Summer vacations are usually a time to relax, unwind and see all the great sights the world has to offer. One of the best ways to spend this hard earned vacation is booking an all inclusive cruise for you or your family. Cruises, especially all inclusive ones, offer the best value for money since they are affordable, safe, convenient, and offer a variety of places to visit in a single budget. It is no wonder that the cruises have become the most prolific sector in the travel industry.
Before you scramble to your travel agent for immediate booking though, you must be keen on certain factors which, if not taken into consideration, may turn your eagerly awaited summer vacation into a grueling nightmare. For a memorable and enjoyable cruise devoid of regrets, here are the five things you should avoid during the booking process.
1. Avoid All Inclusive Cruise Lines with Vague Brochures
Everybody knows how cruise lines have embellished brochures with spectacular photographs, smiling tourists and discount prices that are sure to knock your socks off. But remember, when the deal is too good, think twice. Cruise lines have a knack of hiding vital information about the cruises, chief among them being the extra costs. Also, the definition of ‘all inclusive’ varies from one cruise line to another. While some may offer the entire package from accommodation to flights and transfers, others strictly provide food, accommodation and entertainment. The best way to avoid this is by consulting your travel agent before making a booking or checking online reviews on the all inclusive cruise ship you wish to book. You may be surprised to find out the pictures on the brochures are actually internet downloads.
2. Avoid Crowded Cruise Lines
This is where the saying ‘cheap is expensive’ comes into play. You may have struck the season discount of a lifetime, only to find you and your family unable to get the chance to swim in the ‘deluxe’ pool since it is always crowded. This scenario is most common with the cheaper all inclusive cruises with great offers and who can blame them? Everybody loves a great deal. So if you prefer a peaceful and tranquil cruise or you just hate the sight of other people having fun, please confirm if the all inclusive cruise line you book isn’t too popular. Also worth noting is the sheer amount of noise present in a crowded cruise line. It is best to book cabins away from busy areas. The best cabins to avoid the din of cruise activities are the balcony cabins and the more lavish mini suites and suites. They are strategically located at the ships extremities for extra privacy and silence.
3. Avoid All Inclusive Cruise Lines with A Lot of Paperwork
Most, if not all of us, hate paperwork. So when you opt for the good old ‘do- it-yourself’ booking instead of consulting your travel agent, look out for tons of red tape. But even if you are an avid reader, rummaging through the pages might be a bit tiresome and annoying. You are prone to miss out on a few vital details that may negatively affect your trip or even lead to trip cancellation. If you still insist on cruise lines with the stacks of paperwork, consider leaving the work load to your travel agency. They are paid to rummage through the document so don’t feel guilty. Besides, you already have too much work selecting the best swimming trunks to impress the ladies on the cruise.
Most all inclusive cruise lines come with bonus promos but may include a non-refundable policy, no say in the location of the cabin and cruise cancellation policies that may seem unfair to you. So unless you want to cut your cruise short, steer clear of cruise lines with pages on pages of paperwork or better yet, have your travel agent do the dirty work.
4. Avoid All Inclusive Cruise Lines Outside Your Budget
A great many cruise lines have fantastic all inclusive rates with the most flexible payment plans that suit your budget. You should not, however, be deceived by tantalizing pay plans that in the end are simply out of your reach. Of course, failure to remit the full payment within the specified time frame will result in the auto-cancellation of your prior booking. The only option would be to renew the reservation, which is not that simple. First, your cabin may have been resold to another passenger or you may have to pay at higher rates than before since the price of a cruise tends to go up as the day of the cruise approaches. You may also find the economic cabins fully booked, leaving you with the expensive options only. If you decide to give up on the cruise, you still will have to go through a lot of trouble to recover your initial deposits and payments. If a ‘no-refund policy’ was contained in the paperwork, you might have to kiss your money goodbye. This is another great reason why you should avoid number three and four like the plague.
5. Avoid “Themed” All Inclusive Cruises
Unless you are a die hard of these themed cruises, don’t waste your hard earned cash on them. The entire cruise may be a trite experience with everyday recurring activities centered on the theme. You may mistakenly sign up for a themed cruise if you are not too careful so again read the paperwork carefully before signing up.It is fair though to state that themed all inclusive cruises are not so bad. In fact, if you have a profound passion for music, food and drink or dress up, many cruise lines offer great themed all inclusive cruises just for you. The Yogacruise is a grand example of a themed all inclusive cruise that has been lauded by yoga fanatics worldwide. Many other themed cruise lines also exist to perfectly match for your hobby with your cruise. But for an ordinary run-of-the-mill cruise, you may not like themed cruises.
If you check these off in your ‘not-to-do list’, you are one step closer to a perfect summer vacation in the beautiful ocean waters. The most highly recommended way to avoid all these is to instruct your travel agents on these issues correctly. If a travel agency is too much of a bother, then approach all inclusive cruise lines with a cautious mindset. If you happen to have already fallen victim to these mistakes, take heart. There is no law restricting the number of cruises you can take. Book another all inclusive cruise trip. I am sure the lessons learnt will ensure a smoother, more enjoyable cruise.