So you have never been on a cruise and you are thinking – are all the ships the same, what is there to do onboard, where do they sail to, are there heaps of kids onboard, what are the cabins like? There are lots of things to consider when you are thinking about cruising for the first time. As a Masters Cruise Specialist I have done many cruises and organised cruises for alot of my clients. If you pick a cruiseline without doing your homework you risk ruining the whole cruise experience and you probably won’t want to cruise ever again. Do it right and you will love the cruise experience!
What do you want in a holiday? Do you want to be active and participate in things like Rock Climbing or Simulated SkyDiving? Do you like activities to be organised for you? Or are you looking for a relaxing sun lounge on the deck with a cocktail in hand? Maybe History Lectures or Cooking Classes are what you like to do? There are ships with Casinos onboard and Karaoke nights or you may prefer to sit and listen to a violinist whilst enjoying a smooth Drambuie.
Where would you like to cruise to? There are options available to just cruise locally in Australia where you won’t need a Passport, or you may prefer to explore New Zealand or the Pacific Islands. If you have seen these places you may want to venture further afield and explore Alaska’s Inside Passage or Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands or even Antarctica. Cruise ships explore all continents of the world so the world is your oyster. Some cruiselines only cruise certain areas so your Cruise Specialist will know who is in the area you want to explore.
Do you want a cruise with or without children onboard? If you are looking for a cruise to take the children or grandchildren there is quite a range of ships that cater for them. Disney Cruiselines, Royal Caribbean and Carnival are a few of them. Most larger cruise ships have kids clubs for children and they keep them occupied during the main parts of the day so you don’t always see them around the ship. Some ships do have waterparks onboard that cater for all ages of children. There are a number of ships that do not take children or have very few children onboard if this is the type of holiday you are looking for.
What size ship do you think you would like to cruise on? As I mentioned previously the larger ships do tend to cater for families with Waterparks, Skating Rinks, Rock Climbing Walls and Surf Simulators. These ships can range in size up to 4500 passengers. There are smaller ships that can be 350-1200 passengers. Some of these smaller ships – Viking Ocean Cruises for example – have no Casino’s, no children, no Waterparks, Skating Rinks etc. The larger ships do have more restaurants, bars and lounges onboard whereas the smaller ships are alot quieter with a smaller number of restaurants that specialise in the best cuisine at sea. The service provided on both is excellent, though the smaller ships do tend to have a more staff to passenger ratio and a more personalised service.
What sort of onboard experience are you looking for? The overall onboard experience is possibly the most important item to consider when booking your cruise. If you want everything included and don’t want to pay any extra once you get onboard then a smaller all inclusive ship would be the way to go. If you are happy to pay for drinks, excursions, spa facilities and specialty restaurants there are smaller and larger ships that cater for this. Sometimes the cruiselines offer packages that include drinks and some specialty dining options. You do pay for the additions in your cruise fare, but having it all paid for prior to stepping onboard makes the holiday alot more relaxing knowing there isn’t a large bill at the end of the trip.
I hope this has given you some ideas to think about if you are considering booking a cruise for the first time. A cruise should be a fun and exciting, but relaxing holiday where you can do as much as you want or as little as want. The main thing is to make it an amazing experience that you will always remember and hopefully you will want to do it all over again. It is not just a cruise, it’s an Adventure!