I have been on two separate cruises in the past three years.
Our first cruise was a family trip that included my entire immediate family (thanks Mom and Dad!) on the Disney Fantasy. Our second cruise was just for me and my husband on the Carnival Dream. Cruising is a great way to spend a vacation. If you are thinking of booking a cruise, here are the top four things that you need to know.
At first glance, a cruise can look very cheap compared to other vacations. Most cruises start out at $600 per person for seven nights. This includes your room, food, basic drinks and activities on the ship.
However, this price does not include gratuities, which usually runs about $100 extra per person. The final price really depends on your choices. You’ll pay less for an interior room and more for a room with a balcony. Not all cruises are alike in what is included in the stateroom price. It can seem like there is always an opportunity to spend more on the ship, so set a budget and check your account on a daily basis to make sure you don’t overspend.
I have been on four different excursions during my two trips. Excursions are an extra cost, but they are a way for you to experience another country while also doing something fun. You can purchase an excursion through the cruise line or through other port excursion companies. Usually these will cost anywhere between $60-$120 per person. Check the reviews other cruisers have left before booking. Many activities take longer to get to, and you end up traveling more than you actually get to spend doing the activity.
During my first cruise, we had an interior stateroom on the ninth floor toward the middle of the ship. I could feel the boat’s movement, but it really wasn’t that bad. On my second cruise, we had an interior stateroom on the 11th floor at the front of the ship. The movement was constant, and the walls would shudder when the seas were rough. For those who are bothered by sea sickness, book a room in the middle of the ship, preferably a lower level. We tried Dramamine and pressure bracelets, which work well. After the first 24 hours or so, your body starts to adjust. There is also a patch that is worn behind the ear that is available by prescription.
My favorite part of a cruise is you can make it what you want. There is always something to do on the activities list, which is usually included in the room price. There is a nightly show either before or after dinner. Some things are extra, like bingo and classes, but for the most part, activities onboard the ship are included with your ticket. Cruises are trying to tailor to everyone, so you will see a wide range of activities. There is literally something for everyone.
A cruise vacation is a great option for both couples and families alike. It can be a great way to get a taste of other countries, and you will not go hungry onboard the ship. Many of the ships offer pools and waterslides to make it fun for the whole family. I would highly recommend a cruise for your next vacation.
Kristina Phelan is a former Spokane-area resident now living in Illinois. Visit her website at www.mamabearmoxie.com.
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