Our Top 7 Tips To Help You Book Your Perfect Cruise
Searching for your perfect holiday can seem like a complete nightmare. There are so many cruise lines all with different ships, itineraries, so how do you know which one is right for you? Our job is to find the very best holiday tailor-made just for you.
But before you start searching, you need to make sure that you’ve covered all your bases and carefully considered what it is that you really need and want. (that’s what this guide is for!).
Here are my top 7 tips to finding your perfect 2023 cruise.
1: Work out a rough budget for your cruise
A massive misconception is travel agents only ask for your budget to maximise commission and overcharge you. Maybe there are some bad travel agents out there, but that’s not why our cruise experts ask you.
Our job is to find that sweet spot that balances everything you love from a cruise along with your budget. Without knowing what you can realistically afford, we have no way of being able to balance this for you. We also ask you to be realistic too. If you’re looking for a holiday that you ultimately can’t afford, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.
The same way you would set a budget for buying a car or a house. Sit down and workout what you can comfortably afford to spend on your 2023 holiday.
2: Why asking for a “cheap as possible” cruise is the worst thing you can do
When you’re in a restaurant and the waiter comes to take your order, you don’t ask for the cheapest meal on the menu. You order what you actually want to eat. It’s exactly the same with your cruise. Some people will want a healthy salad, some a juicy steak and others an exotic spicy dish. If you’re served a bowl of plain rice whilst the people at the table next to you are tucking into a delicious meal, it’s going to make your choice seem very unwise and boring.
Sometimes the difference between a fantastic cruise or cabin with brilliant facilities is just a few pounds more per night compared to the “cheapest”. Would you rather spend that little bit more to have a much better holiday? Or is “the cheaper the better” what you’re really looking for?
3: Take reviews with a pinch of salt
Have you read so many reviews you feel like you’ve already been there? And even if there are hundreds of amazing reviews, do you always focus on the one negative review? I generally find that the majority of negative reviews are from people who were unaware what they were actually booking. I’ve seen reviews of people complaining about too much fresh fish being on the menu when sailing around countries famed for seafood.
More and more people now as using reviews to try and get unwarranted compensation from hotels and cruise lines which skews all the positive reviews. Likewise, some hotels offer an in-resort reward for leaving a good review. Even worse, rival hotels and restaurants are known to leave bad reviews for good hotels to try and persuade customers to book with them instead. How do you know which are the real reviews?
Another point to remember is the best reviewed hotels on TripAdvisor tend to be middle-of-the-road chains. People have booked with low expectations, but have been pleasantly surprised.
I do the research for you to find the best hotel, cruise line and cabin that’s right for you. Regardless of what uninformed previous guests have written.
4: Never, ever say “We’re not fussed”, “Anything will do” or “It just has to be cheap”
Think of us as your travel problem solvers so, unfortunately, this kind of vague statement gives us almost nothing to go on. The more we know about what you like to do, the types of restaurants you love and your general expectations, the better holiday experience we can create for you. Just a little bit more information from yourself can have a massive impact on your annual holiday. The more time and effort you put in, the better your holiday will be. Which leads me nicely onto tip 5
5: The more we know about what you love, the better your cruise is going to be
When I’ve asked people about their previous holidays booked elsewhere (usually online), the most common word has been “fine”.
Fine – is good enough for your lunch break. Fine – is good enough your drive to work. Fine – is not good enough for your 2 weeks of holiday after saving a year or maybe more for it. By putting in a little bit of extra effort when requesting a quote or speaking with one of our cruise experts, we can transform your holiday from “fine” to “amazing”. Isn’t that worth a little bit of extra effort?
6: Be Flexible
Sometimes by changing your dates by a few days or flying from another airport, you can save a fortune. If you can only fly from a certain local airport on exact dates and times, it will severely limit your choice of holidays and destinations. Cruise ships have fixed itineraries so you’ll need to be a little bit flexible with your plans.
7: Whatever you book, be protected
If you book your flights, cruise and accommodation separately, you have very little financial protection. For example, if your flight is cancelled or delayed, the hotel you’ve booked separately are not obliged to move, change or even refund your booking. And the cruise ship isn’t waiting for you!
By law, your airline is quite limited on what they have to offer you Compensation is available, but in most cases, only if it’s the airlines fault. The majority of the time, flights are cancelled due to weather and strikes which are both out of the control of the airline and they can simply offer you a full refund. Last minute replacement flights will cost you a fortune and generally your refund would not cover these. Many travel insurance policies have very strict and low limits on what they’ll cover in these circumstances.
For example, all of our ATOL Protected cruise packages that include flights come with cruise connection insurance. That means if your flight is delayed and you can’t board the ship from the original port, we’ll get you onboard further along the journey.