Cruising is said by some to be the best way to travel, and 2020 aside, cruising has been gaining massive popularity in recent years. If you’re new to cruising, it can be overwhelming to ponder all the choices available for your first cruise vacation. Read on to learn some great tips for booking your first cruise.
Best Tips for First Time Cruisers
Best Cruise Length for First Time Cruisers
A seven-day cruise is a great itinerary for first-timers. The itineraries typically offer two to three ports of call for passengers to explore. A three or four-day cruise may be a tad short for a first-timer. This option will allow only one port of call to explore and may not give first-timers the opportunity to decompress.
The Best Way and Time to Book that First Cruise
Today there are many online options for booking a first-time cruise. Experts in the business consider this a beginner’s mistake. A travel agency or search engine that specializes in cruising is the best option for seasoned advice, insider deals, and promotions. If booking with an agent, they can answer questions about cruise details such as shipboard credit and help navigate travelers through the booking process. If using a search engine, use a popular well-known brand, like CruiseDirect or Expedia Cruises.
The post covid travel boom may bring on spectacular deals to get people back on those ships. For a great deal, consider the first phase of sailings. Since the cruising industry has been shut down for over a year, the cruise lines are eager to supply this demand. Cruisers returning to the travel fold will spend more money on these rebooted sailings with cabin upgrades.
Best Cruise Types for First-Timers
There are hundreds of cruise destinations and itineraries available in the travel market today. Novice cruisers may not be able to determine the best first cruise to get their sea legs. The top specialists in the industry recommend the following cruises for first-time American cruisers: the Caribbean and domestic river cuises.
A Caribbean cruise in the winter is the perfect itinerary for the first-timer cruiser. This cruise type allows the newbie passenger to get a sample of the diverse culture of the Caribbean islands, with easy ports and mostly calm waters to avoid seasickness. Plus, the US Dollar is accepted at many island destinations.
Another great first cruise suggestion is a domestic river cruise. American Queen Steamboat Company has fantastic Mississippi River Cruises and is looking to restart its Pacific Northwest itineraries soon. These cruise lines are looking to step up their game and bringing cruisers into the ‘new normal’ with outdoor socially distanced activities added to itineraries.
The Ins and Outs of Cabin Categories
There are a multitude of cabin and stateroom options and price ranges on all cruise ships. First-time cruisers may just take a room in the least expensive category, which usually ends up in an interior (aka no window) room. For the best experience, try going up one category to at least an ocean view, whether a full window or a port hole, so you have a view of your beautiful sailing.
Choosing Shore Excursions
The cruise lines offer many shore excursions to each itinerary about six months before the sail date. Do your research on the popular itineraries and book those as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. When booking excursions, be sure to read all rules thoroughly, as check back often online as protocols (especially during these uncertain times) can change without notice.
What is a Sea Day?
The term ‘sea day’ is self-explanatory. It is when the ship is at sea in between ports and passengers are confined to the ship. First timers should use this day to familiarize themselves with the layout of the ship, recuperate from touring and partake in some activities on board.
Best First Family Cruise Lines
If you are ready to take your family on their first cruise adventure, now is the time to book. The best cruise lines for family cruise itineraries are Royal Caribbean, Disney Cruise Lines, and Carnival Cruise Lines. Of course, these cruise lines offer the best family-friendly fun on land and at sea.
Don’t Forget Cruise Insurance
Any cruise specialist will advise all cruisers to invest in cruise insurance, especially in today’s unstable travel sector. However, not all travel insurances are created equal, and many brands do not offer coverage while on board a cruise ship.
HeyMondo is a fantastic option that not only offers covid coverage in all of their policies, but they also have an add-on option for medical coverage while onboard a cruise ship.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories