How To Choose A Caribbean Cruise
Written by: Kuki
Choosing a cruise is, in the end, a very personal decision. Too often that choice is determined mostly, if not solely, by price.
While price is certainly and understandable criteria for making your choice, I’d like to try and put it in perspective with some discussion of other criteria, that in my opinion, should also be considered thoroughly before you make a final decision.
Even if your goal is to simply book a cruise as a vacation getaway, and you don’t really care where you go, I think one should heavily consider itineraries. There is a difference. The itinerary you choose can and does generally have an impact on your enjoyment of your cruise.
If all you want to do is relax on beautiful beaches and have a few tropical drinks, there is still a difference in the quality and type of beaches and facilities that vary from island to island. There is also a difference in cultures throughout islands in the Caribbean. It will make a difference to you if you prefer visiting more out of the way, less populace spots, if your ports of call commonly have 5 or 6 ships visiting on any given day. On the flip-side, if you are interested in visiting areas well developed for tourists, with fun choices for shopping and dining, you aren’t going to be too happy when you arrive in ports of call where the only developments might be a few souvenir shops and a bar close by.
If you were booking a trip to Europe, you wouldn’t simply tell your travel agent you want to do a European cruise. With the assistance of your travel agent you would at least pick some sites and cities that are of interest to you. And if you’re thorough you’ll do some research on those cities prior to booking.
This is no less true when thinking of a Caribbean island. Despite the similarity of being tropical islands, they all have different things to offer. You can’t always find an itinerary where every port is on the top of your list to visit, but I think you’ll find you’re happy if you try.
Once you have found as close to you can to your dream itinerary, it’s time to start considering price. And you do have to establish a budget. This is another task where you’ll find working with your cruise travel agent invaluable.
Once a budget is set, I’d place choosing a ship next on the to do list. The ship you’re sailing on will also have a lot to do with the success of your cruise experience. Rather than just looking at finding the least expensive ship that sails on the itinerary you like, I think there’s a big plus in choosing the best ship that fits your budget. The lowest price may not be the right price, and you want to do your best to make sure the price is right.
Particularly these days, there are significant differences not only from cruise line to cruise line, but often among ships in each of their fleets. Cruise specialists receive training in order to help them help match prospective passengers with the cruise lines and ships which will best suit their needs. Through communication with you, their job is to qualify you for the ship their training tells them will have the best chance of making you the happiest.
If you’ve read this far, by now you probably realize I highly recommend using a trained cruise professional travel agent. They are the final link to doing your utmost to return from your cruise as another cruise addict. Interview prospective agents, and aside from checking their credentials, be sure to choose one who feel the most comfortable communicating with. If they don’t seem interested in talking to you first, to get to know and understand you, keep looking. You want to feel comfortable qualifying them to qualify you.
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Posted: November 27th, 2012 under Kuki.