What is important to you when you cruise? Is it the base fare, the size of the cabin, the quality of the food, the service, the itinerary, or something else?
For me, I have been looking at itinerary, however I have run out of different options in the Caribbean (this is not necessarily a bad thing!), which leaves me wide open for other ideas.
I really don't look at base fares any more - I combine them with the "gratuity" charge and drink package, which I normally prepay (those lines with the bundled fares and higher base fares seem like a much better deal than the lower base plus extras).
Room size is important, but not deal-breakingly so -- as long as there is seating for two I am good with it. I am used to bad food and worse service, but I would still defer to a line with better food and service. As far as big ship vs small ship, to me they each have their advantages and disadvantages. Lastly, the customer base is a big consideration for me -- I am getting to old and crotchety to want to deal with rude people.
Home port is also a serious consideration. Unfortunately, only two lines that I would consider sail out of Galveston, (RC and Carnival), and neither hit the notes that would make the ideal cruise for me (Princess and Celebrity come closer to that ideal).
I think I may be moving from Carnival and Princess to Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. I have had good times on Carnival, but the customer base is just wearing me down. Princess, likewise, has hit all the marks, but when considering the total cost of the extras, ends up costing much more than Celebrity. NCL, with it's bundling of prices, will also get serious consideration from me in the future.
What are your thoughts as to the ideal cruise that you would realistically go on? (Yes, I would love a world cruise on a luxury line, but in reality, it ain't gonna happen)