When you're itching to get away and explore a different part of the world, taking a cruise can offer an opportunity to expand your horizons. If you're not familiar with the preparation that goes into planning a cruise, these five tips can make the process easier and more enjoyable.
1. Budget for Your Cruise
When planning a cruise, older adults should stick to a budget. Unexpected expenses such as excursions, tips and souvenirs can add up quickly.
One way to save is by remembering to book your vacation well in advance. Rates tend to rise closer to the departure date, so try booking at least six months ahead to save money. However, keep in mind that some cruises also offer last-minute deals. If you're flexible with dates and destinations, you might be able to find a discount for a cruise leaving soon by booking directly with the cruise line.
You may also come across other discounts as you begin planning. Older adults are often eligible for deals on cruises, so check with the cruise line or a travel agent for any senior discounts.
2. Choose Shorter Trips
A short cruise that lasts between three and five days can be an ideal option for older adults. This is an excellent way to enjoy a vacation without feeling overwhelmed.
Short cruises often include on-shore stops or day trips at popular destinations, offering the chance to explore new places without worrying about making additional travel arrangements. Additionally, shorter cruises tend to cost less, making them a good option for those on a budget.
3. Consider Shore Excursions
Shore excursions allow you to explore new places and learn about different cultures. You'll have a wide variety to choose from, so narrow down your options by considering your interests. For example, maybe you want an active adventure with hiking or fishing day trips, or perhaps you prefer a more leisurely experience such as a visit to a local restaurant. Also factor in your physical abilities and how well they match the outings available. Some excursions will involve more walking or strenuous activity than others.
Make note of the time of day each excursion will take place, especially if you're vacationing during the summer months or in warm regions. Some excursions take place during the most intense heat of the day, while others are scheduled for early morning or late afternoon, when it will be cooler.
Finally, check the cost. The cruise price may include some excursions while others incur an additional fee.
4. Arrange Travel Insurance
Before taking a cruise, look into arranging insurance coverage. You can find multiple kinds of travel insurance and varying levels of coverage, so be sure to research what kind is right for you. Depending on your choice, travel insurance may reimburse you if you cancel your trip and cover your medical expenses if you get sick on the cruise. Some insurance policies will also cover some or all of the replacement costs if your luggage is lost or stolen.
5. Plan Ahead for Special Needs
Planning a cruise can be exciting as long as you plan ahead for any mobility, health and dietary needs. This is especially true for older travelers, who may be more vulnerable to health issues while traveling.
Remember to bring any required medications and prescriptions on your trip. If you have any dietary restrictions for health or religious reasons, let the cruise line know in advance so they can make accommodations for you. Also, ask about the ship's policy on bringing food on board if needed.
Some cruise lines have deadlines for special accommodations, such as wheelchair or walker accessibility. For example, Norwegian Cruiselines requires at least a 45-day notice.
Following these tips can help make planning a cruise an enjoyable experience that gets you excited for the trip ahead.
Resources for Planning a Cruise
For more resources to help you plan and prepare for your next cruise, check out the below links:
AARP Travel Center Discount for Cruises
How to Prepare for Your Cruise