Cruise Vacations – An Overview For First Time Cruisers

All aboard! You’re going on your very first cruise. Lucky you! This is an exciting time. Huge adventure awaits you, but before you go, there are some things you need to know. Here is an overview of cruise vacations for first time cruisers.

Costs

Many first-timers are confused about what’s included in your cruise price. As a general rule, meals, snacks, onboard activities and entertainment are included in the stateroom prices. Here’s some great news that might surprise you: even room service is included! Beverages such as water, juice, tea and coffee are typically included, as well. Other beverages, such as those from the bar – soda, beer, wine and cocktails – are an additional cost. You’ll also have to pay extra for babysitting, salon and spa services, gambling and purchases from the gift shop. Fortunately, all these expenses are charged to your room, alleviating the worry of carrying cash everywhere onboard.

There are other activities that you’ll have to budget for, namely, shore excursions. There are many options available, from simply shopping forays to extensive guided tours. Most cruise lines have specialists that can help you book your offshore activities. It’s typically wise to utilize this service, as the cruise experts have loads of experience and know which companies are reputable, and which to avoid. Many activities book up quickly, so plan ahead. It’s also a good idea to book spa and salon appointments well in advance.

Gratuity

Many cruise lines factor gratuities into your final bill when the cruise ends. Others leave this amount up to you. If you’re in charge of the tip, follow this rule of thumb: $3 per person, per day for your cabin steward, busboy and cabin steward. All gratuities should be paid in cash when the cruise comes to an end. When it comes to bar beverages, you’ll have to pay at the time of service. Your servers are there for one reason: to serve you and make sure you have the best cruise experience ever. Treat them well.

Dining

Nothing says great food like a cruise. Everybody knows that cruises are notorious for exceptionally delicious cuisine and abundant dining options. Buffets, niche restaurants with high-end specialties, elegant dining rooms, cozy room service, on-the-go snack bars – they’re all yours. Try them all! Room service is usually available 24 hours a day while other options have limited hours, some serving late into the night or early in the morning. Main dining hall times frequently begin around 6:30 p.m., and permit seating through 8:30 p.m. Submit your preferred times in advance whenever possible.

Special dietary needs? No problem. Cruise lines employ top chefs who are well-versed in all kinds of dietary specialties. Vegetarian, kosher and low-fat diets being the most common special needs, these dishes are abundantly available. More specialized needs can easily be accommodated, as well. Be sure to consult your vacation cruise specialist in advance and speak to them about your dietary restrictions. That way, you can be sure to secure a perfect culinary experience.

Wardrobe

Not sure what to pack? You’re not alone. Most cruises are seaside-casual during the day, and more formal at night. When packing formal attire, men can’t go wrong with a nice, dark suit. Ladies: pack your lovely cocktail dresses. Make sure all your fabrics are appropriate for the climate in which you’re sailing.

Check with your vacation expert to determine the level of formality aboard your ship. Some lines are far more formal than others, and require tuxedos and gowns. Don’t have a tux? Check to see if rentals are available on board. Many offer this amenity. If dressing up isn’t your thing, don’t worry; most every cruise line offers exclusively casual dining options.

If you’re a water person, don’t forget to pack plenty of swimwear. Those who bring only one or two bathing suits will likely have to buy more onboard. The same goes for basic toiletries.

Motion Sickness

Afraid you might fall prey to the dreaded motion sickness? If you’ve suffered from motion sickness before, there’s a strong chance it could happen again. Some people don’t realize they’re prone to motion sickness until the ship departs. By that time, there’s no turning back, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Though all modern ships have top-notch stabilizers to reduce excess movement, it’s a great idea to bring along medication or other remedies if you’re concerned you might get seasick. Also, stick to the lower decks, as you’re more likely to feel motion at higher levels.

Now that you’re familiar with first-time cruise basics, you’re ready to embark on a journey you’ll never forget. Chances are, it will be the first of many cruises. Ahoy, and enjoy!

What to Look for in Cruise Ship Reviews

Individuals who would like to go on a cruise are always advised to look for cruise ship reviews that will help them to decide on which cruise is best. However, most of them are not aware of the specifics details to look for in these reviews. Cruises are different, and a person will have different reasons for wanting to go on a cruise. The reviews will help the person to choose a cruise that focuses on their particular needs during the entire trip.

The first thing to consider is the services offered by the cruise ship. Individuals who would like to have a cruise wedding are likely to look for a cruise ship that offers this service. Those who are on a honeymoon should consider cruise with honeymoon suites, while those on retirement can look for other services. The services offered in the packages will help the individual to determine whether the cruise is right for them.

