Cruises and Cruise Lines - Important Questions and Answers

At first glance, it would seem that someone planning a cruise vacation could simply make a phone call and book a cruise line package. However, after a few minutes, one will come to realize that there are numerous cruise lines, destinations, and packages.

Important questions that need to be answered about cruises and cruise lines include -

1) Destination – Do you want to go to the Panama Canal, Alaska, Caribbean, South Pacific, South America, Europe, and Mediterranean? Basically, if a cruise line can reach a destination via water, then there is probably a cruise package to fit.

2) Food quality and dining experience. Cruise travelers have cited this factor as one of the primary factors in deciding on a cruise.

3) Do you have special interests? If you are a bargain shopper, you might want to consider a cruise that travels to destinations with bargain shopping. If you like the sun, you might want to consider cruises going to Hawaii or Mexico. Do you like history? Perhaps the Greece and old world destinations will interest you.

4) Would you like to visit many ports or are you interested more in shipboard activities?

5) How much can you afford to pay? Different cruise lines offer many different packages and pricing.

6) How long can you travel? Cruise lines offer packages that start at weekend excursions all the way to months or more.

7) Do you prefer ocean cruises or river cruises? Does the Nile, Amazon, Mississippi, or Danube peak your interest?

8) When do you want to go? Depending on the destination, the time of year does matter. Remember that some parts of the world get very hot or very cold certain times of the year.

9) What sort of people are you comfortable with? More and more cruise lines are catering to demographics. Some packages offer activities and destinations that may interest the retired tourist. Other cruise lines may cater to the young partying crowd. And yet, other cruise lines wish to attract and entertain the family vacationers.

One of the more important choices is the type of cruise lines. Ships vary in style and amenities and can be compared to the range and class of hotels. For example, hotels are commonly rated as a “one star” (typically a basic budget) all the way to “five star” (luxury high class and expensive)

Size of Cruise Lines

Yes, size does matter. Small ships are able to travel to destinations that the big ships cannot. Small ships can be more intimate with small crowds, lines, and activity. However, the big ships are floating resorts. One can find activities and services to pamper and luxuriate without leaving the ship.

Below are some of the common terms that describe the various sizes of ships.

Megaliner – more than 2,000 passengers

Superliner – between 1,000 to 2,000

Midsize – passenger capacity of 400 to 1,000

Small Ship – passenger capacity under 400

Boutique Ship – passenger capacity under 300 and popular for luxury cruise

A good place to start when investigating the choices among the cruise lines is to request a brochure from each cruise line. It may not be very detailed. However, the brochure will inform the cruise traveler the important facts and information needed to choose a cruise line.

I realize that this information on cruises and cruise line is very brief. However, I have tried to present the important questions the beginner and even the advanced cruise traveler should answer if they want to experience a hassle-free and memorable cruise.


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