Do you pick a cruise by the Ship, the line, the price, the dates or the itinerary ?
Living near a port I can jump on a ship any time to do the Same old, Same old for a quick get away. For me this is Baja and Mexican Riviera (to bad it is not as safe as it used to be in that area, I was on the ship in 02-2011 where 2 people got shot next to it in Mazatlan port, I know the sound of gun fire and went below decks).
I tend to start with itinerary, then ship and price.
Fortunately, we live about an hour from the NY terminal. So we too can jump on at any time. We usually just decide when we feel like going away. Itineraries don't matter too much anymore. Unless that is, we're flying to a ship. We look at the time of year, and which itineraries are available. We were supposed to cruise Alaska in August of 2012. August being one of the best times for that cruise.
Now, we cruise just to get away for awhile. Sometimes we leave the cold weather behind. Other times we go just to try out a new ship. Never a lot of planning for these trips. Sometimes, we even end up getting a great price !
so, to answer your question, yes. We pick by Ship, line, itinerary, and time of year. But never all at the same time
Usually it is based on itinerary. Then I look for a ship that I have not previously sailed. Sometimes, though, the particular ship is most important, usually a new ship - the Breeze, Oasis and Allure when they first debuted. I look for the best deals that I can get. I want to go during peak season for where I am headed for better weather. So I do take a lot of variables into consideration. I like to space the cruises, too.
I also like to try different types of cruising, big ships, smaller ones, yachts, river cruising and steam boating. This year for the first time, I'm taking a type of world cruise. Here finding one that leaves and returns to the US was important for my husband. I found one on our favorite cruise line and waited a year for an itinerary that we liked. We booked for special perks, lower price and choice of category by booking almost a year in advance. I like to keep vacations new and exciting - something to look forward to - complete change. Gloria
First----Itinerary. For some time we went for the exploration type voyages where we were able to visit or explore exotic locations or those parts of the world we never dreamed we would get a chance to see. As time goes by we have seen a lot, so now the best itineraries often have ports included that we have been at multiple times. And while getting older our tastes change somewhat too we have began to look for many sea days and as a result are more and more getting away from our obsession to only sail on the smaller vessels. There are some features on these new large ships that appeal to us now.
Second---The reputation of the cruise line. Cruising is changing so rapidly that one has to really pay attention. We have been hard core HAL and Princess fans as well as the all inclusive Regent. However, Princess and HAL (HAL in particular (smoking mainly), are demonstrating a few negatives making it increasingly difficult to stay loyal. Last cruise on Princess the MDR experience was not tolerable. Regent was always expensive initially but over the course of a voyage it wasn't that much more, however, it does appear they are beginning to jack their rates at the same time decreasing some of their service and facility features.
Third---Ship. But that pretty much goes along with the lines reputation, our experience has been if one ship is pretty good they all are.
Fourth---Price. Never really had much problem with that before as it seemed the overall costs were commensurate. But last fall we really got a shock when we decided on Regent only to find out they were almost three times the cost of an equivalent cruise on Princess, albeit other charges would have to be factored in for Princess. However, in that case, the difference was around 25K. So, for that kind of dough I can buy a lot of shore excursions, wine, speciality restaurant meals on Princess, while staying away from their MDR, and still have a lot of change left over.
So----Right now we are taking a very hard look at Celebrity and also at MSC--if MSC comes up with more selections beginning or ending in the USA. Hate to give up all the perks on the other three though, it has taken many years to earn those.
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