Be armed with some basic tips regarding cruise line reservations. The more you know ahead of time, the easier the planning process will be and the greater the experience. Nothing is worse than unexpected disappointments that could have been avoided.
- Booking six to nine months in advance of your planned departure date gets you better deals.
- Plan to book in September when all the major cruise lines release new itineraries and offers.
- Consider taking a short trip for your first cruise. There is more to choose from January to April.
- Repositioning cruises (when ships change their seasonal itineraries) can be heavily discounted because they only sail one-way with no stops. Remember to factor in your flight home.
- Use a travel agent or WorldVentures.com travel consultant with Dreamtrips.com concierge reservation and travel information services. They will narrow down the right cruise based on your needs and access better offers than booking directly. Get more details on Dreamtrips.com at Lifestyle Entrepreneur travel blog or WorldVentures.com and talk to a consultant.
- Before traveling, research ports and activities. You can save money when you book independently, but make sure you are back in time for departure. Ships do not wait for guests to return to the ship.
- If the cruise line books these activities for you, book them early because excursions fill up quickly.
- When arriving at your final destination, you may need to kill some spare time before a flight home. Book a short sightseeing tour if you have time. Your luggage will often go straight to the airport leaving you free to roam about.
- When checking in at the ship, there will be heavy crowds for the first few hours as they board. Get there two hours ahead to avoid lines.
- You can more easily enjoy the pool and promenade decks along with other facilities by skipping excursion trips on port day when everyone else exits the ship.
- Book meals coinciding with theater shows for more space and time to eat.
- Travel light, save your back and additional luggage charges and take advantage of onboard laundry service.
- Remember to pack a swimsuit and change of clothes in your carry-on luggage for the first day aboard because it takes some time for luggage to arrive at your cabin.
- Using the internet on a ship is slow and expensive. Find a café with free Wifi when you dock if you need to use it. If you research before leaving, you may use authentic local restaurants with beautiful views instead.
- Your mobile phone needs to be on airplane mode to avoid roaming charges while away.
- Food on cruise ships is decadent, so be careful and count calories, use the stairs instead of the elevator, and use the onboard gym facilities.
Karabin, L. 2015. LiveShareTravel, Liberating luxury for the smart traveler, http://livesharetravel.com/23711/cruise-packing-list/