
Many cruise lines now depart from other states besides Florida! The price per person varies depending on the time of year and the destination that you would like to visit so shop around for the dates and places that fit your budget.
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival cruises are perfect for singles travel, honeymooners and families. (Perfect chance to have a family reunion in the Bahamas!) With the around the clock buffets, casual restaurants and kiddie camps, the Carnival cruise lines are perfect for those interested in cruises to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Hawaii. (Carnival cruises also go to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera, eastern canada and the Panama Canal.)
Celebrity Cruise Lines
You may not want to bring the kiddos on a Celebrity cruise eventhough they have a supervised kids' program on most of their ships. The Celebrity cruise line is known for being more high end than some of the other cruise lines because of the services and amenities available to guests. Dining rooms on Celebrity cruise lines are perfect for couples and honeymooners who like the idea of a little bit of luxury on their cruise. The Celebrity cruise lines are perfect for those interested in cruises to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas and Hawaii. (Celebrity cruises also go to Alaska, the Mexican Riviera, South America, Canada to New England and the Panama Canal.)
Disney Cruise Lines
Perfect for kids of all ages, the Disney cruise line has large rooms and has a floating theme park feel. With stops in the Caribbean and the Bahamas and even Disney's own private island, kids and their parents can enjoy some family fun on the Disney cruise line!
Holland America Cruise Lines
Holland America cruises are known for white glove service to the Caribbean and Hawaii and museum quality works of art, gourmet cuisine and rooms with views and verandahs. (Holland America cruises also go to Africa, Europe, Mexico, Canada to New England and India.)
Norwegian Cruise Lines
Like activities, the Norwegian cruise line has you covered. The Norwegian cruise line will even take you out on water sports excursions - including diving. That should be music to your ears if you want to go to Bermuda or Hawaii and take a look at the underwater life. (The Norwegian cruise line also goes to Alaska, Europe, the Panama Canal and South America.)
Princess Cruise Lines
When it's time to take a cruise the best room to choose would be the spacious rooms with the balconies and luckily Princess cruises has many of them. If you like an intimate feeling cruise and you are thinking about taking a cruise to the Caribbean or Hawaii this is a cruise line for you. (Princess cruises also go to Africa, Alaska, Asia, Australia, Europe, Mexico and South America.)
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
I don't know why anyone would actually get off a Royal Caribbean cruise ship to go see what's in the port. With fine dining, night clubs, bars, first-run movies, a casino and around the clock buffets on each of their ships, it seems like this cruise line would be perfect as a relaxing cruise vacation to nowhere let alone the Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda destinations that they cover. (Royal Caribbean cruises also go to Alaska, Europe, Canada to New England and Mexico)
Groups! Sail & Save
Save with Groups, Friends and Family, Reunions, Weddings or Anniversary, Parties, Fund Raisers, Planning a wedding, friends & family cruise, a corporate meeting or incentive program. Perhaps a reunion?