How Far In Advance Should You Book A Cruise
As a general rule, the best time to book your cruise is as soon as the itineraries go on sale. This can be 18 to 24 months before the departure date.
After this point, prices are likely to rise steadily, dropping at the last minute only if there are remaining cabins which need to be filled.
Cabins that sleep three or four people tend to sell out really quickly, as do the cheapest inside cabins. Therefore, if youre travelling with kids or want a cheap deal, its vital that you book your cruise at least 12 months in advance.
|The most luxurious option, very large, extra perks||Very expensive|
Choosing a cabin is a matter of personal preference. For me, I would always go for an inside cabin, unless I were cruising somewhere particularly scenic such as Norway or Alaska when I feel that a balcony would be worth the extra cost.
A Little Peace And Quiet
Speaking of noise, dont just check the deck plan for whats located next to your stateroom on the ship check the decks above and below as well. While at first it might seem like a good idea to bunk up below the buffet to ensure being first in line for breakfast every day, youll soon regret your decision if you had any notions of sleeping in. Hours before the restaurant actually opens, the crew is already hard at work setting up and preparing the food, which can lead to a rude awakening in the wee hours of the morning. If youre sleeping directly under the sun deck, you wont need to set an alarm either the crew members clean the deck and carry away the lounge chairs every evening, and bring them back in the morning. Equally risky are staterooms located underneath the theater, the casino, a bar, or a dance club. There, you can expect loud music late into the night. If youre looking for some peace and quiet, the best location is a stateroom located between passenger decks, where youll have other passenger staterooms above and below you.
Cruise Lines For A Livlier Experience
As we alluded to there, most kid-friendly or family-oriented cruise lines are going to be quite lively have a fun and energetic atmosphere. Norwegian Cruise Line is a company that offers a fun cruise experience and Carnival Cruise Line is another great company for those looking for something more up-tempo. Many cruise lines have great onboard activities too that can range from water sports to cooking classes.
For the majority of cruise lines, you will be able to have an experience that matches your personality as most of the events are going to be optional and you wont be forced into anything. You will be free to create your own cruise experience. Unless youre an extreme introvert or extrovert, youll find most companies can match your personality.
How Much Time Will I Spend In The Room
Balcony cabins are slightly larger than ocean views. – Photo by MSC Cruises
Determine what you want to get out of your cruise. Your cabin stays the same no matter how many ports of call you visit, so its important to be comfortable. Part of your decision should be based on the square footage and how much room you need to be content. City dwellers who are used to small apartments are less likely to feel claustrophobic in a small cabin than those used to much more space.
Also, consider how youll actually use your cabin: If youre bringing a stack of novels and plan to hole up in your stateroom in the afternoon and every evening after dinner, space matters more than if you plan on spending all your time by the pool during the day and out dancing at night.
Dont Feel The Need To Do Everything As A Group Do Your Own Thing
This applied to the shore excursions we talked about earlier, but also to the activities you do on board the ship. Its by no means necessary to do every single thing as a group. Remember that everyone is on vacation and that people want to do whatever they like, whenever they want. Its okay if someone wants to laze the afternoon away by the pool or party all night long and sleep in the next morning. If someone wants to grab some food or hit the gym, let them.
Its a good idea to make it clear beforehandbefore the cruise startsthat there is no need to do things as a group all the time. Freedom is exactly what vacation is about. This is probably the most valuable tip we can give you when it comes to making the best out of a group cruise.
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Where To Buy Seine Cruise River Tickets
Seine River cruise tickets can be bought online and on the spot at ticket offices. Most companies offer online bookings for convenience so all you need to do is to show up with your online ticket or confirmation email. Booking on the spot is also okay, but take note that you might not get your desired cruise time depending on the number of tourists. It is also highly recommended to purchase tickets online for a lunch or dinner cruise since you might want to have the menu adjusted if you have special dietary concerns or allergies.
Decide How Long You Want To Go
There are mainly three types of cruise tours operating in Halong Bay:
- Day trip cruises
- 2 Day-1 Night cruises
- 3 Day-2 Nights cruises
- 4 Day-3 Nights cruises
Day trip cruises are short journeys created to give you a little taste of the feeling of navigating between forest of islands. You can book day cruises with no overnight stay departing from Hanoi, Halong City or Cat Ba.
In the limit, you can do a long day trip from Hanoi with a half-day cruise in the bay, but I personally dont see any appeal in this. Its too rushed and theres no point in having such a long tiring day!
