8 Important Questions to Ask When Planning a Cruise

planning a cruise

Planning a cruise and selecting the best ship for your cruise can be difficult, especially if you’ve never cruised before. Some passengers may value adrenaline-filled activities onboard like ziplining and rock climbing. Others may be looking for a more traditional cruise experience. Having an idea of how far you want to travel to reach the cruise departure city, what type of entertainment you prefer, and what you like to do while onboard are all important considerations to make. Take a look at these 8 questions you should consider when planning a cruise. The answers will ensure that you find the best cruise vacation experience for you.

Are you traveling with kids?

Any cruise ship makes for a fantastic family vacation. Certain ships simply offer a lot more for kids to do and experience onboard.

Ships may offer water slides, ice skating, bumper cars, circus school, ziplining, the FlowRider, rollercoasters, indoor skydiving, and more. Bigger or recently amplified ships will have more activities for kids on board. When planning a cruise. you will find activities like rock climbing, mini-golf, and youth group activity programming on most family-oriented ships.

If you’re traveling with children aged 6-36 months, you’ll want to look for a ship that offers a nursery. Babysitting services do usually come at an extra cost, but the price is quite reasonable. It’s usually less than what your neighborhood sitter would charge you for a night out on the town.


Passengers with children still in diapers may want to look for a ship with a baby splash pad area so their kids can cool down and enjoy the pool deck. 

When planning a cruise, how much does itinerary matter?

Cruise ships offer itineraries to many of the world’s most famous attractions and picturesque islands. Do you like the crystal blue waters of the Bahamas? Or is it the historical cities of the Mediterranean? You will visit some incredible destinations on a cruise.

Knowing how much the itinerary matters to you on a cruise is a good first step to choosing a ship. L arger ships are more limited in port options. Smaller ships may offer more unique itineraries to lesser-known destinations.

Many of the major cruise ship lines tend to visit the same ports in the Caribbean on most itineraries. Cozumel, Costa Maya, Roatan, Nassau, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and San Juan are usual stops.

Some itineraries make stops at places like Puerto Plata, Aruba, and Curacao, or travel to Europe. For the most part, however, itineraries are not as varied on the supersized ships compared to smaller ships. Therefore, if you’re hoping to travel to lesser-visited ports such as St. Lucia, Cartagena, Puerto Vallarta, or Martinique, you’ll want to look for an itinerary on a smaller cruise ship.

Will you be eating at specialty restaurants?

Most cruise ships offer fantastic complimentary dining options. A sit-down meal in the main dining room, a grab-and-go lunch at a snack kiosk, or the famous all-you-can-eat buffets. There is plenty of delicious food to choose from onboard.

steak dinner

Many passengers prefer to eat at specialty dining in order to take advantage of the wide variety of restaurants available on a cruise. Ships usually have at least one specialty restaurant onboard, but these usually come at a reasonable extra charge. Fine steakhouses, gourmet fusion dining, Italian cuisine, and Japanese Teppanyaki grills are examples of commonly found specialty dining options.

Be prepared to hit the gym when you return from your cruise vacation. It is rare to lose weight with the plethora of delectable food options. It is easy to gain 10 lbs on a cruise vacation.

What value do you place on entertainment?

Today’s cruise ships pride themselves on offering impressive entertainment with talented, professional casts from around the world. From backflips on an ice skating rink to aerialists spinning around a hoop in the air. You’re sure to be amazed by the entertainment onboard.

The bigger the ship, the more entertainment venues you will find onboard. Certain passengers value entertainment more than others. If entertainment is a make or break for you on, it’s important to have an idea of what venues and shows are offered your ship. Ships typically have live music venues, comedy clubs, nightclubs, and lounges.

If you are hoping to see full-length Broadway shows that incorporate the latest technology into productions then cruising on one of the new “Mega” ships would be a good option. These ships are built with large theatre style showrooms to accommodate first class entertainment.

What do you like to do while onboard?

If your idea of a relaxing cruise vacation means spending all day on the pool deck you will be happy on any Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Princess, NCL, or Celebrity ship. Even the smallest of these popular cruise lines’ ships offer pools, whirlpools, and adults-only relaxation areas.

If you like to spend your days relaxing with a book and looking at the ocean, you might prefer a smaller ship. Smaller ships have more quiet space on the outdoor promenade deck and in the front of the pool deck. Places to relax and unwind away from crowds and activities.

If you want to have endless activities going on throughout the day, though, look for a larger class of ship. If you like pickleball, karaoke, or ziplining, there’s sure to be a lot to choose from on a larger ship.

Will you be staying in a suite?

If you are considering a suite for your next cruise, consider the specific benefits of your ship. Suites can vary from ship to ship. They all feature the same basic benefits like priority boarding, concierge service, VIP pool deck seating, etc. Booking into suite accommodations, whichever ship you choose, is a surefire way to upgrade to an elevated cruise experience.

planning a cruise in a suite

The highest tiers of booking classes can include such amenities as butler service, complimentary specialty dining, beverage packages, internet services, included gratuities, and more.

How far away is the port from where you live?

Consider whether you want to drive or fly to port. Are you okay with traveling to a port far away from where you live. For us Canadians, that typically means flying to the port city. Most of the hubs for the major cruise lines are in Florida. Many also offer departures from Texas, New Orleans, California, Seattle, Vancouver, New York, and New England. Nova Travel highly recommends booking yourself into a hotel for at least one night before your cruise departure. If your flight does not arrive in time to transfer to the cruise terminal, your fare will not be refunded. The extra expense of one night in a hotel will give you some piece of mind.

What will the weather be like on your cruise?

It’s good to know what the weather may be like on your particular cruise itinerary before picking a ship.

Some ships offer more indoor space than others, making certain ships ideal for sailing in colder weather. For example, cruise ships destined for Alaska have more indoor spaces. Covered pool areas and solariums, allow guests to enjoy them no matter the weather.

Ships destined for the Caribbean are fully equipped with lots of outdoor spaces. These ships feature pools, waterslides, hottubs, outdoor movie screens, and sports courts. Amenities that are designed to make your Caribbean cruise vacation memories last a lifetime.

indoor pool
Indoor Pool

What’s next when planning a cruise?

Now you know what you should consider for your cruise vacation. Discuss these things with your trusted travel agent. Nova Travel is here to help you plan the ideal cruise vacation.

Contact us today – we are eager to help!


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