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When it comes to relaxing journeys, cruises definitely take the cake. They have become a favorite choice for honeymoons and family trips. This is because along with enjoying and exploring the sea, the tourists also get to visit a number of exciting destinations and enjoy various activities available aboard.
Cruises vary in duration, vessel type, purpose and destination and as such, there are many cruise options to choose from.
Types of Cruises
A cruise refers to trips on a boat or any other sea vessel which might have single or multiple destinations for pleasure. Among them the most popular are as follows:
- River cruises: A river cruise is a cruise that is conducted on the inland waterways of a city or a town. Most river cruises serve to highlight the sights and attractions of the town and last usually for a few hours to a day. If you’re visiting a new and unfamiliar town, it would be a great idea to familiarize yourself with the town and such a cruise is also recommended as an educational trip for children. It should be noted, however, that river cruises are the shortest type of cruise and thus the cheapest.
- Fly and cruise: Many people do not go on cruises because they do not want to endure the days spent sailing to the destination. This could be due to seasickness or they might be disinterested in that part of the journey. In the case of the fly and cruise, a tourist takes a flight to the destination of the cruise and joins the sea vessel to engage in the activities when they get there. Look for the best cruise chip company that offers this arrangement.
- Cruise and stay: A lot of cruises involve visiting a particular location for a few days at most and then sailing to a new location. While this allows for some fun activities, the customer might not be able to fully explore the destination. In the case of a cruise and stay, the customer sails to a particular destination and then spends from a few days to a week there at a hotel in order to fully experience the place. The tourist then leaves on another cruise ship. Depending on the arrangement with the cruise company the ship they arrive on might not be the one they depart on.
- Mini cruise: Mini cruises, like their name implies, are smaller, shorter cruises that last between three to seven days and visit locations that are not too far apart. For example, mini cruises in the U.K visit neighboring countries within that period. They are recommended for those who have not been on a cruise before and would like to get a feel for it. They are relatively cheap and a good idea if you want a cruise on a budget.
- Around-the-world cruise: These are the exact opposite of the mini cruises. These are the longest, most expensive and most varied in terms of destinations. An around-the-world cruise is a cruise that visits many continents (usually all) in the world and up to dozens of countries. They often last for weeks and months and if you are looking for the ultimate adventure, then this is for you. Many around-the-world cruises begin during the summertime and continue for the entirety of it. They are often made up of smaller groups of travel enthusiasts depending on the time of year. Look up world cruise reviews to know what destination you should include on your trip.
Cruises by Travelers
Cruises also differ depending on the types of people they are made for. The types of cruises by travelers are as follows:
- Family cruises: They are specially designed for families and usually feature multiple stops. Onboard the ships, there are often attractions and entertainment that are family-oriented such as game areas for children, bowling alleys, film showings and so on. The cabins are also designed to accommodate three to seven people meaning that even larger families can make use of them. If you’re looking for a holiday option for your family, this cruise type is tailor-made for you. Look at the cruise cabin reviews for any cruise line you are considering to make sure their cabins can adequately accommodate your family.
- Seniors cruising: Cruises for senior citizens vary in length. There are some that last only a few days (usually opted for by much older people or people with health challenges). There are also cruises that last for weeks and even months and call at many destinations. The appeal of these cruises is that they give senior citizens a chance to get out and to socialize with other people of their age as well to engage in fun activities. If you have elderly relatives, this might be a good idea for them.
- Couple cruises: These cruises are suitable for honeymoons, couples vacations, and anniversary trips. The cabins are designed for two and onboard activities are chosen to appeal to couples with things such as candlelit dinners, couples massages, and other romantic attractions. The cruises themselves often call at popular destinations for couples such as Venice, Paris, and Hawaii. Some cruise companies even offer a few days’ hotels stay in the destination cities for those who want to explore them. Seeing as a honeymoon is such a special event in a person’s life, cruise company comparisons are an invaluable resource to look into before making a decision.
How to Pick the Best Cruises
Choosing a cruise is a very important task. When you go on a cruise, your safety is in the hands of the cruise company and the vessel you travel in. Cruises can also be quite expensive and the last thing you’d want is to spend hundreds of dollars and not get your money’s worth.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best cruise which includes looking at cruise reviews and research based on your specific needs:
- Time: Like every other leisure trip, a cruise can be taken at any time of the year but certain times are more common than others. Consider your work or school schedule and determine what time will be most convenient for you. You should keep in mind that cruises are more expensive at such times of the year as summer and Christmas time due to increased demand. If cost is an important factor for you, you might want to go for your cruise during less busy periods e.g. in February or October. Don’t forget to compare cruise lines to find one with the best price.
