If you are like many people, then you have probably been thinking long and hard about taking a cruise vacation for a long time.
Now the time is here and you must commit to making your reservations. But before taking that final step, be sure you have the information you need about cruises so that you can make the best decision possible.
There are many options that you will need to sort through, including the length of your trip, the kind of cabin that you want, and the size of ship you are comfortable sailing on, not to mention how these factors will impact the cost of the voyage.
The major cruise lines visit about 1,800 different ports that span the globe, and not all of these ports will be places that you’ll be interested in visiting. Because there are so many destinations, the first thing to do is decide which ones hold the most interest. For instance, you can focus on Caribbean or Mexican cruises if you are looking for warmth and sunshine, or you can go for the scenery and whale watching possibilities of an Alaskan or Antarctic cruise or even a cruise around the Canary Islands.
Once you have narrowed down the general area that you want to cruise to, then you can more easily make your final decision. When it comes to choosing how long you want to be at sea, you will have many choices. The minimum duration of most cruises is either two-nights or three-nights, which work well if you can only get away for a weekend. Others can span five days, a week or even ten days and can often be worked into most people’s vacation allotments.
The major cruise lines also offer longer voyages, with itineraries that span anywhere from three weeks to several months. Often these longer voyages provide opportunities to visit ports-of-call in several countries and sometimes more than one continent. Most of these longer itineraries are especially geared toward the affluent or retirees who have the time and financial freedom to be voyaging for weeks or months at a time.
Some cruise ships are referred to as “megaliners” and are so large that a person can actually get lost onboard. In fact, they are so large that they cannot even go through the Panama Canal. Cruises on megaliners can accommodate up to 2,000 passengers and provide a plethora of activities to keep passengers of all ages entertained and active. The mid-size ships are the most common and usually have up to 900 passengers, but still provide a nice variety of activities. The smaller ships are more intimate and usually accommodate less than 400 passengers.
There is also a class of cruise ships called “boutique ships,” which could be compared to luxury boutique hotels. They offer exceptional attention to service and usually have an even higher standard of gourmet food, which is saying something considering that these floating hotels are well-known for the quality and selection of fine foods.
The vast majority of cabins onboard ship are considered to be standard-size and are generally quite cozy, which helps encourage people to take advantage of the many amenities during their time aboard. Cabins with ocean views and verandas are very popular, but will cost more than an interior cabin. Many of the newer cruise ships are being designed so that virtually all of the cabins have at least a minimal exterior view and some even boast that every cabin has a veranda, albeit small ones.
For cruisers with the cash, there are spacious suites, but the cost of these puts them well out of reach for the average person.The internet is a rich source of information about cruises. Not only can you learn more about cruising and how to get the most from your experience, but you can also research your destination choices to help you finalize your decision.
Check out the discount travel websites for cruising tips and the travel forums for honest feedback about the different cruise lines. Many times the travel websites, especially those that specialize in cruise information, can link to the hot deals and deep discount packages.