When choosing a cruise vacation it can be easy to get carried away by the destinations and exciting ports of call. Often times it can be easy to forget about the cruise ship and what it offers. When it comes to booking your cruise vacation the size of the cruise ship should be considered along with where you want it to go.
Cruise vacations offer a range of options from expedition-style journeys sailing to far-off destinations to classic voyages that visit the world’s greatest cities. You name it, traveling by cruise ship offers a wealth of things to do to suit all tastes, abilities and inclinations.
But,the size of the cruise ship does matter. There are benefits to both large and small ships. Therefore, it’s imperative for prospective cruisers to define what’s important to them. Do you want a vessel small enough to call at remote ports or one large enough where there’s a never ending list of organized activities? Do you prefer to wear formal clothes or will casual options suffice?
Also, keep in mind the kind of facilities you want on your cruise. After all, the amenities of the ship are considered an essential part of the cruise experience. What matters to you most: a state-of-the-art spa and gym, a lively casino, multiple dining venues, Vegas-style entertainment, children’s program – or all the above?
Anyone who cruises knows the potential for crowd in ports when numerous large ships have tied up to the pier on the same day. There is something to be said about the more personal and intimate aspects of small ship sailing. When docking in port small vessels are often able to moor at the center of town allowing more accessible sightseeing without the big ship crowds. Additionally, getting on and off the ship is much easier so there are less lines and more time to spend in port.
Smaller ships have an advantage over bigger ships in that they can visit remote destinations and undiscovered areas. With their smaller size, these ships can visit more exotic ports, traverse rivers, and call at tiny islands off limits to larger cruise ships.
An important factor in choosing a ship is the other passengers. At the end of a cruise on ship with thousands of passengers, you will still be seeing people for the first time. Whereas small ship cruises have a small town atmosphere where you’re more likely to socialize and see familiar faces.
Still there are some issues to consider with smaller ships. The numbers of dining areas are limited and seating options could vary from open to assigned tables. Nightlife tends to be less vibrant and that could pose an issue for those who prefer a robust entertainment selection. Some expedition vessels don’t have elevators and that could pose a problem for older or mobility challenged guests. Additionally, for those travelling alone, smaller cruises rarely offer dedicated singles events like the big ships do.
When it comes to booking cruise vacation, it’s easy to think bigger is better. Indeed, the majority of new ships are getting bigger and bigger each year with many carrying over 3,000 passengers. The aforementioned figure can be hard to comprehend. With so many passengers how will the onboard service be? Regardless of size, cruise lines do a very good job taking care of their guests. It’s also worth noting that the bigger the ship the more facilities and capabilities to absorb those massive numbers.
If you’re looking for premium restaurants and extensive facilities with large spas, gyms, organized activities, casinos and glitzy shows, the bigger cruise ship tends to offer more round-the-clock entertainment choices.
If you’re a family with young children, booking cruise vacations on larger ships is always more likely to keep the kids entertained since these vessels tend to have more to offer for children including children’s clubs and children’s entertainments on hand, as well as babysitting facilities.
Cruise vacations are traditionally popular with older travellers since facilities are accessible and easy to get around on. With on-board facilities and entertainment, elevators from deck to deck and organized activities, cruise vacations are the perfect option.
Big or small, there is a cruise ship out there that will fit your idea of the perfect cruise vacation. All it takes is a little detective work to end up on your dream boat.
Cruising can be a great way to save money on your vacations, but what most people don’t think about is the price of the cruise itself is just the beginning when it comes to how much they hope you will spend. The cruise lines are happy to get you on board the ship so they can get you to pull out your wallet for drinks, purchases in the gift shops, money in the casino, shore excursions and activities, and so on. Here are 5 cruise travel tips to help you hold onto more of your money on your next cruise.
1. If you are going to spend money in the casino, set a predetermined daily amount beforehand and stick to it. You can win in these casinos but not as easily or as much as you will in the ones in, say, Las Vegas. It can still be a lot of fun but keep your budgeted amount in mind and don’t go over.
2. Art auctions. A lot of cruises have these, and I tend to get sucked into them for some reason. I bought about 5 pieces one time and they are still sitting in a box in the spare room. I just have never gotten around to having them framed and put up. If you have a lot of need for art, it can be a decent place to get some and the auctions are fun, but if not, try and resist this because you can spend quite a lot of money on art that can be obtained elsewhere for probably less money.
