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BEFORE YOU CRUISE

6 Cruise Booking Tips

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Over the past few weeks my email and Facebook page has blown up with questions about cruising. People are asking me about how to book a cruise, what are the best resources to search and how to come across the best deals.

So I put together six cruise booking tips that answers some recently asked questions.

1. Know Your Budget

Quantum of the Seas

Quantum of the Seas

Figure out how much you have to spend and go from there. When I say how much you have to spend, I mean everything, not just the cruise. If you require airfare, a pre-cruise hotel, gas driving to the port and parkings fees – tally it all up. There is more to the cruise fare than the $299 advertised price. You have to actually get to the cruise port.

2. Download ShipMate App.

iphone_mycruise

I’ve met the dude who created this app a couple years ago and have him on the show every time the app has a new feature. This app is perfect for getting you in the vacation mindset, looking at deck plans, web cams, cruiser generated photos and more. It’s now available in Android and the Apple App Store and I would highly recommend downloading it.

3. Read Authentic Reviews

SER

There are a lot of places out there to read cruise review – almost too many. When you read a review, you want to know that the person writing the review has actually sailed on the ship. A couple years ago CruiseLine.com started up for just that reason, vetted reviews. The people leaving these cruise ship reviews actually sailed on the ship through and it’s verified through their booking number.

4. Surf Message Boards.

Cruise message board are another great source for learning about the ship you’re going to sail on. You just have to take everything with a grain of salt because people usually aren’t going to boast about their amazing trip, nine times out of 10 they’re going to vent about a negative experience. Regardless, websites like Cruise Critic are worth a look.

5. Prebook Activities

Sting Ray bay in Grand Cayman.

Sting Ray bay in Grand Cayman.

Start cruise planning way before you step foot on the ship. Not only is it good to prebook your shore excursions but on some cruise lines you can not prebook your dining and show reservations. If you’re sailing a mega ship like Quantum of the Seas, this is especially important.

6. Buy Travel Insurance.

I recently received an email from a friend telling me that he lost his job and he probably couldn’t afford to take his cruise. The first question I asked him is if he had a travel insurance policy? He said no. Sadly, you don’t have much flexibility with the cruise line when it comes to sickness or job loss, which is why you should always purchase a travel insurance policy.

A policy can be purchased for as little as four percent of your trip cost. You can browse travel insurance polices on Insure My Trip’s website.

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America's trusted voice on cruise vacations. Editor of Cruise Radio and producer/host of Cruise Radio Podcast and CRN audio briefs.

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