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A newbie’s guide to choosing a cruise

Planning your first cruise can be a lot of pressure: ‘Where should we go?’ ‘Which cruise line is best?’ ‘Will a budget cruise really give me the value and luxury I’m looking for?’ ‘Which cabin is right for our family?’ ‘What shore excursions and on-board entertainment do we hope to experience?’ 


Lucky for you, we’ve consulted our partners at Cruises International – they’re known for pairing travellers with their dream cruise vacations (and the best value) since 1992. Follow these 7 tips for smooth sailing:

1. Choose your destination wisely

When it comes to relaxation, the Caribbean is your bet. Destinations have a laid-back vibe that makes it easy to come and go as you please. Meanwhile, ships travelling to Europe, South America or within Africa are ideal for those who get stir-crazy: exciting ports in iconic cities will have you salivating to get off the boat to see as many sites as possible. 

2. When to go? 

Cruises are popular all-year round, however, there are still distinct high and low seasons. If you’re travelling with kids enrolled in school, you might not have the luxury to be picky – your trip will likely coincide with their school holidays and summer break. However, take note this is often the busiest time of year. If you prefer more mature company, look for an adults-only ship or plan your trip for the off season. 

3. Splurge when necessary

Will you be spending a bulk of your time on board? Splash out for a larger cabin so you can relax. 

Same goes if you’re claustrophobic or an introvert who loves – and needs – alone time: a cabin with a private balcony is always worth it! 

Those who want to make the most of their time on land (or love socialising in common spaces) can book a smaller room without the balcony if necessary – by saving on your cabin, your budget will stretch further for all the activities you’ve got planned. Just be sure to know what you can tolerate; a cabin without a window can be tough for some. 

4. Size does matter

Mega vessels are the way to go if you’re travelling with young kids or a varied group with different tastes – these ships have the space to offer something for everyone on board. Meanwhile, boutique cruises or river ships offer more intimate, relaxing and personalised service.This can be the best choice for those wanting a sophisticated experience – though more and more, large vessels (including Celebrity Cruises’ new Celebrity Edge) are offering ultra-luxurious experiences despite their size. 

5. Who are your travel buddies, if any?

Is this a solo adventure, a romantic couple’s trip, or a fun family vacation with multi-generational guests? Ask your Sure Travel Agent to help you find the ship to fit your specific needs. 

6. Your idea of a good time

What’s your idea of fun? Relaxing poolside or waking up at first light to see and do as much as possible? Some cruisers want to do just that: cruise. For others, a cruise is a means to an end – to see as many incredible destinations as possible for good value. 

If you’ll spend most of your time aboard, choose a cruise with tons to do – Royal Caribbean International, for instance, has on-board zip lines, Broadway-caliber shows, bumper cars, rock climbing walls, Mystery Dinner theatres, and even ice-skating rinks. 

7. Know the vibe 

No one wants to feel out of place – so always consult with your Sure Travel agent about the cruise line’s vibe and clientele before booking. Every ship has a different personality, dependent on its passengers. Are you an under 60 looking for cool parties, to meet new friends, and adventurous, active excursions? Also check out the cruise’s social media pages: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – if you don’t see people your age on those platforms, it’s unlikely you’ll meet them on board! 

. . . . 


Contact your nearest Sure Travel Agency to enquire or book your next cruise, or call 0861 47 48 49. 

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