I’ll admit that, when it comes to finding the best cruise, price is probably the first thing that most of us look at. This is completely natural. After all, if you don’t have the money to set foot on a luxury ship, what’s the point in researching the quality of its spa or the depth of its itinerary?
At the same time, among all of the factors that we consider when looking for the best cruise, price is probably the one that we have the least trouble researching ourselves. After all, there are plenty of price comparison sites out there. When all else fails, we can always turn to a travel agent to help us find a good deal.
What I’m more interested in is the other factors that you consider when looking for a cruise. Once you have nailed your price-range and selected 5-10 options, how do you decide which trip to take?
I’ll kick this off by telling you a few of the things that I look for. Then, I’d love to get your feedback.
First, I think about the type of experience that I want to have and the approximate part of the world that I want to explore. I think about these factors, even before I consider the reputation of the available ships.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Most importantly, it helps to set my expectations. If I am mostly interested in visiting a particular area and I don’t plan on spending a lot of time on the boat, during the day, I will be more willing to sail on a smaller ship. I might even consider a river cruise, even though the boats don’t usually have pools, spas or movie theaters.
As with so many things in life bigger is not always better. Sometimes a small ship can take you to places that a bigger one can’t. On the other hand, if all I want to do is relax, a larger ship, with plenty of entertainment options, might be a better way to go.
There is no “right or wrong” answer. The trick is to be honest with yourself about your goals. In fact, my idea of the perfect cruise changes from year to year. Perhaps it does for you too?
Next, I look at the reputation of the cruise line. Do they take care of their customers? When something goes wrong, are they willing to step in and help? Are the rooms clean and the staff friendly? A great resource for this is Cruise Critic. They have thousands of reviews from real customers in addition to their own editorial opinions.
It always amazes me to see how many different types of cruises there are out there. Some cruises offer refined luxury. Others boast opulent extravagance. Some ships put the adventure first. Others seem to think that the quality of their food is more important than anything else – and, for some customers, perhaps it is!
I’d love to hear your opinion on this. Please join the conversation and let us know what the most important factors are for you when it comes to finding the best cruise.
What makes the best cruise, other than price? Once you have established your budget and narrowed down the cruise lines that you can afford to investigate, what do you look at next? Do you care most about the itinerary? Or, do you look for certain amenities, like a spa or pool? Do you care about entertainment options? Or, do you look for simplicity and elegance? Please join the conversation.