Cruise Ship Vacations: Part 1

Cruise Ship Vacations: Part 1

Cruise Ship Vacations: Background

I figured I would switch it up a little bit today and go into a topic that definitely deserves some attention because working hard and making all the money in the world is great, but it is how you relax and “check out” for everyday life that is key.  I believe it is essential to use vacation time when it is given to you by your employer.  I will never understand why people get to the end of the year with most of their time off still unused.  What I can tell you is I make sure I use 100% of my time and live life to the fullest.  Now you’re probably wondering what my vacation of choice is and I can tell you hands-down that it is cruise ship vacations.  Ever since I stepped on my first cruise ship back in 2006 I have been hooked!

Cruise Ship Vacations: Do Your Research

I am the first to admit that when some people here about cruise ship vacations, they are immediately turned off by the notion of just spending time on a floating hotel when they could be doing something else.  This is where I believe people are misinformed and not up to speed for all that is included in your travels while on these 1,000 foot long behemoths of the seas.  Cruise ship vacations for me start months and sometimes more than a year in advance.  Even though there are so many cruise lines to choose from, we have a loyalty to Carnival Cruise Lines as we feel they offer the most economical cruise ship vacations.  Knowing that we are primarily going to be looking at 1 cruise line, it really does cut down on the research as there are plenty of cruise lines and over 100 cruise ships out there for you to enjoy.
Carnival itself has 25 different ships and the largest fleet amongst the cruising industry and can offer the most cruise ship vacations.  Now Carnival may not have the biggest or the “best” ships, but for 1 week vacations at a time you will still be hard pressed to be bored and do everything while onboard.  The first thing you need to do is determine what location you would like for your cruise: Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaskan, Bahamas, etc.  Once you have locked in on a location and for myself personally, it is always a Caribbean cruise without a doubt because it just isn’t vacation without the warm sun.  Now that you have an area you would like to visit, you now have to cross reference this with the sailing dates of the cruise you want and what port the ship leaves from.  A majority of cruise ship vacations will depart from Florida with a few other port locations across the US in California, Texas, Maryland, South Carolina, and New York.

Cruise Ship Vacations: Choosing A Room

Alright, so you have just found the cruise you wanted, on the boat you wanted, and leaving from the departure port you wanted, so what is next you might ask?  For cruise ship vacations, not all cabins are created equal.  There are normally 4 tiers of rooms: Interior, Oceanview, Balcony, and Suites.  Let’s go over a few brief examples of what these rooms entail.

  • Interior: the smallest-sized room, with no window to the outside
  • Oceanview: a room with a window or porthole (a round window) with a view to the outside, often similarly sized to an inside cabin or a bit larger; also known as oceanview
  • Balcony: a room featuring a verandah that allows you to step outside without going up to a public deck
  • Suite: a larger cabin, often with separate living and sleeping areas, and a wide variety of extra amenities and perks

As you can probably imagine the pricing certainly does fluctuate between the different categories.  On a typical cruise ship vacation, you can probably be looking at the following pricing scenario.  Interiors are obviously the cheapest rooms, Oceanview is roughly 25% more than an interior, Balcony is about 20% more than an oceanview, and a Suite is at least 60-70% more than a balcony and a minimum of 3 times the amount of an interior room.  As you can see your budget for cruise ship vacations will be a big factor on what room you choose.  For me personally, a balcony room is the only way to go.  You can always step outside your room, onto your private balcony, and listen to the waves crash as you sail across our massive oceans!  To be continued in future parts where we will get into payments, the ships itself, activities, dining, ports of call, etc….

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