Overnight cruises are more classic choices and allow some more time to relax and truly enjoy the scenery out in the water. Plus, you get to sleep on board and wake up with a gor-geee-ouuusss view! 2D1N cruises last exactly 24 hours and will suit most travelers. Longer itineraries are recommended for people looking to unwind and explore more remote areas of the bay.
In 3D2N and 4D3N cruises, you are transferred from the main boat to a smaller one for the daily activities, returning to the main ship in the evening.
In a nutshell, how long you stay depends on how badly you need/want to relax and what your budget is. The longer you stay, the more chances youll have to navigate through areas far from crowds and to do more outdoor activities.
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Choosing The Right Cruise Line
Its important to choose the right cruise line for a perfect cruise vacation, but with the vast number of options it can be quite difficult. Choosing the right cruise line may also depend on the time of year that you plan on cruising and the type of destinations you want to visit among other factors. The cruise line that you choose is a hugely important choice to make. There are many different types of cruise liners out there that cater to a whole different range of clientele. Choosing the right one for you can be the difference between having a good cruise experience or a great one.
Whilst a cruise line will have different types of ships, the company themselves can often be different from one another in a number of different ways. In this guide we will go through all the information that you need in order to choose the perfect cruise line for your perfect cruise vacation.
How To Book A Cruise For The First Time
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Tackling the topic of how to book a cruise for the first time has always been somewhat daunting, with a dizzying assortment of itineraries, companies, destinations, and ships to choose from. Its even more so in the wake of the pandemic: cruise lines garnered mass media coverage as the CDC suspended operations for the industry beginning spring 2020. Now, cruising is re-emerging, reconfigured and ready to tackle new ways of taking to the water.
With this in mind, how can first-timers book a cruise without going wrong? We asked three Traveler-approved experts for their seasoned advice. Carolyn Spencer Brown is Cruise Medias Chief Content Officer and an industry stalwart, while Doug Parker, of Cruise Radio, leads one of the best podcasts covering the business. Tom Baker has been recognized as one of our top travel specialists, and runs one of the best cruise-focused travel agencies in the U.S. Heres what they had to say.
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Six Easy Mistakes To Avoid When Booking Your Cruise Ship Cabin
We may be slightly biased, but theres not much thats more fun than deciding on a cruise and then settling down to pick the perfect cruise ship cabin to stay in.
Choosing a grade, dissecting the deck plans, checking where the closest bar and spa is: bliss. Apparently though , some people dont really like the experience of choosing their cruise ship cabin.
Some find it a chore, some find it challenging and others just think its overly complicated. Never fear though, weve simplified things for you and made booking your cruise ship cabin a very simple decision
Disney Cruise Line For Disney Lovers And Families With Small Kids
Not surprisingly, Disney hits it out of the theme park when it comes to cruising amenities for kids, but particularly for families with small children. Infants as young as six months old can sail on most Disney itineraries and can be left in the expert care of the Its a Small World Nursery between 9am and midnight so parents can take advantage of a romantic dinner, or even a shore excursion. The babysitting service isnt free, but can be reserved in advance of your cruise so you can plan ahead.
Travel cribs and Diaper Genies are available free of charge for in-room use, and unlike nearly every other cruise line, Disney staterooms have bathtubs! Other thoughtful touches include a room dividing curtain making naptime a breeze and parenting essentials like diapers and kids sunscreen available in the gift shop. Youll pay a premium to sail Disney, but all those extras that make your life easier are well worth the price of admission. Not to mention the look on your childs face when they realize Mickey and Princess Elsa are fellow cruise guests!
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What Is The Best Cruise Line For Your Money
Ocean cruises are one of the best ways to explore multiple Caribbean islands or the Pacific Northwest without the hassles of booking numerous flights, hotel rooms and rental cars. With so many cruise lines to choose from, finding the best cruise for your money can be challenging.
People stand in line as they prepare to board the Celebrity Edge cruise ship in Fort Lauderdale, … Florida, on June 26, 2021. – Celebrity Edge is the first major cruise ship to restart operations from a US port since the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown cruise travel.
Royal Caribbean is the best overall value for many itineraries. Their fares are competitively priced and are some of the cheapest fares starting as low as $225 per night.
Booking a cheap cruise doesnt mean youre automatically going to have a no-frills voyage or be on a party boat where the celebration never ends, even when youre trying to rest. This cruise line has a reputation for having a good mixture of solo travelers, families and retirees. There are also many on-ship amenities for entertainment, relaxation and dining.
