Monday, 10 June 2024

How to Choose the Perfect Cruise: 4 Tips for First-Timers and Veterans Alike

by BD Banks

How to Choose the Perfect Cruise: 4 Tips for First-Timers and Veterans Alike

Image source: Getty Images

Cruising is an excellent way to explore multiple destinations easily. For some travelers, booking a cruise may feel less intimidating than flying from place to place. Plus, cruise lines plan most aspects of your cruise so you can sit back and relax and have a good time.

Whether you’re new to cruising or are a veteran cruiser, choosing a cruise that fits your preferences and budget is essential. Otherwise, your vacation experience may be different from what you hoped. Here are a few tips to help you choose your ideal cruise.

1. Consider the vibe and your personal travel style

Not all cruises are created equal. Some are more adventure-packed and energetic, while others are more easy-going and cater to a more relaxed crowd. Some cruises are kid-friendly and are targeted toward families, while others are for adults only.

You want to choose a cruise that fits your personal travel style and needs so you won’t be disappointed. Reviewing marketing materials and looking at the cruise itinerary gives you a feel for what kind of cruise experience you’ll expect.

You can also read reviews from other travelers to see what they had to say about their experience before booking. If you struggle to find reviews, consider joining travel or cruise groups online to learn more about a particular cruise before you book.

2. Decide what amenities are most important to you

You should also check to see what amenities your cruise includes. Some cruises are amenity-packed, while others have some amenities, but others come at a premium cost. No matter the cruise you pick, you can expect baseline amenities like basic dining offerings, some entertainment, and access to fitness facilities.

However, if you want a more premium experience with plentiful offerings, look for a cruise that suits your liking. Cruise lines such as Oceania, Seabourn, and Viking are known for going above and beyond with their amenities. But expect to pay more for these cruises.

Seabourn cruises, for example, are all-inclusive. You can expect an ocean-front suite, complimentary wifi packages, and a free in-suite bar stocked with your favorites. You won’t get these additional amenities when sailing with cheaper cruise lines like Carnival Cruise Line.

3. Determine how long you want to set sail and explore

A variety of cruises are available with shorter and more lengthier itineraries. You’ll want to decide how long you hope to set sail to narrow your options. However, in addition to the length of the cruise, review the itinerary to see how much time is spent on board vs. at port.

If you will spend a significant amount of time on the ship, consider whether that may be an issue for you. If you’re new to cruising, sticking with a three or four-night cruise may be the perfect introduction to this travel experience. But, some travelers may prefer lengthier cruises, especially if there is a lot of time built into the itinerary to explore each port.

4. Keep your finances in mind

As you research cruise options, be sure to consider your budget. You don’t want to risk accumulating credit card debt because you committed to a cruise you can’t afford.

There are more affordable cruise lines with budget-friendly cruise options, like Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line.

In addition to booking with a more affordable cruise company, you can look for cruise deals. Even pricier cruise lines run promotions that can make cruising affordable. You can sign up for cruise line email newsletters to stay alert to deals that can make your trip cheaper.

But no matter what cruise you pick, consider all the costs involved. In addition to the advertised price, you should check to see if you’ll pay additional taxes and fees and whether you’ll need to budget for drinks, excursions, or premium activities aboard the ship. Avoid being caught off guard by reviewing the terms and conditions of all cruise offers.

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The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.Natasha Gabrielle has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Carnival Corp. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.