Decided You’d Like to Try a Cruise? Check Out These Top Tips Before You Start! Cruise review and planning site, Cruise Critic, shares insight and tips for first-time cruise planners.
Factors to consider before you start:
- Dates – are you looking to travel during specific dates (school holidays or a celebration)
- Destination – do you have a specific destination, or region of the world that you’d love to visit?
- Budget – do you have a rough budget?
- Type of Holiday – looking for a relaxing escape, or a more adventurous trip?
Which Itinerary to Choose
If you’re planning your first cruise, a good starting point is to consider which destinations, and regions most appeal to you. This will also help narrow down the search, as you can identify which cruise lines visit the particular destinations that you’re interested in.
Low vs. High Season
Don’t forget that if you do have specific destinations in mind, it’s important to research the high and low seasons – for example, if you’d like to visit the Med and you want plenty of sun, you may want to avoid late Autumn, Winter and early Spring months for regions that aren’t hot year-round.
However, if you do choose to sail during a destination’s low season, you may get a better price, though consider that you may have to compromise on the weather, and, depending on the time of year, you could also find that local attractions, and restaurants are closed.
Selecting The Ship To Suit You
When it comes to picking a ship, travellers are spoilt for choice. From small to large, river to ocean, adventure to luxury – there are so many cruise lines and ships available, which can make choosing a cruise seem like an overwhelming task.
However, new cruisers should remember that though cruise lines might seem very similar, they each offer a unique edge, and even the same cruise line can deliver travellers with very different experiences, depending on the ship’s age and size, and the itinerary.
To help streamline the research process, consider what kind of experience you’d like to have:
- Would you prefer a smaller ship?
- Is entertainment important for you?
- Where would you like to travel?
- Do you want your trip to be as inclusive as possible?
- How long would you like to go for?
- When would you like to travel?
- Who will you travel with?
Then, once you’ve identified the cruise lines that particularly appeal to you, utilise sites such as CruiseCritic.co.uk to read cruiser reviews, expert articles and tips, plus speak to travel agents to help you find the perfect ship.
The Optimum Time To Book
If you’re unsure whether to book in advance or try and bag a last-minute deal, bear in mind that if you have certain dates and destinations in mind, it’s advisable to book early, particularly if you want your pick of cabin. If you’re keen to travel during the popular summer and school holiday periods, remember that these tend to get booked up early, particularly for cabins that sleep three or more and are in demand by families. The best cabins on popular new ships sell fast, and the longer you wait, the more fares can cost. Instead, keep an eye out for benefits which add value, such as onboard credit, drinks packages, and other included extras that are often offered to those who book early.
If You’re Flexible
If you’re flexible with your travel dates and itinerary, you may find some great last minute deals. If you can sail at short notice, you could find bargains on sailings leaving within 90 days as cabins often become available at this time as it’s typically the deadline for cancelling an early booking. For a fly-cruise, just remember to check whether flights are included within the price, as these can quickly outweigh savings if not.
Research Is Your Best Friend
The most important tip for any first-time cruiser is – don’t underestimate the importance of research. Picking a cruise ship and itinerary can be a challenge, however, it should be a fun one. For more information, and advice to help plan your first cruise, visit: http://www.cruisecritic.co.uk/