Families are more likely to find childrens programs without the steep cost of a Disney cruise. While the experience isnt the same, children and parents will likely still have a great time. Booking a suite can also be a good option if you have a bigger travel budget but dont want to splurge for a luxury liner.
Norwegian Cruise Line
How To Choose The Best Cruise Line For You
There are tons of options when it comes to planning a cruise vacation. You may find yourself perusing cruise reviews and cruise deals aplenty, wondering how in the world youre going to narrow down a specific cruise line and itinerary that best fits your travel preferences and budget. And while cruise deals are easy to find, booking your best cruise vacation is more about finding one that makes sense for you, and less about grabbing last minute or all-inclusive cruise deals that you may not fully enjoy.
Deciding on a cruise vacation is a lot like planning any other vacation, only youre choosing your transportation, accommodations and oftentimes your activitiesall in one. Keep in mind that each cruise line has its own unique vibe, and what works for a large family may not appeal to a couple wanting a romantic getaway. Youll have to do a little bit of homework, but once you know what to look out foryoull alleviate some of the guesswork and perhaps feel more confident in choosing a cruise line that aligns with how you prefer to travel and spend your time while on vacation.
So, before you snag that all-inclusive cruise youve been eyeing, consider these helpful tips:
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Getting The Most Value
Think about what you want out of your cruise experience and where youll end up spending the most money and then choose a cruise that offers the best value for that element. Food connoisseurs should look for a line with a heavy focus on culinary quality. Crystal Cruises offers cuisine crafted by celebrity chef, Nobu Matsuhisa, while Silversea Cruises offers the only Relais & Châteaux-affiliated restaurant on a cruise ship. If you value fine wine and spirits, consider choosing a cruise that offers all-inclusive packages that include alcoholic beverages in the cruise price. Azamara Club Cruises offers complimentary standard spirits, sodas, and specialty coffees, with unlimited premium packages available for only $12.95 per person/per day. Regent Seven Seas Cruises also offers unlimited beverages. If instead you hope to explore each destination, Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers free, unlimited shore excursions in each port of call. And with the Insider Access program and AzAmazing Evening offers, the Azamara Club Cruises also provides quality destination immersions.
Katie Lara is a freelance travel journalist and video host based in New York City. In addition to Fodor’s, her writing and photographs have appeared in U.S. News and World Report, The Huffington Post, Forbesand Fox News. Keep up with Katie’s adventures on her travel blog Travelingpanties, , & .
Consider The Cruise Lines Policies
Its also good to look into the individual policies that each cruise line has to determine if they match your situation or not. One aspect to look into are drinking ages, which might vary from one company to the next and will depend on factors such as the embarkation port and whether or not youre in international waters.
Some companies also have different policies about taking alcohol on board. Seeing what a cruise line offers as part of their fare is also a good idea as you will be able to see how much you are going to be getting for your money.
Taking other factors into account is important too depending on your lifestyle and health. Its always vital to check cruise line policies if you are a smoker. Cruise lines also have different rules on the likes of pregnancy too which is always important to check beforehand.
Choosing The Best Ship For You
Cruise ships are like floating resorts. Whether youre looking for non-stop adventure, quiet spaces to relax and unwind in, or an in-depth expedition to some of the furthest corners of the planet, theres a cruise ship for nearly every traveller, and for almost every purpose.
Narrow down your options by considering if a big ship, a small ship, river cruise ship, or expedition ship to suit your travel plans best. Some ships are built for non-stop activities and entertainment, some are built to suit those looking for a quieter, intimate getaway, and some are built to appeal to all and everyone in between. Either way, you have nothing but world-class, awe-inspiring, and state-of-the-art cruise ships to choose from.
Norwegian For Entertainment Buffs & The Indecisive
If your ideal land vacation is a trip to New York or Vegas to experience the best of the dining and theater worlds, look no further than Norwegian for your first cruise. The line was voted Best Entertainment by Cruise Critic and for good reason! With musicals like Rock of Ages, Footloose and Kinky Boots performed onboard, youll forget youre at sea and not on Broadway. Cirque Dreams, Norwegians unforgettable theatrical dining experience, showcases acrobatic feats you never dreamed possible, while Burn the Floor will have you swaying in your seat along with the dance theater companys Latin beats.
In line with their Freestyle Cruising philosophy, Norwegian offers something for everyone, from solo staterooms to the largest suites at sea from delectable fine dining restaurants to pool-side burger joints from relaxing retreat areas to a thrilling, multi-level race track. If you cant decide what kind of traveler you are, Norwegian could be a good option for your first cruise.
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