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Read All About It: Cruises

Updated on November 20, 2014

Have FUN Researching Your Cruise

Whether you're considering your first cruise, or planning your 20th, many seasoned cruisers will tell you a lot of the excitement of a cruise actually comes before you step on deck. That's right! Part of the fun is in the anticipation, planning, and research that comes beforehand.

Before you envision hours of drudgery spent in the stacks of a library doing research for some boring school assignment, hold the phone! This is a different kind of research, and it's actually fun!

The fun is that you get to find out cool stuff about your fellow passengers, the ship you'll be sailing on, and the places you'll be visiting. Much of this research can be done on line. I'll be point you to a great place to meet other cruisers. And if you like to read, you're going to love reading about the things you'll encounter as a cruiser. The more you research and read, the more excited you'll be about your upcoming adventure.

So, let's s get started - Let the excietment begin weeks or even months before you cross that gangway!

Photo: my own


Selecting a Cruise That's Right for You - If you've cruised lots of times, you can skip this section.

For the benefit of those who haven't cruised before, I'd like to emphasize one thing: There is a big difference between the cruise experience on different lines, different sized ships within the same line, length of cruises, and itineraries.

It's easy to see that a cruise to the Caribbean will offer something very different in terms of destination than one to Alaska. But, you'll also find that a 10 day Panama Canal Cruise on a smaller ship from Princess Cruises is a world apart from a 4 day cruise to The Bahamas on a larger Royal Caribbean ship.

In general, pay attention to the marketing of each line to see where a line's focus is. Do they emphasize a a high level of onboard activity onboard, or romance and relaxation? In general, you'll find more families and active adults on a large Carnival 'Fun Ship' cruising the Caribbean for 7 days, and a more laid-back crowd on a Celebrity cruise to Alaska. Also, as a general rule, on cruises during the school year, as well as longer cruises, you'll see fewer children.

Finding Good Advice

on Choosing Your Cruise

Getting cruise advice is easy. Look to four sources:

1 - People you know who have cruised more than once will gladly tell you about their cruise experience - what they did and didn't like about it. Ask them to describe the ship and tell you about what kind of onboard activities they enjoyed, and what the passenger mix was like.

2 - A good travel agent who has actual cruise experience and is certified by CLIA or another sanctioning body will ask you about YOUR likes and dislikes, and recommend a line, ship size, and itinerary type best suited to you.

3 - On line cruise reviews and cruise forums: Google Cruise Reviews You'll find tons, probably including both positive and negative reviews of the same ship. Read between the lines. Some reviews are written by someone with an ax to grind, some by real cheerleaders for certain lines.

4 - Traditional travel guides on cruising from authoritative sources. Amazon has both hard copy and Kindle editions.

Photo: my own

Traditional Travel Guides on Cruising - from Authoritative Sources

Where Did You (or will you) Go on Your First Cruise?

Lots of people wonder what's the best destination for their first cruise.

Won't you please help them out by voting to tell where you went on your first one?

(Or where you plan for it to be or think it will be)

If you'd like to leave a comment telling why this was or wasn't a good choice, that would be lovely!

Anyone who visits this lens may vote in this poll

Where did you (or will you) go on your first cruise?

See results

WHERE Are You Going? - Where will your cruise itinerary take you?

WHERE a cruise goes is very important to most people who haven't cruised a lot. After all, there are places they just must visit. Often, those who've cruised many times proclaim that "the ship is the destination." They've already visited most of the ports on the standard cruise itineraries, and their enjoyment comes from being at sea aboard a ship of their favorite line.

If you are new, and eager to visit many new places, you can do it on a cruise . . . and you don't even have to pack and unpack between places! Newer cruisers tend to choose "port intensive" cruises - those cruises with itineraries that spend more days visiting ports, and few days 'at sea.'

If you haven't visited a particular port before, you can get the most out of your short time there by doing a little research on the area first. After all, wouldn't it be a shame to return home, only to find out that you'd just visited the only place in the world you can see Blue Iguanas and didn't even know it when you were there? (It's Grand Cayman, by the way.) Your pre-cruise research would have told you that. You might have found out on line at a cruise forum like the one I mentioned above. OR, you might have read it in a destination guide.

Cruise Destination Guides - Guides to Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Alaskan Ports of Call


Sea Days

Oh, I LOVE sea days! On a sea day, your ship is just 'cruising,' often with no land in sight. There's nothing quite so relaxing, yet invigorating as the sight of the open sea as you breath in the fresh sea air.

On a Sea Day, you have your choice of joining in activities organized by the Cruise Director and staff, or just enjoying the unique ambiance that you just don't find on land. Put me in the latter category, for sure! Sometimes, I even stay on the ship when it's in a port I've visited more than once, and pretend I just scored another sea day. (NOTE: There's more information about what else there is to do at Cruise Ship Sea Days.)

One thing I enjoy on a sea day is reading. Most cruise ships have libraries. SOME of the are great, while the selection is pretty sparse on others. You can check out a book, and return it before the end of the cruise.

