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The Ultimate Cruise Guide – 5 Hacks for choosing a cruise that’s right for YOU

The Ultimate Cruise Guide – 5 Hacks for choosing a cruise that’s right for YOU
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They say you either love cruises or you don’t. The two of us definitely belong to the former category. In fact the first article we ever wrote on Bruised Passports was about our experience on a cruise ship 🙂 Ever since we’ve been on tons of cruises around the world and there’s something about sailing to exotic destinations in a floating hotel that never fails to excite us.

 

If you’re going on a cruise holiday soon here are a couple of quick tips to keep in mind:

  1. Start with a 3 or 7 day long cruise if you’ve never cruised before.
  2. Choose a cabin that is in the middle of the ship as this area is usually the most stable, even if the sea is a tad rough. Additionally, choose a deck that is high but never choose the highest deck of the ship.
  3. If you’re a heavy drinker, then make sure you save some cash by opting for a Drinks Package on the first day of the cruise. Similarly if you like coffee, then purchase a Coffee Package to get bang for your buck.
  4. Make sure you attend all evening soirées in order to experience everything a cruise has to offer.
  5. Pack smartly – you will need swimwear, resort wear, and evening wear for a cruise.
  6. The main dining rooms of cruise ships offer amazing meals included in the cost of the cruise. Don’t forget to sample a few à la carte meals there.
  7. Choose a cruise with ports that align with your interest whether it be history, culture, or photography.
  8. Cruise excursions can often get a bit expensive and boring – try exploring some ports on your own if that is a possibility
  9. Every ship has quiet areas, irrespective of how busy or crowded it is. Try finding these secret quiet spots of the ship
  10. If you fancy a multi-destination honeymoon in some exotic part of the world, a cruise is a brilliant choice – opt for a slightly luxurious cruise line and cruise ports that can be explored at a languorous pace e.g. a white sandy beach in the Caribbean 😉

 

With those basic tips in mind, here’s a cheat guide to choosing the PERFECT cruise for yourself. Choose from the 5 categories below and you’re on your way to a memorable vacation:

 

Cruising the Caribbean – are you ready to be whisked away into a dream world?

 

Welcome canapés and champagne while sailing away from Vancouver

Welcome canapés and champagne while sailing away from Vancouver (seen in the background)

 

  • I) First time cruisers

If you haven’t ever been on a cruise before, then we’d suggest choosing a cruise where calm waters are almost a given. There is always a chance of rough seas in areas such as the Norwegian Fjords or Alaska. The solution? A Mediterranean Cruise!

A Mediterranean Cruise is perfect if you’re a first time cruiser because calm waters are almost a given. Mediterranean Cruises dock in countries such as Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Italy, and Spain. The best part is that most Mediterranean Cruises dock in a new country almost every day – it’s so much fun being in a floating hotel and waking up in an entirely new place every single day.

Best time to go: Summer months especially June – September

Perfect for: Curious travellers, first time cruisers

Cost: Mediterranean cruises start at £500/person for a week. This includes accommodation and all meals.

Highlights: Glistening seaside towns such as Dubrovnik, Croatia and Mallorca, Spain and islands such as Santorini, Greece and Capri, Italy.

 

MSC-Preziosa-review-

Jacuzzi on MSC Preziosa with the gorgeous Mediterranean city of Dubrovnik in the background

 

mallorca in one day

Mallorca is one of our favourite Mediterranean ports

 

  • II) Cruises for those on a budget

Unlike popular conception, cruise holidays are perfect for holiday-goers on a budget – you just need to know where to look. Firstly choose affordable cruise companies such as MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises as they have some incredible deals on cruises. Secondly check price comparison websites for great deals before booking a cruise – these websites collate deals from all across the internet and serve up the best deals on a platter.

Perfect for: Budget travellers and families

Cost: 7 day cruises start at £350/person and 14 day cruises start at £5

Highlights: Exotic destinations, all-inclusive dining, great accommodation

What to expect: Check out our review of MSC Precioza or fine dining on a budget

 

The Balcony Cabin on MSC Preziosa

The Balcony Cabin on MSC Preziosa

 

Breakfast in the balcony cabin of our Costa cruise ship

Breakfast in the balcony cabin of our Costa cruise ship

 

Our cabin on Costa Mediterranea - Costa Cruises is extremely affordable

Our cabin on Costa Mediterranea – Costa Cruises is extremely affordable

 

  • III) Cruises for nature lovers

If waking up to picturesque fjords, glacial panoramas, and meadows full of flowers without a person in sight sounds like your idea of fun, then choose a cruise that’s perfect for nature lovers. Two of our favourite cruises for nature lovers are an Alaskan Cruise and a Cruise through the Norwegian Fjords.

 

An Alaskan Cruise provides cruise-goers an opportunity to get up close and personal with glaciers, go kayaking next to walls of ice, hike glaciers, fly over ice fields, and spot whales in the wilderness. On the other hand, Norwegian Cruises provide an opportunity to get acquainted with some of the most stunning panoramas in Europe, go frolicking in meadows full of flowers, or sailing through stunning Fjords. These are two cruises photography enthusiasts and nature lovers will not forget.

Best time to go: Summer months especially June – September

Perfect for: Nature lovers, photographers

Cost: Norwegian and Alaskan cruises start at £700/person for a week. This includes accommodation and all meals.

Highlights: Glaciers, Fjords, ice-fields, and whales

Read More: A Cruise Through The Norwegian Fjords and Exploring Alaska on a Cruise Ship

 

Royal Caribbean Explorer Of The Seas Review

Our ship docked in Olden, one of the most beautiful ports in Norway

 

Royal Caribbean Explorer Of The Seas Review_-35

Date night on the top most deck of our cruise ship in Norway 🙂

 

Hiking a glacier in Alaska - one of the best experiences on a Alaskan cruise

Hiking a glacier in Alaska – one of the best experiences on a Alaskan cruise

 

Margerie Glacier at Glacier Bay National Park cruise cabin

Waking up to the Margerie Glacier at Glacier Bay National Park

 

  • IV) Cruises for party lovers  and foodies

If you want nothing else from a cruise but a good ol’ week of partying and eating like there’s no tomorrow, choose an American cruise line. Carnival Cruises has a flight of huge ships that offer a plethora of dining and entertainment options. Cruises always end with most passengers nursing serious food babies, but Carnival Cruises takes culinary hedonism to a whole new level. We suggest a laid-back Caribbean Cruise for a week jam-packed with fun, food, and ports that look like they’ve just walked out of picture postcards.

Best time to go: All year round

Perfect for: Party lovers, foodies, and laid-back travellers

Cost: Caribbean Cruises start at £500/person for a week. This includes accommodation and all meals.

Highlights: Laid-back excursions in Caribbean islands, dozens of dining options, and 24X7 entertainment

Read More: Cruising the Caribbean on Carnival Breeze

 

Sunsets on a cruise ship in the middle of the Caribbean Sea

 

Cinema under the stars on a Caribbean Cruise

 

  • Luxury travellers

If you’re celebrating a special occasion or just enjoy the finer things in life, then choose a more intimate and luxurious cruising experience. Silversea and The Strand have some of our favourite luxury cruises to offbeat corners to the world such as Eastern Russia, Greenland, and Myanmar. Most luxury cruises also include day trips, bespoke meals, in-room dining, and excursions in the cost of the cruise.

 

Life is very different on board a luxury cruise ship. Ships are much smaller and offer an intimate experience – expect sophisticated guests, decadent cocktails,  excellent service, gourmet meals, and personal butlers. Try a luxury cruise for a bespoke sophisticated experience you won’t forget for a long time.

Perfect for: Luxury travellers, older travellers, culture enthusiasts

Cost: Luxury cruises typically start at £1500/person for a week. This includes accommodation, most excursions, and all meals.

Highlights: Bespoke luxury, intimate cruise ships, and incredible destinations.

Read More: Discovering Myanmar with Strand Cruises

 

Mingun's unusual white pagoda Hsinbyume

One of our cruise ports in Myanmar – Mingun’s unusual white pagoda called Hsinbyume – it’s surreal and SO gorgeous!

 

The Strand Cruise Food

Canapés and Champagne by the pool –  every lil thing on a luxury cruise ship is decadent !!

 

  • V) Cruises for water babies

If the very word ‘holiday’ conjures a vision of stunning beaches, incredible sea life, and tiny islands in your mind, then take an island-hopping cruise. Typically the boats for island-hopping cruises are smaller, which allows them to negotiate narrow waterways and dock at tiny islands. They are also more laid-back and offer a chance to mingle with other guests on board the cruise ship.

A Fiji Island cruise is the perfect pick for water babies – there are dozens of idyllic islands in the area with unparalleled snorkelling and diving opportunities. In fact you will be hard pressed to find water that is so blue and so clear anywhere else in the world. Pack your bags and get ready to be whisked away into a dreamy work of azure lagoons, coral reefs, palm-lined beaches, and scenic hikes.

 

Best time to go: Summer months in the southern hemisphere i.e. September – January

Perfect for: Water babies and beach bums

Cost: Cruises in Fiji Islands start at £800/person for 3 days. This includes accommodation, scuba diving and snorkelling gear, excursions, and all meals.

Highlights: Laid-back excursions in Caribbean islands, dozens of dining options, and 24X7 entertainment

Read More: A Holiday and a Cruise in Fiji

 

Captain cook cruise fiji islands

We woke up to playful baby sharks swimming outside our cruise cabin in Fiji one day 🙂

 

girl on deserted beach in Fiji during one week trip

Deserted beaches, with palm trees, and THOSE waters

 

one week fiji itinerary yasawa islands

Our cruise ship docked at one of the Yasawa islands in the Fijian archipelago

 

That’s it. I hope this guide helps you pick just the right cruise for yourself – have fun you guys 🙂

 

 

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46 Comments

  1. Lovely photographs. The baby sharks and the sunset one are my absolute favourites. Sigh, some day I might get on a cruise. I am afraid it is way out of my budget 🙁

    • Thanks a ton Deepika – always love hearing from you. Hope you make it onboard a cruise ship super soon. Happy Travels 🙂

  2. I’m so tempted by a Cruise so thanks for the tips x

    • Hey Stephanie – hope you book yourself a cruise holiday in 2017 🙂

  3. Thanks for the awesome tips! I’ve been debating on whether or not to book a cruise for me and my boyfriend, but I keep hearing mixed things about it. This definitely makes me feel like I should give it a try.

    • You should definitely give it a try – I realise cruises can be a bit too crowded/overwhelming for some people but we love them 🙂

  4. These tips are wonderful, thank you. I think I’d love a cruise, but my husband is convinced he’d have itchy feet – I’ll have to get him to have a read.

    • Hehe that’s a legitimate concern Penelope. But most cruise ships are so huge, there is NEVER a dearth of things to do onboard 🙂

  5. Some amazing tips that show you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy a cruise! I like the sound of the first 3 most. The kinda places sound most fun x

    • Hey Jodie – glad you enjoyed our guide on cruising for all budgets 🙂 I love hearing what kind of holidays tickle our readers’ fancy

  6. There are certainly so many different types of cruises and so many different areas to cruise. It seems like a great way to see many different places in a short amount of time.

    • Hey Sarah – true that! We always treat cruises as an introduction to new places around the world and fly to those places for a longer time if we like what we see 🙂

  7. I have never been on a cruise yet when I was in Australia and at Sydney Harbour, the sheer amount of cruises that pulled in were amazing to watch and it’s something I would love to do for sure

    • Hey Emma – You’re right – we saw tons of cruises pull up near Sydney Harbour too 🙂 Hope you hop onto a cruise super soon to find out what the hype is about 😉

  8. I’ve never been on a cruise before. It’s one of those things i’ve wanted to do x

    • Hey Hannah- some people might disagree but I really think a cruise needs to be on everybody’s bucket list 🙂

  9. This is such a great informative post, there’s so many different types of cruises these days! I’d love to go on one in the future, maybe around the carribean! That would be the dream! xo

    • Great choice Rachel – a Caribbean Cruise makes for the perfect holiday 🙂

  10. Wow! A 7 day cruise for only 350 per head is pretty impressive and imagine the views you could see along the way!

    • Right?! I totally agree- views are probably my favourite part of cruising to different parts of the world 🙂

  11. This guide is fantastic for a first-time cruiser like me- thanks a bunch!

    • Glad you enjoyed it Adele – I’ve been wanting to put together this Guide to Cruise Holidays for a long time 🙂

  12. Cruises are such a fun experience! I like all the food and activities! I went on one to Bahamas and it was a blast!

    • Ooh we are yet to go fora cruise in the Bahamas but will definitely get around to it soon 🙂

  13. Great tips! I’ve never been on a cruise before, but think I would actually enjoy one.

    • Jemma you must give cruising a go – I love that there is always a plethora of things to do, but you can always escape to gorgeous views in the privacy of your cabin if you want some peace and quiet.

  14. I have never been on a cruise but my other half wants to do one next summer as he’s done one and loved it. He did suggest a Mediterranean one so I’m glad you suggested this for first timers x

    • What a coincidence Rhian – A Mediterranean Cruise is apt for you guys given you’re in UK and I’m pretty sure you two will love it. Make sure you choose a balcony cabin 🙂

  15. Great tips. I’ve never been on a proper cruise before. I might try one of the budget ones first and see how that works before trying something more extravagant.

    • Hey Melanie – try a 3-4 day cruise just to see whether you enjoy it before going on a longer one 🙂

  16. It’s most definitely on my bucket list to do a cruise, maybe when the kids are older!

    • Cruises are actually a perfect holiday with younger kids Lianne – you can leave them in the kids area with a nanny and enjoy some time to yourself 🙂

  17. I’ve never been on a cruise before but I do love sailing and being on boats generally, so I’m sure I’d enjoy it. All the different options you describe sound great, I think I’d find it hard to choose just one. But I will do it one day!

    • Thanks Lauren – think you’ll definitely enjoy cruises if you like sailing. But cruises are super huge (as opposed to sailing boats), so you might find them a tad bit too crowded 🙁

  18. Wow! I am so envious of all your photographs and the destinations you have visited. I would love to go on an Alaskan cruise first, then maybe a Caribbean one. Although your pictures of the Fijian Archipelago make me yearn to see that too!

    • Hehe Tanya – from the sound of it, I think you will go on each one of these cruises super soon 🙂

  19. I would absolutely love to go on a cruise! My friend is setting off an a caribbean cruise in a few days and I’m so jealous!

    • That’s awesome – hope you friend has a whale of a time and persuades you to hop onto a cruise super soon 🙂

  20. Wow these cruises look amazing, theres so much nature to see and I love the mix of being active, romantic and chilling out xxx

    • Thanks a ton – glad you enjoyed reading it. We wanted to put together a list that would have something for everyone 🙂

  21. Great tips! We’ve often thought about booking a cruise and destinations would be a main factor for us x

    • Interesting to hear that – most people choose a cruise based on the comfort and facilities of the vessel but I agree with you – it’s so much fun to choose a cruise holiday based on destinations and ports of call 🙂

  22. The norwegian fjords cruise sounds absolutely perfect, I’d love to go not hat one and see how I like cruises.

    • The Norwegian Fjords are well and truly stunning 🙂 Hope you make it on a cruise soon

  23. i am having total wanderlust after looking at those pics! i’ve never been cruising, I worry about seasickness and that I’ll feel trapped but omg these pics make me want to go – today!!!

    • Do it Rachael – pretty sure you’ll love it 🙂

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