25 Cruise Booking Tips

August 27, 2018

Cruising can be a wonderful travel experience. It’s the perfect way to see a variety of diverse destinations in one holiday, plus you get to do it onboard a fabulous ship – a luxurious floating hotel packed with entertainment, varied dining options and sports opportunities. But, cruising isn’t a one-size-fits-all experience, so here are some tips to get your started.

Plan ahead

1.    If you’re a cruise rookie, don’t spend a fortune.  Most people love it, but it’s wise to get your sea legs first.  Start off with a taster or mini-cruise to see if it’s for you.

2.    Choose your cruise line carefully.  Some ships offer a more traditional experience with formal dinners and ambience; others are more relaxed and contemporary vibe.  Find the one that’s right for you.

3.    Select your itinerary wisely. If you’re into sightseeing then Mediterranean cruises featuring historic cities such as Rome and Barcelona could be for you.  Those craving beaches and sunsets may be better suited to the Caribbean.

4.    Find out what’s included. Most cruises include onboard meals, but shore excursions will be extra.  Drinks are usually extra, too, unless the company you’re sailing with offer All Inclusive options.

5.    Read the small print, ask questions and make sure you’ve budgeted properly so you don’t get any surprises. Tipping is often expected, but some cruise lines factor gratuities into the price.

6.    The ideal time to book your cruise depends on what you’re after. For those looking for the a good price and their pick of cabin style, booking early is essential – cruise lines usually offer the best fares when the itinerary first goes on sale. But if you’re flexible on the ship and itinerary, you can snap up some last-minute bargains.

Pack wisely

7. The best thing about a cruise is you only have to unpack once, so be prepared.  Research the weather in your destinations and bring comfy shoes and cover-ups for cooler days and shore trips.

8. Don’t forget your passport!  You’ll need this to board and possibly for some excursions.

Cabins – inside or outside?

9. When you’ve spent good money on a cruise to destinations that offer fabulous scenery, such as the Norwegian fjords, you’ll want an outside cabin to take in every scenic moment. Inside cabins are cheaper, however.

10. For families, make sure you choose a cabin that’s right for you.  Some cruise lines offer onboard cots free of charge, so check when you book.

11. If you like a bit of privacy, go for a cabin with balcony. It will cost more, but think of the amazing views and fresh air you can enjoy in peace.

12. Just married?  Honeymooners can go book a suite for that extra touch of luxury.

Dining decisions

13. On the first evening, almost all passengers head for the buffet dining room.  A good idea is to try one of the speciality restaurants instead, before they become popular.

14. If you have any dietary requirements, let the cruise staff know when you board.

15. Choose a cruise line with a variety of foodie options.  You’ll be amazed at the choice on some ships, from sushi to steakhouses.

16. Check the dress code – for example, some ships require men to wear long trousers at dinner.
Make the most of your shore time

17. Pre-book your excursions – you’ll be disappointed to come all that way and miss out on a favourite on-shore trip.

18. If you’re travelling with children’s buggies or have accessibility needs, check that the excursion can accommodate you comfortably.

19. If you decide to explore independently, make sure you’re back onboard in time – cruise ships do NOT hang around waiting for late passengers!

20. Research local events in advance. You might be able to catch a special once-a-year festival during your shore time.

21. Shore trips are a great time to buy souvenirs for friends back home. And if you’re stopping off at several ports during your cruise, you’ll have plenty of choice.

Enjoy your time on board

22. Enjoy all the onboard facilities.  Don’t feel you have to spend every possible minute off the ship or do every excursion – this can be a great time to swim in the pool, enjoy a spa treatment or a chilled lunch with fewer people around.

23. Exercise!  All that luxurious food and drink can be very tempting, so make the use of the onboard gym and classes now and again.

24. Don’t miss out on the evening entertainment.  You’ll be able to watch West-End-quality shows and singers for free, so make the most of it.

25. Relax!  Take time to sit on the deck, cocktail in hand, and enjoy the views.

Cruising is a wonderful experience. If you’re looking for a way to see the world in style, it’s a great way to do it.  We hope that these tips will help you make the most of your next cruise holiday!

(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

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