With the recent deluge of mishaps, traveling by ship may have fallen from your radar. However, whether it’s a three-day jaunt or a fifteen-day journey, a cruise liner is perhaps the most efficient and cost effective way to experience different countries. When you are at sea, your accommodations are set—dining, entertaining and other activities are abundantly available to you.
Surely your safety is top of mind, but it is important to realize that such extreme situations are rare. In fact, if a problem like a fire or power outage does occur, it seldom impacts your experience on board. Statistically, cruising is still a safer mode of travel than both flying or driving. Here, we offer a few suggestions before you set sail.
Utilizing an experienced cruise agent may prove to be one of the most important and beneficial things you do. Most cruise experts have firsthand knowledge of the cruises they sell and can be a valuable resource when it comes to helping you decide your ports of call, cabin location and amenities package. A good agent can find a cruise ship that matches your needs and interests. Whether it be cooking lessons, broadway shows, or nightly baby-sitting, your cruise specialist can assist in personalizing your voyage.
Secrets Of The Sea
While it is important to do your own research prior to booking a cruise, there are some trade secrets that could enhance your experience at sea. Book early for discounts and possible cabin upgrades. Pre-book reservations for spa, specialty restaurants and on-land excursions, as these tend to go quickly. Choose an all-inclusive package to avoid the additional costs of beverages, dining, gratuities, etc. For better rates, cruise during the off-season, which is late April to May (September to early January in the Caribbean). Although most cruises allow children, if you choose an intimate, high-end luxury cruise liner, like Paul Gauguin Cruises pictured here, it can still feel like an adults-only cruise. If you plan to stay connected while at sea, find out any fees associated with Wi-Fi or Internet so your “connectivity” bill doesn’t shock you. Finally, always opt for trip insurance. For a nominal fee, you are covered in case of an unforeseen incident.
If you love to party, there are a few major cruise lines that offer passengers a seven-day music and entertainment filled journey. There are some that even specifically cater to African Americans. For instance, you can party with a purpose onboard the Tom Joyner Foundation’s Fantastic Voyage, which helps students stay in school at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The ship sails March 16-23, 2014. Other entertainment cruises include Centric’s Soul Train Cruise, sailing February 23-March 2, 2014, and Festival at Sea, aboard the Carnival Valor, cruising July 27-August 3, 2014.