Booking Your Cruise

Once you've decided on your preferences, it's time to book your cruise!

Due to the multiple legs and options attached to a cruise, some people prefer to book a cruise through a travel agent. Of course, you can book the cruise through the cruise line on your own as well.

Here are some tips from readers and experts on how to get the most out of your next cruise vacation:

WHN Reader Tip: Early Bird Gets the Worm

Book cruises very early or very late. Early bookers get the standard prices but have the best choices for rooms. The late or last-minute bookers get some amazing prices that are sometimes half the cost
– Diana, Fremont, CA, who recently returned from Antartica

WHN Expert Tip: Repositioning Cruises


Book a "repositioning" cruise, which may be cheaper. This happens when a ship changes from it's regular area. So, for instance, a ship that normally cruises in the Mediterranean in the summer needs to move to the Caribbean for the winter. The trip they take to get there stops at interesting places, not usually visited by cruise ships on a weekly basis
- Jacqueline Church Simonds, frequent cruiser and publisher of Happy Sails: The Carefree Cruiser's Handbook.

Booking Preferences

  1. Mention your preferences to the travel agent who will then help you decide which cruise line or package best fits your needs.
  2. When booking the trip be sure to book:
    • how you'll get to the port of call (air, car, train).
    • how you'll get from the airport to the port (usually by taxi or the cruise line might have a shuttle)
    • a cabin that you'll be comfortable with – if you're worried about seasickness stay towards the middle of the ship and on lower levels.
    • arrangements for any special needs you might have – disabilities, illnesses, dietary needs and so on
    • hotel rooms, if spending extra days in the port of call either before or after the cruise. Read our Hotel Tips article for a general hotel guide.
    • shore excursions and other ship activities, if possible

Excursions

WHN Reader TIP: Plan Ahead for Your On-Shore Excursions


You can visit the cruise company's website to read about and reserve shore excursions ahead of time. First-time cruisers usually don't know this and by the time they get on board and settled in and find out about excursions/shore trips and decide which to take, a lot of the popular ones are already filled
– Diana, Fremont, CA

WHN Reader Tip: Save $$$ on Excursions


Research shore excursions that are not affiliated with the cruise line. You'll save a lot of money and still have fun in port--just make sure you do your homework and choose a reputable tour operator
– Melissa, NY, NY

Travel Insurance

When you book the trip you might also be asked if you would prefer to purchase travel insurance at that time.
  • Read our Travel Insurance article to learn more about standard travel insurance policy coverage and options.

Changing Reservations

If you would like to make any changes to your reservations (air, car, cruise, hotel, etc.) be sure to contact your travel agent or the companies as soon as possible. You might be charged an additional fee for the changes.

Updated: 5/2009