First Time Cruise Tips on a Cruise Booking
Planning a perfect cruise could be hard especially if it is a first time cruise for you. It is important to get some ideas about cruising before you make a cruise booking.
Or, you might be interested in cruising but are wondering where to start.
If so, you are in the right place.
This article is written for you to plan the best cruise vacation, especially the best cruise for first timers.
Why is that?
Everything sounded exciting and adventurous for the first time cruisers at the beginning.
I do remember my first cruise. I had mixed feelings of excitement and uncertainty at first. But everything turned out beautifully, with full of dramas and stories.
The experience I had on my first cruise gave me a strong impact on me. That was why I kept my life at sea for years.
I am willing to help you make your first cruise something special.
In this article, you will find 11 essential ideas on a cruise booking. Learn some ideas before you book a cruise and have a good start on planning for your cruise vacation.
It takes some times to understand how to book a cruise, where to go for booking and so on. This article helps you make some decisions on cruise planning and booking. By reading this article, you save time and money for your vacation.
Cruising starts before you actually set sail. Make your first cruise something special and unforgettable!
1. Best cruise destinations for first time cruise
Once you decided when you have a holiday, the next thing you do is to decide on a destination. It is important to choose the right cruise destinations to meet your expectation for a holiday.
If you expect full of sunshine and beaches with calm waters, the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera are the best. The Mediterranean Cruises tend to be a port intensive because there is plenty to see and visit. The great thing is that you will wake up in different landscapes every morning and arrive in different countries.
Expect scenic landscapes and feels of wildlife or admire a fjord from your private balcony in Alaska. One of the most popular cruise destinations is Caribbean, Alaska and Mediterranean. Find more exciting cruise ideas and tips on best cruise destinations for your vacation.
2. Best itinerary for first time cruise
Make sure that you pick up not only the best destination but the right itinerary for your vacation. If you plan to save money, find an itinerary which includes the nearest cruise departure port from your home.
If it is far away from your home, is it the distance you can comfortably travel? You might also need to book a flight and accommodation to stay over.
3. Booking a cruise early or last minutes?
The price of cruise fares tends to be increased as the ship’s sailing day gets closer. Booking far in advance will bring you the best price. So book early.
You can also check out the cruise line’s refund policy. Most of the deposits are refundable before the final payment. In early booking, even you will be offered an extra bonus such as onboard credits or upgrade.
However, you may assume that the cruise price would drop off and wait for the last minutes. If you can find a discount ticket at the last minutes, you are lucky but is in fact risky.
Why is that?
Not all the cruise ships can keep available cabins. The well-valued cabins are sold out quickly. Most of the time a cruise discount does not happen. The price goes up as the ship starts to sell out. You know when you can have a holiday so book a cruise.
Instead of owning a risk for your precious time and holiday, it is much better to book early and see if the price drops. Otherwise, you would have to make a much higher payment for an available cabin.
Instead, learn how to save money on a cruise booking. Find the best time to cruise for the best deals.
One thing to remind you is that do not forget the day you actually need to make the final payment. You have booked a cruise at a reasonable price but if you forgot the day, you will lose the opportunity. The price will go up.
4. Where to go for a cruise booking, travel agent or online?
If you are the first time cruiser, my best advice is to find an ‘experienced’ travel agent.
If you book at the travel agent, they must be professional on cruising. That means they must have many experiences on a cruise booking for their customers.
Such travel agent can also offer you cruise credits. They may add free gratuities, a bottle of wine or a stateroom promotion if you book in advance. Add extra values.
If you are an experienced cruiser, you can save money by doing some online research and compare the prices of a cruise ticket. If you cruise in abroad and need to book a flight and accommodation, definitely it is much cheaper to book them by yourself instead of via cruise lines. You can find more information and learn the pros and cons of booking a cruise at the agent, cruise line or online seller at my article.
5. Best cruise lines
So, you have already decided when you have a holiday and picked up the destination. Right now you need to get some ideas about the best cruise lines.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) says that there are more than 50 cruise lines which have been registered at CLIA (source). However, it consumes much your time to pick up the one or a few best cruise lines out of 50 cruise lines.
That is why we are here to help you decide for planning your cruise vacation.
When you find the best cruise line for you, there are two points you can think of:
- What is your lifestyle?
- Do you have a budget?
Cruise Lines for Family Cruisers
If you plan with your family, it is important whether the cruise vacation can meet each family members’ needs. You would be happier if you could save money by selecting the right cruise lines for your family.
Cruise Lines for Couples
If you plan to have some quality time and intimacy with your partner on a vacation, you would be disappointed if kids are jumping around and screaming on the corridor or open pool deck. Some cruise lines offer the best service and facilities for couples.
Cruise Lines for the Mediterranean Cruise
Destinations are also one of the important factors in deciding the best cruise lines for you. Each cruise lines have strength in different destinations. For example, you can find Best Cruise Lines in Mediterranean.
Best Cruise Lines for the First Timers
It is not easy to find the best cruise line. Each cruise line offers different services, entertainment facilities and dining options. There are many choices out there. The best ways to find the best cruise lines to know your cruise styles, destinations and time you can take a holiday. You can save time and money by planning a cruise in advance.