Since I'm not guaranteed to find something I'll like in the ship's library, I always bring what I want to read with me. If your favorite author's newest book isn't out yet, maybe you'd like to try something a little different? Maybe a book about ships, or a mystery set aboard a cruise ship would be fun to read at sea.

Cruise Themed Light Reading - Including What Time Is the Midnight Buffet?

What Time is the Midnight Buffet is an old favorite for many cruisers.

Is it Land or Sea for you?

If you take cruises, or would like to, here's your chance to tell the world why.

If you don't cruise, and feel that it's not for you, I'll bet you're not alone. Tell us why.

NOTE - There are no right or wrong answers. It's ok to love cruising, and it's ok if you wouldn't be caught dead on a ship.

Do you (or would you) cruise? Why or why not?

Yes, I have, or would like to, and here's why

Yes, I have, or would like to, and here's why

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    • nealberk 5 years ago

      Love cruising. A very relaxing vacation where you can be spoiled to your hearts content. There are enough cruise lines with enough variety that there is definitely something for everyone. For those who like excitement, there are lines that definitely have it, for pampering there are lines, and for luxury there are also cruise lines. All of the problems that people say they can have fall by the wayside. There are ways around seasickness (read ship stabilizers), boredom (rock climbing walls, zip lines, entertainment, ice skating, water sports, basketball,and the list goes on and on), claustrophobia (on a ship bigger than some shopping malls?), and any other problem that you might think of.

    • beannie64 5 years ago

      Yes. Love it

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Certainly would love the vast emptiness of the seas!

    • WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I adore taking cruises. They are so fun and relaxing.

    • MBradley McCauley 5 years ago

      I've been on 14 cruises, all FREE. I even wrote a booklet on how to cruise free. To me there is no other way to vacation, I mean really vacation then a cruise. Somebody else cooks for you, someone else cleans your room, someone entertains you....I say Cruise, Cruise, Cruise

    • anilsaini 5 years ago

      Because i love it

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Just went on our first cruise 4 months ago. Absolutely loved it. Already booked another for next year!

    • blizzard54 5 years ago

      After taking 63 cruises in the last 33 years I would have to say that we enjoy them. Next month will be number 64

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I am looking forward to my 25th cruise in 20 years and I just love everything about it.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I love the relaxation of not having to get in the car and travel to the next spot. Pack the suitcase, unpack the suitcase, where are we going to eat, what are we going to do tonight? I have to make enough decisions in my daily life, I just enjoy not having to make a lot of decisions when on vacation. Will it be the big pool or the little pool this morning? That's the kind of decision I like to make on vacation.

    • SandyPeaks 6 years ago

      Have been on three cruises; highly recommended!

    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I sure would go on a cruise....after learning about them from you, my sea legs are ready to go!

    • natashaely 6 years ago

      I would love to try a cruise, my sister is going on one for her 40th birthday and I think I may make that my target. Not sure where to travel but there are some great tips on here!

    • GetSillyProduct 6 years ago

      can't wait!

    No, I haven't (or have and won't ever agan) because . . .

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      • Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

        I'm afraid I prefer land. I'm not much for dressing for dinner or social activities. I can read at home. If I were to take a cruise, I'd be getting off to explore at every port.

      • Sandra Wilson 5 years ago from Wilson Education Resource Centre

        I haven't been on a cruise and I probably won't because motion sickness gets the better of me.

      Pirate Alley - by Stephen Coonts

      Cruise Passengers, Beware! Pirate Alley may not be the one novel you want to read just before (or during) your first cruise. However, if you've ever cruised, you will want to read it. Fans of Stephen Coonts will enjoy it even if they are confirmed land lubbers


      I recently read this novel about a cruise ship attacked by modern day pirates. If you'd like to check out my review, see Pirate Alley – a Novel That’s all too Real

      Don't Forget the Kiddos!

      If you're a cruiser with kids or grandkids - even if they don't cruise with you - they might like some cruise related reading, too. After all, they learn by example, and if you are reading, they'll be reading! I'll just bet they'd love to read about some of the things that YOU read about.

      And yes, you CAN find cruise related reading for young readers! You just have to look a little.

      There are several listed below, to give you a head start.

      Photo of girl reading - public domain photo from

      Cruise Themed Reading for Young Readers

      Mallory on Board
      Mallory on Board

      A chapter book for young readers - age seven and over

      20,000 Leagues Under The Sea  Unabridged and Complete (Translated)
      20,000 Leagues Under The Sea Unabridged and Complete (Translated)

      No one should grow up without having read this classic, but boys will especially like it.


      Hard Core! - Books for the Serious Cruising Afficianado

      Finally, here are several books that are not your run-of -the-mill 'how to cruise" or "story set on a ship" books. These are especially for the true cruise addict, hard core cruising afficianado, or maritime history buff. Well, actually, I've included one DVD - about an event that was a big deal for the cruising community... most especially those who cruise or follow the Queens of Cunard.

      Happy Reading

      - and happy cruising!

      there's nnothing quite so relaxing as lounging on the deck of a ship with a good book. Should you be lucky enough to have a veranda stateroom, it's even better!

