Monday, September 15, 2014

Cruise Planning Tips

Disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way. 
This content was written based by my experience with planning previous and current cruises.

Hi there! I'm Amy, founder and author of Love & Hot Chocolate and Rhode Island State Rep for Northeast Bloggers. If you've visited my blog before, you know that I am completely head over heels for cruising. I've been on two and currently planning my third with my husband for March of next year. I'm here to share with you some valuable advice I've learned when it comes to planning a cruise.

One // Research, Research, Research!
*just listing a few popular cruise lines

While my heart is set on Royal Caribbean, there are other great cruise companies out there that offer so many different things. It's all about what you are looking for during your cruising experience. Be sure to check out cabin and dining options, beverage packages, entertainment and shore excursions before making final decisions. Cruise Critic even has some great information and reviews to help make your final decision.

Two // Book With a Travel Agent

While it might be easier booking a small vacation yourself, but when it comes to cruises, I highly recommend using a travel agent. With a travel agent, we have the ability to get the best price with the best room. If you need to change a date (which we did a few times) it's so simple with no hassle whatsoever. If you need to modify your dining, done. Setting up a payment plan to pay off your cruise? Done. You want to have the best cruising experience, so why not make the booking experience hassle-free too? 

Three // Splurge on the Balcony

If you can do it, definitely go for a balcony. When I went on my first cruise out of New Jersey, I had a balcony and it was absolutely amazing. During my second cruise, my husband and I opted for a promenade room and even though it was affordable, we traveled out of New Jersey in April and hit rough seas. It was awful when we couldn't have access to fresh air 24/7. 

Even though most people are right, you don't spend that much time in your room, it's nice to be able to get the fresh air when you need it or relax during activities. Even laying in bed at night with the door propped open listening to the ocean breeze is a nice way to utilize your balcony. 

Four // Create a Budget

Most, if not all cruise lines require you to obtain a sea pass during your vacation. It allows you on and off the ship, into your room, and links up to your credit card which allows you to pay for drinks, specialty dining and shopping. I highly suggest sitting down before your cruise and create a budget. It's so easy to lose track of what you've already spent and you don't want that surprise bill on the last day of your cruise. Even though you're on vacation, you do still have that rent/mortgage, monthly bills and other expenses. 

Five // Important Cruise Documentation 

This is SO important. I've heard so many stories about people not being able to go on their cruises because they don't have the correct documents they need to board. If you're unsure of what documentation you need, check the FAQ's, and if you're still unsure, call the company and speak with a representative. You will also need a passport. Please, please, please make sure your passport is up to date with correct name and information.

I am not a travel agent or mega experienced cruiser in any means, but I'd be happy to answer any questions and share more photos!

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1 comment:

  1. That balcony! So amazing. That is a great tip, I have only been on one cruise and there was no balcony and I def felt a little cramped!


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