If you’re like many people, you feel cruising is beyond your means. Think again! A cruise is actually an inexpensive all inclusive honeymoon that every couple can find one to fit their interests and budget. I’m a fan of cruises, as you can experience a variety of places and activities with minimal planning and stress on your part.
There are many different cruise lines, but for the sake of ease and my familiarity with them, I’m going to show you Carnival Cruise Lines. I’ll walk you through the process of how to plan a budget one, and what a typical cruise with Carnival is like.
All information in this article can be found on Carnival’s site, http://www.carnival.com and my personal experiences with them.
When you are looking to book one, first check MapQuest and see what port is nearest to you.
If you’re driving: If there is one within a distance you’re comfortable with driving, look at it’s cruise port first. I personally live in Southeastern Oklahoma, so I choose Galveston, Texas versus New Orleans just off of personal preference since the distance is pretty much the same to drive.
If you’re flying: Carnival offers packages for airfare, which is really great because if something happens weather wise, your flight is covered by Carnival. That’s the way I recommend to go if you’re flying.
Driving or flying, try to be there the night before so you aren’t exhausted. Definitely check for hotels on Trip Advisor if you haven’t been the the area before. Speak with the hotel about shuttle service to the cruise port. Some charge, some don’t. But it’s much safer and almost always cheaper to leave your car at the care of the hotel versus the port. If you’re flying, be sure to arrange for a shuttle ride to the hotel.
What to take with you: You need a photo I.D. as in your drivers license or passport, and take along a copy of your birth certificate. Try to have all three. If you’ve changed your name for the marriage or one of you is under 21, you MUST take your marriage license. Pack formal outfits (like a suit and cocktail dress) for the formal night on the cruise, and an extra shirt and tie for your guy and a spare dress for you in case you want to go to a fancy on board restaurant or go to both formal nights.
Tip: Bundle your gratuity into your cruise tickets, it makes it way easier! You are given the option when booking online or over the phone.
What is there to do on a cruise ship?
Swimming, sun bathing, dancing, ice skating, watching a theatre show, seeing the latest movie releases, hanging out in the comedy club, doing karaoke, playing mini golf, poolside games, live bands, giant Jenga, shopping, dancing classes, you name, it’s there!
Most people feel overwhelmed because there is so many exciting things to do! Should you go to the midnight chocolate buffet? Captains cocktail hour? Learn the newest line dance? Enter the hairy man competition? Compete to perform as Aretha Franklin in the on board talent show? The list is endless and so much fun!
There are a lot of options on your rooming, as well. You can start out with an inexpensive interior room (no windows) then step up to a port hole room, a window room, a balcony room, and a suite. There is something for every price range.
You may want to choose your ship off of it’s activities, or off of it’s destinations! Some common stops with Carnival if you’re going tropical are Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Progresso, and the Bahamas to name a few. Carnival offers the option of booking shore excursions through them online before your cruise. This is a great way to go, because you know you can trust this excursion to not only to get you back to the ship on time, but you also know it’s a legitimate licensed excursion, and you can read reviews. You can also book these on the ship either from your room or at the desk on board if you want to wait.
There are many different kinds of shore excursions, but some favorites are swimming with the dolphins, para sailing, and scuba diving.
I’m about to go on a cruise myself for my anniversary, so I’m pretty excited! We’ve also got a couple going with us that are on their honeymoon. Going with another couple is always a ton of fun.
Have you been on a cruise before? What lines have your cruised with?
Check out Carnival’s site for pricing and availability. http://www.carnival.com