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Cruising Is Easier Than Ever

Written by: Kuki

From step 1- choosing a cruise, to booking a cruise, to preparing for your cruise, to shipboard activities, to port of call tours, though it may seem complicated, cruising is actually quite a bit simpler than it used to be.

At initial glance, with many more ships, and many more cabin categories on ships, and a seemingly cornucopia of events and activities onboard, one might argue that cruising has become more, not less, complicated.

However, I’d argue the access to the “information highway” has taken the guess work out of cruising experience. While the internet has been available to search for cruise information for some time, we have arrived at the point where there are almost unlimited of numbers of sites, blogs, etc. covering most every aspect of cruising. General questions are easily answered, but with our message boards, and Google searches, even the most specific questions (such as questions about a specific cabin on a specific ship) can normally be answered in a matter of minutes.

For a long while the cruise lines were slow to build and develop their own web prescence. While cruise related web sites such as CruiseMates learned to use the available technology quite quickly, the cruise lines themselves had fairly rudimentry web sites. Today the majority of the cruise lines have very sophistocated and user friendly web sites; with many cruise lines now embracing social media as well to communicate futher with passengers and potential passengers.

Pretty much every travel agent now also has a presence on the Internet.

Pretty much any question anyone could think of asking about a cruise ship, amenities, ports of call, transportation, and accommodations can be found in a matter of minutes.

The only danger-zone one has to watch for is when it comes to opinions. Opinions are like eyeballs; everyone seems to have at least  two. But I do believe we are all bright enough to watch for the trappings of overly positive, as well as overly negative, opinions.

While the impact of advancing technology on the industry is undeniable, the non-technological areas of cruising have also been simplified.

One major area of impact has been a change to dress codes. The days of seeing ships filled with gentelman in tuxedos, and ladies in long fancy decorative gowns is pretty much a distance memory. You may still see a few nostalgic passengers “dressed to the nines”,  but generally cruise wear today is much simpler, and more about personal choice.

A number of cruise lines still designate a night or two as “Formal”. However it’s much more likely you’ll see men in simple suits, or even sports jackets and slacks, and ladies wearing what might be called cocktail dresses.

With the changes to dress codes, combined with weight restrictions on luggage implemented by the airlines, people are much more likely to think of clean and comfortable, and more minimalistic when preparing  their cruise wardrobe. No need to stress anymore about what you “should” be wearing.

Even dining on board has been simplified (in what some might see as a more complicated manner).  The majority of cruise lines continue to offer a set dining time, with a set table seating.  However, most have also added alternate choices for venues, as well as the ability to dine at any time of your choosing.

At first glance this may seem more complicated, but in fact, one has the ability to choose the dining style you feel best suited for, before you cruise. You can book the alternate restaurant choices in advance, and make reservations, or you can choose to simply show at a time of your choosing,  which might involve a short wait until a suitable table is available (which is no different than going to a restaurant on land, without an advance reservation.

While many people believe it’s simpler to book their cruises directly with the cruise line, to cut out the middle-man, the fact is that working with a professional, qualified, and experienced cruise sales specialist is the best and simplest way to book.  The services of the cruise specialist come at no extra charge to the purchaser, as their commissions are paid by the cruise line, not the purchaser. And once you are working with that cruise specialist, they assume the responsibility of being your representative in any and all dealings with the cruise line. They simplify the entire process by removing any of the stress in the booking process from your mind.

Perhaps the only area that can still remain complicated is budgeting. Budgeting is a very personal issue, and that is why it remains complicated. Several weeks ago I wrote a blog, whose topic was budgeting. Cruise Budgetting.

That, and many other easily accessed articles on the same topic, simplify even the budgeting issues.

In today’s cruise world, with a bit of advanced research, and in the hands of a travel agent specialist, you really can relax, and enjoy the positive anticipation of your cruise experience.

And, if along the way you some questions pop up, simple jump on our message boards, and in no time at all you’ll get an answer.

http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/

- A View From The Kuki Side Of Cruisiing -

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Comments

Comment from Kenneth Eden
Time March 6, 2012 at 6:44 am

A couple of things ring true in Kuki’s article.

One, a major or modest issue is the dress code. Sure there are some passengers that would not and will not dress up. So be it. For the sake of not wanting to condemn or promote any specific cruise line, there are the very casual, the sporty and the few formal ships sailing. That is a good thing. I for one will sail on a ship or cruise line for what appeals to me. And, I do not seek any specific dress code, I sail what appeals to me at the time of booking.

Yes, the travel agent – PLEASE USE ONE – his/hers service is invaluable, as Kuki points out. In fact, you may get a better deal with a travel agent, and perhaps get other perks. One question to ask a bonafide cruise travel expert, “What consortiums does your agency belong to for cruise discounts.” That is where teh bennies may come in.

Another pain is the airlines and the baggage fees. We pay for the extras and pay dearly, I for one will not take a cruise and look like a rag picker with too few clothes, not enough options and not dress appropriately for the specific cruise line. We arer lucky to live near Amtrak, and do take the train to certain ports of embarkation, however, a must is going the day prior and staying over night in a hotel, and booking transfers or taxiing to the ship. Actually it is a good idea to always stay over the night before, even if one take a plane.

The dining has been evolving for years with all sorts of options, some may not appeal to everyone, and nobody should ever feel that they must pay to dine in any alternate venue. They are there as diversions.

Comment from Cliff Allum
Time February 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

By all means use a travel agent. However if your are on a budget, it is wise to do a bit of research regarding before and after hotel accommodation. Your travel agency undoubtedly will check in his/her hotel accommodation book and put you into a nice $300 a night hotel. Do a bit of research and save yourself some bucks. And check the travel forums. As a veteran of 40 cruises I have saved hundreds of dollars and have stayed in some very comfortable hotels.

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