Tips for Planning a Cruise

Tips for Planning a Cruise

Cruising can be one of the most economical and enjoyable modes of travel for people of all ages. There are dozens of brands and destinations to choose from and it can be overwhelming when you sit down to start planning. There are four important questions you should ask as you make your decision.

When can you go?

The first two questions might be the most obvious but will have a big impact when it comes to narrowing down your choices. If you can only travel in July, you won’t have as many choices if you want a Caribbean cruise. Conversely if December is when you can go, there’s not likely to be many Alaskan cruises available. Most aggregators (like Orbitz or Expedia) and cruise lines allow you to filter by the month you can travel. Spend some time playing with these options to see what your options are. Keep in mind, destinations like Mediterranean or Asian cruises may seem financially impossible however you can sometimes find these cruises plus airfare for a comparable price to destinations closer to home.

How long?

Once you know when, then the next logical question is how long. You’ll need to factor in travel time so if you’ve only got 7 days to go, count at least 2 as travel days. The length of time you have will also affect which cruises are available. If you’re dreaming of Aruba but only have 5 days, that destination will be almost impossible from the mainland US. You’ll be able to sort the cruise length in your search, allowing you to further reduce the number of options available.

What’s Important to you?

Are you the type who cruises to soak up the sun, enjoy good food, and relax? If so the number of stops and destinations on a cruise probably won’t matter too much. But if you’re more interested in visiting as many stops as possible and experiencing life in the ports than this needs to be taken into consideration. Take for example two different Caribbean cruise options. One is 7 days and one is 5 days and the price difference is several hundred dollars more for the longer cruise. However, the longer cruise doesn’t include any additional ports stops, it just sails to islands further away. Essentially you’re paying for more time on the ship. For some people this might be perfect but others might feel like the money would be better spent in other ways. Pay attention to the itinerary and don’t assume because the cruise is longer you’ll be making more stops.

What should you do?

When at port cruises offer dozens of shore excursions. In the planning stages, review everything that’s offered and then do some research on your own to see what else is available at the stop, that might not be offered as an organized tour. If there aren’t many excursions that are interesting then it may not be a great fit. Really take into consideration your time on and off the cruise ship when making a decision.

The more time you spend in the planning stages for your cruise the more likelihood you’ll have of a  positive experience that fits your style and needs!



  1. cruising is the best vacation anyone can take, in my opinion! The one thing i learned if you go, make sure you plan the excursions before you get on the boat!

  2. I have been cruising since I was a little girl! It is so much fun. Great tips!

  3. I went on one cruise and really enjoyed it.

  4. Thank you. These are very good tips.
    I would love to go on a cruise. Mostly to the islands or Italy 🙂
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  5. I love Cruising! Haven't been in ten years. Kind of afraid to do it with a two and a four year old.

  6. Chasity Boatman says

    Good tips.

  7. These are good tips! I've only been on one cruise, but I had so much fun. I'd love to go back with my husband and son.

  8. clintcoralie says

    My husband would really love to go on one, but I don't know if I could handle being on the water that long. lol. These are great tips though and will keep them in mind. Thanks.
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  9. I would love to take a Disney cruise. My husband is the one who needs the convincing. 😉

    I like that everything is all-inclusive on a cruise.

  10. Petro Neagu says

    As an ex seaman I can only give you the thumbs up for such an useful, well organized post. They are all great tips.

  11. swijnker2014 says

    I can't wait until our kids are just a little older, and then we want to go on a Disney cruise as a family. Have you ever been on one of those? I'd LOVE some cost saving tips!!
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  12. I've been wanting to go on a cruise for a while now. I think I'd prefer a warmer climate over a cold.

  13. Great tips for planning a cruise. Cruising is definitely a high value vacation choice and has something for everyone. I know I'm ready to go again!
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  14. I would SO love to go on a cruise in the near future. I definitely need a vacay!
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  15. Great tips. I've never been on a cruise but would love to go. I didn't realize there were so many things to consider
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  16. I would love to go on a cruise one day! It sounds so fun and relaxing. Thank you for these tips, they are great!

  17. I am not sure if I could handle going on a cruise.

  18. mamatomanyblessings says

    great tips, so want to take my family on a cruise someday – they look like so much fun!
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