Think About Your Vacation Type
As part of your cruise ship itinerary planning process, consider what sort of vacation you are looking for, as well as who you will be vacationing with.
Are you looking for a romantic getaway with your loved one, where youll hold hands on the beach, dance beneath a canopy of stars, and share intimate meals? Youll want an itinerary that says romance to you. Think about your favorite romantic movie and put yourself in the script.
Family vacationers will want to consider what the kids would like to do. Are you looking for adventure? Will the kids be thrilled or bored seeing cultural attractions? Onboard kids programs, including for tweens and teens, will keep your progeny well entertained, but youll want to find a cruise ship itinerary that works for everyone in the family.
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Adventures and active travelers will find a wealth of exciting shore excursion options on all cruise ship itineraries, but if you have your sights set on a particular activitysuch as hiking on top of a glacier or volcanic mountainyoull want to choose your itinerary wisely.
Culture vultures should research what they want to do, see, taste, and experience, whether it be UNESCO World Heritage Sites, world-class museums and galleries, or gourmet dining experiences.
List Of Repositioning Cruises By Cruise Line
Here is a list of repositioning cruises by cruise line, linking directly to the cruise lines website to help you find the best deal.
- Royal Caribbean International: The Royal Caribbean deals page offers a wide range of options.
- Virgin: A dedicated page shows repositioning cruises with this cruise line.;
- Disney Cruise Line: One of the most popular cruise lines, especially for families with small children. Some cruises that are offered begin in the United States and end in Europe.
- Carnival Cruise Line: You can search for transatlantic cruises on Carnival, many of which originate in Europe.;
- Norwegian Cruise Line : Check out Norwegians extraordinary destinations page for deals on cruises.;
- Pullmantur Cruises: This cruise line offers special deals on transatlantic cruises.;
- Costa Cruises: You can find stellar deals for transoceanic routes on Costa Cruises.;
- Celebrity Cruises: Search for transatlantic cruises by departure port.;
Choose The Best Cruise Line
Next, its time to find out which cruise line is the best for you.
Its not the case that Royal Caribbean cruises go to the Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line cruises go to Norway. You can cruise to most destinations around the world with each cruise line, although you may find that some cruise lines have more ships in particular regions.
If youre planning a cruise with children, there are seven cruise lines that you should consider.
The best cruise lines for families are:
Which cruise line is the best for your family will depend on the age of your children, your budget and the destinations you want to visit.
Each cruise line has its own unique offering and they are quite different, so its a good idea to read up on each one before deciding.
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Look For Solo Traveler Perks
Solo travel is an important segment of the cruise industry, and some cruise lines may reward you for traveling on your own. For example, Emerald Cruises river cruises do not charge single supplements on select sailings. The line also offers savings on deposits and a flexible booking policy. Similarly, Overseas Adventure Travels small ship adventures cater to solo travelers with nominal single supplements or none at all.
Some larger ocean cruise lines, like Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line, boast single staterooms on select ships designed specifically for solo cruisers . In fact, fares for these cabins may even cost less than what youd normally pay per person if you were traveling with a companion. Norwegian Cruise Line adds extra perks like complimentary key card access to the Studio Complex and Lounge, where you can meet other single travelers, relax with a cocktail or watch shows on the big-screen TV.
What Kind Of Cabin Will You Be Comfortable In
You may be tempted to just book the cheapest room, but you should be aware that inside cabins are usually windowless and very cramped. If you know that you’ll be spending a lot of time in your room, it might be worth it to spring with a room that has windows or a balcony that will provide natural light and make it more enjoyable to be in your room.
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Are Cruise Drink Packages Worth It
If you drink a lot on vacation, probably yes.; A lot would be a few drinks starting after lunch and throughout the afternoon, a cocktail before dinner, two glasses of wine after dinner, and more drinks after dinner during entertainment then yes.; But many people dont drink that much, and for them, unless it is a great promotional offer on the cruise fare with a small supplement over no beverage package, the drink packages are not worth it.; Also, both parties in the cabin have to buy the package so you both need to drink enough to get your moneys worth.; If you like ordering wine by the bottle, this is not included in drink packages only selected wines by the glass. Your waiter will also store unfinished bottles for consumption the next night.; Your itinerary will also determine how much time you are on board vs ashore so European, Alaska, and port intensive Caribbean cruises will have you spending less time during the day on the ship.; Some of the drink packages also include specialty coffees and other fancy non-alcoholic drinks that you should factor.; Coffee is free at the buffet, but an Americano or Cappucino at a bar is extra and on some drink packages, included.
