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Sunday, June 4, 2006

Finding the Best Cruise Ship for Your Vacation

Now that you have figured out that you would like to spend your vacation on a cruise, you have to decide which one is ideal for you. The choices can be overwhelming, so be aware of some guidelines that will point you in the right direction.

Deciding how much time you have is a good first step. Although there are boat trips that you could take on a long weekend, they will only stop at one or maybe two ports of call. Though they are inexpensive, the people on board will probably be youngsters who are there to party. This goes for week-long tours also. Cruises that last longer than seven days will stop in many exciting places such as Benidorm and Alicante, and you will probably be with a less excitable crowd. The downside to extended boat travel is that such a journey requires plenty of time and money. If you want to visit a distant land but running short on time, you can always fly down to where your ship departs and join the ship there.

As far as cost, knowing your budget is another factor that will narrow your search. There is a large price range when searching for cruises but talk to a travel agent or do some research online where you may find a great deal. Before you commit to anything, though, make sure that you know the entire cost of the trip including cancellation insurance and port charges. Also remember that not all cruise ships are created equal. Check travel sites or magazines for reviews or talk to your travel agent to get some get a feel for different lines.

The time of year you are vacationing, the activities you would like to do on your trip and, importantly, what ports you stop at are all things to bear in mind. If you would like to cruise around Europe or Alaska, you will have to wait until summer. Cruises that take you closer to the equator, such as Mexico and the Caribbean, are most widely available in the winter months. Watch out for hurricane season, though.

Once you have sorted out where you want to go, how long you want to be there and what your budget is, there are still more decisions to be made. For instance, you would like to cruise the Caribbean, and you have the option to travel East or West. If you decide that east is your direction, you will probably depart from Florida and spend less time on the ship. Because these cruises tend to stop at more islands, if you would like to spend your vacation shopping with plenty of time on the beach the East is probably for you. On the other hand, cruises headed west might start in Louisiana, Texas or Florida and travel to ports located father apart from one another, such as Jamaica and Cozumel. You will spend more time on boat travel, but your activities will be more varied. You have plenty of choices! When making your final decision, remember that there is no reason to settle for a cruise that doesn't thrill you.

About the Author

Greg Hansward very often produces newsletters on news associated with Torrevieja and Benidorm. You might see his writings on Benidorm and Alicante over at http://www.alicante-spain.com/benidorm.html .

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