With thousands of ports around the world, no wonder choosing a cruise itinerary is such an overwhelming task, especially if you’re setting sail for the first time. Here are a few guidelines for choosing your cruise destination:
Personal Style: First, ask yourself a few questions. Do you prefer tropical islands, the beach, sun and water sports found in the Caribbean? Do you want to experience the rich history of Europe? Have you been longing to see the glaciers and wildlife of Alaska? Do you see yourself relaxing on deck at sea for several days or do you want port-a-day touring in Europe?
Embarkation Port: If you are the type who wants to drive to your port of embarkation this will, of course, limit you to ships that sail from those cities and destinations to which they are headed. On the other hand, if you are willing to fly to a distant port, you will have more options for seeing places you would not have access to otherwise.
The Destination “Season”: Look at the cruises available for the time period for when you want to travel. Some destinations have their cruising seasons, while others have peak seasons but offer cruising year round. For example, Alaska’s season is May through September, while you can cruise the Caribbean year round.
Budget: What can you afford? A port-intensive itinerary could mean more money out of pocket for transportation, touring and excursions, while a cruise with more sea days could save you money (as long as you refrain from added-fee onboard activities). If you’re limited by both time and cash, then a shorter 3, 4 or 5-day cruise might be an option.
Most importantly, do your research. With a little planning, you’ll find the perfect cruise for your own personal style.