To Cruise or Not to Cruise?
Hey! Trina here and today I want to help you decide if a cruise could be right for your family.
To cruise or not to cruise? Many people find themselves asking that question. I can honestly tell you, that cruising is NOT for everyone but it IS for a lot of people, myself included.
Deciding on a cruise can seem overwhelming but it doesn't have to be. I've broken down some steps to help make cruise planning a little easier.
A cruise ship is often referred to as a "floating hotel" and on many levels, that is accurate. You eat, sleep and play on the ship just like you would at many land resorts and hotels. Similar to choosing which hotel you want to stay in, you must choose which cruise line you want to sail. There are budget lines, moderate lines and very high end cruise lines. Some cruises are considered "party cruises" while others are more family oriented. You must also decide where and when you want to sail.
Where & When- There are lots of exciting itineraries to choose from when planning your cruise. Many cruise lines offer the short but popular, Bahamian cruises year round. These can be great for a long weekend or to test the waters and see if you actually enjoy cruising or not. Caribbean cruises are very popular and are often 7 nights or more with the option of cruising the Western, Eastern or Southern Caribbean. Another popular option, though only offered from late May to September, are Alaskan cruises. These cruises are perfect for anyone that wants to see the majestic beauty of Alaska. There are also Panama Canal cruises, Transatlantic crossings, Mediterranean, European, Bermuda, Hawaiian, Baja cruises and so much more! Once you know WHEN you can go, deciding WHERE should be a little easier since some of these cruises are only offered at certain times of the year.
Rooms- Once you've decided on a cruise line and itinerary, you need to decide which category of room you will book. The three basic room types are: interior, ocean view and rooms with a balcony/verandah. Interior rooms generally do not have a window at all though Disney Cruise Line does offer a "magical porthole" which offers real time views of outside. An ocean view room can consist of two small porthole windows to very large windows that you are able to sit in. This varies depending on the cruise line. Balcony/verandah rooms have sliding glass doors leading out to your own private balcony though there are many subcategories to choose from when booking your balcony room. Confusing, huh? Just choose the category you want (interior, ocean view or verandah) then decide where you might like to be on the ship and this should narrow down your choices.
What to do in Port- With all of that decided, it's time to think about what things you might like to see and do on the ports you will visit. Each cruise line will offer a variety of port/shore excursions that can be booked directly through the cruise line. If you don't mind booking tours/excursions outside of the cruise line, you can often find smaller groups and oftentimes, lower pricing. My advice would be to consult with your travel professional or if you're not using one, shop around because there are a ton of great options out there. Shore excursions range from the super cheap options of the Bahamas to the very expensive choices in Alaska. It all just depends on how you want to spend your time off the ship.
Getting there-Getting to your cruise can sometimes seem like a daunting task and it can be if you don't plan. If you're flying you will need transportation from the airport to your hotel and then to the port the morning of the cruise then back to the hotel and airport after the cruise. Seems like a lot, right? If you fly, there are several great options available depending on the port. A very common option is to rent a car at the airport and park it at the port during your cruise. Another great option would be to stay at a hotel that offers "park and cruise" packages. Generally, this will include parking during your cruise, a shuttle to and from the port and your room for the night. If you opt not to rent a car, you could hire a car service or shuttle. Most cruise lines offer a shuttle from the airport to the port for a fee. If you're not flying in, you simply need to decide if you want to park at the port of at your hotel, if that option is available. Parking at cruise ports can be costly so do the math and see which is right for you.
So there you have some basics to think about when considering a cruise. If you would like to book a cruise or have questions, please feel free to contact me or any of us here at Blue Pineapple Travel.