The following is a list of helpful tips that ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) put together and we added some information as well. We thought this might be helpful to those who may be considering a cruise but have some concerns. Hopefully this will help ease those concerns.
With many cruise lines offering specials, there's no time like the present to discover why taking to the high seas was a favorite of more than 13.4 million people in 2009. Booking a vacation should be as relaxing as the vacation itself; the tips below and our experience will make for an easy booking process.
"With literally hundreds of ships and itineraries from which to choose, there truly is a cruise for everyone," said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo. "But selecting the right cruise involves more than just picking your cabin; there are numerous factors to consider. It's not a one-size-fits-all vacation. Working with a travel consultant who specializes in cruises can make all the difference, ensuring that your first time on the high seas won't be your last."
- Chart your course! Your first task is to decide where you want to go and for how long. Cruises offer everything from one- or two-night excursions to journeys that take you around the world in 100 days. Three-day weekend, four-day midweek, week and two-week cruises are the most popular. Palmer Travel has the experience to guide you towards the perfect cruise for both your travel desires and your budget.
- Cabin with a view. If you plan to spend significant time in your cabin, choose the biggest room you can afford. Standard cabins have twin beds, which can usually be converted into a queen-sized bed, while bunk beds in other rooms cannot be converted. Some ocean view cabins will have obstructed views due to lifeboats and other equipment. While the obstructed cabins may offer you a better price, Palmer Travel staff will advise you of the unobstructed view cabin price as well.
- Travel insurance - better safe than sorry. Travel insurance is a small price to pay for peace of mind. A policy is not only for trip cancellations but also can cover missed connections, lost or delayed baggage, emergency medical and dental expenses and emergency legal assistance. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance will cover you from the time that you purchase your cruise until you return from the trip. Most travelers will believe that they will not have to cancel their trip and would like to save the cost of the insurance. That is until the UNEXPECTED happens and they become ill at the last minute and their doctor advises that they cannot travel. Now they have lost all the money they invested into their cruise because they did not have travel insurance protection.
- What's free and what costs? The price of your ticket will include your cabin, on-board entertainment, departure taxes & port charges and food. Other items to consider when budgeting your trip include: alcoholic beverages, bottled water and occasionally soft drinks; on-board extras, such as gambling, spas, massages and ship-to-shore calls; and tips for the ship's crew.
- Land, ho! Whenever your ship stops at a port of call, you have three options: stay on board, explore by yourself or take a ship excursion. We can discuss with you your what you really want to see and do while in port and give you advice about the best way to do experience it. The cruise lines have a vast array of shore excursions that are sure to meet your desires.
- Safety first. Overall, cruising is a very safe way to travel, as ships must follow an extraordinary number of rules and regulations and are subject to rigorous quarterly inspection. Safety drills are practiced within the first 24 hours of sailing, where you'll learn how to put on your life jacket and locate your assigned lifeboat. When in port, don't draw attention to yourself with flashy jewelry and large amounts of cash. Use common sense just as you would on any other vacation.
- Get your sea legs. Seasickness is less common nowadays as the ship's immense size and state-of-the-art motion stabilizers control gentle rocking. Once on board, spend some time on deck and focus on a fixed point of the horizon to help you adjust and get your sea legs quickly.
- Be prepared for emergencies. Be sure to pack your complete health information with you on your trip, with your medical history, your insurance information, contact person in case of emergency, blood type and list of allergies, medications and immunizations.
Call Palmer Travel today and let us get you out on the high seas!