There’s an infinite number of cruises, cruiselines, tour companies, destinations and itineraries available, it really can be quite dizzying. Then you are hit with all the online sales, bonus inclusions, super savings and more, all vying for your attention. So, how do you choose the right cruise or tour for you?
Don’t let the decision confuse, bamboozle or mystify you. When you know the right questions to ask your Cruise and Travel specialist, it makes the whole planning & booking process so much easier.
For a better cruising or travelling experience all round, and BEFORE you book try asking your Cruise and Travel specialist …
1. Have you ever cruised or travelled before?
The experience is part of the knowledge, and an experienced Cruise and Travel specialist should have travelled or cruised before (and some will have travelled many, many times before!) Most will know first hand what it’s like to cruise and travel and are more than willing to share that information with you. Of course, everyone starts somewhere, so if you come across a “newbie”, you can always share your experiences with them! Everything you tell them will be like gold, it will help to build their own knowledge, and that of other customers too, when they pass it on!
2. Would you recommend this destination/cruise ship?
A personal recommendation about a destination, suggestions on what to see and do both onboard and while in port will give you an insider’s viewpoint to make your holiday the best it can be. Cruise and Travel specialists have access to information from cruiseline and travel suppliers, colleagues, their own experiences and other customers to help advise you on anything cruise or travel.
3. Can I save on my fare?
The more flexible your dates are, the more likely your Cruise and Travel specialist will be able to give you a variety of pricing options. We can advise you about current sales, available discounts, inclusions, any add-ons or bonus onboard credit and more which can all add up to savings for you. And make sure to mention if you are a senior, have cruised or travelled before or been in (or currently serving in) the Military – it may make a difference, and it never hurts to ask – right?
Remember though, if your Cruise and Travel specialist offers you a great deal, grab it while you can – it may not last.
4. Which cruise cabin is best?
OK, not all cabins are created equal. Factors such as your budget, location preference, and how many passengers will all affect a cabin choice. Generally speaking, cabins are most often come in either twin or quad share, with some cruise lines offering single cabins, larger family size cabins, owner’s suites and penthouse multi-roomed suites. Each cabin varies in size and amenities – a larger balcony, higher floor, couch vs a chair, porthole vs window …the list is almost endless. Benefit from your Cruise and Travel specialist’s advice – ask for their suggestion. And remember, life onboard is pretty much the same for everyone when you are asleep.
4a. On the other side, when travelling – which hotel is best?
This will depend again on your budget, where you want to stay, if you are interested in popular attractions or secret hidden gems. Do you want ultra-luxury or are you happy with cheap and cheerful as long as it is clean and comfortable? Will you hire a car – and need parking? Will you eat at the hotel or want a selection of good restaurants nearby? There are so many questions, equally with so many answers. Again, benefit from your Cruise and Travel specialist’s advice and ask for a suggestion based on your preferences.
5. Tell me about dining options?
Do you prefer to eat early and then dance the night away, or catch an early show and eat later? If cruising, do you prefer assigned vs open-seating? What about onboard or nearby restaurants? Is their in-room dining? Your Cruise and Travel specialist can be a wealth of information.
6. What is the drinking age onboard a cruise or at my destination?
Different cruiselines, different rules. OK, you may think this is a ridiculous thing to ask, however some countries, and cruise ships have a drinking age of 21. And, while we are here… another question! If you are taking kids on a cruise, how old do they need to be to have a cabin on their own? Again, age 21 is the magic number. (Luckily though, when travelling or cruising in Australia the drinking age is set at 18yrs (most locally available cruiselines Carnival, Princess and P&O have set a cabin age of 18 years.). If this affects you or your family or friends, we say ASK!
7. Do I need a Visa?
The right documentation is ESSENTIAL to have when travelling far and wide. Most countries allow for brief visits to ports; however, your arrival and disembarkation points may differ, especially if you spend a few extra days exploring. Don’t leave it til the day before travel to discover you need 3 visas, otherwise you may be onboard for the duration (or worst still, unable to travel!). It’s always good to be aware of this, and your agent should be able to advise.
8. What about my passport?
Again, get your ducks all in a row and make sure you have all your documentation ready to go. Some cruises (short cruises to “nowhere” or Australia ONLY) may only need a driver’s license or similar ID to get onboard. While travelling internationally, it usually requires at least (if not, more than) 6 month’s validity on a passport. It’s always best to confirm details with your agent well before your travel date.
9. What is covered if I buy travel insurance?
It is essential firstly, that you have travel insurance – just in case. Make sure you know what’s covered vs what’s not. What happens if you cancel your travel? If the cruise is delayed or cancelled? Will you be reimbursed and how long will that take? What if you break a leg and need a helicopter airlift off the ship. It may sound unlikely, but they cost a bomb, and you don’t want to be the one that has to foot the bill… that’s why you buy travel insurance!
10. Is there a direct contact number if I have questions or there are any issues?
You are late to the port and see your ship sailing into the sunset – what do you do? A direct link to your consultant or helpline is handy to have. It’s one of the big differences between a “do-by-self” booking approach and a fully experienced, qualified Cruise and Travel specialist who have solutions at their fingertips to assist you where they can.
All this and more should be discussed when planning and booking your next cruising holiday. And a really good, experienced Cruise and Travel specialist, like ours, will have everything right at their fingertips ready to advise and share their love of cruising with you. Call DISCOVER365 today on 1300 830 786 and let’s get you travelling!
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Written by Jacqueline Hamilton