A cruise is often regarded as a floating paradise—and with good reason too. But not all cruises are created equal. The key to a fruitful and amazing cruise lies in the choosing. However, this is not as simple as it seems; it requires a thorough assessment of your needs and wants vis a vis what the cruise line can offer.
The cruise’s destination should be the very first factor you’ll look into. The destination usually sets the onshore itinerary of a cruise so, basically, it will set the mood of your vacation.
For instance, a Caribbean cruise usually has a more laidback and relaxed mood due to its usual destinations. This cruise features stopovers in countries such as Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands (both American and British), and Haiti, among many others—so expect a lot of downtime in idyllic locations. An Asian cruise, meanwhile, tends to focus more on sightseeing at offshore sites.
The important thing here is to determine what type of vacation you want. This will inform your decision regarding the cruise destination.
Facilities and niche
Half the time, you will be at the cruise ship—so it’s only natural that you consider the facilities of the cruise ship thoroughly. A cruise boat should have the basic amenities such as gaming centers, live entertainment, gyms and wellness centers, family restaurants and bars, and many others.
Niche cruises have market-related facilities. A singles cruise, for instance, should have facilities that encourage interaction, while a family cruise focus on general and wholesome entertainment. This is actually a very important consideration, especially since some market-specific cruises may not suit your needs—or your preferences. If you’re planning to go on a cruise with your kids, you may want to steer away from singles or romantic cruises.
Destination and ship facilities will also determine the type of clothing you’ll need to bring for your vacation, so it’s important to take note of these two factors.
Your vacation date
This factor usually goes together with your destination consideration. This is because certain destinations are best explore during certain times of the year. It’s best to go on an Southeast Asian cruise, for instance, during the February to May period if you want to enjoy the area’s tropical offerings, although this varies from country to country. An Alaskan cruise is best from May to September since this is the area’s off peak season (which means you’ll enjoy cheaper deals).
Most cruises have several ports of call where new passengers can board the ship. This is an important consideration because this will determine where your cruise vacation starts—and where you will go in order to board the cruise.
This usually entails traveling to the nearest ship stopover, if the starting point of the cruise is too far from you. Boarding the ship mid-cruise usually means a discounted cruise price, although you will need to iron out the details with your cruise line.