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Things You Can Do To Ensure A Smooth Cruise Vacation

Written by: Kuki

Amazingly one can find many people who’ve booked a cruise and when asked don’t know what ship they are going on, or what ports of call they’ll be visiting. They may know the name of the cruise line, and when asked where they are going may be just as likely to simply say “the Caribbean”.

With the nature of cruises there’s a very good possibility that everything will go well, and they’ll really enjoy their cruise. However, in situations where events create “waves” these people are also the most likely to allow those events to have the most negative impact on their cruise experience.

Knowledge, understanding and preparation is the way to each individual can help to ensure they enjoy the cruise experience. To some, that may seem like too much work required, and feel cruising is perhaps too complicated a vacation for them. There’s a few very basic things one can do to uncomplicated it, yet ensure a smooth vacation.

Budgeting

Before you even consider booking any cruise, work out what you can afford to spend on a cruise; not just the cruise fare, but include spending money, that will include transportation, insurance, additional onboard expenses for alternate restaurants, drinking, shopping, gambling, shore tours, and shopping.

Financial concerns are one of life’s biggest stressors. If you spend more on your vacation than you can really afford, throughout your vacation there will be a hidden bomb waiting to trigger negative reaction as events unfold before you. And even if the cruise goes smoothly, the added stress of the debt will be waiting for you, and wipe out any gains your psyche made on vacation.

Once you’ve got a good idea of what’s affordable for you, start looking for a cruise and itinerary that fits your budget. There’s a broad spectrum in cruise pricing, from budget lines, to ultra luxury lines, and everything in between.

Choosing a cruise that fits your budget is even more important than choosing one that fits your desires.

Once you set your budget get in touch with a travel agent; but not just any travel agent; deal with a cruise specialist. You’ll benefit from their knowledge of the cruise industry, and specific training. Begin by telling them very specifically what budget you’ve come up with for your cruise vacation, and then begin discussing what your options are within that budget.

Dealing with the cruise lines sales departments isn’t the wisest thing to do. The amount of misinformation cruise line’s sales people supply often disturbs me. Plus, even if you happen upon a knowledgeable sales agent, they are only familiar with the cruise brand they are selling, and aren’t going to tell you another cruise line might suit you better. Their purpose is to sell their product.

Insurance

Travel insurance is an expense that too many people view as a pesky outlay that they can simply pass on to save that money for other expenses. It’s NOT! To my view it’s imperative; the most essential purchase you can make to help ensure smooth sailing.

Without travel insurance any budget that you’ve established can be wiped out by a single event, and lead to a financial crisis for you if any insurable event occurs.

As simple an event as a delayed flight can lead to you missing the departure of your ship. Without insurance, you will lose the entire cost of your cruise fare, without going on your cruise.

If more serious events, like taking ill during your cruise, requiring you to be hospitalized in a foreign port, or evacuated from a ship at sea to a hospital, could create debt that you will never recover from.

Too many people think.. It won’t happen to me. Don’t dare be one of those!

Don’t rely on the cruise lines to understand and sympathise with your situation, to cover costs or offer refunds. They are in business, and will almost always act as a business, and protect their own financial interests, not yours.

Arriving A Day Before The Ship

If at all possible, if you don’t live close by, I highly recommend getting to the city of the port of departure a day before your sailing date. The cost of accommodation for the night will be made up for by the stress relief of knowing you’re there, with no possibility of being delayed long enough to miss the ship.

 

Setting Expectations

Keep your expectations in line with a level matching your budget. Expect to get full value for the dollars you’ve spent. In most cases, by the end of the cruise you’re more likely to feel you got a bargain. But don’t go expecting perfection. Even on the most expensive luxury lines things aren’t going to be perfect 100% of the time.

Deal With It

If some glitches happen, or flaws appear that disappoint you. Don’t allow them to ruin your vacation. Remain calm, and deal with it onboard. The management on the ship is always going to do their best to resolve any issues that you may have while you’re onboard. They do want you to enjoy your cruise, and if there is a way for them to satisfy your legitimate complaint onboard they are going to do so.

Don’t expect perfection, but don’t accept real problems and let them fester in your mind. Find the appropriate people onboard with the authority to offer satisfaction. Unless the situation is dire, that person is not the Captain; guest relations, department heads, and if necessary the Hotel Director, are the people in charge of various operations, and most likely to resolve the issues you have.

Invest In Your Cruise

You’re investing a significant amount of money in your cruise. Invest time as well. Communicate with your travel agent, not just about booking your cruise. In your discussions use their knowledge to help make you an informed passenger. Use the Internet to make you an informed passenger; CruiseMates and Google can help make you a smart cruiser, by learning from the experiences of other cruisers. The time you invest will definitely reward you.

As with most things in life, information is power, and it can certainly smooth some rough seas.

- A View From The Kuki Side of Cruising -

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Comment from Larry (ZEEZO) Campbell
Time January 11, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Carnival did all they could do and have been more then anyone could ask. They refunded all our money and gave us credit in the same amount on our new cruise. Just received an email from them (today) and they are going to refund all the money that we paid for our Magic Convention (that we were to have on board the ship)
Thanks Carnival – you have done your best!
Keep a smile, ZEEZO

Comment from Vivi
Time January 14, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I laughed when I read “. . . don’t know what ship they are going on, or what ports of call they’ll be visiting.” because that was me on my first cruise! It didn’t make any difference, I got to the ship, had a wonderful time and got hooked on cruising.

To this day, after 20 cruises, when asked which ports we will be going to on a cruise I can’t recite them all. At best I can name one or two. The reason is simple: I can always find something to do in port that is fun. It is more of a seat of the pants way of going but I’ve done things I never would have thought of doing simply b/c it was available at that moment. Not having everything planned makes travel more of an adventure, at least for me.

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