      You may like your cruise reading at sea, or on land beforehand. You may prefer hardback, paperback, or electronic. However you like it, I hope you've found something useful and/ or enjoyable in this lens.

      Happy reading - and happy cruising!

      Please leave a comment, even if only to say "Ahoy there, Matey!"

      The Guestbook is: OPEN - Please do say hello

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        • profile image

          aritahime 4 years ago

          nice lens!

          I hope I can have a cruise trip someday..

          I think I need to start saving for this from now on :)

        • iyandri lm profile image

          iyandri lm 4 years ago

          i'ts my dream , to cruise the ocean with giant cruise

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Very interesting survey results and thanks for the CruiseLineFans mention. We're anxious to help your readers find their next cruise.

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          @CruiseReady: That would be too bad huh! The Indian ocean is missing your cruises! :))

        • CruiseReady profile image

          CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

          Yeah - we are pretty much limited to The Bahamas and Caribbean cruises for the same reason - hubby doesn't like to fly anymore.

        • BarbRad profile image

          Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

          Lots of good information on cruising here. I'm tempted to try Alaska, but I don't want to have to fly to get to the beginning of a cruise, or home from the end of one.

        • Hedremp profile image

          Sandra Wilson 5 years ago from Wilson Education Resource Centre

          interesting, and some great advice!

        • CruiseReady profile image

          CruiseReady 5 years ago from East Central Florida

          @cruiselinefans: That about sums it up, Tim! Thanks for the visit. I always appreciate it when one of the big guns from drops by.

        • profile image

          cruiselinefans 5 years ago

          Fantastic Info - a must read for those thinking about taking a cruise. Research first, use a TA or trusted online provider, and ask questions of veteran cruise travelers. Great advice!

        • WriterJanis2 profile image

          WriterJanis2 5 years ago

          Ahoy! You have great information for people who are looking into taking a cruise.

        • SayGuddaycom profile image

          SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

          I really like your lenses, please keep making them

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          great experience by an experience cruiser. love to have a trip on a cruise

        • traveller27 profile image

          traveller27 5 years ago

          Back for a second visit - great job!

        • traveller27 profile image

          traveller27 5 years ago

          Great article!

        • profile image

          cruiselinefans 6 years ago

          Great article - so comprehensive. There are so many resource out there to research a cruise - a great way to get first hand advice is via forums like CruiseLineFans - we welcome all of your readers. Thanks for the mention!

        • profile image

          beannie64 6 years ago

          Great article. I could use a cruise about now.

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          I kept changing my mind on the list of cruise destinations...finally chose Hawaii because I have a cousin who loves it there so much that she got married there. Great tips and another person to check with would certainly be you!

        • natashaely profile image

          natashaely 6 years ago

          Ahoy there matey!! Great page, loads of info and it's a fun read as well as making me want to book one now, with the no money that I have! Really enjoyed this page! :)

        • profile image

          cruiselinefans 6 years ago

          Thanks so much for your high praise of We'd be happy to help any of your readers with their tough cruise questions and help them enjoy their next cruise vacation to the fullest.

          Come join the conversation at or connect with us on FB:

          Keep up the great information sharing!

        • profile image

          GetSillyProduct 6 years ago

          great tips for cruising!

        • sorana lm profile image

          sorana lm 6 years ago

          For some reason cruises I don't really feel like going on a cruise. Not my cup of tea. However, your lens is very informative.

        • UKGhostwriter profile image

          UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

          I really enjoyed reading this lens - well done. It is a great resource!

        • profile image

          cruiselinefans 6 years ago

          Thanks so much for mentioning I encourage all of your readers to stop by, say hello and get helpful advice from veteran cruisers and travel agents.

          Thanks Again!

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          This lens made my resolution on going for a cruise stronger. Someday, I will.

        • LouisaDembul profile image

          LouisaDembul 6 years ago

          I have always wanted to go on a cruise. I love the sea, it sounds like a very relaxing holiday!

        • capriliz lm profile image

          capriliz lm 6 years ago

          A cruise sounds like the perfect get away! You have lots of advice and tips here for anyone thinking of taking a cruise.

        • profile image

          KatBar 6 years ago

          Nice Lens. Crusing is my al time favorite thing to do.

        • profile image

          Mikayla 6 years ago

          Never thought of going on a cruise. I'm kind of adventurous and like spontaneous encounters. Maybe when I'm an old lady I will think differently!

        • profile image

          loraseverson 6 years ago

          great info here!

        • tiff0315 profile image

          tiff0315 6 years ago

          I'd love to go on a cruise! It would be a blast!

        • CruiseReady profile image

          CruiseReady 6 years ago from East Central Florida

          @ShamanicShift: THANK YOU for your SquidAngel Blessing! I am honored. :)

        • profile image

          ShamanicShift 6 years ago

          It has been a while since I've cruised -- lots to consider and mull over -- and experience the FUN of dreaming over -- though it may be another while before I can sail away anywhere -- blessed by a SquidAngel!

        • profile image

          maryrussel 6 years ago

          Makes me long to go on a cruise again.

        • profile image

          robertjohnston 6 years ago

          Very Nice Lens. Giving it a little love

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