Welcome to The Complete Guide to Cruises!
This is a guide that is composed of 6 chapters.
You are currently in the introduction (chapter #1)!
In case you were wondering…
The Goal of This Guide Is…
…to turn you into a knowledgeable cruiser even if you have never been on a cruise before!
You will learn the differences between 3 major cruise lines, how to pick a cruise, all about beverage packages, what to pack, and so much more!
This guide is going to make you smarter, more confident cruiser!
There is so much great content that we’re going to be covering today!
If you need to stop at any point, make sure you bookmark the page so that you can come back and finish it!
The Goal of This Introduction is…
…to help you determine if cruising is right for you!
You may have heard your friends raving about the last cruise they went on and are starting to consider booking one.
Before you take it a step farther, let’s take a look at some pros and cons of cruising!
Why Cruising Is So Great
You may be wondering why people love cruising.
Sure, you visit tropical destinations and drink Piña Coladas, but you could technically do those things without taking a cruise.
Plus, there’s the fantastic feeling when the sliding door opens and the sun and wind hit your face as you walk onto the deck:
Honestly, I think cruises are popular because they’re incredibly relaxing.
Once you book the cruise and figure out how your getting to and from the port, you don’t have to think about much.
On board the ship, a lot of things are included in the price of your ticket.
Food from the buffet and dining room is included. Water, tea, coffee, and juice is typically included. Shows are included. Many on board activities are included (these vary from ship to ship).
The only things you typically have to pay for a soft drinks, alcoholic drinks, and any specialty restaurants that might be on the ship (i.e. Johnny Rocket’s). Usually, for specialty restaurants, you just have to pay a surcharge for each person at the table. On my Royal Caribbean cruise, I believe the surcharge was about $7 and that included everything but milkshakes. So you could get as many appetizers, sides, and entrees as you wanted for the surcharge.
In short, cruising is great because you’re in an environment where you don’t have to worry about. Everything you need or want is at the tips of your fingers.
You don’t have to plan out your days. You can do whatever you want whenever you want since you can literally walk to everything.
There is only a small amount a planning involved if you want to make it to certain shows or activities.
How Much Do Cruises Cost?
If you’re like most people, you are on a budget, which makes this an important factor when your planning any vacation!
To be honest, the price of cruises vary greatly!
I will say that there are cruises for almost every budget!
Cruise lines frequently have great deals and offer awesome incentives, like free money to spend on board the ship!
Answering the question of how much cruises cost is complicated, and there is no precise answer. But, let’s take a look at some of the factors that affect price.
If you want to save even more money, you can opt for inside cabins. These are cabins that don’t have windows, which can make a little odd on a rocking boat.
Since these cabins aren’t as sought after as cabins with windows and/or balconies, they are usually cheaper.
Cruise lines charge you by the person. However, the number of staterooms you reserve also has an impact on price.
For example, you can book a stateroom for 4 people and spend less than if you book 2 staterooms that each sleeps two people.
Granted the increase in price may not be terrible, and the bit of extra space might be well worth it.
Cruise prices also depend on cruise line, number of days, and destinations.
Carnival is typically cheaper than Royal Caribbean; however, depending on certain promotions, this isn’t always true.
Norwegian Cruise Lines is typically more expensive than Royal Caribbean, but again, this isn’t always true due to possible promotions.
Are Cruises Fun for Kids?
You’re considering taking your family on a cruise, which is awesome!
But, you want to make sure that your kids will actually have a good time, and I totally get it!
Supervised Activity Centers
There are supervised activity centers for different age groups.
These activity centers usually have games, TVs, arts and crafts, and other fun activities.
If you child is a bit older, their designated activity center might offer a scavenger hunts that will take him/her all over the ship with new friends!
Just keep in mind that if your child doesn’t make friends easily, he/she might not want to stay in the activity center. He/she might find that hanging out with you is more fun!
So, while activity centers can be awesome for giving you and your significant other some alone time where you don’t have to worry about entertaining the kiddos, you might find that your kids are resistant to staying in them.
Of course, there are things for you to do with your kids on board the ship, so don’t worry, you don’t have to ship them off to the activity center for them to actually have fun.
You can have fun as a family!
Cruise ships typically have a pool on deck! Depending on how large the ship is, there might actually be a water slide too!
Some ships will have rock climbing walls, which is a lot of fun.
Plus, you can play basketball, shuffle board, ping pong, and other fun games on a lot of ships.
Keep in mind that the bigger ships tend to have more activities!
Before booking a cruise, check out the details of the ship. You’ll want to make sure that there are fun activities available that your family will actually want to participate in.
Cons of Taking a Cruise
Like with most things in life, there are a few negative aspects of cruises.
1. You don’t have control over the itinerary.
Don’t get me wrong, you have total control over what you do.
However, the cruise ship’s itinerary is set. You don’t get to choose how long you stay in port.
So, you might be super excited about visiting Nassau in the Bahamas, but you might only have 6 hours there.
Make sure you check the itinerary of the cruise that you’re considering taking. Ensure that it’s everything you want it to be!
2. Not everything is included in the ticket price.
Cruise lines do a great job of giving you the opportunity to spend more money once your on the boat.
You can spend extra on food by upgrading your meal in the dining room or dining at a specialty restaurant.
You can purchase sodas and alcoholic beverages.
Want to go on an excursion at one of your destinations? Be prepared to spend a lot of extra money. Those excursions aren’t cheap.
3. You might get bored.
This is especially true if you’re taking a longer cruise (7+ days).
While cruise lines work hard to make sure there is almost always something happening on board, you may find that you get a little bored.
Make sure that the activities on the cruise actually sound fun!
Also, if you bore easily, make sure you spend plenty of time off the boat at your destinations.
If you don’t particularly like routine, you should reconsider if cruising is right for you.
While you have a lot of freedom, you are usually stuck to an eating schedule for dinner. Plus, the shows will usually happen at the same times to accommodate both the early and late diners.
You will find that your days end up being similarly planned out. So, if that’s an issue for you, go on a shorter cruise or go on a vacation that you have more control over!
Okay, I’m Still Interested in Taking a Cruise. What Now?
Don’t worry about the next steps! We are going to talk about a ton of stuff in this complete guide!
Next, I will guide you through exactly how to pick your perfect cruise!
You should move on to Chapter #2!
Friends Don’t Keep Friends in the Dark!
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You guys are off to a great start!
Hopefully, you know whether cruising is the right vacation for you or not!
Do you have any questions that I didn’t address? Leave them in the comments below!
See you in the next chapter!