author:Dr. Deepak Dutta
What is the same thing did 11 million people worldwide do in 2004? They took a cruise. Of course, some extremely rich people did not take a cruise technically but they used their yachts and spent days in opulence in the midst of the ocean. But for people like you and me, we have to be content with a cruise package offered by various travel agencies. If you think cruising is for old people or your parents, than you are wrong, my friend.
Before you hurry up and buy your discounted cruise tickets advertised in the Internet or one of those travel magazines, you should be aware of the reality. Cruise prices are going up every year. Rooms are filling up very fast. So, bargains may not always be available. However, bargain prices can be found just before or after the holidays, or in shoulder seasons. Shoulder seasons vary from region to region, for example September for Alaskan cruises.
Get ready for some unexpected problems in a deep discounted cruise ship. But, hey, don’t forget that you also saved a bundle by purchasing a discounted trip. Engine problems are very common and some port of calls may be cancelled due to engine problems. If a port of call is cancelled you may have little recourse for a partial refund because your discounted ticket may have small prints that say that the cruise line can change their itinerates at their discretion.
Imagine thousands of people in close proximity in a cruise ship. What do you expect? Well, how about viruses? Yes, a cruise ship is an idle breeding ground for all those nasty viruses. Check the CDC (center for Disease Control) web site for worldwide virus outbreak. But that should not dampen your cruise going spirit. Just stay healthy, exercise, wash your hands frequently with disinfecting soap and you will be fine.
Don’t pay a premium for airfare purchased through the cruise lines even if they promise you that they will hold the ship if your flight is delayed. Shop for your own airfare and the connections you prefer. Most of the time you will be ahead of the game and you don’t have to fly red eye or use lousy connections.
If the cruise line is promising an all-inclusive fare, try to understand their language. They are saying, hey, we will cover your foods, non-alcoholic drinks, and entertainment. You are on your own if you want to get intoxicated. But that should be fine because there is not much opportunity to spend a fortune in a discounted cruise ship.
Don’t fall for the gourmet food hype. Realize that it is a buffet style food, plenty, good but definitely not gourmet. There may be alternative restaurants besides the buffet style food. Sometimes, you have to pay in those restaurants. So be prepared for that.
When the ship arrives at a port of call, either you can purchase their excursion tour or explore on your own. These excursion tours are money maker for cruise lines. If you want to purchase travel insurance, shop at insuremytrip.com and try to avoid the insurance offered by the cruise line. Don’t get upset, if you find beer and pretzels, instead of, champagne and caviar. Enjoy your cruise and be happy that you are not spending a fortune for your vacation.