Cruising is a wonderful way to travel, offering endless opportunities for relaxation, adventure, and discovery. However, planning a perfect cruise can be daunting, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the nuances of cruising. Even if you’ve visited the same destination before on land-based travel, cruising is different. The sheer number of destinations, cruise ships, and onboard amenities offered by different cruise lines can be overwhelming to navigate through. Fortunately, working with a travel advisor can make the planning process much easier, even for experienced travelers. Here are our top 7 tips for planning the perfect customized cruise vacation.
1. Work with a Travel Advisor Who Specializes in Cruising
Cruising can be complicated, and it’s important to work with a travel advisor who understands the different types of cruises, cruise ships, and cruise lines to tailor the trip to your preferences. Often, a travel agent who specializes in cruising can show you opportunities you wouldn’t have thought of on your own, and help you narrow down the endless options available to find exactly what you’re looking for. They can also take care of the research and provide helpful insights that will save you a lot of time scrolling through options.
2. Choose a Cruise Line That Fits Your Interests and Budget
Different cruise lines have different styles, focuses, onboard amenities, and target demographics. One cruise line may offer a wide variety of onboard entertainment, while another may focus more on the destinations or the culinary experience. It’s important to choose a cruise line that fits your preferences and fits your budget. A good travel advisor can recommend a cruise line that suits your needs, while helping you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of different options.
3. Pick a Cabin That Fits Your Needs
Beyond choosing a good cruise line, choosing the right cabin can also make a big difference in your cruising experience. Do you prefer a quiet cabin, a balcony cabin, or an interior cabin? Do you prefer a lower or higher deck? Do you have accessibility needs? A travel advisor can help you select a cabin that meets your specific needs and preferences.
4. Personalize Your Cruise with Onboard Activities and Excursions
Cruising isn’t just about the ship; it’s also about the destinations and the things you can do both onboard and ashore. Many cruise lines and excursions offer a variety of onboard activities and shore excursions that cater to different interests, including adventure, history, culture, and food. A travel advisor can recommend the best excursions to fit your interests and even pre-book them for you, eliminating the risk of them being sold out before you get on board.
5. Take Advantage of Special Offers and Discounts
A good travel advisor will inform you of any discounts and special offers available when booking. Often, they have access to savings and amenities you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. From onboard credits to complimentary upgrades, a travel advisor can help you save money or get more bang for your buck.
6. Understand the Fine Print
Cruising comes with a lot of rules, terms and conditions, many of which are buried in the fine print. A good travel advisor will sift through the fine print for you and ensure you understand exactly what you agree to when you book your cruise. This can include cancellation policies, deposit deadlines, onboard gratuities, and other fees.
7. Get Travel Protection
Even the best-laid plans can go astray, and you don't want to risk losing your investment in the trip. A travel advisor can help you purchase travel insurance or protection, so you’re covered for unexpected cancellations or trip disruptions. In some cases, they may even bundle it in as part of the package. In conclusion, planning a customized cruise vacation is much easier when working with a travel advisor who specializes in cruising. They have the knowledge, resources, and insider connections to help you choose the right itinerary, cabin, and excursions to fit your needs and budget. By following these tips and working with an experienced travel advisor, you can go beyond a simple “off-the-shelf” cruise and plan a perfect cruising experience that fits your style, and interests and provides you with a lifetime of memories.