- The number of people traveling: If you are traveling alone, you will only need to consider your needs and preferences. However, if you are traveling with others, you will need to consider them as well. If the people going on the trip with you have varying schedules, you will have to sync them. If children or students will also be attending the cruise, the cruise will have to be embarked upon at a time when schools are not in session. Also, whatever cruise is chosen it should be one that calls at destinations that every member will enjoy. This goes for the activities that are offered on the trip as well. If some members of the group would like to go snorkeling and others would like to party, compare cruise lines and find a cruise that offers both.
- Health restrictions: As with any method of traveling, you must consider the health conditions of all people embarking on the trip. One of the most common issues that might arise is seasickness. People with such a health issue should either sit out the trip or consider a fly and cruise arrangement. Women in late stages of pregnancy are often advised not to go by ships and any pregnant woman considering a cruise should consult her doctor first. You must also take into consideration places you will be calling at. Some countries and regions require vaccinations against certain diseases and it is best to do your research beforehand. For example, countries like Singapore require a yellow fever vaccination for tourists.
- Budget: The type of cruise you go on depends largely on your budget. If you are working on a very limited budget, a mini cruise or a river cruise is probably your best bet as they are the cheapest cruise options available. However, if your budget is less restricted, you might consider an around-the-world cruise or a fly and cruise that offer a lot more in terms of sights to see and activities to engage in. Compare cruise line prices to find the cruises with the best prices for your budget.
- Location: Perhaps you’ve always wanted to visit the Caribbean? Maybe you’d rather go on a trip to Europe? One of the most important things you should think about before going on a cruise is where you want to go. Some destinations are more popular and more exciting during certain times of the year. If you are going on a cruise during the summer, tropical locations would be a good idea.
- Reputation: Booking your cruise with the wrong company can lead to an absolutely disastrous trip for both you and whoever is traveling with you. The best way to prevent this is to conduct proper research into the cruise company. You should check for the company’s record with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Every passenger vessel is required to undergo an inspection twice a year. If the cruise company you are considering has a poor record, refrain from patronizing them. Also, look for cruise ship reviews on consumer advocacy sites from previous customers to get an idea of their experience. You should also look into what activities they offer on their cruises. Keep in mind that you might spend days on the vessel and so the cruise should have a variety of onboard activities to keep you entertained.
Cruise ship reviews should give an idea of the best activities to engage in before, during and after you arrive at your destination.
How to Save Money on Cruises
Cruises don’t have to break the bank. Believe it or not, there are a number of ways to enjoy a cruise without spending too much.
- Book ahead: One of the easiest ways to save money on cruise tickets is to book ahead. The further away from the date, the cheaper the tickets will be. You can actually book for cruise tickets up to a year in advance. For example, if a cruise company has just concluded its summer cruises, immediately inquire about when next year’s summer cruise tickets will go on sale and ask to be notified as soon as possible. More likely, there will be an early bird discount.
- Opt for group tickets: This only applies when you are traveling with a group of people. Just like plane tickets, there is usually a discount given when buying tickets in bulk. If a group of friends are planning to embark on the cruise, they should book for multiple tickets at once rather than making their reservations individually. They might also have a free ticket given after a number of purchases (buy 5 get one free).
- Look for promotions: Cruise companies often offer reduced ticket prices during times such as Valentine’s Day due to lower demand and also during low seasons. Low seasons are times of the year when people do not typically go on holiday. Cruise companies see a decline in business during these times and they reduce the price of their cruises to encourage patronage. If you are in a bid to save money, plan your holidays around those times and take advantage of the reduced fares. You are also more likely to get upgrades during this time as there will be fewer passengers. Cruise companies offer different types of promotions and so it is best you look at cruise companies comparisons to see which company’s deal pays you more.
- Focus on cheaper cruises: As with budget airlines, there are budget cruise lines. Conduct your research and read up on cruise line reviews to find the cheapest ones available. You should also consider the type of cruise you want to go on. Regardless of the cruise company you are going with, an around-the-world cruise will definitively not be cheap. Instead, you can opt for river cruises and mini cruises so as to still get the feel of a cruise but for less money. Cruise line ratings will also come in handy when trying to figure out the best option for your budget.
Cruises can be one of the most exciting experiences you can have while on holiday. Choosing them should also be taken with great seriousness. Decide on the type of cruise you want to embark on and conduct your research into the cruise company you are considering going with. Make sure you go with the best and safest cruise line to ensure a wonderful experience both for you and those you might travel with.