“The Journey is the Destination” but sometimes we need a little help in deciding how to start our journey. Getting to your destination is all part of the fun in cruising on a cruise ship. You unpack once only and every day you will wake up in a different port.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE PERFECT CRUISE
First of all leave plenty of time to look at options. You will always see last minute deals but if possible book at least one year ahead (per most travel experts). Start by thinking of what you want to do or not do on your cruise vacation. Use an agent. He/She should ask you about budget and what interests you and the rest of your party have. You can also search on line and narrow your choices down by choosing destination or cruise line or departure port. For those who are internet junkies this is the way to go but for those who want to talk to a real person – call or email an agent. Check out cruising website and one of our agents will be only too happy to assist you.
NEW TO CRUISING
If you have never cruised before then use a travel agent or cruise ship specialist. You may find that a professional can get you upgrades and added values which are not available when booking online. Professionals have leverage with certain cruise lines. A professional cruise ship specialist can match a cruise to your budge and your preferences.
READY TO BOOK
You have several options when it comes to booking a cruise. Book yourself, online or go directly to a cruise line or call/email an agent. The latter is the best course as this person can guide you to the right choices for yourself and he/she bears no allegiance to any one cruise line. You will get unbiased answers. A specialist may also be able to book you on a cruise that is offering group rates or maybe get you preferred pricing. This is your one stop shop for unbiased but qualified advice and assistance.
TIPPING ON YOUR CRUISE
In many cases you can include the tips in your final balance so that you have nothing to think about while on your cruise except to have fun. Whenever looking at the cost of a cruise you need to remember to consider the gratuities. The amounts vary from cruise line to cruise line. Take a look at this site for more informationwww.cruisetip.tpkeller.com
If you pre-pay your tips it will be based on a per person/day service charge. If you choose to pay at the end of your cruise it will appear on your account reconciliation. On many luxury cruise lines there is a no tipping policy, however, remember that the tip has been added into the overall cost of your cruise. It is up to the individual to add more to this at the end of the cruise.
WHAT ABOUT RIVER CRUISING
River Cruising is very popular in Europe and Russia. The river boats can stop at smaller ports not accessible to the larger cruise ships. This type of cruising is more suited to the well seasoned traveler who wants a more leisurely pace with more intimate dining rooms featuring regional foods and wines.
Always a good idea, especially if traveling in hurricane season. Policies range but most will cover medical reasons for canceling or lost baggage. Some will offer accommodation benefits in case of a trip interruption. Sometimes unexpected events happen and you need to be sure that you will be reimbursed for a cancelled trip. Protect your investment. Use a well know third party for this such as Travel Guard.
Fares usually include accommodations and meals but not alcoholic beverages, entertainment or shipboard activities. Typically the higher price of the cruise the more benefits you get. For example wine with dinner, a butler or a guided shore excursion. On most cruises you will have an onboard account secured by your credit card which is used to bill your onboard expenses. These expenses could include shopping, casino, spa treatments or gratuities. No need to carry a wallet around with you or any cash. Wise to try and keep a mental tab of what you are spending, so that you do not have too big a surprise at the end of the cruise.
INSIDE CABIN TIP
The inside cabins are usually 200 sq ft or less and can feel very claustrophobic. If budget allows choose at the minimum a room with a porthole. If you are going to spend a lot of time in your cabin an “inside” room would be very cramped. However, these cabins also cost the least amount.
MORE CABIN TIPS
No matter your budget there is a cabin waiting for you. Cabins in the mid-ship or on a lower deck offer smoother sailing in rougher seas. If you are cruising one way then try and get a cabin on the shore side so that you can see the most of passing scenery. For a special trip or a romantic get-away book a balcony state room or a suite to really enjoy the panoramic views.
For late night eating or snacking many large cruise ships offer snack bars, cafes, bistros, pizzerias or room service. Some have a midnight buffet. If you know you get hungry late at night or are a late eater anyway, then look for these amenities when booking your cruise.
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