Booking a Cruise – What to Look For (Part 2)

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Following on from the previous post, here are some further factors to take into consideration before booking your cruise holiday:

Price – As with any holiday, you will probably have a budget in mind which you have to stick to. It can sometimes be easier to do this when you are cruising as so many things are included in the original price. If you are a big drinker, make sure you take this into account as drinks can be quite expensive onboard and you will often be charged a service charge. Also remember to think about the price of gratuities. Sometimes these are included upfront, for example if you are on an Azamara Cruise, but on many cruises you will be expected to pay gratuities at the end of your cruise. If you don’t have a huge budget, and you aren’t too fussy about your cruise line or destination, you might find that you can get some amazing cruise deals by waiting till t he last minute to book. Also, you should always haggle! If the agent won’t go any lower, take their price to another agent and ask them to beat it. 9 times out of 10 they will!

Food – For many, one of the main reasons they book a cruise holiday is because they want to be assured of a very high quality of food onboard. Food is a big part of a cruise holiday and you want to be sure that your meals will be of a high standard. The best way to do this is to read lots of reviews before you go on your cruise. Of course food is very subjective, but if you take an average from what the reviews are telling you, you will get a sense of whether the food onboard your chosen cruise ship is gourmet or just OK. It is also a good idea to find out about all of the restaurants the ship has onboard and what kind of food they do. If you are a fussy eater, or have children travelling with you, it is always good to have a range of different options to make sure you can please everyone.

Fellow Travellers – Although on most cruise ships you will have a wide range of people as fellow passengers, some cruise lines appeal specifically to certain age groups. Although the myth of cruises only being for old people has long been shown to be completely false, you will find that on some cruises the majority of guests are middle aged or retired. This is in no way a negative point, but you should bear it in mind if you would like to meet likeminded people in the same age group as yourself. Basically, more expensive cruises tend to attract older guests because they have a lot of disposable income and no kids to worry about. On the other hand, some of the more family orientated cruise lines and ships have lots of facilities for kids and attract young families. If you would prefer not to share your cruise with children, then it is worth avoiding those ships which are packed full of entertaining activities for kids! Although there aren’t many cruise lines which disallow children, there are a few smaller cruise lines which actively don’t encourage them! Basically they offer no onboard entertainment/activities for kids and therefore generally, you don’t see many children on these ships.

I hope this has given you a few ideas of what to look for when you are booking a cruise. If I could give you just one tip it would be – read reviews! That way, you know exactly what to expect when you get onboard and you don’t risk being disappointed.

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About Author

Kelly Brennan

Since her first job at First Choice Holidays, Kelly has clocked up 12 years' experience in the travel industry. She specialises in cruise line news and transatlantic cruises.

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