Cruise booking is a big deal. You’ll be saying yes to a full week out on the sea, or on the ocean, where you’ll be at the mercy – good or bad – of the cruise line you booked with. It’s important to do your homework before you put the money down on your cruise vacation. You want to have a blast, not get blasted, with a disappointing vacation.
There are a few smart cruise booking tips I have collected from the numerous family cruises we have booked and taken. So, I thought I’d share them with readers in hopes that they enjoy the experience as much as we do every single time we hit the amazing cruise ship waterslides and the buffet. KNOW before you go and use these fun cruise booking secrets to make for smooth sailing on board.
Cruise Booking Secrets for the Uninitiated
For first time cruisers, the cruise booking process can be a bit daunting. There are several cruise lines, and they all look great in their commercials. Of course, the travel agent wants to make a sale, as well. When you go through this process, you want to ask your friends and family for reports on what they liked about different cruise lines. You need to google reviews and check TripAdvisor and other sources. I scan Pinterest and check in with a group of travel influencers I trust. Here are some of the more important things to watch for.
Shop around for pricing, and don’t take the first thing that comes along. Many of the sites used for hotel deals like Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia, and the like also have cruise rate sections as well. Before anything else, hit the travel sites and research deals. You can save a ton of money. I have found some excellent deals, even last minute. Of course last minute flights these days will eat up your savings so be cautious there too.
Ports of Call
You’ll want to make sure that the cruise you take fits your style both on and off the ship. Research ports of call to ensure that the excursions offered on the cruise match up with your interests. We often choose cruises based largely on the ports of call we want to see. The last Norwegian cruise vacation we took was based on the ports of call and also price, and the many amenities offered on board.
Not all cruises are created equal or created for the same demographic. Be sure to inquire about the amenities and atmosphere when cruise booking. For example, if you have children, you probably don’t want to go on a cruise without kid friendly features like play areas, game rooms, kids’ dining, and the like. The same holds true for a couples’ cruise. Water slides? Yes please. We book cruises with our family and I always pick ones with kickbutt features. I love waterslides and so do my kids. On our last cruise there was also a rocking kid’s club, a mini golf, a high and low ropes course, walking track, many shows and a zip line plus a pirate’s plank that extended you over the sea and then swayed wildly. My husband loved that!
Always, always, ALWAYS look at ratings and reviews for the cruise you’re thinking of booking. Look on travel sites and other community-centric sites to find the best and most accurate ratings for your prospective cruise. You can’t beat real life experiences to help you make a decision.
Types of Cruise
Related closely to amenities and atmosphere are types of cruises. Cruises come in a lot of variations from everything like musically themed cruises to celebrity cruises and the standard family cruise situation. When cruise booking, make sure to find the one that fits your family in the same way that you’d check for amenities.
Cruise Booking – The First Step is the Most Important
Cruise booking is the single most important part of your seafaring adventure. If you pick the wrong cruise or pay too much for it, your entire trip and all the memories associated with it will be marred. Don’t let that happen! When cruise booking, do some homework, take your time, and be patient. Those are the keys to a successful cruise and a vacation to remember.
We happen to love cruises and have done a couple of brilliant ones together as a family. The excursions are amazing and the food and service top notch. Read more about why I love Cruising.