Planning your perfect cruise holiday can seem like a minefield: not only do you need to decide where to go, but also when you’ll go and what you’ll do. Everything from the weather to the price can affect this decision, so take your time, consider all of these points and you’ll get it right.
Before you start looking at cruises, decide what your budget is. Location, duration and facilities will all affect how much you pay, so it’s worth having a ballpark figure in your head. It’s not just the cost of the cruise you need to take into account, either – when you dock at different destinations, you’ll want to shop around and go out for food. While the majority of your onboard costs are covered, you should bring petty cash for things like tipping. This can change from cruise to cruise, so it’s worth reading this cruise tipping guide so you don’t get caught out.
Weather and climate
If you love hot weather then a Mediterranean or Caribbean cruise could be perfect for you, but if you prefer the cold, then northern European destinations are ideal. Some itineraries will take in the best of both worlds, too – the odd brisk, cool destination and then warmer climes.
Attractions and destinations
Choosing a destination is one of the hardest decisions when planning your trip. You can access every continent and a huge number of countries on a cruise – even reaching spectacular sights that aren’t accessible via other modes of transport. The weather and when you plan on travelling will affect where you go, so consider this alongside the sights you want to see. The activities you enjoy will also play a major role. If you love exploring new cities and soaking up gorgeous beaches, a Mediterranean cruise is ideal. Whereas if you want to witness majestic natural formations and landscapes, then cruising around the Norwegian fjords is a dream trip.
The people you’re travelling with will affect this decision. If you’re going as a family, you’ll want to find a cruise line that specialises in child-friendly activities. You’ll find plenty of options and some ships even have their own water parks! However, if you’re going for a romantic getaway, you might not want children running amok, so look for a liner that offers luxury packages like adults-only restaurants and indulgent spas.
Duration and time of travel
The amount of time you’re planning to travel for will influence where you go. If you’ve got a week set aside for your holiday, look at cruises where you can fit plenty of destinations in, with fewer days at sea. Depending on where you start, you could explore Europe, the Caribbean or even Alaska. The time of year you travel at can also impact your plans, from fluctuating on-peak prices to hazardous weather. Once you decide where you want to go, look at the best times to visit.
It may seem daunting planning a luxury cruise holiday, but once you’ve made a shortlist of your priorities, it’s actually pretty simple to pick the cruise that’s right for you. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to booking a fantastic cruising holiday.