I’ve often mentioned how my cruising habits have changed as I’ve aged. For me, the perfect cruise is:
A minimum of seven days – there are fewer children on longer cruises
At least four ports in seven days – I like my vacation to encompass land and sea
A balcony or verandah – I’m more than a little claustrophobic and I do use it
A variety of entertainment – The more comedy and music, the better
Optional restaurants – for those times I want to feel really special
Optional formal nights – I’m done with dressing up
That’s my wants and needs in a nutshell.
But before you plop down your hard, earned cash on a cruise, you need to ask yourself what will make you happy and then set about to find the cruise that best suits your needs.
Do you care about visiting ports or do you enjoy the ambiance of the ship? If you enjoy ship activities, check out a transatlantic cruise. There are very few ports and more onboard time than you can ever imagine.
Do you enjoy socializing? Dancing? Are you a party animal? You might want to look at three and four night cruises where crowds tend to be younger and partying till the wee hours of the morning is a viable option.
Are you traveling with the grandchildren? Every ship has activities for kids in a variety of age groups, but to maximize their fun, select a cruise under seven days. They’ll have more fun with lots of kids in their age group, giving you a little more alone time.
Let your budget determine your stateroom. I am a little claustrophobic and a lot spoiled. I need a balcony. Of course that means I pay more. If you feel that you are going to spend lots of time outside your cabin and a lack of windows doesn’t bother you, there are lots of bargains for you! Seven nights with a balcony can start at $800 per person. I’ve seen inside cabins for as little as $250 per person. You almost can’t stay home at that price!
Do you love or loathe formal nights? This is one of the more important factors. If you choose a line where it’s not necessary, you can still dress to the nines. But if you select one that requires formal wear, you may find yourself dining in your room.
Do you want to travel with families or adults only? More families travel on cruises less than seven days and less expensive lines. If your cruise is more than 14 days on any line, you’ll find very few families.