Check what’s out there by comparing the various price options of cruise lines; you’ll find great deals online, as well as in the travel section of Sunday papers.
Decide on where you wish to go beforehand, as ‘peak’ and ‘off’ season can vary depending on where the cruise is for. Peak season for Alaskan cruises, for example, are in June and July. Royal Caribbean cruises sail to European destinations such as Greece, Italy, Spain and the Baltics as well as further afield such as the Caribbean and aforementioned Alaska. ‘Peak’ and ‘off’ though, do not always correspond with typical vacation times.
Ensure the quotes you receive from cruise lines don’t contain any hidden fees such as takes, port fees or fuel surcharges. Look out for the little asterisk or ‘*’ after the quoted price and, even if there isn’t one, take a good look at the small print just so you don’t get stung when out at sea.
Furthermore, don’t get caught in the net of taking up the insurance that is offered by the cruise line. Invariably their insurance will be more expensive than that offered by your bank, insurance agency or elsewhere.
Who are you going with? Are you travelling alone, in a couple or as part of a larger group? If you are in a cabin and cruising alone, then you may be expected to pay a single persons surcharge which may significantly increase the cost of your holiday. Think about pairing up with a buddy to both share the cost and enjoy the nautical sight – be adventurous and put an ad out that you’re seeking a companion.
If this isn’t possible then go for a cruise that doesn’t impose a single person supplement – or find out the additional cost if they do. Some cruise lines offer deals for couples or discounts if you are travelling in a group, so do a little research beforehand.
Finally, consider the size of the cruise ship on which you wish to sail, although a larger cruise ship may have more amenities, it may impede on where on the seas it can actually go.
Smaller cruises can visit more ports or get closer to nature or wildlife, so decide whether you want on-board luxury or to go an intimate, fantastic journey. Following on from this, think about how much time you may be spending in your cabin; if you tend to think a lot, then go for the more expensive cabins with a window and sea view. If you think you will be spending more time on deck, then an indoor cabin will be cheaper, although suffer from a lack of daylight of course.
Med-enthusiast Veronica Wellington is a new entry in the cruise world, having been on a ship just three times. Hers, however, was love at first sight: already planning the Southernmost tip of South America on a cruise, she is blogging about cruises as a form of preliminary training.