Of course, only you can know how much moolah you’re willing to part with for the best possible cruise vacation. So balance your budget against our recommendations. No one is asking that you break the bank, but you may want to consider our six tips, which we have found can make the difference between cruise vacations that are memorable and others that fail to measure up to all you had hoped they would be.
1. Balcony Cabins Are Best
You’ve heard the argument time and again that as you’re only sleeping there, inside cabins are a better value. Perhaps, but if you enjoy a room with a view, book a balcony. From my balcony, I have watched the sun paint pastel on the morning sky during the three-hour transit of Stockholm’s archipelago. On another morning, I dined on coffee and croissants as our ship glided past a captivating landscape to Kotor. I’ve pulled back the curtains to gaze on glaciers in Alaska and admire the fjords of Norway.
Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish. You only get one shot at seeing some of the world’s greatest attractions from the balcony of your stateroom. Book a balcony and step outside for a breath of fresh air and views that will last a lifetime.
2. The Cruise Begins With Business Class
Gone are the days when flying was an elegant (or even tolerable) experience — at least in economy class. If you can afford it or if you can find a creative way to make it happen, book yourself in Business Class when flying long distances. Business Class is where the vacation begins. You’ll experience faster check-in, faster security clearance (at some airports), lounge access, comfortable on-board seating, and most times, refined dining and service.
Of course, you’ll need to weigh the benefits against the costs, but if it’s within reason, book Business to begin your vacation before arriving at the ship. Alternatively, book what the airlines are calling Economy Comfort, Economy Plus or Economy Extra, which can be had for a reasonable incremental cost (and often for free with certain loyalty programs).