Choose Shoulder Season Sailings
If you’ve already honed in on a destination, the best way to save is to focus on travel dates just outside the peak season. This might mean picking April or late September as the month to visit Alaska, March as your best bet to sail the Mediterranean and October for your Caribbean cruise — before or after the summer swell of family vacations. In addition to low prices, you’ll encounter fewer crowds; on the flip side, the weather might not be as ideal for sightseeing.
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Is It Worth Getting A Balcony On A Cruise
Yes for the majority of people.; Proof is that there are far more balcony cabins than any other type for sale on all the major lines.; This evolved over the last couple decades from outside cabins .; Even if you dont sit on the balcony much, the floor to ceiling windows of your sliding doors let more light in.; You will feel like a balcony cabin is bigger.
Cruise Reviews And Insider Tips
Finding the best cruise lineand best cruise dealsis a lot like matchmaking. If you know what you want, youll have better luck matching up with the right cruise line that will hopefully show you a great time and offer new ways to see the worlda vast ocean view from the deck, perhaps? And you certainly dont want to be taken on a wild ride that will make you want to jump ship! Here are a few cruise-specifics to be aware of:
1) The average cruise vacation lasts about a week. While there are 3 to 5 day cruises, most cruise vacationers will plan for about a week-long vacation. Note: Some cruise vacations last 14 days, or even longer. Realistically knowing when you and your travel companions can travel, and for how long is critical when booking a cruise.
2) All-inclusive pricing may not include must haves. Once youve established your budget, youll want to know whats included in an all-inclusive cruise offering. Most mainstream cruise lines include onboard activities, dining and some gratuity in their base fees. But, if one of your must haves is staying digitally connected at all times, youll more than likely have to pay extra for wifi.
3)Wave season is a good time to find cruise deals. Every year, cruise lines celebrate their wave season from January through March by offering cruise deals and perks like extra onboard spending creditsto lure in customers. Youll get the best deal by either booking really early or if youre flexible, a last minute cruise.
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What Color Is Your Ship
A color-coded system developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can provide helpful information about the COVID-19 status of cruise ships operating or planning to operate in U.S. waters.
A table on the CDC website, which promises to be updated several times a week, assigns each ship a color statusgreen, orange, yellow, red or gray.;
The color-coding is based on both surveillance data collected over the previous 7-day period as well as the findings of any CDC investigations. ;
These are the CDC definitions of each of the color codes:
Green: No COVID-19 cases or COVID-19-like illnesses are reported onboard
Orange: Reported cases are below the CDC threshold for investigation, which varies for;
restricted voyages, simulated voyages and ships with crew-only
Yellow: The ship meets the threshold for investigation , or a state or local health department has notified the CDC of passenger cases occurring within five days of disembarkation
Red: The ship is at or above the threshold for passenger and crew COVID-19 cases. Based on CDC investigation, the ship is subject to additional public health precautions. such as immediate return to port or delay of the next voyage
Gray: The ship operators health and safety protocol hasnt been reviewed or confirmed by the CDC; this only applies to ships arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida that chose not to follow the CDC Conditional Sail Order voluntarily.
Rule #: Do Choose Your Room Location Carefully
While not every cruise line does it, many will charge you different amounts for the same class of room in different locations of the ship. For example, a room on a higher deck will cost more than one on a lower deck. Through years and years of bookings, the cruise lines know which rooms are most desirable and charge accordingly.
Most times the premium you pay for room location wont seem like a big deal. The cruise lines typically frame it by adding something like $3-5 per person, per day.
Lets do the math, however.
A room with two people being charged an extra $5 per person, per day would rack up $10 per day or $70 in room location charges over the course of a week-long cruise. That may not sound like much to some of you, but that comes about to about 6-8 drinks from the bar if you were to want to spend your money on alcohol instead.
The rule of thumb is that the higher up your room is on the ship, the more you will pay.
For the absolute best rate for your particular room class, let the cruise line place you automatically at their lowest rate.
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Leave The Deals Search To The Experts
If you don’t have time for Twitter, online cruise research or gathering up a group of 20 friends, nothing beats a good travel agent to help you score a deal.
Because agents often book in bulk and work directly with the lines, they have access to deals that normal cruisers don’t. Cruise lines will offer their top agencies special discounts that the agents can’t promote on their websites, so even if you see a good deal online, it’s best to talk to a real person and ask for the best fare.
Even if savings aren’t necessarily there for every sailing, agencies often offer deals with value-added perks like onboard credit or prepaid gratuities, which can amount to nearly $100 per person on a weeklong sailing.
