There are so many options for cruising: you should definitely take the time to think about what you really want from a cruise before you book one.
Cruising is a wonderfully affordable way to vacation, but it’s still an investment and you want the greatest possible return of fun, relaxation and enjoyment.
So, here are some mistakes that you should take care to avoid:
PICKING THE WRONG DESTINATION
When you’re shoveling snow or looking at gray skies, a cruise of the Caribbean seems like an easy choice. And, if you love sandy beaches and water sports, the Caribbean will suite you to a T.
But, if you would be happier taking architecture tours in historic cities, you might look toward the Mediterranean; if majestic mountain peaks and animals rarely seen outside a zoo are for you, think about Alaska. We could go on and on.
BOOKING THE WRONG SHIP
Each ship has its own personality, which is formed from many variables, such as the vibe of the cruise line and the ship’s size, age, and amenities.
Some ships are better equipped than others to accommodate families, solo travelers, romantic couples, mature travelers or groups. Take a look at the décor, activities, restaurants and entertainment options to get a feel for a specific ship.
CHOOSING THE WRONG STATEROOM
Not all staterooms are alike, and larger ships can have a significant variety of sizes and layouts to choose from. Generally, the larger the stateroom, the greater the cost.
If you intend to spend most of your time socializing and exploring on shore, a basic interior stateroom (no windows) may be all that you need. If you look forward to lots of relaxation in your stateroom or want a view, consider a larger stateroom that has a window or even a balcony.
SELECTING THE WRONG STATEROOM LOCATION
It can be an advantage to be close to an elevator bank, especially if you have mobility issues, but you could hear some elevator noise while in your stateroom.
Consider potential noise issues for staterooms that are near the galley, theaters or nightclubs, too. If you worry about seasickness, choose a stateroom that’s in the middle of the ship and on a lower deck.
PICKING THE WRONG SAILING DATE
Cruises tend to fill up with families during school breaks – spring break, summer, the winter holidays – which may or may not be what you’re looking for. Hurricane season (June through November) is by no means off-limits for cruising, but be aware that a storm may force the captain to change the itinerary.
BOOKING CLOSE TO THE SAILING DATE
In general, cruise fares rise as the cruise gets closer. Booking as far in advance as you can will most often yield the best price, and maybe even some extras, such as upgrades or onboard credits.
FORGETTING ABOUT EXTRAS
Cruise fares include a lot: accommodations, dining, activities and entertainment. But, don’t forget about airfare to and from the cruise port will be an additional cost, unless you’re sailing a luxury line that includes air travel in the base fare.
Some luxury line fares also include shore excursions, but for most it’s an extra cost, as are most beverages, gratuities, spa treatments and some speciality restaurants.
GOING IT ALONE
Finally, working with an experienced travel agent will help you avoid all of the mistakes above and more. An agent’s knowledge can also save you hours of research by efficiently guiding you toward your best cruise choices.
This post first appeared on Travel Leaders website www.itravelbetter.com