Choosing your next holiday is always an exciting time. However, everyone knows the stressful feeling of trying to please everyone in the family and pick the perfect holiday destination. This feeling is only enhanced if you decide to take a cruise holiday as you not only need to decide on the itinerary, but the ship you want to sail on also.
Both your itinerary and choice of ship will have a major baring on your getaway and it’s important to get both right. To help you make the right decisions, I’ve written my 5 top tips for choosing the right cruise to suit you.
No matter whether you’re a young couple, big family, newly retired, or thrill seekers, these tips will help you understand where and what you should be searching for prior to booking your next cruise holiday.
Know The Cruise Line Demographic
One of the most important things to understand before booking your cruise is the ‘average’ demographic of the particular cruise line you’re researching. For example, Disney, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival have a strong emphasis on families with young children, whilst cruise lines such as Holland America, Regent, and Silversea cater towards an older demographic. For young professional couples, Celebrity cruises is a great option. This is not to say that you won’t find young families on Holland America cruises or old couples on Disney cruises, but understanding the average demographic will make it easier to plan your perfect cruise.
Research The Ports
Understanding your itinerary is paramount to having a successful trip. I seriously suggest researching each port your itinerary stops at. This will give you a great idea as to what you’ll see and do during your cruise. Many people think that a Mediterranean cruise is ideal for kids, but this really depends on where you make port. For example, if your cruise is just making port at the major cities such as Dubrovnik,Venice, Valletta etc. then your kids may not enjoy the daily culture trips to museums and cathedrals. However, if you take an itinerary that visits regions where you can enjoy beach swims and snorkelling trips, this may be more suited to the kids.
Booking shore excursions is a great way to experience local culture and gain fascinating knowledge. Most cruise line will offer a variety of shore excursions to suit all types of travellers. The most frequent option is guided tours. Whilst these are great for adults, children can get quite bored which turns the trip into a complete nightmare. Try to mix it up. For example, Alaska cruises offer everything from city tours and local treks, to gold panning, dog sledding, and helicopter tours! Generally, cruise lines do not charge much more than the local price, but this does depend on the destination. You can often just book yourself directly on the same tour for a cheaper price.
Consider A Package
Cruise packages often work out cheaper, especially if you know what you use or want. Often, families just book the cheapest option without considering the costs onboard the ship. For example, you’ll often need to pay for things such as wifi, alcohol, and specialist restaurants. However, if you know you’ll be drinking alcohol each night, then booking an alcohol-inclusive package will probably work out cheaper. You can also include wifi and restaurant packages that will bring the price down. Yes, you pay more upfront, but it will save you money over the entire trip, particularly on longer itineraries.
Consider A Small-Ship Cruise
When people think of cruise holidays they imagine the enormous ships that appear in ports like floating cities. Yet in recent years, small-ship cruising or ‘expedition’ cruising has become very popular. Although generally more expensive, these cruises focus on nature, attempting to get passengers as close to the local wildlife as possible. Expedition cruises visit incredibly remote destinations such as Antarctica, Svalbard, the Canadian Arctic, and the Amazon. They often carry less than 100 passengers, giving people an amazingly intimate look into some of nature’s most incredible landscapes and species. Most itineraries offer daily zodiac trips, shore hikes, and onboard lectures from experts and naturalists.