Cruises make for an unforgettable vacation, whether you’re taking a romantic getaway for two or bringing the whole family. Keep these tips in mind while planning your trip, and don’t hesitate to contact your Personal Assistant for any questions that may arise.
Look to a large cruise ship for sheer variety of onboard activities. Choose a smaller ship for a more intimate experience, often with fewer crowds and lines, and an itinerary that can include more exotic and lesser-known ports.
Keep in mind how the geographic locale will set the tone for your cruise, whether you’re looking for a wintry sail with whale watching in Alaska, a cultured river cruise in Europe, or an idyllic, sunny vacation in the Caribbean.
Bringing kids? Pick a family-friendly cruise with a teen/children's program. If it's romance you're after, look for a cruise catering more exclusively to adults (small-ship cruises are often a good bet). Oftentimes, ships feature adults-only spots, as well as plenty of water slides and activities for the kids, so everyone has fun.
Whatever your interest—whether it's cooking or photography or scuba—chances are there's a specialized cruise for you. Find one with experts onboard offering lectures or workshops, one that features a special appearance by your favorite celebrity or sports star, or even one devoted to fitness.
Fares vary greatly with cabin choice, destination, onboard activities, and time of year. You can save money on airfare by choosing a cruise that sails roundtrip to and from your home port. Also, be aware of your cruise line's additional cost policy. While some cruise lines are all-inclusive, others charge extra for soft drinks and cocktails, gratuities, shore excursions, and more.
While you may plan on spending most of your time sunning yourself by the pool or on a beach, it’s still important to choose the right cabin for you and your travel companions. Outside cabins or ocean-view staterooms (the terms are interchangeable) feature large portholes or windows, and sometimes even balconies. Indoor cabins or inside staterooms are less expensive, but do not have windows. Prone to seasickness? Pick a cabin in the lower deck, as near to the center of the ship as possible. If you’re traveling with a group or your family, ask your cruise line if they offer a discount for a third or fourth person in a cabin, or splurge on a suite with adjoining rooms.
Check out your cruise’s onboard entertainment, whether it’s daytime pool parties on the lido deck, or evening comedy shows and cabarets. This will help you create your own itinerary to plan shore excursions and days at sea. You should also consider your cruise’s dress code when you start packing (often more country-club casual than black-tie), and find out if you'll need to dress for a formal night.