8 Reasons why a cruise is such a fine budget vacation

A cruise ship provides a great, one price, vacation, and one of the main attractions to booking a cruise ship is that just about everything is included in the price.

People love to hop on a large boat and cruise to an exotic location (often times more than one exotic location) as their vacation or getaway. This is probably because cruises offer many different opportunities that resorts or hotels do not.

1. Good Food
Food is one attractant for people. A cruise offers breakfast, lunch and dinner but they also have midnight buffets, afternoon snack buffets, ice cream bars and 24-hour room service available. Food is basically available round the clock…

When many people think about a budget vacation, they picture an intrepid traveler in a roach infested hotel room eating stale sandwiches and riding around on the city bus. However, one of the best ways to save money on a vacation is also one of the most luxurious and most thrilling – the cruise vacation.

2. Cheap Accommodation
In addition to a cheap place to stay, a cruise also offers unlimited food, including many amazing buffets that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, the food on cruise vacation ships are often better-quality to those in all but the best land locked restaurants, and once again, the food is included in the price.

3. Traveling Off-season
Of course, it is possible to save money by traveling in the off-season, and this can often be a great plan. For instance, even though it is the middle of the winter and most people are not thinking about vacations where you are, it may be warm and tempting in many tropical cruise ship destinations.
It is important, however to check out the local weather, and to avoid the rainy season in the destinations you are considering. Steering clear of hurricanes, tropical downpours and other weather problems can help you get the most out of your cruise ship.

3. Cabins
If you have never taken a cruise ship before, it is a good idea to get advice from those who have experienced cruising. These people can give valuable insight on the best balance of cost and comfort for your first cruise ship experience.
The location of the cabin is another important consideration when booking a cruise ship. The interior cabins on the lower parts of the ship are generally the least costly, while the higher, larger cabins with ocean views are the most expensive.

5. Discounts and Cheap Cruise ship Deals
It is not always necessary to shop early, of course. Cruise ship lines have been known to offer some fantastic discounts at the last minute in order to move unsold cabins or avoid leaving with a less than full passenger load.
There are many last minute travel newsletters that provide details on these types of cruise ship deals, and these last minute travel deals are a big hit with retirees and others with the time to see the world.

6. Food and Gym
After eating all that food, you will probably feel the need to work out, and the cost of the cruise vacation also typically includes unlimited use of the gym, the weight room and the sports locations. While many hotels tack on a surcharge for the use of the hotel gym, with a cruise vacation it is generally included.

7. Shipboard Entertainment
The cost of a cruise vacation also includes all shipboard entertainment and classes. The entertainment options of a cruise vacation are often one of the best parts of the experience, and many cruises offer such things as movie nights, theatres, spas, nightclubs, discos, and even casinos.
Most cruise lines run full scale production shows, have bands play, incorporate other special shows like magic or puppet for the children. The Disney Cruise line offers meals with Disney characters and special entertainment geared directly for the younger crowd. Most cruise ships even have floating casinos. Many adults love this, and use this as their evening entertainment. Many cruise lines are like a floating day camp. There are activities planned throughout the day for all ages. If you choose to participate you can, but if you choose to just lay by the pool and read a book or lounge lazily all day you can. You can be as busy or as inactive as you choose.

8. Great Shopping
Cruises offer one-stop-shopping. A cruise offers variety. You can take one flight and get on one boat yet visit as many as seven different islands or locations. To visit that many islands by plane and then stay in a different hotel at each location would be not only expensive but not much fun. You’d have to pack and unpack several times not to mention wasting a lot of your vacation time traveling. Once you are onboard a cruise ship you leave only to visit the places that you dock at. There is no need to pack and unpack and while traveling to your next destination, there is plenty onboard to keep you busy and entertained.

There are also some great classes offered by cruise lines, in everything from origami to bridge to ballroom dancing. And again, these classes and entertainment options are included in the price you pay for the cruise.

Among the only things that are not included in the typical cruise vacation are alcoholic beverages and shore excursions. Many of the higher priced cruises even include these extras. If the shore excursions and drinks are not included, be sure to get a price list for shore excursions and drinks.

It is often possible to save money on shore excursions while on a cruise vacation by booking the tours locally at portside instead of going with the cruise line. Just be sure, however that the book it yourself excursion will get you back to the ship on time.

For all these reasons, cruise vacation can be among the best, and most economical, of all vacation opportunities. The ability to enjoy a week or two week cruise vacation at one low price is one more reason to love cruising.

There is a cruise line out there to fit every need of every individual. Below are some of the things that make each line unique.

