First time considering sailing the high seas? With dozens of cruise review sites and even more cruise line options to choose from, first timers could be caught in a bind. Consider these the golden rules of picking the perfect cruise.
Trousers or casual? – Cruise lines run by different personality types. The Carnival and Royal Caribbean are safe bets for families while Princess out of Fort Lauderdale Florida caters to singles. A good source for cruise reviews is http://cruisecritic.com/ with more than 60,000 reviews; the Tripadvisor for the cruising industry.
Timing is everything – The cheapest time to go is during shoulder season (low season) with small crowds.
Best time to book:
Caribbean – September through January
Hawaii – Late November through February
Mediterranean – September through November
Steal a deal – Unlike airfare, travel agents continue to offer best deals for cruises through exclusive or near exclusive partnerships with cruise lines. Visit http://cruising.org/travelagents to grab a list of licensed Cruise Line Industry Association agents and visit http://www.cruises.com/, the Web's largest cruise line aggregator with tons of advertised offers including free onboard spending in the hundreds, free upgrades, and more.