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Cruise Tips – How to Pick A Cruise Vacation

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In just a few weeks I’m taking a weekend away with my honey. No kids. No house. No work. No real responsibility. (Except to try to remember to take a buncha pics!)

We are cruuuuuuising!!

This is our first short cruise. Just a Friday to Monday getaway for Memorial Day.
I couldn’t be any more excited.

We have a bunch of financial goals, so we did this trip on the cheap. I convinced John (honestly, it didn’t take much convincing at all) that since we “saved” so much by painting the house ourselves instead of hiring out, and didn’t go away in April for his birthday, that we “earned” this trip!

 We’re going to the Bahamas!

 I looked at Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean, and decided on the latter… partially because we love to rack up our Crown and Anchor cruise points, and partially because for a quickie getaway, we wanted to kinda ‘go with what we know.’

magesty of the seas cruise okdani 

My tips for picking a cruise vacation:

 If cruise line is not a concern, I say choose your cruise by:

Searching by dates first – Obviously you’ve got to be able to fit the trip in your schedule. We chose this weekend, because we have the Monday off from work, and have many hands on deck to take the kids. We’re choosing our next cruise vacation around our Anniversary in October.

Then look at the departure port – Are you near a cruise port? Which port can you drive or fly to easily? Which port can you fly to the most inexpensively?

Next search by itinerary – Do you want to go somewhere you’ve never been before? Do you have a preference of islands? Do you care how long you stay on each island? If you tender or dock?

Compare Ships – You do this based on what’s important to you. The cruiseline website and sites like CruiseCritic.com and cruiseclues.com have loads of info on each ship. Take a bit of time to research your options once you’ve narrowed down by date/port/itinerary. Do you want lots of activities? A great kids program or nursery? Do you want an adults-only area? Lots of dining? A casino with certain games? Private dining options? Several sports/fitness options?

After your research you should be able to pick a few good options that suit you.

My best secrets:

Go to cruisecompete.com and enter in your top 3-5 choices. You’ll immediately receive responses with quotes from multiple travel agencies basically bidding for your business! (Read carefully, they offer goodies like tips paid for, on-board $$ credits, bottles of wine, free dining at specialty restaurants, free cruise insurance, etc.)

Book as early as possible and be sure to check pricing daily if you can, rate-drops happen fairly often, and you can call and get your costs reduced! (This is the norm, your agent will do it happily.)

You’re welcome 🙂

We’re on a small, older ship called The Majesty of the Seas and hitting Royal Caribbean’s private island in the Bahamas on Saturday, and Nassau on Sunday.

I’m excited to have a grown up getaway with John. And glad to have a little trip on the horizon to tide me over until NYC in July. You’ll be hearing more cruise talk until the minute I leave…. you’ve been warned!


When’s your next trip! Are you into cruising?

(UPDATE: You can view the Cruise Recap Here!)

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The Ultimate Cruise Planning Guide!

Sunday 30th of August 2015

[…] “Cruise tips-How to pick a cruise vacation” Dani of OK, Dani discusses departure ports, itineraries and how to compare cruise ships. Dani is […]

LaShawn

Sunday 3rd of May 2015

I agree with your tips! I haven't been on a cruise since before Pookah was born, but I'm thinking about a short weekend getaway this summer!

Quiana

Saturday 2nd of May 2015

Hooray for cruising! Your tips were so helpful for me and Uka the first time around and now we're hooked. I can't wait til the two of us can take a couples cruise again. Hope you guys have an amazing time!

Nadeen

Friday 1st of May 2015

Have fun! I love Royal Caribbean! My last cruise with them was on Oasis of the Seas. Amazing! Great tips esp on cruise compete. I use a cruise travel agent to get me some perks when I cruise.

Alisha

Thursday 30th of April 2015

Next cruise I won't OVERPACK! Lawd my mom had me thinking I had to change and look fancy at every meal...not! LOL Can't wait to see pics from your trip and here's to that baby that will be born January...LMAO!!!

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