So you want to take a cruise…….a quick look at the cruise lines websites and the fares and you’ll soon see that not all cruises are created equal. There are cruise lines to cater to every lifestyle.
You’ll have to decide which cruise line suits you best…..they range in price and are rated similar to hotels with stars to indicate levels. Look at the various lines, see what the ships are like……do you want a larger or smaller one….. see if it offers cruises where you want to go…..for instance the large ships may not be able to do river cruises. You can research it online, or through word of mouth……ask others who have cruised before what’s their favorite …..ask them why….what do they like specifically about that cruise line and have they sailed on others.
We’ve used sites like Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor (see links below) to see what others have to say. Read the reviews…..I not only look at the numbers but also make sure to read what they said….. what may be bad to them may not be an issue for you…….I once read a horrid review about a hotel where the main complaint was that there were too many children staying in the hotel using the pool.
Some ships, like Disney, cater to children and provide the Disney experience at sea so it may be a drawing card for some families. However, keep in mind that many other cruise lines offer child programs onboard as well. There are ships that offer cooking classes, or adventure type activities. Just about everything you can imagine is available.
If you are flexible consider 3 or 4 different lines, then you are able to make decisions based on other factors like dates, the places they visit and cost. Most cruise lines offer some form of loyalty program that is meant to reward frequent travelers. As a return customer you move up levels where there are specific advantages offered.
Once you have an idea of the cruise line you then need to pick a stateroom…….check out the ships online, see the categories and what they each offer. Rule of thumb seems to be the higher the deck within a specific category, the higher the price, and the higher the level of rooms. You can decide if paying the extra for a different class makes sense for you. Some view it as only a place to sleep so choose the lower cost alternatives, while others really enjoy the privacy and sanctuary that a balcony brings. Weigh out the pros and cons for your perfect trip. On most ships, with a few exceptions, whether your room is on the lowest or highest deck you are offered very similar amenities, entertainment is the same and the dining rooms offer the same meals. Some have notable exceptions reserved for the more expensive class of rooms, for instance Celebrity has an Aqua class where they have a special dining room that serves different meals from the main dining room.
The great thing about having the internet is that you can research the amenities and costs. There are all kinds of tips on which room to pick and why. Look at the company website for the cruise companies you are considering and use it as a starting point and then shop for the best price using both their site and other sites to get the best bang for your buck.
Cruise Critic Cruise Ship Reviews
Trip Advisor Cruise Ship Reviews