Having enjoyed nine cruise holidays so far and with three more booked for this year, I thought it a great idea to let you know how to have the best cruise holiday ever.
I’m sat on the balcony of our apartment in Envigado in Medellin, once known as the worlds most dangerous city, enjoying a cold beer while looking at past cruise photos and dreaming of the upcoming cruises booked for this year. Thinking, I should probably let you savvy readers into a few tips on how to have the best cruise holiday.
Whether you have cruised before or dreaming of a holiday at sea this will be sure to help you out.
“Without further a do let’s look into how to have the best cruise holiday”
1) keep an open mind
As with anything in life, always be open to the fact that some things may change. Cruise holidays are maybe more prone to having to last-minute changes to the planned route due to the many contributing factors regarding cruise travel. For example, bad weather may cause the ship to change position, or the previous bad weather may have made a visit to a particular place impractical.
Remember, ships are a 24/7 working machine and sometimes unexpectedly things break down, and may need repairing during a cruise.
It’s also worth noting that personal hygiene is of the utmost importance on board a cruise ship, as the spreading of an illness will turn any cruise into an experience you may want to forget. Practice good hygiene and you will have a great time.
2) Do plenty of research
If your like me, when it comes to travel of any kind I’m forever looking in magazines and reading informative travel blogs. However, when it comes to cruising I’m totally sucked in, I bury myself in website after website looking at destinations comparing prices and cruise lines.
Cruises vary in price a great deal and you want to be sure that you are getting the best deal at the time that you are booking.
Even after you book, some agencies will honour a price drop for a small fee and change your booking in your favour (you will need to follow-up though). Whatever the price you pay, be happy that you have a deal you are pleased with, and remember this, if you ask other cruisers on your voyage what they paid, be prepared to hear one cheaper than yours… so maybe don’t ask!!
Research is key to any cruise, even when you have narrowed down your choice. Check out what time and day you are visiting places on the itinerary and delve deeper into those ports of call. Think about what you can and want to do, if you want to explore the places you visit some more than tours etc will be requiring extra payment on top of your cruise fare.
Know this folks, you do not have to book tours through the cruise line, you can do tours independently if you wish, generally they are considerably cheaper. The only thing to remember with doing a private tour is that, you are not guaranteed that the ship will wait for you if for some reason you’re late back from the tour, ships tours however will.
With your research you can find out lots of information before stepping foot on any vessel, arm yourself with knowledge and enjoy.
3) Remember this is a holiday
This is probably the most important aspect to the total enjoyment of your cruise. Life on board a cruise ship can be as hectic or relaxed as you desire, there is more than enough entertainment to keep you busy all day, everyday. I often see people rushing around from one spot to the next, just so they can be at as many activities as they can, I’m sure they have a feeling that they might just miss out on the next game of trivia or something. But if being busy and doing everything on board is your thing then go a head.
What works for us best is a mix of total relaxation and excitement, and you can get both of those in many forms and prices. If you try to do everything believe me you will need a holiday after that holiday.
4) Budget, budget, budget
I know you are hating that title, I’m the same, but be warned, if you don’t budget you will hate the end of cruise bill even more. Even though you hopefully scored a great deal on your cruise price and are now dreaming and planning all the things you may want to do, remember what your cruise ticket payment actually includes.
For example the ship you cruise on will most definitely have more than one restaurant and various other food venues, however awesome it sounds to be able to dine in a different venue each night and sample French, then Italian or maybe asian the next, beware that as a rule each of those ‘speciality restaurants’ will come at an extra cost, a surcharge or cover charge as they term it.
They can range from $10 upwards to over $100 for a chefs table with wine etc. It may be a holiday I know, but if you have just paid for your cruise which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner (full board) do you really want to spend the same again on eating out at other venues. The main dinning room on all of our cruises have been of a high standard, but we do visit the speciality venues and have enjoyed them greatly, I just want to let you know what to expect so you can budget and enjoy.
Beverages are also going to rack up a huge bill if you let them, anything from bottled water to Moet & Chandon will be added to your account. Most buffets will have various juice and soft drink stations that are free, and some cruise lines offer drink packages that will reduce the price on beverages, keep a look out for them.
With cruise ships being a cashless environment you can quite quickly rack up a large account so be careful, remember all the extras is where the cruise lines make their profit, check your account as often as you like to keep track of your spending.
5) Kids or no kids
This can be a deal breaker for sure. Depending on whether you have kids, enjoy kids, or neither, will influence the following
- the cruise line & ship of choice (P&O, Carnival or Cunard etc)
- the time of year (school holidays, Christmas etc)
- the length of cruise (3 nights or 32 nights etc)
- the enjoyment you want (party till 3 in the morning with youngsters or play trivia with granny)
We don’t have kids and the last thing that Monika & I want when on holiday or not is screaming kids running around my feet all day long, or playing havoc at the restaurant table. Not saying that they will all be like that and I understand that it’s mostly the parents fault but that’s another topic. Fortunately many ships now have adult only areas where you can totally relax by the pool etc.
On the other side of the coin, is the fact that on longer cruises and by that I mean over the two-week period, you may notice that the age of the cruiser increases with the length of cruise, and also the price and prestige of the vessel. We recently cruised from Brisbane to Yokohama on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and we were among a handful of the youngest, with the majority over the retirement age. We had an awesome cruise experience and wouldn’t hesitate going again.
Well worth noting for sure, is the style of ship and if they are promoting any special event, like a well-known singer or band, or a couples/singles cruise, or country and western theme so that you can fit right in… or not.
There you have it, five top tips to making sure that you have the best cruise holiday next time or for the first time you cruise. I have much more to talk about and will make a follow-up to this post soon. Right now I’m off to research for a Caribbean cruise later this year.
Cheers to your best ever cruising experience and be sure to keep a look out for the very happy couple sipping drinks having a good time as that might just be us.
- Have you ever cruised before?
- Do you enjoy cruise holidays too?
- Or does the thought of cruising make your stomach turn?
We’d love to know…