Cruise Vacations 101
So you want to go on a cruise? Excellent! Cruising is the fastest growing travel market for families today! Still, yet there are many who haven’t taken a cruise and are quite curious. Cruising is the perfect vacation for large families, varied ages, varied activity levels, family reunions, class reunions, club travel, and certainly for a romantic vacation! Cruise Specialists should be able to tell you the difference in the lines and what each is offering.
All of the cruise lines follow the same rules. The Caribbean is the most popular cruise from where we live. Disney, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian, Princess, Holland America, MSC and many more have ships leaving out of Port Canaveral, Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville, Charleston, New Orleans, and Galveston. When you are deciding on a cruise here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The ships you see featured in commercials are generally for 7 night cruises
- The longer the cruise, the more amenities on the ship
- Not every port has a 3 night cruise leaving out
- Book early! Your best rate on a cruise ship is not last minute!
- Make sure your cruise rates allow for changes
- Travel Insurance protects your investment and there are many choices, not just the cruise lines
- There is a cruise line for each taste, but they are not all created equal or the same
- A passport is not required but is highly recommend by the cruise line and your travel professional
- A 3 or 4 night cruise is not going to go to the Eastern Caribbean. It will be a Bahamas or Mexico cruise.
- To visit St. Thomas, St. Marten or the Eastern Caribbean you will have to take a 7 night or longer cruise
- Alaska has northern routes, southern routes and cruises that begin in Alaska
- Soft drinks and alcohol are not included on most cruise lines. Drink cards are available for purchase and do have some restrictions. Disney Cruise Line is the only line that has complimentary soft drinks (although not at the restaurants).
- There is such a thing as an all-inclusive cruise. Seabourn, Azamara Cruises, Silversea and others offer full amenities to their guests. Another great option is a river cruise!
- When comparing a Travel Agents cruise cost to an online agency make sure all taxes, fees, and port charges are included in the total because they will be with a Travel Agents price.