Whether you’ve flipped open a cruise brochure, or you’ve been perusing the amazing deals on our site, you’ll probably have noticed there are a load of different cruise holidays available. All heading off to different parts of the world, and on board significantly different ships.
This can make it difficult for even the most experienced of cruise fans to pick the deal for their next holiday on the seas, never mind for holidaymakers trying to pick their first ever cruise.
So, if you’re a cruising newcomer and are finding it difficult to pick the perfect deal for you and your family, we’re here to help. These seven tips will help make planning your first cruise super simple.
1. Cruise Lines Matter
One of the best places to start when choosing a cruise holiday is identifying which cruise line will provide the experience you’re after. All the major lines offer different holidays, from the family-friendly services of Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line to the more traditional offerings of Cunard Line or the outright luxury of Azamara.
For a full run-through of the different cruise lines, and what they offer – head over to our Which Cruise Line is Right for You guide.
2. Research the Ship
Modern cruise ships boast an amazing array of amenities and features, often too much to take in during a week at sea. So, the best way to ensure you experience everything you want during your time on your ship is to do a little research and create a list of everything which appeals to you. Whether you want to head for the waterslides or dine in the speciality restaurants, you’ll be able to prioritise.
3. A Taster Cruise, Perhaps?
If you, your partner, or any member of the travelling party are not 100% sold on the idea of taking a cruise – a taster trip might be the best way to test the waters. With cruises offering between two and five nights at sea, taster cruises are often a short and inexpensive way to discover if cruising is for you. Most of these trips venture over to mainland Europe, giving you chance to explore the cities of the Netherlands, Belgium and/or France.
4. Add-Ons Could Provide Great Savings
When booking your cruise through an operator, you’ll likely be given the option to pick a few add-ons such as drinks packages. Although the price of a drinks package, paid up front, might sound a sizeable expense, it could provide great savings – especially on alcohol packages, if you’re planning a boozy trip.
5. Careful Cabin Selection
If you’ve found the perfect cruise for you, there are still choices to be made about where on the ship you’ll call home for the days at sea. Most cruise ships offer both interior and exterior cabins, with the latter often coming at a higher price (thanks to the sea view), and many offer balcony cabins – these are all options you’ll have to consider.
And when you’ve picked the type of cabin you’d like, it’s time to pick whether you’d like a ‘guaranteed’ or ‘assigned’ room. A guaranteed cabin simply guarantees that you’ll get (at least) the class of cabin you’ve paid for – although, there is a chance of an upgrade if a better cabin remains available. An assigned cabin is one you’ve explicitly picked – so you’ll be able to identify where you’ll be staying on the ship, perfect if you’re looking to be close to a specific amenity.
6. Plan Your Excursions
Amongst the great benefits of cruising is the chance to explore a number of different countries, cities and cultures in one go. If you’ve found the itinerary for you, now’s the time to look at the different excursions and tour options awaiting as you pull into port. Most cruise lines operate their own excursions, but you’re also free to explore by yourself or journey with independent operators. The choice is yours.
7. Book a Hotel the Night Before the Cruise
Unless you live close to the cruise terminal, we’d always advocate booking into a hotel the night before you set sail. Stay close to the port, and you’ll be able to quickly and simply make your way over the morning of the cruise. This means you’ll arrive at the ship feeling fresh, and ready to enjoy every second of your trip.
We hope this has helped you during the planning process of your very first cruise. Head over to our homepage to check out our amazing selection of cruise deals. Alternatively, give us a call on 01 536 0938 and our friendly team will help you find your perfect cruise package