Planning a cruise is something I wished I had done the first time I went cruising. I was new to the game and just followed suite. What I didn’t realise is the better you are organised the more you will get out of your holiday. Four cruises later, and they do get better by the day, I would like to share some of my planning, packing and cruising tips.
There are many factors you should consider in advance of your cruise that will make your holiday that bit more enjoyable. For me the time of year you are travelling and the destination itinerary are the most important things to consider whilst planning a cruise. If you have the luxury of cruising at off-peak times it is so much more relaxing than travelling when both the boat and port are full to the brim!
Destination is also a key consideration before heading off. The Caribbean as a destination is so different to the Mediterranean. The Caribbean is soaked in sunshine, reggae music, markets and beautiful beaches whereas the Mediterranean oozes culture, history, fine dining and white washed villages. One is obviously easier to get too but both suitably enjoyable.
After destination selection it is important to consider your daily itinerary in advance of being on board. Remember that you don’t have to do everything on the itinerary every day, as you will end up exhausted, so pacing yourself out over your cruise is extremely important. However, do pre-book excursions that you really want to go on because sometimes they get booked up.
image via studentglobetrotter
Last time I was cruising I was amazed at the selection of dining that was on offer to all. Move around the boat and find your favourite hub. We treated ourselves to one of the ‘Specialty Restaurants’ one of the evenings where you feel like you are in a tasty bistro in downtown Med-land. These restaurants cost about 20 euro extra but the food, service and ambiance are first class.
Image seasiteblog - Chops Grille Royal Caribbean
For me booking the right cabin is extremely important. Personally I couldn’t stay in an inside cabin as I would not feel like I was on a ship. But for some it works well because they tend to be cheaper.
This may sound a little vain but in packing for a cruise it is really important to bring the right gear. Are you going to wear shorts and t-shirts for the entire trip or are you going to get dressed up some evenings and dance the night away? Are you going to exercise on the ship in the very well equipped gym or lounge by the pool? I know when I went on my first cruise I forgot my runners which annoyed me daily watching others work off some of their cruise calories, and I didn’t bring enough dressy clothes which stopped me going to certain parts of the ship.
In summary I would pack a little of everything, as we all know a little can go a long way. I would dip in and out of the day’s itineraries making sure I got enough down time on my holiday. I would travel off peak if you can to avoid the crowds and decide which destination truly temps you. But most of all I would go through a cruise operator, like www.cruiseholidays.ie, as they provide excellent priced cruises, great insider knowledge into all the cruise-liners and will provide you with hands on experience of cruising. Happy cruising.