If you’re considering your first cruise, you’ve come to the right place!
There is a lot to like about cruise vacations. The ports are exotic, the food is delicious, the service is excellent and the price is right. Cruise ships are big enough to keep everyone entertained, but small enough that it’s easy to meet up often. This means that they are a great option for:
- romantic getaways
- family vacations
- family reunions and other multi-family trips
However, there are a lot of things about cruising that may be new or confusing to first-timers. If that’s you, read on! You’ll be cruising like a pro in no time.
Enlist a travel agent
We usually plan our own trips, but when we cruise, we turn to the pros. Travel agents can usually offer personalized cruise advice and customer service for the same price or less than a DIY internet cruise.
Those of us who live nowhere near a port must also book flights, hotel and transportation. A travel agent can help you with all of the details, and may still save you money.
Traveling with more than two kids? Check out our tips for cruising with a large family. Click here to open in a new tab.
Research your shore excursions in advance
Plan ahead to make the most of your limited time in each destination. Head for Amazon.com, your local library or bookstore to read up on your ports of call. Here are the questions you should answer in advance about each port of call:
- How do you want to spend your time: touring, relaxing, adventuring, shopping… or a combination?
- Will you need transportation? If so, will you book a tour in advance or hire transportation at the dock?
- How much will these activities cost? Figure that and then bring extra. Many places do take credit cards, but you may still need more cash than you expect. Many international cruise ports – particularly in the Caribbean – accept U.S. dollars, but do your homework on this before you leave home.
Shore excursions are my favorite part of the cruise, but the costs can add up quickly! Sometimes it’s smart to book through the cruise line. But most of the time, it’s a waste of money. We help you decide in this post: 15 Tips for Perfect Shore Excursions.