3. I love to shop, and when limited to the gift shops on board the ship, that doesn’t stop me from shopping. However, I tend to spend too much for things that I definitely don’t need and probably could buy on eBay or on shore for a lot less. Sure, go ahead and pick up a few souvenirs of the ship, but don’t go “overboard.”
4. Before using your cell phone on the ship, check and see what you’ll be paying per minute. Often the charges are quite high, up to around $3.00 per minute in some cases and sometimes more. Wait to go on shore to use your phone or laptop if possible.
5. Many cruises now offer the choice of an “alternative” restaurant in addition to your included meals. There’s really no need to take advantage of this as it means extra money, since all your food is included in the price of your trip. However, if you hear fellow passengers giving rave reviews to the meals there, you might opt to eat one of your dinners there as a special treat. But otherwise, save your money.
If you’re not ready for an all-gay cruise, or there’s something you don’t like about them, the next best thing is gay group cruises. Gay group cruises are basically an organized group of gays on what would be an otherwise straight cruise. They’re treated like any other group, such as a company or other arranged group. It’s like a cruise within a cruise!
The gay group on a large ship might be between 1 and 10% of all the passengers. The experience is somewhere in between being on a mainstream cruise and an all-gay cruise, as you might expect. Meetings and activities will be arranged, which will make it easy to find friends and dining buddies, but gay activities will sometimes be in closed quarters, so as not to offend other passengers. There are some special events though, parties, bar events or access to certain areas or lounges that might otherwise not be available.
The good thing about gay group cruises is that there are far more options than with gay cruises. They have different ports of call, destinations, timings and are far more numerous in availability. As a result, pricing may also be more competitive than it would be with an all-gay cruise.
Gay group cruises are like a half-step into all-gay cruises. You get to sample a lot of the benefits, but aren’t forced into that atmosphere. On the other hand, all-gay cruises go to destinations that they’ve found to be gay-friendly, and there’s no chance of weird looks from other passengers.
As always, the best option is to thoroughly investigate your options, give it a lot of thought, then make your decision and be happy with it!
So you have a destination in mind, you know what time of year you want to set sail – you have a plan. Well that’s great, the hardest part of booking any cruise holiday is choosing your destination, and the second hardest is actually in the booking. Many people ask me when to book their holiday, do the same rules apply to package holidays as cruise holiday, well, put simply yes, and they do, to a certain extent.
The first question you will be asked after choosing your destination is where on the ship you want to stay. Now if you have a cabin in mind with limited availability and you have set your heart on staying there then booking ahead isn’t such a bad idea. You will know where you are staying and you know you will have the best seat in the house, however, if your not too concerned about the location of your cabin then booking last minute might be the way forward.
Here are my top tips for making a last minute cruise booking…
1. Don’t be too picky about what cabin you want, you are only sleeping there after all, there is plenty to do above deck!
2. Compare prices on all the latest deals and use this information to get a ball park figure of what you should be paying.
3. Book online and take the hassle out of call queues.
4. If you’re offered an upgrade on a cabin, ensure the ‘special rate’ isn’t just the standard rate; make sure you’re getting the best deal.
5. You can get an even better deal if you’re not bothered about your destination.
Well, that’s about it really, not that hard is it! Just following these simple steps can ensure you get a cruise bargain. Oh, and one more thing – enjoy your cruise holiday!
Stupid as it might sound, this is a valid question. There are other vacations to take – you could hit New York City and live it up for a few days, fly to Hawaii for a week, get married in Toronto, check out gay bars in Singapore or get it on with a gay friend from across the pond. So why a cruise then?
Number 10 – For The Gay Atmosphere
A gay cruise is full of fun (gay) activities, and there’s always something to do. However, there’s an intrinsic value associated with gay cruises, and it can be attributed to an unspoken understanding and care shared by all the people on the boat. We all understand where we’re coming from, the issues we’ve had to face and the day-to-day struggles we see. With that kind of bond already formed, you know good times are ahead!
Number 9 – To Feel The Acceptance of Straight People
Straight people never have to wonder if people are accepting of their relationship. They can just march right onto any cruise ship, make out, feel each other up, and all people will do is say “get a room!” Have you ever felt what it’d be like to not think what others are thinking? If they’re judging? A gay cruise is full of people like you, and a no-discrimination philosophy abounds. You can relax, lay back, and pretend the whole world’s gay, because, as far as you can see, it is!