Carnival Cruises offers something for everyone and is great for the first time cruiser. There are many different ships available that depart from many different ports around the country. Land and sea prices are available for those who need to fly to a port of departure. Destinations include: the Bahamas, Aruba, St. Thomas, St. John, San Juan Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, the Keys, Cozumel, Hawaii, Alaska, Martinique and Barbados just to name a few.

Celebrity Cruises is a higher end cruise line. They have a sophisticated AquaSpa on board as well as a unique art collection offered on their Galaxy ship. They have received a 5-star rating for their cuisine (not food but cuisine) and include an in-cabin entertainment and information center.

Radisson Seven Seas, Seaborn Cruises and Windstar Cruises offer a little more luxury than even the Celebrity line. The Radisson offers ultimate luxury by sailing smaller ships that have only suites available. They also offer unique destinations such as Tahiti, French Polynesia, Antarctica, the Mediterranean, and Europe. The Windstar ships all have romantic trimasted ships and sail to the Caribbean, The Americas, the Greek Isles and Europe.

No matter what you are wanting to get out of a vacation, whether it be entertainment, relaxation, great food, or variety a cruise offers all of that at a great price. The next time you are planning a vacation, don’t overlook that great big boat out in the harbor.

 

How To Choose The Right Ship For Your Cruise Vacation

You want to take a cruise vacation, but how do you pick the ship? You’re the cruise planner in the family so first, consider the type of ships. They run the gamut from small yacht like ships to mega-liners holding over 3000 passengers. The small ships normally do not have constant activities throughout the day while the mega-liners schedule loads and loads of things to do. Choose your type of ship by whether or not you want time to yourself or if you want to be entertained. When considering cruise travel keep the following things in mind.

A small ship, 500 or fewer passengers,  will usually have local groups come on board while in port and perhaps a piano player or a duo. This type of ship is for an intimate cruising experience. Being on a small ship is like staying at a beautiful bed and breakfast versus being at a large chain hotel. A smaller ship can also go to less frequented destinations due to its ability to maneuver in tight spots.

A mid size ship, 500 to 1000 passengers, will have small musical shows in the evening while you will be free to do as you please during the day. An advantage to a mid size ship is that lines seldom form and when the do they clearer quickly.

Now, your mega-liners will boggle your mind with activities and entertainment. There are ships out there that have skating rinks and rock climbing walls! When you are on these ships, be sure to carry around the pocket size layout of the ship that will be in your cabin on day one. (Get additional ones at the purser’s deck). The disadvantage of these ships is that they are crowded and you will have to stand in long lines. One important thing to know is that some of the really large ships cannot fit in some of the docking facilities therefore making it necessary to “tender” into port. The tender is a life boat that constantly goes from ship to shore. This is important if you are handicapped or afraid of small boats.

Cruise Tip: When in a large port like Barbados where it is necessary to tender in to shore and back to the ship, be sure you get on the tender that goes to your ship. There may be as many as 8 ships in port and it would be easy to board the wrong tender after a long day of sun and surf. It could make it quite dicey if it is near the time of departure for your ship.

Ask yourself a couple of questions. Do you want an intimate laid back voyage? Are there any facilities that are important to you like spa packages, healthy exercise, or culinary delights, cultural experiences? These are essential questions when planning cruise travel.

Cruise Tip: The Spa Experience. Use the cruise to take a spa vacation while your kids are entertained and your spouse is learning about new Computer techniques. Yes, you can have a spa experience with all the treatments that you have at a traditional spa and the spa cuisine. All of the top lines have healthy alternatives on their menus and some of the spas are state of the art, many of them managed by land based spas. So not only will everyone be entertained, but you can experience that long awaited week at the spa. I have read many cruise reviews that love the spa experience.

If you have a tendency to be seasick, book a mega-liner, you will reduce the chance of that malady. On the really big girls you hardly know you’re moving. (Ships are always referred to as she, her or Lady i.e., the QE2 is known as the grand old Lady of the Seas).

The type of ship should always be considered to get the most enjoyment from your cruise. Rule of thumb is that the larger the ship the more amenities while the smaller ships are more personalized. We took a cruise on a luxury small ship to the Greek Islands and by the second day everyone knew our names and the service was stellar.

One other consideration is the number of ports that you visit. A ship that stops in a port everyday can be tiring, besides it’s nice to spend a day or two at sea. If you are going back to a port previously traveled, stay on the boat. It’s terrific to have the ship all to yourself. These are also good days to visit the gym or schedule a spa treatment, there’s hardly anyone using the equipment or the spa personnel.

Common sense tells you that the longer the trip the older the passengers since they have the time and resources to take long voyages. Ships are very different, from the all day partying of Carnival, to the quiet laid back ultra luxury of SeaDream Yachts.

 

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