Cruises available come in all shapes and sizes. Consider these options when planning your own cruise vacation.
Step 1: Do research Research the many cruise options available. Talk to friends and family who have cruised and ask about their experiences and impressions.
TIP: Ask your travel agent how many cruises they've been on. If they answer few or none, switch to someone whose experience will benefit you.
Step 2: Determine demographics Determine who you want to travel with. Different cruises cater to families, singles, seniors, and people with alternative lifestyles.
Step 3: Pick sea or land Decide where you want to spend your time – onboard where you can take advantage of the ship’s entertainment or on land at ports-of-call to explore your destinations.
Step 4: Choose a destination Choose where you want to visit on your cruise. This may not matter much if you plan to spend most of your time on the ship, but if the destination is a large part of your trip, pick a place you’d love to see.
Step 5: Choose a size Choose how large a ship you want to travel on. Big ships are usually cheaper and offer many more onboard activities, and smaller ships are usually more expensive but can go places larger ships can’t.
Step 6: Pick a theme Pick a theme for your cruise. Travelers can take a cruise focused on education, eco-tourism, or sports and recreational activities.
TIP: Keep in mind that cruise prices often include lodging, food, and many of your onboard activities, but travel to the port of departure will be an extra expense
Step 7: Shop for a deal Shop for the best price you can find based on the criteria you’ve chosen for your cruise. Talk to travel agents and search online for the best dates and prices.
FACT: The largest cruise ship ever built, weighing over 200,000 tons and accommodating over 6,000 passengers, is set to launch in late 2009 from Royal Caribbean. The largest cruise ship ever built, weighing over 200,000 tons and accommodating over 6,000 passengers, is set to launch in late 2009 from Royal Caribbean.