Monday, January 28, 2008

How to Choose the Best Cruise

Years ago there used to be two options: ketchup or mustard, apples or oranges, Florida or Hawaii. Now we as consumers are bombarded with hundreds of options, additions, upgrades, and choices. So how do we know if we are making the right choice - especially when it comes to spending money on a cruise? Here are the steps to take when deciding which cruise is right for you:

First - develop a budget. If you are not restrained financially you can continue on to the next steps. However, if you are like most other travelers, your budget will play a major role in your vacation planning. You can save money by cruising in off-peak times or by varying your cruising options. Keep in mind that the price tag only includes your cruise - it doesn't include airfare, shore excursions, or items such as alcohol (not applicable for all-inclusive cruises).

Secondly - decide where you want to go. Popular cruise spots include Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Europe. However, there are many more locations that you may not even be aware of. Consider heading to South America, Asia, or even around the world!

Thirdly - when do you want to go? What type of weather would you prefer while on your cruise? In the Caribbean the August heat may be too much to bear; however, Alaska might be a perfect destination for an August cruise.

Coming in Fourth - Which cruise line to book. Each cruise line has its own feel and different activities and options while you are on board. Talk to your travel professional about which cruise line would suit you the best.

Fifth - Which ship to book. You selected the cruise line that best fits your personality. Now which ship to pick? Consider the size of the ship and all that is offered on board. If dining options and entertainment options are vital to you, you may want to consider a larger ship. If you are more interested in fewer people and more personal attention, you may want to consider a smaller ship.

Sixth - What room is best for you? If you are like me, you don't spend much time in your room while on vacation- therefore, spending the extra money on a balcony wouldn't be worth it. However, if you like to cozy up in your room, don't be afraid to spend a little more to get that spectacular view. Another thing to consider is what will be outside of your window to see. If you are cruising mainly in an ocean, the balcony cabin may not be worth it. If you are cruising on the coast of Alaska, you may want to be able to see those beautiful mountains from the comfort of your room.

Lastly - Keep in mind that most cruises are booked by professional travel agents. There are a lot of variables to consider when planning a cruise and agents have all the knowledge to help you make the best choices.

No comments: