Questions to Consider Before Booking a Cruise

Before you commit to a cruise vacation, you need to sit down and ask yourself a series of questions to which you give honest answers. The answers to these elemental cruise vacation questions will go a long way toward cutting through the mass of possibilities out there in the cruise ship industry. Difficult can be the decision of which cruise to take, as Yoda might say. But Yoda would also suggest that you meditate wisely upon certain aspects of cruising.

How Much do I Want to Spend on a Cruise?

The budget question is the opening salvo in winnowing down the selection of cruise you might want to take. Very few of us can go into a cruise honestly saying that price is no object. Once you’ve got a figure you can use, look into the cost of the cruise itself. Then be sure to add in the extras that aren’t covered by the price of the cruise. Consider extra spending you might run into like gambling in a cruise ship casino or heading out to the ports to take advantage of local recreation. The upfront cost of the cruise is just the jumping off point for budgeting yourself cruise vacation. Don’t forget to add in the cost of actually getting to the location of the port from which the cruise takes off.

How Long Do I Want My Cruise to Last?

Cruises can last from a few days to a few weeks. The typical cruise you will be looking into will probably be the three, four or seven night cruise. If this is your first time at sea, place some intelligent consideration into the choice of a longer cruise. You may get on board and find it’s not exactly like what you used to watch on The Love Boat. Other elements to consider when time budgeting involves money budgeting. The cost of a seven day upscale cruise may well be enough to give you two weeks on a more moderately priced ship. You can also afford to go out on the seas longer when you book a cruise in the off-season. The prices for pretty much the exact same cruise you’d pay through the nose for during the high season could conceivably be less than half the cost during the off-season.

Where Do I Want My Cruise to Take Me?

Budgeting and time issues may well be dependent upon where your cruise takes you. Cruises that leave American ports today can give you an opportunity for almost 24/7 fun in the sun in the Caribbean or the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of Alaska before oil companies and global warming destroy it forever. Practically the entire world is open before you from the deck of some cruise ship or another. In addition to the Caribbean and Alaska, you should consider cruises that show off the amazing sights around Hawaii, Bermuda, New England, Canada and Southeast Asia.

What Kind of On-Ship Experience am I Seeking?

The fun and games available on cruise ships has reached a point where just about anything that can be done during a vacation on land can be recreated inside the environs of a cruise ship. Consider whether you want a laid-back experience or are looking for the high-energy of a ship with dancing, handball, parties, casino gambling and rock climbing. If your idea of the perfect cruise is one without a bunch of Type-A personalities scrambling past you to the next exciting event on their schedule, then look for a cruise that specializes in more subtle entertainment. If you’ve got kids, of course, the first cruises you may want to consider are the ones offered by Disney and Nickelodeon.

What Size Cruise Ship Do I Want?

This important cruise vacation question is less about making the rounds of the ship than it is about the number of fellow passengers. An ultraliner ship can carry 2500 passengers and it is easy to get lost in the shuffle. If you would prefer a little more attention and lessen the feeling of being just a number in the crowd, consider small or midsize ships. A midsize ship usually carries between 500 and 1,000 passengers while a small cruise ship can hold less than 400 passengers. If you are not comfortable among large crowds, seriously consider going with the smaller sized ship.