6 Tips for Planning Your Perfect Cruise

June 6, 2023

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One of the most overwhelming questions that I receive on a weekly basis is, "How you do you plan your cruises?". It is a great question that I know after I went on my first cruise in 2014 (and was excited to go back on many additional cruises!) I researched myself. Before I start though I do want to say that I don't think that there is necessarily "one right way" to plan for your perfect cruise! I really believe that each trip is special and unique in their own ways and I hope that these 6 tips and ideas will give you some starting points to help you plan a fun-filled and memorable vacation! 

This post actually came at the perfect timing since I am in the midst of planning a couple of cruises for the future so it was fun to write this post and consider a lot of different things! Depending on who you are traveling with it is always fun to get together and plan out all of the details. If you are traveling with those who live far away (like I am for a couple of upcoming trips) than lots of text messages, fb messages, face-timing and phone calls happen. *smiles* Thankfully with modern technology it makes it extremely fun and easy to plan a fun trip! 

Here are 6 tips to help you plan your perfect cruise:
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1. Figure out where you want to go.
This first tips is the most fun and yet can be the hardest decision to make. Our world is so beautiful and there are so many different amazing cruising options. You can chose to see so many amazing places without even leaving North America! And then when you consider European, Asian, or African cruises you have so many different options to consider. 

And don't forget to consider a river cruise! If y'all have been around here for a little bit of time then you know that I fell in love with River Cruising after our Rhine River Cruise  in 2018 and highly recommend it! (Curious about the differences between an ocean and river cruise? Check out this blog post here: River Cruising vs. Ocean Cruising: 23 Key Differences to Know)
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One of the first things to consider is your all-time dream places to visit. Cruising can be an affordable way to be able to see some of your dream destinations at an affordable cost so consider where you have always wanted to travel. Also think about the weather- are you hoping to go to a Caribbean or warm-weather destination or are you looking for adventure in Alaska? 

The Galapagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador in South America, is also an increasingly popular region for cruise ships. It's the perfect destination for cruise travelers wanting to admire the abundant wildlife, and stunning scenery, all surrounded by shimmering blue waters. Whether traveling alone or with your family and friends, there's something to do for everyone on the islands. A Galapagos cruise is worth it!

Consider all of these things as you dream about where you want to go.

Some additional posts to help you with your list making in this step: 

For those doing a pre or post land option in Alaska, you may find these posts helpful:
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2. Choose Your Cruise Line
Every single cruise line has different pros and cons to it. Some are incredibly cheap but not the most clean. Some are extremely expensive and only travel to certain ports. You will want to really think through where you want to spend your money and what is the most important things to you. Since I am cruising with a chronic illness, some very important things to me are the price, the cleanliness of the cruise line, the reputation of the cruise line (i.e. I don't want to get on a ship that has had a ton of different "health issues"), the allergy-food "friendliness", etc. Think through what is important to you and what you are willing to compromise if money is a factor. 

Some additional posts to help you with this step:
(If you would like to know more about Cruise Lines I have sailed with please click on the different links below)
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3. Choose Your Ship
Every single cruise line has so many different ships that each come with different perks and offers. Make sure to really research not only where you want to go but the different ships that are offered with the cruise line you are taking. 

Some additional posts to help you with this step:
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4. Plan How Long You Want to Go
Cruising is wonderful in that it offers short and long cruises to some of the most beautiful destinations. If you are short on time you can still take a 2 or 3 night cruise. You may think that it is not long enough to get away or relax, but honestly, every single 3 night cruise I have taken has been wonderful. Sometimes all you need is a few days away to get refreshed and inspired. 
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5. Choosing Shore Excursions
Once you have picked where you want to go and how long you want to cruise for the next exciting thing that you get to choose is what shore excursions you will want to do. I have done a variety of different types of shore excursions. I personally think that it is fun to pick a shore excursion and then still have time to explore the port city that you are stopped in. 
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This has happened quite a few times on different cruises but one of my favorites was on the Viking River Cruise where we had a tour in the morning, then my mom and I went to Mass in France and then spent the rest of the day exploring Strausbourg on our own. It was absolutely wonderful.  
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My parents and I loved our snorkeling adventure at Coco Cay and then loved spending time exploring the island. Choosing Shore Excursions can be a bit overwhelming but it is so fun to choose from all of the different options. Take time to really explore and compare and it will make your cruise even more perfect! 
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Sometimes you may want to splurge on an excursion that you have always wanted to do. This was the case for Emily and I when we chose to invest in Aquaventure at Atlantis while on our Disney Cruise. 
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We had the best time but it was a splurge that we saved for for almost a year. Do we regret it? Not at all. We both have said that we probably could never afford to do it again, but it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime memory! Sometimes the best excursions have been the cheapest and sometimes you splurge on one that you will never forget! 

Another option to try is booking shore excursions from My Cruise Excursion, an independent booking platform for excursions specialized on cruise guests. The main benefits are the small group size as well as the low prices compared to the excursions of the cruise lines. It's worth checking out their offers!Caravan Sonnet Blog6. Choosing What to Pack
Packing for a cruise is one of the most fun things to do! If you are looking for packing tips you can find the following posts I have written:

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I hope that these 6 tips have been helpful! As always thank you so much for stopping by and reading today on the blog! Y'all know how much I love cruising, so please let me know if y'all have any questions!


  1. Oh man. I've always wanted to go on a cruise! It's definitely on my bucket list.
    Great post! :D

    1. Thanks so much Anjali!! I definitely recommend it!! I fell in love with cruising and recommend it to everyone!! :) Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment!