Cruise vacations are like no other vacation in the world. Passengers on cruise ships won’t spend hours on end sitting in a cramped seat, eating plane food, or driving for miles and miles without stretching their legs or walking around. On cruise vacations, getting to your destination is part of your exciting journey! Cruise passengers will dine on gourmet food, hang out by the pool, gamble at casinos, have a relaxing spa treatment, or dance the night away at a disco. The options are virtually endless!
Millions of passengers choose to cruise each year mainly because cruise vacations offer an opportunity to explore more than just one place. Depending on destination and how long you plan to stay on your cruise vacation, you will visit several, and in some cases dozens of different ports of call. Some ports of call are historic or rich with nightlife, others are exotic and filled with opportunities to snorkel, animal watch, or relax on a black, green or white sand beach.
Some of the most popular cruise lines in the industry include: Silversea Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean International, Disney Cruise Line, and Carnival Cruise Line. Silversea Cruises, Crystal Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas are popular among affluent, seasoned travelers. Regent Seven Seas, however, features bigger ships and the environment is a bit more relaxed. Regent Seven Seas is also considered one of the most romantic cruise lines in service today, so it offers the perfect cruise vacation for honeymooners and couples. Couples will enjoy French and Polynesian dining, spa treatments, waterspouts, and romantic shore excursions such as river cruises, dinner cruises, horseback riding through the mountains, wading in the water underneath waterfalls, and more.
Royal Caribbean International attracts a unique mix of passengers from different backgrounds and with different interests making it the perfect cruise vacation for first-time cruisers. This means vacationers will find a wide variety of activities, dining and entertainment options, as well as very laid-back environment. Disney Cruise Line cruise vacations are perfect for families, couples, and singles looking for a festive atmosphere and excellent prices, while Carnival Cruise Line is tops for single, 20-30-somethings looking to party all day and all night. Carnival Cruise Line also attracts young married couples as well.
Depending on the cruise line, you can expect to travel to popular destinations on your cruise vacation such as the Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii or romantic and exotic destinations such as Tahiti, Fiji, Australia, Bermuda, and Europe. Exotic destinations that are also popular for romance and adventure include: Africa, Asia, the Middle East, New Zealand, and Costa Rica.
When you are ready to book your cruise vacation, there are several options available to you. You can contact your local cruise travel agent or you can contact the cruise line that appeals to you the most. A great place to search for certified cruise travel agents is with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). The site has a search function that will help you locate certified cruise travel agents or counselors in your area. If you already have a cruise line in mind, visit the cruise lines’ website to book your cruise vacation (click here for the cruise lines directory). If you prefer to call, jot down the cruise lines’ toll-free number from the website and give them a call.
A great way to get the scoop on a specific cruise vacation before you book is by reading cruise reviews. The vast majority of cruise reviews have been written by people just like you that would like to share their cruise vacation experiences – good or bad. Continue reading to find out about the top cruise review websites.
The top cruise review websites are:
Cruisecritic.com offers more than just reviews, this site has several search functions to help you find everything from bargains and discounts to theme cruises, and exotic itineraries. The site also includes features, news, planning tools, and a variety of cruise message boards where fellow cruisers can exchange stories and information.
Cruisemates.com offers short reviews and ratings. The two types of ratings include: star ratings and value ratings. Star ratings are based on one question — “how good is this ship?” One star is the worst, five stars is the best. Cruisemates.com takes everything from age and accommodations to food, service, and entertainment into account when rating the worlds cruise ships. Value ratings or “thumbs up” ratings are all about the “Bang for your Buck.” Five thumbs up means the ship is an excellent value while one thumb up means you won’t find much of anything that resembles a value here.
Reviews, ratings, rankings, and popularity contests — at Cruisereviewsonline.com find out which cruise ships are at the top and which ones are not. Get other information on cruise lines, as well as information, ratings and rankings on embarkation ports, and ports-of-call.
Cruisereport.com offers the lowdown on cruise lines from A to Z. Unbiased reviews, cruise searches, quotes, and feature articles are just a few of the sites extras. You can also search for “the perfect cruise,” and browse through news pieces about cruising. After checking out their ratings and reviews, you can also search for discounts and deals. With more than 50,000 visitors per month, Cruisereport.com has information on roughly 8,500 current sailings.
Cruisedirectonline.com relies on reader surveys to help keep reviews & ratings in check. In addition to cruise ship reviews and ratings, visitors to the site will find top ten and top thirty lists, as well as feature articles about the best of the best in the world of cruises. The site has other information about discounts, as well as information on roughly 12,000 sailings. Cruise Direct Online has been featured in Frommer’s Budget Travel Magazine, and on MSNBC, CNBC, MSN Money, and more.