Ocean Cruise Basics: Start Here

Ocean Cruise Basics is a series of posts designed for first-time cruise travelers, answering a number of common questions and providing resources to learn more.  The goal: to help get the most out of a cruise vacation.

Planning an ocean cruise vacation is much like planning any other type of travel.  There are basically four kinds of travelers when it comes to ocean cruising.  Knowing which one you are, at least right now, is a good idea as it gives us a starting place from which to work. First time cruise traveler or seasoned cruiser, everyone seems to fit into one of these broad, general categories:

  1. Those who choose to do it all on their own- These are people that commonly book their own airfare and consider online buying their number one source for any purchase, not just travel.   These people may have had good luck planning in the past with online booking so they see no reason to contact either the cruise lines directly or a travel agent.
  2. Those who choose to let a travel agent handle everything for them- These people probably have the best time of all on a vacation because they don’t get involved in any of the planning details and fully relax.  They don’t bring cell phones or computers along, never think about work or land-based concerns and generally have a great time and are willing to pay more for that luxury.
  3. Those who choose to share the responsibility with a travel agent– Most travelers probably fall into this group one way or another.  They may have started out choosing to do planning on their own then quickly realized that way was not for them.  They may have learned from experience  the are advantages to using an agent vs. directly with the cruise lines or are just savvy enough to know that having an advocate on their side to handle and watch over bookings is a good idea.
  4. Those who will never sail- To some travelers the idea of travel via any cruise ship on any of the cruise lines is just a distasteful way to go.  They fail to see the distinct advantages that cruise travel offers over many other ways to go.  They are commonly younger, more mobile, and enjoy traveling by themselves.  Camping, hiking, backpacking, skiing, snowboarding, and other activities not possible via cruise ship are common interests and for those people we can only say “Hey, enjoy what it is you do” and “If things change, keep us in mind”.

Regardless of which category one might fall into,  if travel via cruise ship is in your future, questions will come up that need answers.  First time cruise traveler want to know the differences in cruise lines, which to embrace and which to avoid.  Common questions include ‘Where do you want to go?, ‘When do you want to travel? and ‘How much do you want to spend?’  Answers to those questions and more are next in Ocean Cruise Basics .