6 tips for planning the perfect cruise

February 7, 2023

caravan sonnet
Hello friends! Happy Tuesday! Today I am so excited to talk about some tips on planning the perfect cruise for your next adventure! 

One of the questions I get asked about the most on a weekly basis is; "How you do you plan your cruises?". It is a great question that I know I spent a ton of time looking up and figuring out when I went on my first cruise back in 2014! Since that time nine years ago (how is that possible?? *smiles*) I have been so blessed to go on many additional ocean cruises and even a river cruise on the Rhine River (which was incredible!). 

I share that to say that along the way there has been lots of different learning curves and so I hope that these 6 tips and ideas will give you some starting points to help you plan a fun-filled and memorable vacation!
caravan sonnet1. Decide 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, African, and throw in river cruising the options can be overwhelming! 

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 a lower 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 and cooler-weather in Alaska? Do you want to see the Mediterranean or would you like to see the fall leaves in their glory on a New England/Canada cruise? Do you want to be out on the ocean or would you rather be on a smaller ship for a river cruise? Consider all of these things as you dream about where you want to go.

Some additional posts to help you with your decision making in this step: 
caravan sonnet2. Choose Your Cruise Line
Every single cruise line has different pros and cons to it. Some are incredibly cheap but not the most detailed due to limited (and sometimes overworked staff). Some are extremely expensive and only travel to certain ports. Some cruise lines have lots of guests and others limit the number. Some cruise lines offer certain package deals while others don't. 

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 also write and share for those 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. 
caravan sonnet3. Choose Your Ship
Every single cruise line has so many different ships that each come with different opportunities (i.e. restaurants, entertainment, on board amenities, etc.) 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 so you will be aware of the things you will have access to while on board (or if weather prevents you from docking at a port).

Some additional posts to help you with your decision making in this step from ships I have sailed on: 
Holland America Cruise Line:

Viking Cruise Line:

Disney Cruise Line:

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line:
caravan sonnet4. 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 2-3 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 lovelySometimes all you need is a few days away to get refreshed and inspired. 
caravan sonnet5. 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. You can read about all of my cruising shore excursions HERE on my travel adventure page, but listed below are just a few of my absolute favorites: 

Viking Cruise Line:

Disney Cruise Line:

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line:

Carnival Cruise Line:

Some cruise lines (like Viking) include shore excursions in their price tag while others require you pay for individual experiences and adventures. Probably the most expensive port adventure that I saved for about a year was the Atlantis and Aquaventure my sister and I did in the Bahamas back in 2016. 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 so do your research of what you want to see the most and don't forget that you can see so much by just walking around the ports you are docked at too (especially on a river cruise!)

Some additional posts to help you with your decision making in this step: 
caravan sonnet6. 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:

I hope that these 6 tips are helpful! Let me know if y'all have any questions! Happy Tuesday friends!

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