Contributed by Sue Bradford of Journey’s Around the World

Have you considered a cruise for your next vacation? Cruises continue to be one of the most popular vacations choices today and they are a great way to see a variety of places in one trip. They can also be a very affordable option for your families next vacation, a fun couples trip or a romantic anniversary. Here are some helpful tips and ideas to make the most of your next cruise.

  1. Picking your cruise line wisely. Each cruise line has its own demographic that it caters to. When you think Disney, you think children. When you say Princess, you think “the Love Boat”. Remember this. The last thing you want on your romantic vacation is a deck full of screaming children in line for the waterslide while you are trying to relax. Do your research and make sure that particular cruise line is right for you.
  2. Stateroom type and location. Probably the 2nd most important choice of your cruise will be picking your room type and location. Stateroom types are pretty much the same on each cruise line. You have interior rooms, which have no windows what so ever and are the cheapest in price, ocean view rooms, which will have a picture window, balcony rooms, which will provide you with your own private balcony and Suites, which will offer the most room inside, plus a private balcony as well. Make sure you choose what fits your budget, but your vacation plans as well. You ALWAYS want to book at least a balcony room on an Alaskan cruise so you can sit outside in private, drink your coffee and see the glaciers as you sail by them. Deck location is also important. If you want peace and quiet, make sure you choose a deck without access to bars, nightclubs or the kids clubs. Also a midship stateroom can make a big difference for someone who may become seasick.
  3. Remember, cruises are not ALL-INCLUSIVE. There will be additional costs on a cruise, like excursions, gratuities and most importantly your bar bill. Drinks are not included on a cruise (although a few cruise line are trying this out on select sailings). Prepare yourself for this as drinks on a cruise can cost $10 each or more. On a 7 day cruise, that can really add up. Research the drink packages that the particular cruise line you are sailing has to offer and buy it if you think you are going to drink alcohol on a daily basis. You will save a lot of money by doing this. Also make sure you book your excursions with a reputable tour company or on the cruise lines direct website or on board the ship. That way you know you are guaranteed a spot on the tour and you know you will be brought back to the cruise ship on time.
  4. Speaking of being on time, remember to never be late getting back to the ship. Ever!! It will leave you behind. A cruise ship waits for no one. When the schedule says the ships leaves port at 4, make sure you are back on the ship by 3. The last thing you want is to be left at port in a foreign country.
  5. Please travel with your passport. If you don’t have one, get one as soon as possible. On a closed loop cruise (a cruise that starts and ends in the same US port), you technically don’t need a passport, but god forbid you fall ill or get injured while in a foreign country. You will need that passport to get back home. The last thing you want or need if you are sick or hurt in another country is to be fighting with the US embassy about your citizenship. Take the time and spend the money to get this important piece of documentation done.
  6. As always, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Contact me, Sue Bradford, your local travel professional today. I have been on cruises and can give you firsthand experience of what exactly to expect. I am here to help you make the best travel decision for you. I can help you narrow down your cruise line options, choose the perfect itinerary and guide you in making fun excursion choices so that your cruise vacation is your best vacation ever.

Don’t forget to stop by and see me on September 16, 2017 at the Everything Elko Expo for your chance to win a 4-day Carnival Cruise for 2 to Baja Mexico. More details on this fun cruise in next month’s issue.