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How to choose the perfect cruise

03.25.2015
Topic Cruise Travel

How to choose the perfect cruise - Image

Embarking on a cruise is sometimes the best way to visit certain parts of the world. With multiple destinations along the way and plenty of activities on board, you can experience so many new things and enjoy the trip of a lifetime.

However, it can be difficult to decide which cruise line to take, what packages to choose and other details that will make or break your voyage. Use these helpful hints to determine the perfect cruise adventure for you.

Who's going with you?
Many of the decisions you have to make surrounding a cruise start with your travel companions. There are romantic cruises that are geared toward honeymoon travel as well as Disney cruises, which are ideal for family travel. Certain ships might focus on partying and revelry, meaning they'll be popular for student travel.

Check out the meal options before you choose. If you're into fine dining, opt for a cruise that has chefs, wine pairings and the like. However, people who are budgeting may be content with cafeteria and buffet-style dining rooms on less expensive ships. Family-friendly and inexpensive cruises often have more casual meal options, according to the International Business Times.

What do you want to see?
Are you pining for a week of sun worshipping or searching for a cultural experience in an unfamiliar place? A few common cruise routes go through the Caribbean and often visit several islands where you can lounge on the beach, snorkel and scuba dive. Mediterranean cruises may be less appropriate for kids, but the beauty is unparalleled. Trips through the Mediterranean are great because you have the opportunity to enjoy a handful of countries and observe how cultures come together. According to International Bunsiness Times, Mediterranean cruises are often divided between Western and Eastern countries. A Western cruise might include stops in Spain, Italy, Tunisia and the French Riviera, while the Eastern route brings you to places such as the Greek Isles, Egypt and Cyprus.

In comparison, cruises around Alaska, Canada and South America are excellent choices for people who want to see flora and fauna in their natural habitats.

How long can you travel for?
The feasibility of each destination you're thinking of depends on how many days you have for the cruise. Options range from weekend or four-day cruises to voyages that last several weeks.

What does your budget look like?
There are a few ways to save money when you're booking your cruise, according to Travel + Leisure magazine, especially reserving your rooms well in advance. You can also opt for a room on the interior of the ship instead of an ocean view to save a chunk of change.

Travel + Leisure warned that the total cost of the trip extends beyond your rooms on the ship. Don't forget to factor in the cost of the flights, as well as cruise travel insurance when you're budgeting for the voyage. You might be able to get a deal if you take a cruise during off-peak times, plus there will likely be fewer crowds on board.

Additional considerations

  • Book a flight to the departure city that lands way before the ship is set to sail. Cruise lines won't wait for specific passengers, so you have to be at the proper dock on time, every time.
  • Rooms on the lower decks are known for causing less seasickness than balconies or sea-level cabins, International Business Times explained.
  • Large ships are ideal for groups because they offer more activities to enjoy between ports. The time spent on board is valuable for meeting new people and relaxing so you're ready to explore the next destination.