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Cruising is one of the best vacations you can take. Cruising accounts for about 15% of all vacation travel and that percentage is increasing each year. If you add up all the expenses of a vacation, cruising is one of the more economical types of vacations. When you choose to cruise you will get 4 or 5 star quality service depending on the cruise line. Plus meals, entertainment, and transportation to different ports is included in the cruise fare. Cruising is exciting, luxurious and fun. If you have not cruised you’re missing out on a truly exceptional vacation.
There are a variety of cruise lines to choose from. All cruise lines offer excellent service, but they all have quite different experiences. There are many things to consider when choosing a cruise line. Don’t just choose a cruise based on the ports. The cruise line makes a huge difference in the quality and value of your vacation. Each cruise line caters to different types of vacationers. It is especially important to sail on the right type of cruise line for your first cruise. Here are a few very general guidelines: (Please note that luxury and specialty cruise lines are not included.)
Even among cruise lines there can be a difference in the experience from ship to ship. Cruise lines have ships that vary in size. Larger ships generally have more to do for the active traveler, while smaller ships have more individualized service. Again, it comes down to the experience that you are looking for. Some cruise ships cater to certain lifestyles. There are some ships that are more family friendly than others. There are some ships that have better than usual spa services. There are some ships that have amazing nightlife.
Probably most of what you’ve heard is correct. Cruising is a good vacation value and a unique vacation experience. Your expectations should be set by the vacation experience you want to have. There are so many ways to research the cruise experience. The best advice you can get would be from a travel professional and your friends and family that have cruised. There are also some web sites that let passengers post about their cruise experience. You can look at these sites but much of the information is not as accurate as it could be. Many of these sites only have negative postings because those who enjoyed their vacation usually won’t take the time to post. Read the reviews but don’t let them scare you away from the experience. As with all vacations and travel, cruising can have a few bumps, but they are nothing that should ruin your vacation.
Please visit our cruise line rankings to see how the cruise lines stack up against each other. Our Cruise Q & A section will also answer many questions for first time cruisers.