Choosing the cruise that is perfect for an individual, couple, family or group of friends depends on a lot of factors. These can include destination, on-board activities and themes, prices and so on. Because a cruise will most likely be one of the largest expenditures in a person’s life, at least for recreation and vacation, the decision should be made carefully.
One of the best ways to start planning the perfect cruise vacation is to ask friends and family for their honest evaluation if they have been on a cruise. Some of the activities or destinations may not be what you are looking for but this is great information for comparison. In addition, there is a lot of information available at local libraries and on the Internet. Most people will benefit from reading all they can about cruises that are offered.
A person planning a cruise trip should write the important details on paper or in a word-processing program on the computer. This will save going back to the Web sites and books that you have already looked at (but you forget the information). Writing down the details and planning carefully is very important, especially because cruise-trip planning should begin months even a year ahead of time.
Most of the popular, seasonal cruises, such as those in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, are booked well in advance so it becomes difficult to get the accommodations you want if you wait until the last few weeks before the ship leaves. One of the other key pieces of advice from experienced cruise travelers is to limit the amount of daydreaming you do about the trip once you start to make serious plans. This dreaming can be fun but it really isn’t very helpful for getting the important details in place.
With all of these pre-trip ideas in mind, it’s time to start by listing the destinations/ports that the cruise will be visiting, along with the onboard amenities and accommodations. The third major piece of the puzzle is, of course, how much cruise value you get for the total price.
Destinations are offered in many more places than they were just a few decades ago. Be sure to check into some of the newer ideas, such as South American stops and even the Scandinavian countries at the right time of the year. Pricing depends on the season/time of year with trips around the major holidays (such as Christmas) being the most expensive. The size of the ship and the number of ports it will stop at have a lot to do with the price.
Experienced cruise travelers also advise against choosing the cheapest trip just on price because this may not give you the best value. It may be best to set a budget and get the most for what you can afford, without going over the maximum number. It may be possible to combine a cruise trip with business or hobbies as well, since many associations and private groups use cruise trips in this manner.