A cruise vacation can be an affordable and stress-free getaway that families and friends will enjoy, but it can be intimidating to the uninitiated.
From arranging transportation to the ship to planning shore excursions, there are many factors to consider when you’re planning your first cruise vacation.
During COVID, the cruise industry suffered a $12 billion loss, but it is gaining traction again. To help you navigate the world of cruises, we’ve put together this simple guide covering everything you need to know.
How Do I Get There?
One of your first considerations when planning a cruise is how you’ll get there and what ports you want to stop at. International cruises take you all over the world, while domestic cruises are regional.
Some cruise lines offer an air-and-sea package, in which they arrange everything for you; others don’t. Decide what kind of package suits your preferences and budget before booking! Our top pick is the best river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow 2022.
What Can I Expect From My Room?
One of the most overlooked components of any cruise is its accommodation options. What you need to know is that staterooms come in a variety of sizes and styles, from standard rooms on deck two all the way up to duplex penthouses in top-tier suites.
No matter where in the world you are, there are a few important things every room should have. For starters, cabins should include twin beds or an upper and lower bunk bed. In addition, many cruises also provide couches or recliners for lounging.
Bathrooms are generally pretty basic – with showers and flushing toilets – but some will include bathtubs; there’s really not much difference either way, so just go with what makes you feel most comfortable. Overall, be sure to familiarize yourself with your cabin before your trip; it’ll make things far less stressful when it’s time to settle in.
Is There Anything Extra That I Should Pack?
One of your biggest concerns before booking a cruise is whether or not you’ll have enough room in your suitcase. Most people pack much more than they need and find themselves with extra clothing, shoes, and more things that will just weigh them down.
Pack light; don’t bring too many clothes, toiletries, or other items that aren’t absolutely necessary. If there’s something you forgot, ship it after you get back from your trip. Remember that most ships have laundry services – so if anything goes wrong (like an embarrassing stain on your white shirt), you can wash it immediately!
What Kind of Food Do They Serve?
There are many cruise lines out there, and every single one of them has something different on their menu. If you’re curious about a specific cruise line or ship, check out their website for an idea of what they offer.
Then, narrow it down based on what you know you like (such as vegetarian options) and what’s most appealing to your tastes. For example, do you want a more casual dining experience? Or would you prefer fine dining every evening?
Do you mind paying extra to have access to specialty restaurants and all-you-can-eat buffets? Those types of questions will help guide your decision. Make sure to budget your trip accordingly.
Are There Excursions Available Onboard?
Many cruises offer excursions as part of their shipboard activities, allowing passengers to explore various ports of call in a fun and comfortable manner. If you’re interested in taking an excursion during your cruise, it’s best to check before you leave.
Cruise lines often fill up fast, especially during peak seasons like spring break or Christmas. Many destinations will have optional excursions available for purchase onshore; if that interests you, be sure to allow time for those pre-trip purchases!
It is also a good idea to read online reviews from past passengers who have tried out particular excursions to help get an idea of what each trip offers.
How Do I Choose The Right Cruise Line For Me?
When choosing a cruise line, there are a number of factors that should be taken into consideration. Your interests and how active you want to be will affect what ship you choose.
Some cruise lines offer more activities than others. These can range from paddleboarding to snorkeling or deep-sea fishing. On some cruises (typically more expensive ones), you can even scubadive! It is important to consider these things when planning your vacation.
Cruising is all about relaxing, so it’s hard to get bored when you have activities planned by day (and usually night). There’s almost always something going on. There are often onboard shows such as comedians or Broadway-style productions with dinner afterwards in one of the ship’s dining rooms.
There are so many different cruises out there that it is hard to work out which one is best for you. Read reviews and try talking with other people who have been on a cruise before. They will be able to give you some great information, as well as warn you about some of their bad experiences.