• Emily Mendez

7 Things That Can Make Or Break Your Cruise ​​

As someone who has been on quite a few cruises, I know that there are things that can make all the difference in whether your cruise turns out to be great or a disaster.

Here's my list of things that can make or break a cruise. If you are planning a cruise in the future, make sure you keep them in mind.

#1 Crowds

During your typical day, you probably have experienced your fair share of waiting in long lines—in traffic, at the grocery store and the bank. So, when you go on vacation, the last thing that you want to do is wait in a long line. If you experience long lines during your cruise, that is something that will surely turn you off from cruising.

Fortunately, there are some ways to avoid long lines on your cruise. Check out cruise reviews ahead of time for the ship that you are considering sailing on to see what past passengers have to say about wait times for things on the ship. The time of the year when you cruise also determines how crowded a ship will be. If you want to avoid long lines, then avoid traveling during busy holidays and school breaks. Instead, travel during the off-season. For a Caribbean cruise, that means going from September through the beginning of December. This will be the least busiest time of the year for a tropical vacation.

Also, there can be a lot of crowds in ports sometimes. That is because several ships may visit a port at once. Research port excursions ahead of time. Don't be afraid to explore a bit off the beaten path.

#2 Atmosphere

If you are looking for a relaxing week-long reprieve from the day-to-day demands of a stressful job, there is nothing that can put a damper on your weeklong cruise like being pressured to participate in a cheesy poolside competition or being subjected to loud rock music while you are trying to relax on the pool deck. Likewise, if you are looking to have a vacation filled with excitement, being on a ship that caters to the retirement crowd may not be your idea of a great vacation. Before you choose a ship, learn more about the atmosphere to determine if it will suit you.

#3 Crew

Most cruise ships are very service orientated. And this is a positive thing as cruise passengers expect to be pampered and taken care of when on a cruise. Cruise lines have different levels of service, so it is a good idea to be aware of what the service expectations are on your cruise so that you know what to expect. Some cruise lines have special VIP areas where guests are treated to top-notch service. So, if you want the best service possible, it is a good idea to look into these programs.

#4 Food

Perhaps one of the most widely discussed aspects of a cruise is the food. Almost everything knows that cruise ships offer endless buffets. However, by reading cruise reviews, it is evident that there are ships that have limited options, lukewarm buffet food and a poor selection of options for people on special diets. Before choosing a cruise, do your research. Make sure that the cruise ship has options that suit your taste.

#5 Weather

Severe or just rainy weather can be an unexpected part of a cruise. There is nothing more disappointing than having rain on the majority of your cruise days when you were expecting sunny, tropical weather.Cruising during certain times, such as hurricane season, can mean more of a chance for weather problems. Also, it might mean missing ports of call if the weather will make it too dangerous to dock. Although it is often much cheaper to sail during hurricane season, you should expect the chance of severe weather.

#6 Extra Fees

While most cruises are all-inclusive, some items are not included in cruise fare. These things include alcoholic drinks, spa services and specialty dining. These things can add up if you are not careful. Nothing can ruin a great cruise quicker than getting a jaw-dropping bill at the end of your trip. To make sure the extra costs don’t ruin your vacation, be sure that you understand what items cost extra on your cruise. Also, don’t forget things like gratuities, which are typically paid at the end of your cruise. As the charges can vary by cruise line and length of your trip, check with your carrier for the specific amount.

#7 Kids Clubs 

If you plan to cruise with your kids, you want them to enjoy the kid’s clubs. If they are having fun, that leaves you to enjoy your vacation. That is why excellent kids programming is a must when it comes to cruising with kids. Don’t assume that all cruise ships have kids programming or that it is all the same. There are lots of differences between the kids programming on board different cruise ships. Also, a few ships have no kids clubs. So check ahead of time with your cruise operator to determine kinds of kids activities there are for the little ones.

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