Are you thinking of going on a cruise but you’re not sure if it’s worth the money? Before you take the plunge, we explain the costs of cruising compared to a package holiday, and share our top 10 tips on how to make sure your cruise holiday is plain sailing.
Despite the common belief that cruises are expensive, they can actually offer great value for money. First of all, the price includes nearly everything you need on your trip, such as: food, accommodation, daytime and evening entertainment, and transfers. What’s more, some deals include drinks, tips, shore excursions and flights, leaving you with little reason to put your hand in your wallet during the holiday itself.
Perhaps the biggest draw for most people is that you wake up in a new destination every morning, after only unpacking once in your floating hotel. Plus, if you’re nervous about visiting some exotic countries, then cruising is also an ideal way to travel, as you’ll be staying in a safe and familiar environment each night with English speaking guides on board.
On top of all that, cruises are well known for their plethora of dining options. Whatever type of food tickles your tastebuds, there is something for everyone. And as for the on board entertainment, you’re unlikely to get bored with many ships boasting cinemas, theatres, gyms, ice skating, rock climbing walls, spas, surf simulators, casinos, libraries and much more.
Compared to a cruise holiday, package holidays give you more time to explore your chosen holiday destination. This means you get to mingle with the locals, try out different restaurants, discover local attractions and get more of a feel for the place. By comparison, most cruise ships only stay a day in each port, meaning some people feel like they’ve not had enough time to truly discover each destination.
On the other hand, package holidays can work out more expensive than cruises, especially if you don’t have an all-inclusive deal, as it means you will have to pay out for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day.
Ultimately, whether you prefer a cruise or package holiday depends on your individual preferences and how much of the world you want to see on your holiday. But if you do choose a cruise, then here are 10 tips that will help you get the most out of your trip.
Staysure’s Top 10 Cruise Tips
- Do some research – What type of cruise are you after? Choose from ultra-luxury cruises, river cruises, world cruises, Christmas market cruises, Northern Lights cruises, Norwegian fjords cruises, or even the classic Caribbean cruise – the choices are almost endless. Then of course you have to choose your ship, it’s important to remember that not all cruise ships are created equal. But choosing your perfect liner is half the fun!
- Arrive early – Consider getting to the port the night before. Whether you are sailing from the UK or an overseas port, arrive nice and early to make sure you get to the cruise port on time. Nothing would be worse than missing embarkation because you either had problems with your flight or got stuck in traffic.
- Plan your activities – Decide where you want to go and what you want to see before you travel. Cruise lines will arrange escorted tours, the most popular of which will get booked up very quickly. However, if you are on a tight budget there are plenty of local companies that offer similar tours or you could pick up a map and head off to explore by yourself. Just ensure you are back on-board before your ship leaves!
- Ask for a free balcony upgrade – As the old saying goes, if you don’t ask you don’t get. So why not ask for a free balcony upgrade? Cruise lines often offer free upgrades and a balcony will give you some stunning views of the ports as you arrive. And there’s nothing like going to bed with the balcony door open listening to the waves.
- Drinks packages – Many cruise lines have drinks packages available on board. They are worth looking into as this can often save you money in the long run – especially over a longer cruise.
- Port research – Take some time to find out a little about the ports you will be visiting to find out what you might like to see or do there. You’ll get much more out of your trip this way.
- Keep fit – Cruise ships are well-known for their mouth-watering dining options. And cruise calories don’t count when you’re on holiday right? But if you’re worried about piling on the pounds with creamy dishes, multiple lobster tails and chocolate dessert fountains, why not take the stairs instead of the lifts? In addition, many ships have a gym and spa, which will make you feel less guilty about over indulging.
- Buy insurance – Cruise travel insurance is the first step to smooth sailing on your holiday and many cruise operators require you to have cover before they will allow you to board the ship.
- Enjoy quiet time – If you are on a longer cruise with multiple port calls and fancy a bit of peace and quiet, simply stay on the ship during a port day. You’ll find quieter restaurants, near empty spas and you might even get the hot tub all to yourself!
- Pack a smaller bag – After you arrive your luggage has to go through security and they will drop it off at your room later in the day. As you will be away from your bag for a few hours, it’s a good idea to pack a smaller bag with your swimsuit, a book, suntan lotion, medication or whatever else you might need while waiting for your luggage to arrive.