10 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Cruise
There’s a lot to think about when choosing your next cruise … where and when to go, which ship, which cruise line. There are a lot of ships and itineraries to choose from! Making sure you know exactly the type of experience you are looking for is going to make a world of difference to whether you have a good time, or a truly fantastic time.
So once you’ve decided on your destination, we’ve got a few other things for you to think about. Here are 10 things to consider when choosing your cruise:
- Low Key or High Energy - Are you a party-mad, crowd-loving type of cruiser or would you prefer fewer people and something a little more low-key? Ensuring your cruise line suits your personality is essential. If you like casinos, glitzy shows and nightclubs, the larger liners will suit you better. If you prefer enjoying a quiet drink with other guests or listening to experts talk about what you’ll see in your next port of call, one of the smaller ships is going to be much more your thing.
- Length of cruise - It may sound obvious, but have a good think about this one. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime cruise, ask yourself if you can spend any longer? You may never get back here again. For example, Antarctica – can you possibly spend an extra few days and take in the Falkland Islands as well? Chances are you’ll never see them otherwise.
- Are there back-to-back cruises that you could do? If you’re travelling to the other side of the world,there may be two cruises operating back-to-back that you can join together to make into one. There’s often a discount for this type of booking too.
- Cabin type - Again, it may sound obvious, but definitely check out the upgrades. It may not be a lot more money, but you may find yourself with a floor to ceiling window instead of a porthole. Or a balcony or with extra in-cabin luxuries. Check them out and compare and make sure you are getting what you’re really wanting.
- Compare the inclusions - Often you’ll find two comparable cruises but one will seem quite a bit more expensive than the other, so it’s natural to sway toward the cheaper. Check what is included – shore excursions, drinks, gratuities etc. Often these will add up and the one that appeared cheaper isn’t actually cheaper at all!
- What standard are you looking for? If you’re a five-star kind of traveller, you’re going to hate every minute on board a 3-star ship. Likewise, if you prefer a 3-star standard, you’re going to feel uncomfortable in the 5-star environment. Check out the options carefully and match the ship and cruiseline to your own personality.
- Excursions - Compare the excursion options offered by the cruise lines. Are they included? If they are included, are they all included or do you get a choice of one and all others are additional costs? Can you partake in as many excursions as you like or is there a limit?
- Timing - If you’re travelling to Alaska for example, and you specifically want to see the bears, you’ll want to travel at the time when the bears are more likely to be seen in the rivers or out and about. If you travel too soon (even if there is a great deal in place), the bears may not have emerged yet and you may miss them altogether. Likewise, if you specifically want to see the penguin chicks in Antarctica, you’ll want to go in January when they’re hatching or a little later to see the rookery chaos as the chicks fledge!
- Cruise lines - Each cruise line has it’s own unique culture. If you’re into education and photography, one of the Ponant/National Geographic cruises might be the right match for you. If you like a touch of French sophistication, Ponant Cruises may be your pick. Perhaps you don’t want any of the trimmings and you’re there as a hard-core expeditioner in which case the luxury lines are probably not for you. Check the culture of your cruise line first. A good place to start is to speak to our reservations team who have cruised on several lines and can give you some good feedback to help you choose your right fit.
- Onboard Experts - If you’re cruising to an area like the Galapagos, learning about the endemic species is a big part of the voyage. Small ship companies often have onboard marine biologists or naturalists that are available to share their expert knowledge on the area. In addition to this, some cruise lines will also offer photography workshops available with professionals to help you get the most out of your camera. Perfect when you want to capture that once-in-a-lifetime moment when a sea lion wanders up to you on the beach! Check which ships offer this service.
At Ultimate Cruising, we understand there is a lot to think about when booking your cruise and we’re here to guide you through the process so that your holiday is an incredible, wonderful experience. We’re not a call centre so with us, you can speak to the same consultant each time and ask all those questions you need answers to. We’re all about providing excellent, professional service at every step.