Today we mix things up a bit and take another look at the world of cruise vacations, from a passenger point of view, highlighting a bunch of new ways to get more out of the experience. Like with any mode of travel, it is rather easy to fall into a rut of sorts with cruising. Becoming complacent about topics they were once on guard about, cruise travelers can gain by taking another, perhaps more focused look.
Post-Cruise Review – At the end of every cruise vacation, at some point the question comes up among those of us traveling “What was your favorite part of the cruise?” Everyone has an answer although it might take getting some distance between the ship and you to put it in perspective. Take that a step or two further and talk about the parts you did not like. Start your quest to get more out of your cruise by putting your experience on the last one under a microscope.
Pick The Right Ship For You – First-timers will need to do their research basically blind, not having been on a cruise ship before. A good travel agent can help with that. As that traveler racks up more ship on their cruise history, they often tend to go off on their own without an agent to help. Not really a good idea in and of itself. Sure, do the research online or via brochures to narrow down the search but get back with that agent before buying. There are simply too many different fare options to go it alone.
Budget, Budget, Budget – …and don’t let that budget scare you off. Yes, that advertised price looks good and the inclusive nature of cruise vacations gets travelers more for their money. But the luster of the fabulous deal becomes a bit less shiny when we add on taxes, shore excursions, doing anything on the ship that is not included and more. One of the most distinct wake-up calls on pricing comes to those who choose Alaska as a cruise destination. Shore tours there can often equal as much or more than the cruise itself cost. That’s not a good reason to skip Alaska but maybe reason to plan further in advance to enable a larger budget for the overall experience.
Get A Chase Card With Purchase Eraser – We got one of these a while ago and love the easy way it works. Basically, after a travel-related charge has been posted to the account, we go in and ‘erase’ the purchase with points that we earn from using the card to buy everything from groceries to clothing. (see this YouTube video for more)
Pledge Your Loyalty, Begin A Conversation – Cruise line loyalty programs have matured right along with the industry as more and more travelers seek to gain the advantages those programs offer. Nothing new there. A different way of thinking now: stick with a brand to maximize benefits. Sleeping around with other brands does look good on a cruise history and may help us appreciate the brands we like best. Still, there is something to be said for being loyal…which is actually the topic of an upcoming post The Hidden Benefits Of Cruise Line Loyalty.
Engage The Crew – When I walk into a situation where an overly-demanding passenger is rather rudely asking for something that crew member really can’t do anything about (make the sun come out, lower the price of something, etc) I just think ‘stupid’. There is little to be gained and a whole lot to be lost by being on the passenger crew members want to avoid.
Relax And Go With The Flow – There really is nothing to be gained by getting tense and irritable over …well…just about anything that happens when traveling. We can plan all we want to but if a snow storm hits and closes the airport we were flying out of, no one is going anywhere. Pick the best backup option and go with that, serenely.
Avoid The Negatives -…and by that I mean the negative people for the most part. There will be some on every ship and all they do is drag down what might have otherwise been a memorable part of the experience.
Try, Try Again – Not normally a fan of evening entertainment? Have not been to a show on a cruise ship in years? Give it another try now. In the last half-decade cruise lines have taken a serious look at what had been a tiny part of the overall experience. You might like it now.
Travel Some Other Way – Lost a bit of the excitement you once had for the whole notion of travel via cruise ship? Try a land trip where not so much is included. The allure of being in one place for the entire trip can wear off pretty fast for some travelers, especially children.
The whole notion of taking another look really amounts to nothing more than verifying the value offered by cruise vacations in the first place. Value may indeed have been a major factor in our decision to give our business to any particular cruise line…but that just gets us on the ship. What happens after that is something to enjoy as it happens but take a serious look at after the fact.
This article is brought to by Cruise Compete. CruiseCompete.com allows you to easily compare multiple offers from Cruise Experts.