The second thing to look for is the reputation that the cruise ship has. Most of the reviews are done by professionals in the industry who know all about ships and cruises. Cruise ships that are old and prone to damage should always be avoided. Also, ships where crime has happened should be avoided. An individual should only go on a cruise which they trust since they may be spending weeks or months out at sea on the ship.

The different stops that a cruise ship makes should also be considered. Cruises travel to different destinations throughout the world. There are individuals who would not be comfortable visiting certain ports. Others are looking for specific spots because of the beauty or uniqueness that they offer. They should always read through the reviews in order to know the exact spots before choosing the cruise that they prefer.

The age groups as well as the themes catered for should also be looked at closely. There are cruise ships that do not allow children on board. Therefore, individuals who would like to travel as a family will not be able to board such a ship. Furthermore, certain ships have themes that are directed towards particular interests. Cruises that have sports themes with mini golf and swimming areas will not be enjoyable for individuals who are not sports enthusiasts.

The environment in the cruise ship is also mentioned in a lot of cruise ship reviews. The individuals should always consider this in order to ensure that they are not bored during the trip. Some cruises have a very formal atmosphere, while others have a party or carnival mood. The type of mood that the traveler would like should therefore be considered or they will definitely not enjoy themselves.

It is a fact that cruises are very expensive and individuals who go on such trips always like to get their money’s worth. An individual who reads cruise ship reviews will be able to get a clear picture of what a certain cruise is like. This will help them to decide on the particular cruise before they swipe their card or open their wallet.

Cruise The Nile of Cleopatra

For centuries, the Nile River has been at the center of life in Egypt. The ancient Egyptian civilization relied on the flooding of the Nile to create fertile land for farming in an otherwise desert landscape. Excavations along the Nile have unearthed vast quantities of archeological remnants from ancient times and a leisurely cruise along the Nile takes you through this ancient populated area that is so steeped in history. And remember, you are following a royal route; the pharaohs and Queen Cleopatra cruised the Nile!

A cruise along Nile is an excellent way of visiting scattered archeological sights in a country with less than spectacular roads and airline service. In fact, some quality travel agents recommend cruising as the preferred method of transportation in Egypt. The best time of year to enjoy a Nile cruise is winter, from December to February, due to the hot desert climate.

Think of the romance of a leisurely cruise through such an ancient and historic land. The banks of the Nile are lined with ancient monuments and unusual sites, like banana plantations. Excursions to other famous locations, such as the Karnak Temple and the tomb of Nefertiti in the town of Luxor, are available on most cruises. Other towns that can be touring stops are Aswan, Esna, Kom Ombo and Edfu. Knowledgeable local guides are available and are recommended to explain the finer points of each site.

A Nile cruise can be quite economical. For a three-star ship the cost can be as little as $70 per person per night while a deluxe cruise can cost a mere $130 per person per night, double occupancy. The length of the cruise can vary from 3, 4 or 7 nights. Rooms are well-appointed and meals are included. Of course, deluxe and luxury cruise boats also provide a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, bar and recreation facilities, and gift shops. Air-conditioning is a must for the American tourist who is unaccustomed to the possible one hundred degree heat. And remember, since you are cruising on a river than the ocean, the river cruise ship will be much smaller, with anywhere from 100 to 500 passengers.

Generally, meals on a Nile cruise are served at a specific time, with all passengers being served at a single seating. Expect a full range of cuisine from local to international. Some meals, such as lunch and dinner, may be served buffet style. And, of course, luxury cruise companies employ world-class chefs to pamper the palette.

A cruise is an excellent way for the American tourist to visit a unique and different culture since all services are provided. For example, there is no worry about where and what to eat. Also the cruise company arranges all the tours to the major ancient attractions and provides reputable guides who know Egyptian customs. Thus, you do not need local currency for admissions as these have been paid in advance. By taking a cruise, you are buying a measure of safety in a foreign land, provided that you select a reputable cruise company with a good reputation.

Egypt is an ancient land with fascinating monuments and temples that are adorned with mysterious hieroglyphics. What better way to immerse yourself into this unique culture than to experience it by cruising the Nile like the royal pharaohs.

What Type of Cabin to Buy on Your First River Cruise

River cruising in Europe has become one of the most demanded vacations options for “boomers and pre-boomers” alike. This demand is fueled by both past ocean cruise customers and those who have never enjoyed an ocean cruise before. The reasons for this demand are; the all-inclusive nature of the river cruise experience, the immersive destination experience and overall affordability that every river cruise customer enjoys on their vacation.

