Choosing a summer cruise

By Rachel Hartman
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Cruise ship anchored framed by palm trees
Start your summer off right with a great cruise vacation
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If you're planning a summer vacation, taking a cruise can be a great way to get away and relax. In order to make sure that you get the most out of the experience, at a price you can afford, it is a good idea to do some research. Following are tips to help you choose a cruise that suits you and your family this summer. Also, make sure to check out other awesome family vacationing tips!

Length of Time

As you consider your cruise options, think about how much time you have to get away. Cruises come in different lengths of time, varying from a few days to a week or more. If you decide on a three or four day cruise, it can be a nice, fast getaway. However, these cruises usually only stop in one or two ports, and you may feel like the trip is over before it begins.

The most popular time length for a cruise is seven days. This gives you a full week of vacation and often fits in well with taking one week off work. Cruise ships tend to visit between one and five ports on a seven-day trip.

If you take a trip that is longer than seven days, you will most likely have the opportunity to get to a location that is further away, such as Panama, South America or even Europe. These longer cruises are a great way to relax far from the everyday cares of life while creating once in a lifetime memories.

Planning the Budget

When planning the cruise, it is a good idea to set a dollar amount that you can spend on each person. Cruises vary greatly in costs, ranging in price from $500 to $3,000 plus per person.

If budget is a consideration, you may opt for a luxurious ship with extra comforts and costs and only take a briefer trip. Or you may choose a less expensive ship and stay on it for a longer period of time.

Rooms with their own balconies are generally more expensive than cabins in the interior of the ship with no windows. If you plan to spend time in your room enjoying the view, a balcony room may be better for you. However, if you are going to be outside of your cabin most of the day, you may want to purchase a cheaper, interior room and save the money for other expenses.

You'll also need to factor in airfare for your trip if you don't live near the port the ship will leave from. Trip insurance is available if you are concerned that the cruise may be canceled.

Choosing a Destination

Just as there are many prices for cruise ships and different cruise durations available, there are also a wide variety of destinations to choose from.

The Caribbean is always a popular choice, summer travel to that region can seem less ideal. While it's true that hurricane season runs from mid-June through November in the Caribbean, you will probably find wonderful deals on cruise travel during the summer months. Ships can usually navigate away from storms and thereby avoid canceling the cruise.

Besides the Caribbean, other popular destinations include Alaska, Panama, the Mediterranean and Europe. Cruises to Mexico are always a great choice and are available year-round. Intra-European river cruises once a secret of European travelers are gaining in popularity among North American travelers.

As you are selecting your summer cruise, you will want to keep all of these factors in mind. Shop online for different prices and information on the many cruise lines. You also can call different cruise companies and travel agents to compare package deals.

When you look at all the options, choosing a summer cruise may appear overwhelming. Yet with a little time and planning, you will be able to find one that fits your budget and tastes. Book the cruise, pack your bags, and then get ready for a good time.

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