When it comes to choosing a cruise, it can be a bit confusing with so many choices in cruise lines and types of cruises. The term “cruise” is usually applied to the ocean cruises while there is also a river cruise alternative for those who may have already been on several “big ship” cruises.
There are many factors to consider in choosing and your travel professional (hopefully a Certified Cruise Counselor- CCC, or Master Cruise Counselor – MCC) can hear the amenities and experience you desire.
Travelling with children, you would want to choose the length of cruise and onboard amenities for them to be entertained and still give them a place to be safely while you have adult time in the evening if desired. If you are only adults travelling, there are other cruises offered which are not children-focused. Also there are other cruises which are multi-generational with something for all-adventure and relaxation options included.
Your travel professional hopefully is listening to your points and directing you to the right cruise line and cruise ship. Do you like to dress up, or like resort casual? Do you like dining choices and are “foodies”? Do you want to visit as many ports as possible? Do you wish a themed cruise such as biking, hiking, historical, wine? Make sure all the extras are given to you such as transfers to and from the ship, gratuities, shore excursions, beverages, specialty coffees, soft drinks, alternative dining at an upcharge, and most importantly insurance. These can add a lot to the cruise costs and result in a hefty onboard account as you disembark. Do you have to have a credit card for these purchases and add-ons, or can you do a cash deposit as an alternative.
Travelling with a group is best handled by a professional agent who has experience in this area as there are amenities which may be offered from which to choose. A small deposit on the cabin such as $50 per person does not secure that cabin should the cruise line need cabins later down the line. It is best to pay the full cabin deposit and get your names on the desired cabins early to protect your group of cabins. This is my suggestion as a protection for those participating.
Travelling slowly with a river cruise is a slow, 7 mile per hour experience to see middle America or the Northwest or Europe close up and personal. Did you know beverages are included and ala carte dining has no increased charge and there are shore excursions included (premium excursions would be an additional cost). The dining and service is more personal, variety of food plentiful and you can avoid being told what to do and when which can happen on the large cruise ships. Themed cruises are offered and varied.
Barge cruising on purpose built vessels are another great option. There are options for the more shallow rivers such as the Loire in France, or Po in Italy which add to the variety offered.
Bottom line, use a travel professional who hold the credentials to do business in your state (if required).
Specials are out there all the time for ocean and river cruising (there are holiday specials which I can get if interested).