Vacation Cruise Planning

Written by Anmy Leuthold
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Your first step in vacation cruise planning is asking yourself these six simple questions: who, what, when, where, how Long and how Much. For those who haven't taken an organized vacation or tour, or haven't traveled much, planning cruise vacations can be a big challenge. People planning their first cruise ask the most frequent questions. They most probably have discussions around the dinner table about where they want to vacation or travel next, but that is the extent of the conversation. They have read in the Web and in magazines about how much fun (and economical) cruising can be, and have heard cruise experiences from and seen cruise ship vacation pictures taken by their friends and family, but don't know how to actually embark on one. Where to start?

You are probably restricted to Mexico or the Bahamas, if you have less than a week to travel. A week's vacation will open up destinations like the Caribbean, and depending on where you live you can even get to places like Hawaii, the South Pacific, or Europe. You will have a lot more options, if you can squeeze out ten days to two weeks. The spring or fall seasons are usually a little cheaper for cruises. The only "high" season for tropical destinations, like the Caribbean used to be considered the winter season. However, summer season prices are not far behind, due to the large numbers of college students, families with kids, and others who have "forced summer vacations", where their only choice for a vacation is summer. There are minimums, but there are no maximums as to how much you can spend. You can reduce prices by booking early or getting last minute deals by booking late. The minimum price on "mainstream" cruise line vacations seem to average about $500 per week.

Information on Vacation Cruise Planning

The most difficult decision in vacation cruise planning is usually deciding on a cruise destination. Some areas have brief cruising seasons. If you are going to Northern Europe or Alaska, you will have to travel between May and September, for example. If either of these is your chosen destination, you will avoid the crowds and save a little, if you go at the end or beginning of the cruise season. If you decide to go to the tropics, you can make your cruise planning a little easier. The temperature will not change much with the seasons. What does change is the amount of rainfall. The rainy season for most tropical places, like Hawaii and the Caribbean is in the winter, and the dry season is in the summer. If you are going to the Mediterranean, some ships cruise there year-round, but summer is the high season.

Typically, when travelers are craving warmth and sunshine in order to escape winter frosts, many cruise lines will raise their prices, but there are always cruise vacation packages you can find at affordable prices. Usually the only way to get discount cruise vacations is to book well in advance. It's true that booking way ahead allows you to grab the best staterooms and there are substantial early booking discounts. However, sometimes cruise lines will inform the public and cruise agents about off-season cruises and last-minute cruise deals (which in cruise terms means about seven days in advance). Most of the time, those special cruise vacation deals are, in fact better than the early booking rates.

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