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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ten Key Decisions to Choose the Right Cruise

CRUISING HAS BECOME A FAVORITE WAY TO VACATION for millions of Americans. You’ve been thinking about taking a vacation at sea, but are not sure how much time it would take or where to go, what size ship to choose or perhaps you believe it’s just too expensive. We’re going to explore ten key decisions to make when choosing the right cruise for you.

Norwegian Epic, Royal Caribbean International's
Oasis of the Seas and Carnival Dream
1)  Giant Ship or More Intimate Vessel?
Do you want to travel in a giant floating city with a wide variety of activities and things to do, or would you rather be in a more intimate, less crowded and relaxed setting?

2)  Great Ship or Great Destination?
Is the ship itself more important than the ships next destination? Many prefer to enjoy the onboard experience of a cruise rather than considering it a form of transportation to their next destination. You may need to determine which is the most important to you.

3)  Great Beaches or Historical Sites?
Even if the ship is more important than the itinerary, you’ll have to decide where you want to go.  Are you looking for beaches, great natural wonders, or to go to the great cities of the world?  Many times, these are not the same cruise.

4)  Days at Sea or New Port Each Day?
Following a day in port, you get back to the ship, have dinner, enjoy the evening and some entertainment, go to bed and wake up in a new port the next morning. Does this sound appealing or would you prefer a day or two at sea in between to relax and enjoy?

Norwegian EPIC CAT S2 Courtyard Owners Suite 17032

5)  Luxury, Premium, Moderate or Budget Stateroom?
You also have to determine how important you stateroom or cabin is going to be. Do you want a luxurious suite with a verandah, a whirlpool and a butler or is your room simply a place to keep your belongings and sleep?  Depending on the ship, there are often many stateroom category options to choose from to fit your personal preferences.  This is an area where you can save some money, but it is also an important decision for you to make to ensure your comfort while on vacation.

6)  Casual or Formal Attire?
Another important decision is whether you’re a person that loves to dress casual or is formal attire more to your liking? You don’t want to be on a formal ship with t-shirts and blue jeans and you also don’t want to do it the other way around.

7)  Good Food or Gourmet Food?

The Blue Dining Room
Onboard Celebrity Solstice Class Vessels

You’ll also have to consider the types of food that you prefer. A middle ranked ship is going to offer you decent food and plenty of it, but it’s not to be mistaken for high end gourmet food. Each cruise line offers a different style of dining, and knowing which one is the right one for you is something to consider. Dining is an important aspect towards the overall satisfaction of every vacation, and will most likely be key towards making your cruise vacation one to remember.

8)  Assigned Seating or Dining Alone?
Would you be comfortable being seated at dinner with up to four to eight strangers?  Many cruise lines still have the traditional assigned seating, but the developing trend among cruise lines is to allow for as much flexibility as possible.  This may be offered in freestyle or “as you wish” dining schedules, and by including alternative dining options to the main restaurant.  Some of the higher end alternative dining options will require an additional charge starting at around $25pp, but the dining experience, service and quality of food are well worth every penny.

9)  Activities or Relaxation?
Sit back and relax and get ready to be pampered at sea.
Who knows you may disembark your cruise
feeling like a new person.

Think about whether the ship you prefer is one with lots of activities like rock walls, skating rinks and children’s programs.  Some passengers are more interested in preferences such as the thickness of the cushions in the lounge, deck chairs and the thread count in the bedding and linens. What is most important for you is a decision that you’ll have to make.

10)  Saving Money or Unlimited Budget?
One of the final decisions that you will have to make is whether you are looking to spend as little money as possible or is your overall satisfaction more important?  Are you willing to pay a bit more to receive excellent service, nice accommodations and onboard amenities, or are you comfortable with less? Much like motels and hotels, there are cruise options for every budget, and you don’t have to pay a huge amount more to move from one category to the next, but you’ll have to decide what is most important for you.

Our goal is to provide you with such personalized service, that you won't ever question going elsewhere for your cruise travel needs.  We are very proud of the service we extend to each and every one of our valued customers, and we look forward to making the planning process an enjoyable part of your experience.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call our office directly at 1.877.246.8021 at your convenience.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page." - St. Augustine.

Kerry & Nancylee Stange, MCC/ACC
Accredited Cruise Vacation Counsellors
Xpertise Cruise Travel & Vacations, LLC
1.877.246.8021 (Toll Free) * 1.727.423.5093 (Mobile) * 1.727.489.6888 (Fax)

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