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What to Know Before Booking a Cruise

admin November 15, 2018

Captain Cook Fiji (2)

Cruising is one of the fastest-growing parts of the tourism industry and according to reports, it’s now one of the hottest holiday trends for millennials. So what should you know about cruising?

Well…

A cruise is essentially a large, floating holiday resort. On board, you can enjoy the luxury and comfort that comes with a nice hotel and you can choose from a range of activities to stay entertained. Some cruise ships are equipped with restaurants, bars, swimming pools, jacuzzi, spa, gym, shops, and even a casino, cinema, mini golf course, zip line, a skydiving simulator and other thrill rides. Smaller cruise ships, such as our M.V. Reef Endeavour take a more intimate approach to travel. Onboard you’ll find a swimming pool and sun deck, two lounges, a dining saloon, spa and mini gym, two bars, a laundry, a library and a gift shop.

Cruise ships used for day trips don’t require as much, as they are less a source of entertainment and more a source of transport. Fiji One, for example, doesn’t have the pool and all the trimmings but it does have an upper deck lounge, dining saloon, deck bar, in-house sound system and a spacious open outdoor deck.

Whether you choose a three night, four night, seven-night, eleven night or a day cruise will depend on what you want from your holiday. Some people love being aboard a boat the whole time, while others prefer to stay in the resort and then take day trips as and when required.

Cruises vs a resort with day trips

If you’re unsure what you’d prefer – an all-inclusive resort with day trip cruises or an all-inclusive cruise – it’s important you weigh up the pros and cons of each.

Cruising

Cruising has two main advantages over resorts. The first is obvious – your cruise ship moves. Every morning you’re in a new, sensational location without the need to figure out transportation logistics or packing up your bags. Being moveable, your cruise can also seek out the best weather, altering its route to get out of a storm or rain cloud’s way. With a resort, you’re stuck in one place and it’s too bad if the rain pours.

The second main advantage is that modern-day cruise ships are packed to the nines with onboard activities. Daily schedules are filled with activities from wine tastings and dance classes to trivia games, comedy and magic acts, educational programming and Vegas-style shows. There’s usually a designated kids zone too where a schedule of family-friendly activities take place.

Basically, there’s something for everyone and you can choose how much or how little you take part in.

Resort

The main advantage of an all-inclusive resort is that it’s incredibly relaxing. You can spend an entire day at the swim-up pool bar, or you can head to the beach for a swim in the waves without having to wait for your ship to dock. Your resort room will probably be larger too, which is a big plus for those who like their space.

In terms of “all-inclusiveness”, resorts generally tend to be closer to what you’d call “all-inclusive” . This is because there’s less temptation than on a cruise.

Cruise fares tend to cover accommodation, some meals, select non-alcoholic beverages, port stops and select onboard activities. But depending on your budget, you can end up adding commemorative photos, gratuities, meals in specialty restaurants and additional on-shore activities during excursions.

In a resort, alcoholic beverages are usually included, as is certain beach activities like non-motorised sports. That said, if your resort is near town it’s easy to spend money in the nearby streets and by the time you add your day-trip cruises, the costs can add up.

Basically, there are pros and cons to both so weigh up what’s right for you.

Who travels on a cruise?

We can’t speak for all cruises but we can tell you that Captain Cook Cruises attract all kinds of people. A Captain Cook Cruise is for the adventurous person but it’s also for the person who loves relaxation. We cater for those who love exploring a different culture, tasting new food and scuba diving. We can also package a cruise for weddings, family reunions and corporate purposes.

If you’re a global explorer, a cruise is your one ticket to multiple destinations. Boats allow you to witness hidden gems you can’t see by land and you can make land stops in all those hard-to-reach places. For relaxation hunters, there’s no better way to escape reality than to put the great wide ocean between you and the mainland. Laying by a pool that floats on the ocean means it’s just you and paradise.

For parents, cruises offer a holiday where the words “I’m bored” never come into play. There’s something for children of all ages and Captain Cook Cruises takes care of everything. For workaholics, there’s wifi.

As for social butterflies, cruising is the ultimate way to meet new people and make new friends. Sharing a vessel means social interaction is inevitable and at the same time, easier. You can make connections with people from all over the world and the intimacy of Captain Cook Cruiser’s smaller fleet makes for a bonding experience you can’t get on some huge-scale ships.

Preparing for a cruise

A little planning goes a long way toward smooth sailing. This Ultimate Pre-Cruise Planning Checklist is a handy tool, so print it out at least three months ahead of your cruise if possible. If not following a checklist, be sure to consider:

Travel insurance

At the time of booking your cruise, arrange travel insurance. Not all travel insurance is the same so shop around to find the best deal to suit your needs. Look for a package that includes medical expenses, cancellations, delays and personal items. You can learn more about travel insurance here.

Packing

The average cruise ship cabin is relatively small, so don’t overpack. Consider your ship’s dress code and only pack what you need. Layering and accessories will be your ticket to controlling what you pack while still looking fabulous.

When it comes to packing shoes, you’ll need a variety to accommodate for the different activities you’ll be doing. You’ll need slip-resistant deck shoes, sneakers or walking shoes, sandals, dress shoes and reef shoes are optional. For more packing tips, click here.

Shore excursions

The last thing you want is to get onto an island to find out that the shore excursion you wanted to do is already fully booked. Work with your cruise company to ensure you have a spot.

It’s common knowledge that shore excursions create extra profit for cruise companies, with shore excursions booked through a cruise company generally more expensive than when booked online or directly through the excursion provider. Bear in mind, however, that paying this premium serves as a source of insurance. Cruise lines choose their tour operators carefully and hold them responsible for quality control. Plus, booking through your cruise guarantees that the ship won’t leave before you’re back from your tour.

Understanding cruise etiquette

Cruise etiquette really just comes down to common sense. There are other passengers on board and you’re out on the ocean, therefore certain behaviours won’t be tolerated.

Dining on cruise ships, particularly in formal restaurants, is often done in groups. Large tables seat a number of passengers who may not have met before. For this reason, consider your fellow diners and arrive at your specific dining time (if allocated) on schedule. You won’t be well-liked if you hold your fellow diners up each night by arriving outside of your designated time slot.

If you are going to be late, let the restaurant staff know with plenty of notice so that they can arrange an alternate time for you to dine. Other etiquette tips can be found here.

Still have questions about a cruise or considering where you should go in Fiji? Talk to us at Captain Cook Cruises and find a cruise that’s right for you. Contact us here.

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