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I'm planning a cruise. What are some resources that would be helpful to review? I'm not looking for discount cruise websites, more resources about which destinations offer unique land / adventure excursions.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Well, I can offer a bit of personal experience. Take it with a grain of salt, as I'm no travel professional, but hopefully I can at least help you consider things you might not have considered otherwise.

Planning a cruise really depends on what you and your companions enjoy doing. Some people like traveling to cities, some people like traveling to beaches, or mountains, etc.

There's a world of difference between a Caribbean cruise and a Baltic cruise, and the Baltic one will of course have more of a focus on the beautiful cities than on any beaches. A Mediterranian cruise is somewhere in between. There are also non-city cruises that mostly focus on nature (but not quite hot beaches) such as cruises on the Alaskan coast.

The sea isn't the only possibility as there are also river cruises, with Viking being perhaps the most popular, going through the Rhine or the Seine.

Personally I like using cruises as a sort of city sampler, where you get to hit 8 or so cities in 8 different countries in just 9 or 10 days of traveling, without having to worry about booking hotels and the like. This is nice as it lets you get a taste of the atmosphere of a city or country and the next time you travel you can choose to return to one of the cities for (say) a week.

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As a travel professional, I thought Simon's answer provided some great guidance toward the cruise options available to you. My recommendation for a resource in planning your cruise is to consult with a travel agent that specializes in cruises. Any travel agent can book a cruise but you don't want someone to process your transaction...you want a cruise expert. You want someone to advise in the decision process as well as guide you through the planning leading up to your cruise whether it be with shore excursions and what to do at each port of call, pre or post-cruise experiences or simply documentation requirements and everything in between.

For planning purposes, any travel is a matching process and this is especially true with cruising. As Simon mentioned in his comments, the type of cruise, whether it be river or ocean, is a matching process. Cruise line, destination, stateroom type and location on the ship...these all depend on a matching of options with the clients' personalities. A full service travel agent will spend the time to speak with and get to know you in order to make the matching process accurate. Any travel is an investment. We work and save for that much needed vacation in order to make it through another year of work/school before our next vacation so the importance of doing it right is huge. Working with a travel agent that specializes in cruises will lead to the best return on your travel investment. We never want to come back from a vacation feeling like it was a let-down and not worth the investment. We want the best value for our travel budget and a travel agent that specializes in cruises is my advice as your best resource.

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I appreciate your answer. I guess I was looking for more of community input as a starting point. I have ideas of where I want to go, but thought I'd test the waters here. –  Erin May 24 '12 at 21:32
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If you want to enjoy the cruise for itself, you can check Cunard's Queen Mary 2 which offers transatlantic cruises from England to New York in a week among other voyages.

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