BOOK YOUR OWN CRUISE

LOOKING AT CRUISING?  IT'S NOT YOUR PARENTS CRUISE SHIP ANYMORE

My parents loved to cruise.  They would go with their friends on Vegas-styled ships, stopping in Caribbean ports for a bit of duty-free shopping, getting dressed up every night after a day of lounging by the pool or playing Bingo in the saloon.  Evening entertainment could be a review style show or an audience participation event. 

 

You can still find those sailings, but, wow, can you find a lot more! 

 

Cruising means sailing on everything from a 30-passenger barge or a 120-passenger small expedition ship, to a self-contained city of over 6,000 passengers, complete with neighborhoods and state-of-the-art interactive locators for when you get lost. 

 

Cruise entertainment can include a Broadway production, a Shakespeare play, opera stars, local performers, or a piano lounge.  On board experiences range from pool-side relaxation to lectures to wellness and craft classes.  And don't forget the spa!

 

Cruising has become enormously popular, but why should you consider it for your vacation?

  • Cruise ships cover the globe, traveling across the oceans and along rivers.  You can cruise the harbors of Maine, cross the Atlantic, investigate Caribbean ports, travel through historic European cities, even explore villages in Southeast Asia or India or Africa.

  • Cruise ships eliminate the need for constant packing and repacking.

  • Almost all meals are included.

  • You can be as social or solo as you want. 

  • Cruise ships are “cashless” with everything going on your charge account, eliminating the need to change money. 

  • They are a safe way to travel, usually not affected by internal country problems.

 

There is a cruise to fit every destination and budget.  But how do you find the best one for you?

  • Start with deciding where you want to go.  That might include the ship itself.  Lots of repeat cruisers are loyal to a specific ship or cruise line and will go anywhere their ship is sailing.

  • How do you want to travel?  This is a great opportunity to try on a new experience or life style.  Why not splurge a little and enjoy butler service 24 hours a day?  You work hard enough at home.  Or go for that adventure you've dreamed about—explore the Galapagos, watch penguins in the Antarctic, be overwhelmed by the expansive beauty of China.  Remember, you aren't camping out, and your cabin has a shower with hot water. 

  • Read: blogs, brochures and books.  Sometime around third grade, I remember reading a book about a little boy growing up on the Yellow River in China.  It took over 30 years, but I did see the Yellow River, and eventually cruised up the Yangtze River.  In the intervening years I read about the towns along the Yangtze and its history, and knew that I wanted to see it. 

  • Talk to friends and find out why they liked their cruise (cruising has a 90% satisfaction rate.)

  • Learn about different cruise ships.  A good reference is www.cruisecritic.com where reviews of ships are posted.  You will also learn about differences in cabins, the importance of location, and when you want to book your cruise. 

  • Talk to a professional.  Yes, you can book directly with the cruise line, but there are reasons why over 75 % of all cruisers book through travel agents.  There are hundreds of cruise ships and dozens of cruise companies.  Each one has its own personality and its own style.  A cruise specialist can listen to you, and make suggestions.  Plus, she, or he, can probably save you money with special offers not available online.  To make sure you are getting the best advice, ask your agent if she or he is certified by the Cruise Lines International Association.  All the major cruise companies are members, and their training program is a gold standard in the travel industry.  The CLIA website, www.cruising.org, is also a good place to get information on different aspects of cruising. 

dz@dreammaker.org  |  330.689.1920  |  Munroe Falls, OH

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