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Plan - Pack - Go - Enjoy
The Brellie Way
Which cruise line should you select?
Age-appropriate is a great first choice. Cruise lines with small to medium ships for older folks (Holland America, Crystal, SilverSea) and large ships for families with children (Royal Caribbean, Princess) and active folks (Norwegian Cruise Line) and young adults seeking nightlife (Carnival).
How do you get the best fare?
Compare all the cruise brokers. Different brokers specialize, and get the best fares for, cruise lines they sell the most. Then pick the broker you like and give him or her the option to match or beat your best price. Make sure that you compare price with similar cabins in similar locations.
Favorite Cruise Broker Sites
Which cabins are noisy?
Study the ship map before you book! Almost all of them are available on-line. Avoid cabins next to, under or above the following: laundromat, elevator, stairway, theatre, restaurant, and any unmarked area that may be staging for housekeeping or room service.
Promenade deck? Some people like action; some don't. This deck is busy day and night and anyone walking by can peer through your window, if you have one. The trade-off is that it is often the most convenient deck to ship's activities, bars, and offices that serve passengers.
How do you score that special dining table?
Go straight to the maître d' as soon as possible. Don't unpack; don't eat; don't get settled. If you go immediately to the designated room during the hours indicated the day that you board, you can talk with the maître d' about your needs before the complaining crowds arrive.
What are the frequent cruiser perks?
Most cruise lines want to keep your business. So, depending on the number of cruises and number of days that you cruise with them, they give you special treatment.
Some examples include: free laundry and dry-cleaning service; discounts for fee events such as wine tastings; special receptions; one-time bar set-ups; early disembarkation; hors d'oeuvres delivered to your room before dinner; discounts on travel insurance for your cruise; discounts on subsequent cruises; special advance brochures with special pricing and price guarantees; discounts on photographic purchases; credit toward ship purchases, called shipboard credit.
Read details of each cruise line's perks on their website.