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6 Tips for Planning a Cruise

The only thing better than seeing the world is doing it from the comfort of a cruise ship. But there’s more to planning a cruise than picking the right location. To get the most out of your trip, you have to dive deeper. These six tips could make the difference between a simple vacation and the trip of a lifetime.

1. Decide When to Make Your Escape

You’ve probably fantasized about where you’re going, but it’s just as important to decide when. Your departure date changes what you’ll see and do once you get there. If you want to spend a lot of time outdoors, make sure you set sail for good weather. Tropical locations have a rainy season, and the conditions on European cruises vary depending on the time of year.

If you find photo inspiration, discover when the pictures were taken. That stunning vista might not look stunning year-round.

2. Find the Line that Fits Your Style

Are you looking for relaxation or excitement? Do you prefer an older crowd or a younger one? Different cruise lines cater to different demographics. Shop around, and pick one that offers the atmosphere and comforts that matter to you.

For travellers, this can be integral for your safety and enjoyment. Need to get a hold of an emergency contact? They're just a click away from your connectable watch. Trying to count your mileage on a soul-searching hike? Devices in shoes by companies like Nike make this possible.

Take, for example, the massively popular image messaging program Snapchat. With millions of users worldwide, Snapchat has recently undergone a rebranding to Snap, Inc., and part of this rebranding has been the unveiling of a $130 pair of connected sunglasses called Spectacles. For the social traveller - looking to record every second of their trip and show it to all their friends and family - this is nothing short of a revelation.

3. Think Big - or Small

When it comes to a cruise ship, size matters. To start, it dictates how many people you’ll share the ship with. It also effects the activities, amenities and the overall ambiance on board. There’s more to do on a big ship, while small ships offer a cozy, community atmosphere. Cruise lines can have all different sizes of ships in their fleets, so book one that suits your vision of the perfect trip.

4. Read the Fine Print

Beware of hidden costs and fees. Your meal plan may not include all restaurants on board, and drinks (including alcohol, coffee, and soft drinks) almost always cost extra. Many lines charge gratuity on top. Find out exactly what is and isn’t included in your cruise package.

Medical bills are another potential pitfall. Even simple medications can be extraordinarily expensive on board. Bring your own, or consider getting traveller’s insurance to protect yourself.

5. Keep in Touch

Plan to connect with family, friends and work before you hit the deck. While satellite internet comes standard on cruise ships, it’s expensive and unreliable. Most lines charge for usage per day and per device. Many ships block applications like Facetime and Skype due to their bandwidth demands. That’s why preloaded SIM cards are the ideal choice for cruisers. iRoam offers worry-free roaming in the hottest cruise destinations, from Europe to the Caribbean and more. You’ll know exactly what you’re spending on a connection you can trust.

6. Get on Board

With that sorted out, it’s time to book your cruise. A travel agent is helpful if you know where you want to go, but aren’t sure about the details. If you know what you want, you can take charge and book it yourself.

Most cruises can be booked as early as 18 months in advance, and as late as a week before departure. But there’s an advantage to booking ahead. Early risers can get better package deals and more choice of cabins. Plus, planning ahead lets you jump on wave season discounts.

Make it happen

Now comes the fun part – planning your perfect cruise. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll get the most out of your cruise ship experience. There’s a lot think about, but it’ll all be worth it when you’re kicking back on deck!

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