Are you planning your first ocean cruise? I’m sure you are very excited and at the same time wondering what to expect. Here are my top 5 things to consider as you embark on this great adventure:
Take advantage of all the onboard activities. Yes, you are on an ocean cruise, and probably thinking about lounging by the pool or going ashore to explore the various ports on your itinerary. There is so much more to do on board that you don’t want to miss out on the fun. Everything from rock climbing walls, to full-scale Broadway shows, and all kinds of other activities for all family members. Each day you’ll receive a schedule of activities, so plan accordingly and don’t just sit by the pool!
Check out the Excursion options. Every time your ship docks in port there will be an opportunity to explore your surroundings. Before you go on your cruise, check to see what options are available. In many cases, cruise lines allow you to book your excursions ahead of time, but if you decide to join an outing at the last minute you should be able to sign up on board. If you aren’t sure if you are physically up to the challenge, don’t worry – most excursions are rated on physical difficulty and will give you restriction guidelines, allowing you to judge whether the excursion is right for you.
Choose the right cruise. Not all cruises are created equal, so make sure you do your research. Some cruise lines are geared more towards families and multi-generation vacations (think Disney Cruise Line), while others may have a younger adult feel – lots of night live and “party” atmosphere. Of course your destinations are most important, but keep in mind the typical demographic that the cruise line attracts. It could make or break your vacation.
Be aware of extra costs. While cruises tend to bill themselves as “all-inclusive”, that usually means your room, your meals and most of the onboard entertainment. There are some things that you should watch out for that will hit your wallet, though, including:
Beverages. Cruises typically offer coffee, tea and water as complimentary – anything over and above that will be billed to you. Cruise lines are notorious for charging high prices for alcoholic beverages and soda, so be careful when ordering that next round!
Additional Dining Opportunities. While most food is included in your booking fees (including room service!), there may be opportunities for a special dining experience that will cost extra – and be well worth it!
Gratuities. This is an interesting additional cost to your trip. Most cruise lines have a per diem gratuity added to your overall bill, which takes away some of the guesswork about whether to tip waiters or room stewards. My suggestion here is to make sure you don’t double-tip (unless, of course, the service was that good!).
Entertainment. While most entertainment is included, there has been a recent trend to add a “cover charge” to some of these events. Just keep this in mind as you choose what show or event you attend.
Get travel insurance. This probably ranks up there with making sure that you choose the right cruise. Getting a refund because of a family emergency is extremely difficult, especially when most cruise lines offer $0 refund if cancelled within 30 days of your trip (which negates the meaning of “emergency”). Travel insurance will also help with medical emergencies during your trip and a lot more. Bottom line: for your own peace of mind, get travel insurance for your trip.
Are you ready to book your ocean cruise? Let Luxury Destinations Concierge help. Give us a call at 805-236-4437.