Did you know that there are six different cruise categories?
Did you know that there are five ship sizes?
Did you know that there are four types of cabins?
Do you know what a repositioning cruise is?
Do you know what “wave season” is?
You get the idea…
The cruise industry is very complicated. The best thing to do is to consult a travel agent who specializes in cruises. Discuss what you’re looking for and decide the best option. For example, there are fewer passengers on small ships but the best deals are typically on mega-sized ships. Do you suffer motion sickness/seasickness? Are you looking for certain activities? What kind of destinations do you prefer? Do you want to dress for dinner or do you prefer casual dining? Are you looking for spa amenities? Do you want to pay more for a cabin with a window or porthole?
You should start with a short cruise, probably three or four days, just to make sure that cruising is for you. The thing about cruises is that folks either love them or hate them. There doesn’t seem to be much in between. If you hate cruising, then it is better to find out during a short cruise. If you love cruising, you will know what you like best or least before taking a longer, more expensive cruise.
Additionally, a cruise specialist can get you perks, such as cabin upgrades and shipboard credits. They often have the best prices due to their relationships with the cruise lines. A cruise consolidator may be cheaper, but they do not offer advice and consultation. You do not pay a travel agent. An agent is paid a commission. Their expertise is invaluable. For example, a cruise specialist knows that a visa is known to depart the ship in St. Petersburg, Russia. If you book online, no one tells you this important information. So what happens is that when the ship docks, you will not be permitted to go into port on your own.