I’ve been recently talking to a friend about taking a Caribbean cruise next year, and as we are looking at possible routes and cruise lines, I realized that there are a few things people should consider before booking a cruise to ensure smooth sailing (pun intended).
Here are the five key things to consider before booking a cruise:
Do you need vaccinations for the cruise destination of your choice? In my case, for the Caribbean, I need Hepatitis and some of them need several injections which takes a few months’ preparation. This means: no last minute cruise for me! Make sure you look up suggested and required vaccinations before you book your cruise.
Do you need a visa for the places you’re planning to visit during your cruise? If so, make sure to find out how long the visa approval usually takes – again, this might rule out a bargain last minute cruise and is especially important for around the world cruises. It can also make your cruise considerably more expensive, if you need more than one visa – on cruises around Argentina and Chile for example, U.S. citizens need pricey visas for both countries.
Looking at last minute cruise deals, I am always amazed for how little money you can cruise for these days, but don’t forget that the price of the cruise is not what you’ll actually end up paying. There are always things that cost extra: transportation to and from town on land excursion days, or an entire tour, and on Caribbean cruises you still have to pay to get to and from the beaches when the ship docks on an exotic island.
Plus: alcohol and soft drinks are usually not included and cam add up quickly. Before you book your cruise, find out if there are unlimited drinks passes available and research how much booze is on the ship of your choice, you can find such information in the online cruise forums.
Te bigger the ship, the cheaper the cruise. The smaller and more exclusive the ship, the more you pay for it. Are you really up for the crowds on a ship that holds 4,000 people? And how much more are you willing to pay for a smaller ship? Sit down and crunch the numbers before you book – if you find a good deal for a ship half the size of a massive ocean liner, you might enjoy your vacation more.
And last but not least, do your due diligence. These days, you can did reviews for just about anything online, and when it comes to cruises, that means you can read reviews not only for a cruise line and all its ships but even the land excursions offered by them. Doing some research before you go can make or break a vacation.