While the European river cruise experience is very rewarding and river trips enjoy an extremely high satisfaction level, we know that some elements of planning your first river trip can be a bit daunting. That’s because all cruise lines and all river cruise ships are not created equal and that most certainly applies to the type of cabin you buy.

In talking with thousands of first time buyers, a significant number of those first time buyers commented that choosing the right cabin on their first river trip was one of the most frustrating and challenging things that they faced as new customers.

If you have never enjoyed the wonders of a very affordable European river cruise, you may not understand how to select the best cabin for your trip. Selecting that perfect cabin can be made more confusing by two factors that may impact your decision; the different generations of river ships and the various types of cabins (also called staterooms) on each ship.

In addition to these distinctions, a number of other factors must be considered before selecting your stateroom. But you can take solace in knowing that cabin selection is a pretty logical process and that other than your stateroom selection, almost every other element of a guest’s shipboard and shore side experience is exactly the same, no matter what type of cabin you buy. Why? Because every passenger on a river ship enjoys the same in-depth shore excursions, delightful cuisine and excellent personal service.

At first glance, one might not understand why cabin selection is so important and maybe you will reach the same conclusion. The reason it is very relevant is because of the price difference between a window and balcony stateroom. In general, for a one week cruise, the difference can be between $599 and $1500 per person for the balcony, so if price is important, go window. If your prefer a balcony, but your budget mandates a window, by all means go for the window stateroom versus not going as all other elements of the trip will be exactly the same as if you had bought the balcony.

Traveling with like-minded, like-aged travelers is one of the other very rewarding elements of a river trip. They are geared to those who are 55+ years of age and while there are many active shore excursions, these types of cruises are not suitable for children.

While not suited for children, these river trips are well suited for single or solo travelers looking for a vacation that attracts other such travelers.

Why Choose a Honeymoon Cruise Vacation?

Planning your dream honeymoon? The world is your oyster – Bali, Barbados, a Greek island or maybe a honeymoon cruise vacation? Cruises are increasingly popular for anniversaries, weddings and they make a dream honeymoon cruise vacation. Here are a few reasons why a honeymoon cruise vacation beats a traditional hotel honeymoon every time.

Easy to Book Booking a honeymoon cruise trip is a very easy process. Simply browse the many destination options for your dates and press BOOK! It really is that easy. Optional pre- and post-cruise packages will include airfares, hotels and transfers. No holding hotel bookings whilst looking for suitable flights, no car hire to arrange and no transfers to worry about. A honeymoon cruise vacation package takes care of everything – cabin, transport and meals all-in-one. If only planning the wedding were so straightforward!

Great Winter Destinations Choices of where to enjoy a honeymoon in the winter can be limited, but cruise ships relocate to offer a honeymoon cruise in the sunshine at any time of year. In the winter, they are mainly based around the Caribbean, Hawaii and the Southern hemisphere. In the summer they cross the Atlantic and cruise the Mediterranean, Scandinavia and Alaska. A honeymoon cruise vacation should be about relaxing in the sun, so book with confidence.

Extras Let the cruise company know that it is your honeymoon cruise vacation. Most ships offer a few goodwill extras for those on a honeymoon cruise vacation. Tables for two, complimentary champagne and chocolates and even a honeymooners’ cocktail party may be on offer. Some cruise lines have honeymoon packages for a small supplement which include engraved glasses, flowers, a wedding cake and plenty of other nice surprises.

Privacy You may think that joining 2000 other cruisers will not allow much privacy for your honeymoon cruise vacation but the opposite is actually true. Enjoy room service in your cabin at any time of day or night – without a nasty surcharge. Fruit platters, cheese platters, drinks, light snacks and breakfast in bed are all just a phone call away. Ignore the organized shore excursions, take a taxi into town and explore each port of call hand-in-hand. Alternatively, ask the taxi driver to take you to the nearest quiet beach – and arrange for him to pick you up later! Most cruises have alternative dining for a supplement and these exclusive restaurants offer candlelit dinners, attentive waiter service and a romantic environment to make your honeymoon really special.

Entertainment Life onboard a cruise ship is never dull. Sit in a cozy nook and be serenaded by a professional pianist, dance cheek-to-cheek, enjoy an off-Broadway show, head for the casino and try your luck, or step out in the warm night air and cuddle beneath the stars. Best of all, at the end of the evening your cabin is just a stroll away. No calling a taxi or driving a hire car in a strange place. With a honeymoon cruise vacation, everything is taken care of perfectly.