first time ocean cruiser...?

I am 56 and never been on a cruise. It is time. However, I do not want to go without knowing. How do I know I am getting a good deal? What should I look for? What should I look out for? Should I use a travel agent or search on my own? I live in Texas so I would be departing from Galveston...Since I nothing about cruising...all information will be welcomed.

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    Here's the basics of what you need to know:

    All cruise cabins are sold based on double occupancy and the prices listed will be per person and based on at least two people going on the cruise. (If you have a 3rd and/or 4th person in your cabin their fare is generally about 50% of the first two persons. If you want to cruise solo you can but then you will be charged a "single supplement" which is about the price of a second person cruising with you. The price you pay will depend mostly on the type cabin/accommodations that you choose. There are 4 basic types of cabins on ships;

    - inside (no window),................................… least expensive

    - outside (a window or porthole),

    - balcony/veranda, and

    - suites and penthouses.......................... most expensive.

    The "FROM" prices you see will always be for an inside cabin. Prices do not include transportation between your home town/city and the port but the cruise line will arrange that for a fee. In general a cruise will cost about $100 to $125 per person per day.

    You can reserve a cruise by (1) booking on line; (2) by calling the cruise line, or (3) through a travel agent. You will pay at booking the minimum deposit which will be about $250 per person for a 7 day cruise, less for a shorted 3 to 5 day cruise. The balance will be due approximately 60 days before the cruise departure date. If you book within about 60 days of the cruise you will have to pay the full amount.

    For the most part all cruises are all inclusive. Regardless of which cruise line you select the things that are included are pretty much the same. The price of your cruise includes your cabin, all meals (including breakfast, lunch dinner, snacks and free room service), free admissions to all shows and entertainment, and free use of all facilities on ship like the pools, hots tubs, gym, disco, etc. The things that you will have to pay for are gratuities (tips) alcoholic drinks and soft drinks, photos that you want, any tours from the ship you want to take, spa services like massages, and internet service. Gratuities will be about $11.50 per day per person and cover the cabin steward, waiter and assistant and the Matre'd. Other tips are added to drink orders at a rate of 15%.

    If you know exactly what you want then you can book on that cruise line's web site. However, since you have not cruised before I recommend that you use a travel agent; they do not charge for their services booking a cruise, and can answer a wealth of questions about cruising for you.

    You may also want to consider cruising out of New Orleans, La in addition to Galveston Texas. You also need to know that there are differences in the cruise lines and their ships. The newer ships for all of the cruise lines are the better ships.

    Princess, Celebrity and Holland America have great ships are more classy and reserved. They are just a little more upscale and luxurious than the other cruise lines. Passengers tend to be middle aged and up and have cruised multiple times. Holland America has mostly senior citizens (65 and up) cruising on its ships and very few kids and young people. Norwegian cruise line caters to families and have mostly passengers in the range of age 35-40 and up. Its the line that you want to go on if you want to be informal for pretty much your whole cruise. Carnival is the budget cruise line that generally caters to young people, first time cruiser and families in the 20 to 45 age group and there will be lots of kids and party people on board. Royal Caribbean is also caters to young cruisers and families; ages about 25/30 to 60. It has the advantage of having the most on-board activities, like ice skating, roller skating, mini-golf course, a basketball/tennis court, the rock climbing wall.

    Source(s): experience of more than 30 cruises on several cruise lines.
  • 8 years ago

    I have cruised dozens of times and have always booked through Travelocity. If your on a budget, get an inside room they are way cheaper and there are so many things to do on the ship that your never in it anyway. It is better to book your trip to sail sometime between mid November to June. The rest of the year can be stormy with the possibility of hurricanes. I am 54 and really like Royal Carribean and Norwegian cruise lines. Pick a newer ship or one that has been refurbished in the last few years if you can. Big budget busters on a cruise can be alcohol and shore excursions. Only way to save on the bar bill is to not drink a lot. Shore excursions are very expensive if booked through the ship. Most can be booked on line cheaper and you will often be setting next to a shipmate. Be sure you know when your ship arrives and departs port that day before you book any excursions. Frankly, I usually wait until I get off at a port before I pick a excursion but I do a lot of online research before hand so I know what I want to do and which companies are trust worthy. Take your own pictures. Ship photos are costly and never buy their cruise videos. They are very badly done based on everyone I have ever seen. Limit going to the specialty resturants. They most often serve almost the same food you can get in the main dining room. The buffet dining options are good if your casual and dont want to do a nice sit down meal. But a little known secret is that the set down dining rooms are often empty for breakfasts and lunches. If you have the time they are a very nice choice for those meals as well as dinner. Good luck and enjoy your trip.

    Source(s): Multi cruiser
  • 8 years ago

    Cruising is lots of fun, I'm sure you will enjoy it! Go to cruisecritic.com and join up, go to the boards and read all about cruising, ask questions, get advice! Have a great cruise!

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    === CHAMPAGNE WAKE === you are able to do a search- plug in << names for large boats >> and look at the results ---- search the listings and spot lists of names for boats .... Comfortable boatin"

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