You Might Qualify For Special Rates Or Discounts
Several cruise lines offer senior citizen rates , active/retired military discounts and resident rates and this might be the best cruise deal at the moment.; From time to time cruise lines like to say thank you to those who belong to or have careers with service organizations.
Firefighters, police and teachers may have special pricing as a way to show appreciation for all they do for the community.; Many times the mega online cruise discounters as well as cruise line reservationists fail to ask if you fall into any of these categories for special offers. Why? They lose commission.;;Always;ask what discounts are available.
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Is It Better To Be At The Front Or Back Of The Ship
The highest deck at the front or back of the ship will have more rolling motion than the lower decks mid ship but in normal seas its barely noticeable.; For getting around, it doesnt matter youre all over the ship anyway sometimes the front is convenient to your cabin location and sometimes the aft is.; And if youre mid ship it might seem more convenient but you will always be walking to the front or aft of the ship at some point and returning.; Mid ship feels like youre closer to everything.
Which Cruise Line Is Most Affordable
It depends on where you are travelling and when.; Within the mass market lines that comprise 90% of the bookings by Canadians, it will vary and this is the beauty of the tripcentral.ca grid we find you the lowest price or best value for all the major lines.; Sometimes its Royal Caribbean, sometimes Celebrity, sometimes Carnival, Norwegian, Princess or Holland America.; MSC and Costa are often the most affordable in Europe.
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Criteria For Ship Color Status For Ships In Us Waters
The following table lists cruise ships operating or planning to operate in U.S. waters.
Ship color status is determined using surveillance data from the previous 7 daysregardless of voyage dates and CDC investigation findings.
The following persons are not included when determining a ships color status:
- Passengers who test positive for COVID-19 on the day of embarkation who do not board the ship, or
- Newly embarking crew members who test positive during their embarkation quarantine period.
Where Do You Want To Cruise
Cruise ships ply waters around every continent. In the U.S., many first-time cruise passengers enjoy cruising around the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. However, it’s also possible to cruise in Europe and the South Pacific. If tropical destinations aren’t exactly your cup of tea, you can also cruise around Alaska, Norway, and even Antarctica.
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Special Note: Cruise Deals After The Health Crisis
To say that COVID turned the cruise industry on its head would be an understatement. The industry has never seen anything like it before and hopefully nothing like it ever again.
So how does that impact getting a deal on a cruise? The advice above is still the best. For instance, the time of year you sail and the ship you sail will still have the biggest impact on the price you pay for your cruise.
That said, expect there to be fewer deals in the years ahead. With the pandemic, cruise lines sold off older ships while also putting a hold on ordering new ships. The result is less growth in capacity for years to come.;
Assuming that cruising does get back to normal, thats likely to mean strong demand for a lower number of cabins. In other words, high demand with lower supply should lead to higher prices.
From Buffets To Silent Discos Much Has Changed On Covid
Cruises have been back in business in North America since last month but operations are still far from normal.
And while cruises have been sailing in other parts of the world for months now, more lines are returning to service all over, including many that are allowing Americans to fly overseas and board in places such as Greece and Iceland.
As ships venture out from the Caribbean, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Galveston, Tex., and Seattle, those who make their living writing about or selling cruises have spent extra time on the water for the past several weeks. Many have already sailed on two or three voyages.
It feels like Ive been on ships about every other week since June 4, said Colleen McDaniel, editor in chief of Cruise Critic, a news and review site. This is kind of a breakneck pace.
Those who have spent time back on ships are fielding a lot of questions about what its like on board what the mask rules are, the fate of buffets, and what they can and cant do on land. Based on interviews with seven people who have each taken at least two cruises, here is what potential passengers can expect.
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So Is Your Cruise Ship Safe
Answers to this question will vary for every individual. The circumstances that seem safe for one person may appear ominous to another. In the end, all COVID-era travel entails weighing available information in light of personal health factors and ones tolerance for risk. The new CDC color code system for cruise ships offers one more metric to help make these tough decisions.
Book At The Last Minute
For those who can be spontaneous, flexibility can pay off. Check out our last minute cruise deals section, which features bargains on a variety of sailings leaving within 90 days — 90 days out being the typical point at which final cruise payments are due. In general, there are always plenty of Caribbean and Mediterranean cruise deals.
Other hard-to-fill cruises — such as shoulder season cruises and one-way repositioning sailings, where open-jaw airfare is required — can be deeply discounted at the last minute. Of course, booking last-minute airfare might wipe out any savings. Plus, you’ll have a limited selection of cabin locations and dinner seatings. But, if you’re flexible and can drive to a cruise port — or have plenty of frequent flier airline points to burn — it’s a great way to take a cruise without breaking the bank.
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