Feeling a little restless between your job, the family, and everything else life is throwing your way? It sounds like you could use a vacation. Millions of Americans choose each year to relieve this itch by traveling on cruise lines around the world. While the vast majority of people love the experience and make it a recurring event, there are several ways to screw up your 5-day trip through the Caribbean. We want to help you plan your cruise trip just right, so here are a few of our suggestions.
Where Would You Like to Go?
The first question you should ask yourself when planning your cruise trip is where you would like to travel. Although there may be several similarities between different cruise destinations, some may be better suited to you than others. If you don’t care about the beach, maybe consider a cruise to Alaska. Don’t care for the mountains, but you’ve always wanted to see Europe? Check out a Mediterranean cruise. The location of your cruise is not just about what kind of landscape you prefer, though. Figuring out your destination will also inform you of the best time to take your cruise. Most Alaskan excursions are limited to the warmer months and winter may not be your favorite time to hit the beach on a more tropical journey. For some, the destination doesn’t matter. You just know that you have a 2-3 month window to travel and you’ll take whatever you can get. This may hurt your ability to choose the best trip, but sometimes beggars can’t be choosers.
Who is Going on This Cruise Trip?
Like any other vacation or weekend getaway, the success of your cruise trip may be influenced by who joins you on the ship. The difference between a vacation with only your significant other and one that features grandkids or your in-laws is astronomical. You can have plenty of fun either way, but how you schedule the trip will be affected.
Knowing the size of your party is not just a good idea for planning excursions and activities, though. Prices for cruise ships are drastically altered by the number of people in your group. You and your spouse may want to travel extravagantly if it’s just the two of you, but tack on a couple of children and you may quickly headed for the bargain package.
Be a Smart Shopper
If you want to plan your cruise trip right, you’re going to have to be a smart shopper. Saving money and avoiding heartache are just about the best goals you can hope to achieve when planning a vacation. The first step in being a smart shopper is to not settle for the first offer. We’re not necessarily telling you to negotiate with the cruise company, but we will say that you should shop around between the different cruise lines and find who has the best offer for you. Maybe you’re just looking for the cheapest cabin (which is fine), but it could also be that you want to find the right ports or activities for your group. Another way to be a smart shopper is timing your cruise during some of the less popular times of the year. Not only might this help your pocketbook, but you could also find yourself on a less crowded boat.
Thanks to do-it-yourself travel websites, we sometimes think the job of a travel agent or planner is obsolete. What you may not realize, however, is that these professionals can also do a lot of the smart shopping for you. A good travel agent knows the cruise lines, the destinations, and everything else needed to make an informed decision. You may not like having to pay a fee for their help, but travel agents may be something you want to look into if the planning stage sounds too daunting.
Start Planning Early
Related to being a smart shopper is choosing to start your planning early. When we wait until the last minute to start making plans, we limit ourselves to so many fewer choices. Researching your trip farther out allows you the possibility to compare prices, set your priorities, and find the cabins you want to stay in.
Is it true that some cruise lines offer their best deals at the last minute? Sure, sometimes. In the company’s view, why leave money on the table when you can get some passengers aboard at a cheaper rate? This can be a great deal for people who can take off work at the drop of a hat, but you wouldn’t want to stake your family’s annual vacation on the slim chance of something perfect opening up.
Think About the Possibilities
As your cruise date nears, you’ll want to think about the many possibilities you can experience while at sea. Snorkeling, historic tours, lying flat on your back at the beach, and so on. In order to prepare just right, you’ll want to create a list of things you’ll need to make it all go perfectly. That may be as simple as buying a new swimsuit or finding comfortable walking shoes for a trek through San Juan. Perhaps you need new luggage or special reservations for your journey home once the ship has returned. You should think through which people in your group will want to take excursions during the day and what that could look like. This is the time to foolproof your planning and avoid easy obstacles in your path. Try not to ignore small issues that can quickly become major problems while you’re on vacation.
Adopt the Right Attitude for Your Cruise Trip
Have you ever lost your cool on vacation? Waiting in long lines at Disney World or being stuck in traffic during a road trip are prime opportunities for frustration to eat away at the joy we should be experiencing during our vacations. Adopting a positive attitude can be the difference between a fun trip with the family and your worst nightmare becoming fully realized.
Still, it’s not just positivity we’re talking about here. To make the most of your cruise trip, you should be game for whatever. You set yourself up for failure when you start making mental lists of things that MUST happen in order for this to be the perfect vacation. Don’t get to go snorkeling? That’s okay, tomorrow has a different adventure for you to enjoy. Are you the only person in your group who wants to rent 4-wheelers at your next Caribbean stop? No sweat. There are plenty of other fun things to enjoy. Whatever minor problems want to raise their ugly heads while you’re at sea, don’t let them ruin the week.
Relaxation vs. Adventure: What’s the Balance?
Lastly, we want to encourage you to find the right balance for your time at sea. Are you someone who wants to explore every possible ounce of adventure or do you simply want to lie on the beach while reading a good book? There is no wrong way to go here, but make it clear to the people in your group beforehand so that no one gets their feelings hurt one way or another. We all have different ways of enjoying the cruise experience. Some people want to go down ziplines while others desire comfort and great food. Find the right balance for you and your group and your cruise trip will be that much closer to perfect.
Are you looking to plan the best cruise trip for you and your family? At Premier Cruises, we create exciting and unique Christian cruises featuring fantastic locales and the best entertainment around. Find out how you can join us for one of our many cruises or Holy Land tours by clicking on the link below.