Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I am WAY late this year planning our summer vacation (I typically schedule it during the holiday break)...finances being what they are, I waited until I knew what the tax situation was going to look like so I could better plan for it.

Good News is - It's Booked!  Allure of the Seas, here we come!!

I planned on preparing a Cruise Guide since I get asked ALL THE TIME for help with cruise planning.  I would LOVE to work part time for a travel agency at some point since I love to plans trips - doesnt feel like work at all!

Here are some of my top tips!

 - Cruise Selection - I think one of the most important things is matching the cruiseline, ship and itinerary to you and your needs.  Each cruiseline has a personality all it's own and they can be VERY different.  My first cruise I took on Norweigian and knew nothing about cruising.  I have learned from many mistakes (more about that below).  We shifted years ago to Royal Caribbean since they are more family oriented and have a tremendous kid program.  All these years later, my son would be offended if we went on a cruise without him and it is always one of the highlights of our year!  Spend a little time on this message board - these folks can tell you everything you want/need to know!

-Cruise Timing - Cruise prices are very sensitive to supply/demand.  My first cruise was over New Years...lesson learned on that one. Probably hands down the most expensive time to go!  Even for summer - on the same ship same itinerary there was a $2500 price difference for 4 people between going in late May as opposed to late July.

- Ship Selection - We generally stay with the newer each their own but my family LOVES the Flowrider and my son is really good.  You definately pay a premium to go on the newer ships BUT it is purely about preference.  You are also going to be limited by itinerary as some islands cannot accomodate the new "Mega Ships".  Many of my friends just simply like the smaller ships - not me!

Threw that one in there just for good measure...that is my cutie patootie of a son gettin his surf on. 

Cabin Selection - This one is personal preference!! You can certainly cruise much more affordably than we roll, BUT we take typically one or two family vacations all year. I put aside money and plan and plan and plan!  If I could not afford it, I would certainly stay in a inside cabin on a low floor rather than stay home.  We generally stay in a Grand Suite (lowest suite tier with Suite benefits) and get an adjoining balcony for my son (and he typically takes at least one friend).  When he was little we would all stay in the grand as it has a sofa bed but when he got over 18, staying with us wasnt fun for him or us!I gotta say, I love me some balcony.  I hear a lot of people say "I'm never in my room anyways"...we cruise a lot so if our room is nice, we play family games, hang out, have drinks and snacks on th balcony and stay together more because we have the room.

- Itinerary Selection - We have done Eastern,Western and Southern Cruise and each have their own appeal.  I will say my son LOVES Western so we have been doing that one at least once a year for quite awhile.  I say - you can't go wrong!

I am working on a post that includes details, pictures and descriptions of all of the excursions we have done....anyone cruise planning will learn from my mistakes and happy accidents!  :)

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