Whether you're a first-time cruiser or a well-traveled cruise veteran, choosing your next cruise can be a formidable task. I thought I'd share some thoughts on what I go through to make this choice, in the hope it might make your choices easier.
I'm sure there are many people like me who get feverish as we leaf through the various cruise line brochures, or surf the CruiseMates web site, trying to decide which cruise to book. We spend our nights dreaming about being on every new ship coming out of a shipyard. We break out in a sweat each time we read news of a recently-signed construction contract for a new ship, because we know that we absolutely must sail on her. With the unprecedented rate of new vessels pouring out of the shipyards, and the weekly announcements of contracts for yet more ships, we're forced to realize that no matter how big our budgets and how much time we have, we'll never be able to sail on all of them. The hard drive on my computer no longer has enough space left to store my list of "have tos." So, the question arises; how do I narrow down my choices?
In the last few years, besides the "dream cruising" I've done, I've managed to actually sail on, and enjoy, ships ranging from 10,000 tons to 106,000 tons. These have included vessels from Seabourn, Carnival, HAL, Princess, Celebrity and RCI. With these ships, I've cruised the Eastern, Western and Southern Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Mexican Riviera and Alaska. This kind of sounds like I've been everywhere, but the cruise lines are involved in a devilish conspiracy: They've got hundreds of other itineraries, to hundreds of other ports of call, standing by to entice me. What's a person to do?
Logic (not Kuki's strong point) would say there are two ways of going about making the choice.
1. Choose by destination.
2. Choose the ship as the destination.
Being the perfectionist I am (when it comes to my vacations, not my work), I want the best destination, but I want the "right" ship to be going there. And of course, I want it going there on the dates that suit me best. To complicate matters further, logic dictates a subsection for deciding which ship is the "right" ship. I have to ask myself....
1. Is there a size of ship that suits me best?
2. Is there a particular cruise line that I prefer over the others?
OH NO... That question appears to lead into another line of self-questioning on the strengths and weaknesses of the cruise lines. Food, service, entertainment, ship layout ... all of these have to be examined.
Then, of course, I realize that the destination question needs its own subsections. On a cruise, we're in the ports of call for short stays, and we only get a small taste of the stop. So I need a subsection of ports of call which I told myself I "have to" go back to. The next step would be to prioritize the list of places I have yet to visit. EEK! What's a person to do?
It seems I'm not providing you with as much help as I had hoped with regard to this topic. Not true! I suggest you do what I'm doing. Buy a larger hard drive, to store the ever expanding "have to" lists.Links: Ship Tours and Reviews Ports of Call