Number 8 – To Show Off Your Summer Collection and Get a Tan
We’re gay, and we love to look our best! This is a great way to show off the body you’ve been working hard to get, along with great summer clothes, flip-flops, or however far you wanna take it (just a banana hammock). Plus, you get to work on your tan (or blacken your blackness, if you’re black) and look all exotic when you come back to the real world.
Number 7 – To Eat Nice Food and Not Cook
Why cook when you don’t have to? Sure, you could apply this philosophy at home, but then you’d be limited to MSG-laden takeout or cardboard microwavable “dinners.” No, a better idea is to just get on a boat, and have a team of chefs prepare gourmet food for you, and deliver that food to you anywhere on the boat. Yes, that is a better idea.
Number 6 – To Get Drunk and Do Stupid Things
Worried about that deadline? Recession eating into your profits? Clients not liking your designs? Just say, “I dunno. I was drunk, and I don’t remember a thing!” You can’t say that in your normal life, but you can on a boat!
Number 5 – For All The Fun and Funky Activities
Gay cruises are the most fun cruises in the world, seriously! They get awesome cruise boats that have all the cool stuff (shops, casinos, live theater, live entertainment, swimming pools, hot tubs, water slides etc.), but they have a ton of superb gay activities too!
Number 4 – To See an Exotic Part of the World
Tired of the flat North American landscape? Want to pretend you’re in Lost? Or maybe, you just wonder how the rest of the world lives? Cruising to a hot, spicy exotic destination is just the ticket. You’ll get to see a unique local culture, sample deliciously different cuisine, and surround yourself in an environment that is very different from your own. This is really great fun!
Number 3 – To Meet Gays, er… Guys
Yes, the fact is, a gay cruise is a great place to meet guys if you’re single. It’s also a great place to meet other gay couples. You’ll make temporary boyfriends, friends, and maybe even something better!
Number 2 – To Get It On
We’ve established that a gay cruise is a great place to meet guys. Duh. Thousands of gay guys, you. Rocket science, I know. But think about this… if you want to get it on, where better? Other people want to get it on. You want to get it on. You’re isolated on a boat, with nowhere to go.
Number 1 – To Get On a Boat With Other Guys, Get Away, and See What Happens
Really, the best reason to go on a gay cruise, is to just get away, and let nature or destiny (whatever you want to believe in) take its course. Once in a while, we all need to just let go completely, let our guard down (us gays more than anyone), and see where life takes us.
Are you thinking of taking a cruise? Planning and booking a cruise vacation is much different than booking other types of holidays. Here are some tips to finding the right cruise vacation for you.
First off, you should consider where and when you want to go. Many routes are seasonal since cruises usually stick to warm weather so many times when you want to go will narrow down your options. The most popular time for the Caribbean is in the winter months since there is hurricane-free weather and the cooler climates such as Alaska and Canada are more popular in summer when the weather is pleasant. If you have your heart set on a certain destination then you’ll need to schedule your time around the cruise season of the location.
Once you’ve settled on when and where, you’ll need to choose your cruise company. There aren’t too many to choose from so sometimes you’ll have little choice and sometimes price and schedule are the determining factors. Go online and take a look at the actual cruise lines’ ships. There are maps of the ships and what services and amenities are offered. To help you decide on a company and ship you can also search for online consumer reviews and ask friends who have taken cruises.
After you’ve settled on the ship and cruise company, you’ll want to decide on the type of cabin. Remember that all cabins aboard ships will be small. Other than splurging on a suite, your optional amenities will be a porthole (window) or a balcony. If your budget is extremely tight then this might not be an option. If you can though, daylight can be a surprising luxury. Cabins with windows and balconies book up fast especially on Alaska cruises where the sights are the main draw.
If after looking at choice times, destinations, and cruise lines you realize that it’s too pricey then you may have to have more flexibility. Think about going in off peak or shoulder season when the demand is lower and the weather is not ideal (though still pleasant). You should usually plan ahead but sometimes cruise companies need to fill up a ship at the last minute so if you don’t care where you’re going then you can find a great deal on a cruise departing within 30 days.
The internet is a great resource for researching and planning your cruise holiday but also consider using a travel agent. They have loads of brochures and many agents have first hand experience on cruises so they can suggest a cruise that fits your needs. They can book your flight, car, excursions and hotel so it’s one stop shopping.
Taking a cruise is sure to be holiday that you won’t soon forget. Bon voyage!