Cruising 101: Choosing your itinerary

In:
15Jun2010

One of the first considerations (of many) is which cruising itinerary, or schedule of ports that your ship will visit, to take.  Royal Caribbean serves quite a number of ports around the world, so choosing the one for you to go one can be tricky for a first timer.  Like many choices on cruising, your budget will dictate a lot of what your options are.  

Budget

Sure that cruise to the Mediterranean sounds great, but given the cost of airfare and the cruise itself, it may not be financially practical.  Figure out about how much you're willing to spend on your cruise.  Be sure to include costs such as airfare, rental car, parking and of course the cruise itself when comparing it against how much you want to spend.  If you're living in the United States, odds are cruises that disembark from the United States will be cheaper overall due to the lower cost of both the cruise and transportation to get there.  

Ports of Call

Once you've figured out about how much you can play with, your list of potential cruises should be narrowed down. Next, you'll want to look at the ports they serve and determine which is of the most interest to you.  Some people are good with a cruise that serves ports close to the United States, while others prefer destinations far more exotic.  When choosing your ports, consider weather, political status, language and other cultural barriers.  

How many nights?

The length of your cruise matters just as much as where your ship takes you.  Shorter cruises will visit less stops but will cost less.  Longer cruises will visit more stops, cost more, but the cost per day may actually be cheaper than a shorter cruise.  If it's your first cruise, a cruise greater than one week may be too much to start with but a 3 night or less cruise may be too little to get a good feeling of if you like cruising.  You'll want something that will not be over or under whelming while fitting into your budget.