How to Choose the Perfect Cruise

(Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Breeze in Europe

When it comes to cruising, Aunt Mavis has been bragging about how many Caribbean cruises she's taken and what great deals she gets. Charlie down the street just got back from cruising in Alaska and says it was his best family vacation ever. The ads on TV sure make cruising sound like a blissfully carefree travel experience.

Whatever your reason for thinking about a cruise vacation, picking the right ship and the right destination are both key to your having a good experience.

There are a lot of ships to choose from – the smallest with under 100 passengers, the largest with more than 6,000 passengers. And these ships cruise to destinations literally around the world.

But before you even start your planning, there are questions to be asked:

Are you looking for a ship where adults and kids – including grumpy teens – will be entertained?

Are you seeking a low-key, romantic cruise experience?

Do you need a ship that can accommodate wheelchairs or limited mobility?

Are you looking for a shipboard singles scene?

Are there ships better suited for multi-generational family reunions than others?

Are you looking to relax in the sun or are you looking to see the world?

The good news is there really is a cruise ship and itinerary to suit nearly every taste – the possible exception being one for people who shun anything to do with group travel.

If you've never cruised before – and even if you have – you will no doubt have tons of questions in the areas of finding bargains and making a booking, cabin choice, ports of call, shipboard activities and food, among others.

In an upcoming issue, we will look at all things cruise. But first we want to hear your cruising questions, tips and experiences.

You comments may appear in an upcoming Trip Coach column.

(In addition to being Budget Travel's Trip Coach, Fran Golden is author of the upcoming eBook, Frommer's How to Plan the Perfect Cruise.)

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