OK, so you have decided to take a cruise. There are many cruise lines from which to choose, and it can almost seem over-whelming to decide which one to pick and even then you are probably still confused. Once you have made that choice there are quite a few other decisions that you can make that will help to make this the best choice for your individual tastes. Here are a few:
1. Consider a travel agency that specializes in cruises. They cost no more but will help you navigate the many possibilities and help you to maximize your experience.
2. Pay attention to the deck you choose. Yes, it's all the same ship, but some cabins may be above or below entertainment areas, restaurants or near elevators, so noise may be a factor. Also, if you have problems walking, you may actually want to be close to the elevators.
3. Pick a ship that caters to the kind of person that you (or your family) are. Some cruise lines cater to young families, some to seniors, and some try to appeal to both.
4. Check out the itinerary to be sure that you are going to have enough time in ports that you are interested in visiting. You will need to factor in the time to get on and off the ship when calculating how much time you have on shore.
5. Plan ahead for shore excursions. This can be very important. The most popular shore excursions may sell out the first day of the sailing. Some excursions are well worth it while others simply are not. Try to find out which is which and be sure to sign up in advance for those that interest you. If you know anyone who has taken them before that is your best source of information. If reading a review on one of the many sites that offer reviews be sure to take them with a grain of salt. They can be very accurate or totally off-base.
And if you happen to want to visit any Catholic sites not included in the excursion that the cruise line offers then you are out of luck. Better to try to arrange a local tour operator for a more customized experience.
6. If you are going to be in port on Sunday or a Holy Day of Obligation, then check in advance for a Catholic church where you can attend Mass. Even if it is not in your native language, it is interesting to see how people celebrate the Mass in other countries. Ours in a universal Church!
7. There is another type of cruise you may also wish to consider, and that is called a re-positioning cruise. An example would be a cruise ship that has spent the summer in the Mediterranean and is now going to spend the winter sailing out of the U.S. or South America. These cruises are often half the price of the normally scheduled cruises. Click here for more information about re-positioning cruises. 8. Where price is concerned, we offer a general guideline, but again you must be cautious in making the choice.
And as pointed out earlier, take those cruise review websites with more than a grain of salt. One ship of a particular cruise line might get good reviews while on another ship on the same cruise line gets bad reviews. It is amazing to find one person who went on a cruise who absolutely loved it and someone else on the same cruise and the same ship who absolutely hated it! Perhaps it has a great deal to do with expectations.....and the fact that some people you just can't please........no matter what!