My Top Tips For a Wonderful Cruise Holiday
1) Book With A Cruise Specialist
Ok, disclaimer I am a travel agent BUT that is NOT why I advocate booking with a cruise specialist. A cruise specialist will usually have been on lots of ships and cruised with lots of cruise lines so they know the ships and the cruise lines and can truly recommend the best match for your perfect cruise holiday. They also receive daily or weekly updates from all the cruise lines so they know the best deals, the cheapest dates and all the best freebies that can be gotten for you.
2) Check Prices of Guaranteed Cabins.
Some cruise lines will offer you 2 options when booking a cruise. The will offer you a cabin category, for example if you wanted to book and inside cabin you will be confirmed into an inside cabin but you won’t be told what deck or which cabin number you are in. This is called a guarantee cabin, you are guaranteed the category but not the location or cabin number, this is usually a cheaper way to book.
The main issues with this to consider are:
You could be positioned above the nightclub or just below the pool deck, so if you’re looking for a nice quiet night forget it!! If you don’t fancy hearing people coming and going then perhaps being located right beside the lifts is not a good idea. If you have kids, maybe a cabin on the Kids Club deck would be more convenient.
You also don’t receive any of the special offers that the cruise lines offer, so if they have free drinks available or Free On Board Credit etc they won’t offer that on a guaranteed cabin.
3) Choose your Cabin Type Carefully,
With Inside, Outside, Balcony, Junior Suite, Loft Suites & Penthouse Suites the choice of accommodation is extensive. Whilst we’d all love a balcony or Suite maybe they are not necessary for a great cruise. If you’re planning on doing lots of shore excursions and lots of on-board activities then you will rarely be in your cabin so an inside cabin may be perfectly fine. If on the other hand there is lots of days at sea on your cruise or if you want to spend some time relaxing in your cabin then a balcony or suite would be much more suitable.
Be sure to check Ocean View or Balcony Cabins that have obstructions, some of these barely have any obstruction but you still get a very considerable discount.
4) Bring a Travel Adaptor.
Most of the Cruise Lines have either 110 or 220 Volt Sockets so be sure to bring an adaptor. The newer ships offer USB ports for phone and tablet charging and all ships have hair dryers in your cabin.
5) Check The Shore Excursions On Offer
Your Cruise Expert will have suppliers that can book shore excursions up to 60% cheaper than the cruise lines directly, check these offers out before you book. They will guarantee to get you back to the port on time for your departure and you can save a lot of money.
You don’t necessarily have to book excursions in some destinations, for example in Jamaica for the Dunnes River Falls, just hop in a cab it’s simple and way cheaper. But for other destinations like Rome or Russia I would 100% recommend pre-booking excursions. In Rome the port is 1hr 30mins from the city and there is so much to see and do in Rome you would never get to see it all if you go it alone. In Russia you cannot get off the ship without a visa, these are quite complex to arrange but if you pre-book your excursion the visa is included for that day.
Please note the Russian Excursions always book out before the sailing so book before you travel.
6) Do your online check in before you travel
It will save you lots of time at the embarkation port if you have already logged onto the cruise line website and done you’re check in. The cruise terminal is usually crazy busy on embarkation day as thousands of people are looking to get onboard in a very small window of time. If you have all your documents ready it will definitely speed up the process.
7) Bring a Small Hand Luggage Bag
I would always suggest packing any medication you need along with a swimming costume and change of clothes for day 1 onboard in a small bag. It means If you get onboard early and your cabin isn’t ready you can take full advantage of the pool area. If there is a delay in getting your luggage to your cabin you still have all the necessities and can still enjoy yourself.
8) Pre-Book Spa Treatments & Hair Dressers
The Spa will get booked up very quickly on days you are at Sea so if you fancy treating yourself make sure to book it very early, Likewise with the hairdressers, it gets booked very early for the black tie gala night so be sure to book as soon as you get on board.
9) Book your Next Cruise On-Board
There is always a future cruise desk onboard, they usually offer exclusive deals or discounts. The great thing about this is , if you book onboard you get the exclusive offer but the booking goes back to your Travel Agent so you can still make payments, get advice and tickets etc from the agent who knows you best.
10) BOOK Cruise Connection Insurance
I would 100% recommend everyone travelling has adequate travel insurance which has cruise connection included.
If you are booking your flights and cruise separately then this is an absolute must. If you flight is delayed or if your airline goes on strike then cruise connection insurance will cover you for expenses you incur to get you to the next port to join your cruise.