Monday, 17 October 2011

Selecting a Cruise That Is Right for You

If you like travel and holidays, cruising is the best way to take a vacation.
If you are taking a cruise for the first time, the experience can be a little overwhelming. There is a lot more involved with taking a cruise than one might think. The first thing most people start to consider when planning a cruise is their budget. This is a very important place to start.
Experienced travelers know that there is more to picking just the right cruise than budget alone. There are couple of important factors to consider when choosing just the right cruise. With so many cruise options available it is important to find a destination and ship that will fit what you are looking for in a cruise. This in itself can be an over whelming process as there are so many destinations to choose from in the Caribbean alone.
For some, the perfect cruise will be an excursion with some of the best shopping available known to man, for others shopping is the furthest thing from their mind and it may be snorkeling or scuba diving that is on the top of their must do list. Needless to say it would be a very sad day for the first cruiser who is looking to go shopping only to go on a cruise and find their destination offers very little in the way of shopping.
This is why it is very important to do as much research as possible on your cruise port of call destinations.
Okay, what if you want to shop, your spouse wants to snorkel, but the kids want to go to a water park. It's good to know that there are several Caribbean cruise destinations that have all of these options available. Again it is just a matter of doing your research.
Another important area to focus your research is the cruise ship you will be sailing on. This is a very important thing to consider and is often the least researched when planning a cruise. What if all you really want for your cruise destination is to have crystal blue waters and a white sandy beach? You won't have any problems finding that in the Caribbean, so what you are basically saying is as long as it has a beach you really don't care where you go. If that is the case focus your research on finding the best cruise ship that meets your needs.
This is an important step to making sure your cruise is an enjoyable one and is just important, if not more so, as finding the right cruise destination. Why? Well for one, this is where you will be eating and sleeping for the next week or so, and once you are out in the middle of the ocean, there is no escape. The ship you choose is literally a floating city, it would be a shame to be stuck in New Orleans (nonstop party) for a week when what you really wanted was a romantic getaway for two in the Poconos.
Many cruise ships have theme based cruises and it might be worth your while to check to see if the ship you choose has any special groups on board. Cruise lines offer a variety of themed cruises that include but are not limited to cruises for singles, gay and lesbian cruises, Christian cruises and even clothing optional cruises. An easy way to do this, is to use your favorite search engine and put in the name of the ship you would like to sail on and the date you would like to travel. Many times you will find groups looking for others to join them in the fun.
Another thing you may want to check into, is to see if they have age specific activities available for those you are traveling with. For example, are there activities for small children or teenagers? If you are a "senior", are there activities that will keep you interested?
Bottom line, if you are a first time cruiser, it will be to your advantage to look beyond just the cost the cruise itself and do some serious research so that the money you do spend on your once in a lifetime cruise is well spent. For thousands of people, cruising is the best way to take a vacation, but every once in a while you do hear someone say it was one of the worst experiences they have ever had, makes you wonder if they did their research.
By Tami Sue
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