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Cruising 101---Getting Started

Cruising is continuing to be one of the more popular vacation options across all spectrums of demographics. It does not matter if you are a young couple, older couple, couple with children, or even a single person, there is a cruise out there for you. The abundance of ships, itineraries, cruise lines etc have made cruise selection somewhat of a daunting challenge for the cruise vacationer, especially if they are newbies to cruising. And cruise line websites have actually helped confuse more than edify when it comes to helping their would-be customer make the best vacation decision.

So we feel its time to educate our clients and anyone out here in the blogosphere that may be thinking of taking their first cruise but have no idea where to begin and who are tuning into this blog. Stick with us over the next several posts because we are going to break down this cruising 101 series into a few installments. There is just too much to talk about when it comes to selecting the best cruise to fit it all into one post. So this first post is going to set the groundwork for what we think will be a great roadmap for choosing your next or possibly first cruise.

So where do we start? We start with this big question; how long of a vacation are you wanting to take? Can you be on vacation for at least 7 nights? 6 nights? Maybe you can only take between 3 and 5 nights off from work or school etc. Your answer will already narrow down your cruise choices by quite a bit.

For example, if you can take a 7 to 8 night vacation, then the world of cruising is pretty wide open. 7 nights can get you to Alaska, the Western or Eastern Caribbean and even the Southern Caribbean. If you can take up to 9 nights away from home, you just opened up cruises in the Mediterranean as well. But, if you can only be gone between 3-5 days, that takes some destinations off the table. For example, 3-4 nights is not long enough to get you from a US port down to the Eastern or Southern Caribbean simply due to the distance a cruise ship has to travel to get down to those Caribbean ports of Call. 3-5 nights is not long enough for an Alaskan cruise as well due to the same geographic factor. 3-4 nights will typically narrow your choices down to the Bahamas or possibly Bermuda, depending on where you sail from (i.e. a Florida port or possibly a Northeastern US port like New York City). So the length of time really is a huge first step in choosing the right cruise vacation.

The length of time also narrows your ship choices. Most major cruise lines will deploy their larger and newer ships to the longer itineraries. This means the shorter 3-4 night cruises will usually put you on one of the cruise line's smaller and older ships (Disney Cruise Line being the exception).

This is why you will see some cruise advertisements that appear to be extremely cheap. Some cruise lines, like Carnival, will use one of the shorter itineraries and older ships to advertise a really low fare. This low fare tends to get folks excited about cruising because they think they can go on an exotic vacation for practically nothing. Its effective marketing, but it paints an unrealistic picture of what an actual cruise vacation will end up costing. And if someone bites on that low fare offer and they embark on a short cruise on an old ship, their chances of enjoying cruising becomes much less. They may be forever turned off of cruising because of that one cruise. That is a shame when that happens because cruising is a fantastic way to vacation when you are paired with the right cruise, right stateroom and right itinerary that more perfectly fits your personal vacation style.

And speaking of right stateroom etc, we will be addressing the variety of stateroom options as well as the other factors that play into the cruise vacation decision process in our coming installments so subscribe so you can stay in the know and stay tuned!

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