CHOOSE THE RIGHT CRUISE
Finding the right cruise for you is vital but it’s not easy. There are so many cruises to choose from and the choice has become mindblowing. No longer is cruising just a means of island hopping around the Caribbean. Nowadays you can experience world-class dining, health spas, zip lines or even try out a water slide, all while on board the ship. Due to a tremendous choice of options, choosing the right cruise can make or break your cruise experience. Choose the wrong one and it will maybe put you off cruising forever – not good.
With new cruises, itineraries and amenities being unveiled all the time, finding the right cruise can seem like a daunting task, especially for first time cruisers. In our cruise blog we aim to point you in the right direction so here are a few of our best tips to help eliminate the guesswork and ensure you choose the right cruise.
WHERE TO GO
The first thing to consider is where you want to go. The Caribbean is still a very a popular destination for cruises, and there’s a good reason why. Quite simply it’s the first choice for families, couples, and singles alike because Caribbean cruises tend to be very relaxing. There isn’t any great need to get off the ship early to explore or pack in the sightseeing via shore excursions.
For those who would likes to explore, you’ll want to choose an itinerary with plenty of time off of the ship in exciting ports like Europe, South America, the Far East or Australasia. Cruising is simple and takes the stress out of foreign vacation planning, and transportation making it one of the easiest ways to enjoy all those fantastic foreign destinations.
WHEN TO GO
School holiday sometimes often dictate when holidays and vacations can be taken and so carefull planning is needed. We have found from our own expereince that cruises in the school holidays fill up way in advance. We have recently booked with MSC on the SeaView and had to book 18months ahead of time to secure they right staterooms for our famility.
For winter cruising, the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii are popular destinations, but South America and Southeast Asia also offer near perfect cruising weather for travelers looking for something more adventurous. In the summer season take a look at the Mediterraneum and Alaska. The good weather in these regions more than balances out the large crowds in these popular destinations. If you’re hoping to save money and avoid crowds for any destination, consider sailing during the off peak season when prices are lower but weather is still acceptable. You might also consider taking a cruise at christmas as this is a brilliant way to bring the whole family togther over the holidays.
CHOOSING A THEME
With so many cruises to choose from the cruise lines have developed thier offerings to include what are called Themed Cruises. This is where the whole, or part of the sailing, is dedicated to a partiuclar activity or interest. These include Food and Wine Cruises, Golf Cruises, Exploration, Culinary Arts and many more. If you have a particular interest this may be an option for you. For first time cruisers it is probbaly better to try something straightforward to start with before taking a leap of faith with something more specific.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT STATEROOM
If you are one of those people who want to go on a cruise to just relax onboard then you may like to upgrade to a larger stateroom or even a stateroom with a balcony. This is a great option for you to hide away and relax, read a book and take in the bearthtaking views. Maybe you would like to take advantage of excursions everyday, in which case you may wish to choose a smaller stateroom and use your saving for those tours.
It’s important, though, to be realistic about what you can tolerate in terms of movement of the ship. If you’re someone who will get seasick or claustrophobic without an Ocean View, an upgrade is essential. If motion sickness is a worry then you could consider a relaxing and romantic River Cruise, where there is little or no movement of the ship.
CONSIDER WHO YOU ARE TRAVELLING WITH
Who you travel with is the next important consideration. You may be planning a romantic getaway or taking your children for a fun family holiday or an extended family group looking to enjoy some quality time together? We have found that Celebrity Cruise Line is a prefect solution if you’re with your entire brood, especially if you have yung children in the group. For us it just works and there is enterinament for the whole family.
However, if you’re looking for a cruise that will whisk you away in an intimate and romantic setting, why not try Seabourn or Silversea which are both ultra luxurious. Crystal Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises also offer exceptional style with exciting and varies destinations. With smaller ships, these lines tend to be more exclusive and ooze quality.
SIZE DOES MATTER
Cruise ships come in all sizes from mega ships with thousndas of passengers to boutique ships with just a few hundred guest. The large cruise ships offer an exceptional array of entertainment options, dining venues amenities and are typically the best choice if you’re traveling with younger children or a large group. However, if you’re hoping for a more intimate, relaxing luxury experience with attentive service and a sophisticated ambiance, consider choosing a smaller luxury cruise. Having tried them all our prefered ship size is 300-400 passengers.
HOW YOU WANT TO SPEND YOUR TIME
When you are onboard is your plan to spend your time unwinding by the pool or be up early each day to take advantage of the shore excursions in each port. If you’re hoping to spend most of your time onboard, you’ll want to choose a ship with activities, lecture, classes etc to avoid getting bored. Royal Caribbean International are leaders in this type of ship and cater to cruisers of all ages. With numerous pools, zip lines, rock climbing walls and even ice-skating rinks at sea. Other cruise lines offering all round activities and entertainment include Celebrity Cruises and MSC.
If you are not so concerned about numerous onbard activities but more interested in the destination and what you see when you are off the ship, consider choosing a cruise that specializes in destination immersion. Cruise Lines in this category tend to be the smaller ships of Seabourn, Silversea, Oceania, Regent and Windstar which can often get into smaller, more interesting ports. Many feature overnight stays and late port departures which allow guests to fully experience each destination.
GETTING THE BEST VALUE
Always consider what you expect from your cruise – the things that excite you the most. Research it well, talk to your travel agent and then decide on a cruise which focuses on your expectations. Itinerary driven guests will choose cruises where smaller ships can get into ports that bigger ships cannot go or to destinataions like Antartica which is unsuitable for mega ships. Foodies should look for a line with a heavy focus on culinary quality. Crystal Cruises features cuisine crafted by celebrity chef, Nobu Matsuhisa, while Silversea Cruises offers the only Relais & Châteaux-affiliated restaurant on a cruise ship. If fine wine and spirits are key to your enjoyment, consider choosing a cruise that offers all-inclusive packages that include alcoholic beverages like Seabourn, Regent, Crystal and Silversea.
Choose the right cruise and you are on your way to maximum enjoyment and whatever the cost you will not look back.