6. What is your cruise ship size?
Cruise ship size certainly does matter and impacts upon your cruise experience on board. It is one of the most important factors which determines your entire cruise experience. If you selected the wrong size of the cruise ship, you would be disappointed.
Why does the cruise ship size matter to you?
The size of the cruise ship is often referred by the passenger and crew capacities. The number of passenger capacity influences pricing, entertainment options, space in public areas as well as onboard dining options.
If you plan to go for a vacation with your family and with little kids, it is simply a waste of time to look for small size luxury cruise ships. There are less entertainment and dining options for your kids. Larger ships have more facilities and trained staffs to look after them.
On the other hand, if you expect a more relaxed and calming vacation, the extra large mega-ships would not be the best choice. Good things are that there are much entertainment and food options. There are plenty of choices on staterooms. However, the negative sides are you need to make long ques for disembarkation, expect much noise and need to move around with a map on a ship. It would be overwhelming indeed.
Find out more details on how to find the best cruise ship size and make your cruise vacation totally unforgettable!
7. Travel insurance for cruises
Do you have to prepare travel insurance for your cruise? My answer is yes. Find out some ideas why you need cruise at 11 Questions for Travel Insurance for Cruises. Travel insurance for cruises or cruise insurance is specific insurance, designed for a cruise vacation and covers unexpected incidences related to a cruise experience.
When you purchase a cruise ticket, cruise lines offer cruise insurance. Please make sure what their insurance covers a cruise cancellation or emergency medical expenses and emergency evacuation. In most of the cases, cruise lines do not cover them.
The biggest reason why you need to prepare cruise insurance before you leave home is medical expenses and emergency evacuation to protect your property and asset. Just paying a little amount of money a day, you can avoid life-threatening financial compensation.
Understanding the insurance companies policies are not easy and are somehow tricky. You can compare what your cruise insurance policies do cover at What Travel Insurance for Cruises does and doesn’t Cover and Cruise Insurance: Things You May Not Know Yet.
8. Deciding the right cabin
Once you get on the ship, it is very difficult to change your cabin. The cruise ship staterooms are always fully booked. It is the same policy like the airlines. They keep full booking to maximise a profit.
If you need to change your cabin, you need to go to the reception of the ship. Always, there are massive ques in front of the reception on the first sailing day. No one should not experience such a waisting time on vacation.
So, how can you pick up the right cabin?
It is often not easy especially for first time cruisers to decide the right cabins, but you are lucky to be here. I have already written an article on it. It is a step by step guide finding the right cabin with some visual information as if I am sitting next to you. You may also interested in an article on how to avoid certain cabins of the ship. Let me know how you find the article and if you have any questions, please leave a comment. I will reply to you as soon as possible.
9. Having motion sickness?
No problem. Please do not give up cruising because you have motion sickness. That is really sad and should not happen because cruising is much more than that! This is the reasons why I have written two articles on motion sickness.
Motion sickness does matter and cannot ignore. I lived at sea for years and so that I understand how you feel about it. If you are first time cruiser and are not certain about motion sickness, it would be good to have a few night cruise and see how it goes.
If you know that you may have motion sickness, you can prevent and minimise its effect even before you actually set sail.
Why motion sickness does happen? What can you do with it on board? It simply happens because the ship moves, and we are at sea, surrounded by waves! There are certain destinations which have calm waters. Caribbean and Mexico are fairly stable if you do not make a mistake on seasons. You also need to pick up a right cabin which is located in the lower midship.
10. Keep your budget
What is the budget? Budget is an amount of money you feel comfortable to spend on your vacation. Great thing is that you do not need to worry about the price of hotel rooms, airport or train transfers and what to do for entertainment. Everything is included and is in one place. This is one of the reasons why cruising is better than land travel.
However, each cruise lines have different policies and rules on what is included. If you do not know about them, you will find an extra payment.
Apart from a cruise ticket price, what you need to consider extra money are shore excursions and alcoholic drinks in general. If you are interested, you will spend on shopping, spa treatment, casino and photography. If you plan to spend some special time with your partner or family members, you need to book a table and will pay extra at a specialty dining.
If you plan to cruise in abroad, you need to purchase a flight and accommodation at least over one night unless you sail with luxury cruise lines which include them. Some luxury cruise lines include shore excursions.
11. Choose the Wrong Year
This is something interesting because I could never imagine, but Cruise Critic says that someone has booked in the wrong year.
Cruise Critic says that “cruise lines plan itineraries a few years out… It doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while, someone accidentally books a cruise for the wrong year who showed up a year early for their cruise” (source). This is something that you have booked a world cruise for Spring in 2020 but arrived at the departure port in 2019.
It is always good to double check especially your booking day and year, your ship’s departure port and a cruise ticket price.
First time cruise questions
If you are planning the first time cruise, you are most welcomed! Please do let me know if you have any questions about it.
I would love to hear from you. If you find this article useful, then please consider sharing it with your friends to help and leaving a comment below. Thank you!
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