Preparing / Choosing a Cruise

by Female Abroad

Researching a cruise is a lot of work! Due to that (and because I spend months doing it) I'm going to share my knowledge with you. When it comes to deciding on a cruise, these are some of the ways I would assist my customers in finding what would work for them and I also used it for deciding on my cruise.

Budgeting & Spending - Be Realistic!

  1. If you are not sure what a "realistic" price is then just pop online and look at some random dates as well as location or just call a travel agent that specializes in cruises for their option. I cannot stress this enough.
    Example: a couple came to me and wanted to spend no more than CA$ 1000 for two people including airfare for a one week cruise from a specific port and they wanted to go to a port that no cruise line travelled to. The reason they came to me was because they couldn't find it online. After explaining to them why that trip doesn't exist they got mad and then told me they would try elsewhere. Don't be this couple, please, for the sake of humanity just don't.

  2. Another point for realism is if you are getting a cruise for $70/night do not expect it to be dripping with luxury and food so good that you will want to scream from the mountain tops. You are probably getting an inside cabin and eating luke-warm food from a buffet. Sometimes the best price isn't always what you want. Again, do some research or ask a travel agent.
    Example: a single traveller had come to me and asked me to beat a price on a cruise she had found on Expedia. I had her send me over all the information and I went through it. When I asked her why she wanted to book it, she said "price". After some digging I found an itinerary with similar dates in two locations and presented them to her. The difference was that one had the single supplement waived but the price was a bit higher as the quality of the cruise was higher. The second option had a different location but had an airfare credit that would balance out the cost difference and it specialized in single travellers. She said that she would rather go for the one she found online because of the price. When I went to book it, the price jumped because the quote she had been provided was for a double room so the single supplement was not reflected. When this was brought to her attention she decided to rethink the other options I had provided to her. At the end of the day she went with her original cruise choice since even with the single supplement she saved $50. After she cam back from the cruise all she did was complain about how horrible it was as it was just families and younger adults that were drunk. In the end, you get what you pay for!

  3. If you are looking for value and not just the lowest price, it's always good to check out similar itineraries on other ships or even look at the next cabin class up from yours on the ship you are sailing. Sometimes competitors will put on really great deals to draw you away from other lines. Sometimes you can get additional perks for booking one stateroom higher that balances out the cost different. You don't know until you look so look!

Match your personal preferences to a cruise line that fits your personality & what you are wanting to see / what you like to do

All cruise lines cater to a different clientele so are you going to learn? taking the family away? wanting to eat? This is all part of the experience so if you don't pick the right cruise line you won't have the right experience; to find out which line would be best for you check out our Cruise Line article.

Cruise with someone you like

most cruises will want double occupancy rooms (unless you pay the single supplement) and due to this you are going to be stuck in a tight space with this other person. If they make your trip a nightmare, you won't enjoy yourself!

Check the dress code

Now that you know who you want to travel with and what cruise line you like, what about the dress code? Some ships are very specific (ex. business casual) or have a bunch of formal or themed nights that you need to pack for. Things like this can also make or break a cruise for people

Check the weather

Sure you might have found a crazy good deal but is it too good to be true? Have you checked to make sure you weren't travelling during rainy season? how about hurricane season? Going on a river cruise, what about low tide? Not a fan of the heat but going when humidity is the highest? Poor weather usually means low / off season which in turn will give you the best deal. If you are find to tough it out or take the risk then you'll be fine but if you are not one that can then this can also ruin your cruise.


When it comes to comfort, what does that meant you? High staff to passenger ratio so you are waited on by people who know your name? Being able to eat at the drop of a hat? Having access to healthier food options and the spa? Everyone is different and when you do go to book make sure that your "comfort" comes first. This brings me back to not just the budget but also the match preferences as well as picking the stateroom for you.

I've always told my customers that if you have a dream as to what you want your cruise to be and you find out you don't have the budget for it, save. It's far better to get the trip you want then the trip you can afford right now as not only will you have longer to save but you will also not enjoy yourself to the point of what you want.

Don't rush it, savor it!