Expedia trip tips: 4 ways to make your cruise vacation a breeze
Taking your vacation to the open waters has become one of the most popular ways to travel. In fact, according to market research company PhoCusWright, cruise lines maintained healthy growth rates during the 2010-2011 season and the cruise travel segment is expected to see a double-digit increase in online bookings in 2012 through 2013.
Cruises also can be a great way to get the whole clan together: From Grandma to tiny tots, there is something for everyone as you cruise the deep blue. So what are the best ways to ensure your family members have the memorable vacation they’re looking for? Expedia offers some great tips that will send you off on your perfect cruise getaway. Bon voyage!
Make sure to check out the Expedia page at ShopAtHome.com, where you can earn up to 7.5 percent Cash Back on your purchases.
How to plan
When booking your cruise, it’s important to keep in mind who you will be traveling with, where you are traveling to and what you want to experience on your vacation.
Expedia suggests considering your travel companions and the amenities you will use the most when picking your cabin. For instance, on larger ships, make sure to stay close to stairwells and elevators, as it can be a long walk to everything (which may be a challenge if you are traveling with an older crowd).
And, to make the transition from land to sea a bit more smooth, Expedia advises that you plan to stay at a nearby hotel the night before departure to minimize the stress and risk of missing the ship due to travel delays. Be sure to choose a hotel that has free transfers to the pier, as well.
Money saving tip: Expedia offers a ton of cruise ship deals, including free upgrades, coupon books to use on board, hundreds of dollars off accommodations and onboard credits.
Manage the kiddos
Heading out on a vacation with the little ones in tow can be a struggle for any family. Luckily, many cruise lines have plenty of kid-friendly activities that your children can enjoy. Expedia recommends picking a cabin that is close to the cruise ship’s kid’s program area or the pool. The kid’s program can be a great way to snag that much-needed adult time, while the youngsters enjoy a fun activity.
Expedia also advises travelers to pack a carry-on with sunscreen and bathing suits, as several hours can pass between checking in and the arrival of luggage. And, as we all know, kids can and will get restless – especially with a pool in their sights.
Cruising in numbers
Even though we love great savings, if it’s an inconvenience at the end of the day, it might be best to not always choose the cheapest way to cruise – specifically when traveling with a large group.
Expedia suggests that if you are traveling with more than three guests, think twice before you try to fit everyone into one cabin. You may be able to find a combination of two cabin categories that still fit within your budget and deliver a much better experience.
Once your ship has left port and you are cruising on to your next destination, it’s best to plan ahead when it comes to your activities and excursions for the duration of your trip. Cruise ships offer a plethora of fun-filled vacation must-dos.
If you plan to dine in any of the alternative dining restaurants, Expedia advises, book in advance if possible, or as soon as you get on board – same goes for spa appointments and shore excursions.
Also, consider the ship times in port when making reservations, Expedia’s experts say, noting that sea days are the toughest to get reservations for anything, so you should book those first. Another hint: Some cruise lines offer discounts on services on the days the ship is in port.