Taking a cruise for the first time is a big step into a new world of travel. Cruise vacations are unlike anything else out there and this is a fabulous time for the cruise industry since we're at a tipping point where it is becoming more than a niche. As a result, new players are entering the market and breaking conventional wisdom by trying new ideas going to new ports, and launching new ships with innovative features. Unfortunately, this means that it can be a confusing industry full of truths and contradictions. A veteran cruiser who's been on nearly 30 cruises over the past three decades, I have a lot of cruise knowledge. However, it can be challenging to remember what it was like to cruise for the first time and so I've taken inspiration for this article from questions our travel advisor partner, Flow Voyages has shared with us from her clients ...
Contact A Travel Agent For Help
That's why we always recommend that you work with a travel advisor / travel agent to plan your cruise - even if you don't feel you need one. Most travel advisors are passionate about what they do and always open to talking with new cruisers. Don't worry about the cost of working with a travel advisor though, you won't have to pay anything unless there are special services. The process of identifying the right cruise vacation for your personality and booking the cruise is completely covered by the commission provided by the cruise line. In many instances, they are even able to find special offers and promotions that you aren't able to. Perhaps the most valuable service though is that unlike calling the cruise line directly, the travel advisor is able to provide you with a customer biased recommendation. Since they will generally be getting a similar commission regardless of the cruise that you select their objective is to build a relationship with you so that you tell your friends and encourage them to book with this person too.
Your travel advisor can even help you once the trip is booked with any questions or concerns that might come up.
Research and Book Shore Excursions Before Your Board
On nearly every itinerary there will be two types of excursions. The first are those things that are unique to that port such as visiting Volcano National Park while visiting Hilo (though there are some tours that leave from Kona too). However, most are available at more than one port such as a tequila tasting, fishing, or whale watching on a Mexican Riviera Cruise. To help you save money and best optimize your cruise experience, make a list of what tours you are most interested in and research them by looking at third party websites such as Viator as well as location-specific ones as well and don't ignore the options provided by the cruise line itself. While I generally prefer to do my own excursions, by
There is one significant advantage of booking your shore excursions with the ship - they won't leave you behind if you get delayed. This is not an insignificant concern should their be a tight schedule and a tour that goes a long way from the port. For instance, a full day salmon fishing tour in Alaska could have mechanical failures on the boat resulting in a delay returning to the ship