Cruise Travel Tips

cruise tips

Cruise Vacations  for Baby Boomers

baby boomers on Holland America cruiseMany boomers love to take cruise vacations and it is an important part of  boomer travel vacation plans.  As soon as this Pandemic lets up,we will be back cruising!  Here are some of the reasons why cruising is popular among boomers (and seniors).

Reasons Why Boomers Like to Cruise

1.  Easy way to travel.  Just book a cruise, pack and go! As you age  it becomes a little harder to travel on your own, especially as knee, leg and back issues cause mobility problems.

2. It is fun. Boomers are ready for some fun and find cruising fun.

3. Travel while you can. Many Boomers told us they wanted to travel while they can and taking cruises is a good way to do it. They don’t want any regrets they didn’t travel more when they finally are not able to travel comfortably. Travel while you have the chance.

4. Exciting destinations.  You won’t have much time in port but make use of excursions to experience the best.

5. Memorable experiences. Boomers want experiences not more things. Traveling with children and grandchildren is big.

6. Cruises are a good value.   Considering food, lodging, entertainment, transportation, etc you can’t beat a cruise for the price.

7. Socialize with fellow boomers.  Most people are friendly and would love to talk with you anywhere around the ship.

8. Celebration Cruises – Well this should be higher on the list because an AARP study just showed that Boomers celebrating anniversaries and milestone birthdays are the main reasons Boomers like to do travel vacations and cruises are at the top.

Best Cruise Lines For Boomers

1. Celebrity Great ship layout.  There for you without being intrusive.  High quality.  Quiet elegance.   Great food.  Highly rated.  Many people in age 60’s range.

2. Princess Cruise Line  Known for its variety of fun activities and lively cruise staff, even though entertainment has been slipping in my opinion.   Upscale in a mainstream kind of way.  Large beautiful ships.  Wide range of ages.

3. Holland America   Stated elegance and laid back cruising.
Dorothy and Larry like Holland America.  The lido buffet is the best since Dorothy has diet restrictions she can see what she is getting. Slightly older crowd.

4. Royal Caribbean  Fred, a frequent boomer cruiser says: I have gone on cruises with Cunard, Norwegian, Celebrity, Carnival, Premier (now Disney) and Royal Caribbean. We prefer RC by far. Consistent good quality and improving. Great service, food, activities, etc. We love the longer cruises (10 day +).

5. Viking River Cruise   Suzanne says: We loved our Viking River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. Viking was absolutely and completely customer oriented! Loved it!  But Cathy says:  I love Grand Circle for river cruises. We’ve been on 2 and they’re are absolutely amazing.

6. Luxury Cruises Lines:  Crystal Cruises,  Seabourn Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises

7. Vantage Travel: Has reasonably priced worldwide river cruises.

baby boomer on a cruise ship

Popular Cruise Travel Destinations

1.  Mediterranean, Italy – Greek Isles – Recently many if not most people we asked on cruise ships which was there best cruise answered “Mediterranean cruise”.  So Mediterranean cruise are giving Alaska cruise a run for the top.

2. Alaska seems to be the most popular.  Make sure you visit Glacier Bay.   The inside passage is a unique experience.  The cruise/tour to Denali is nice taking the rail up from Anchorage to Denali.

3. Caribbean Cruises.  The 10 day Southern Caribbean is wonderful.

4. Hawaiian Islands. The 14 day cruise from LA or fly to Hawaii and take the cruise around the islands.

5. British Isles.  After you have cruised awhile this may be on your list. See more here.

6. Baltic Sea.  Experience Cruisers visit lots of counties, but is port intensive.  Saint Petersburg is memorable.

7. Panama Canal.  Some go all the way through the canal and some turn around in the big lake.  Panama, Costa Rica and surrounds counties are interesting.

Cruise Travel Tips: Length of a Cruise

4 Days of less – Novice, don’t waste your time.
One week cruise – most popular.  Maybe for your first cruise.
10 to14 day cruise –  Now we are talking.   Most popular with repeat cruises.
Long cruises – See how Donna Hull survives long cruises.

cruise port scene

Cruise Travel Tips: Types of Cruises

Repositioning Cruises – lot of sea days which many experienced cruises like.  Offer in the Spring and the Fall and the ship reposition to a different part of the world.

Transatlantic Cruises – travel between America and Europe across the big pond (Atlantic).  Many sea days.  One leg of around the world cruise.

Around the World Cruise.  74 to 116 day cruise visiting many parts of the world. Or do a leg of a world cruise.  A great draw for boomers with time (and money).

River Cruises.  This is where the big growth in cruising is.  Smaller ships plow the waterways in Europe and in counties around the world.  Cal with Lido Deck Cruises says “Before the Main-Danube Canal opened there were about 20 River Cruises ships operating. Now there are over 200 and many more being built or planned. In addition there are many more choices of River Cruise Companies and types of cruises than there used to be”.

For European river cruises, Viking River Cruises and Avalon Waterways are popular and for river cruises in the USA it’s American Cruise Lines offering 35 river cruises in the US on the Mississippi, Columbia and Snake Rivers to name a few.

Grandparents Cruising with Grandchildren – Cal with Lido Deck Cruises says “For a large family reunion cruise, look for a line with low rates for kids, and who will allow four kids in a cabin sometimes.”

Family Reunion Cruise – make sure you get colored shirts with the family name to keep track of your clan.  Part of the hot multi-generational cruising trend.

Discount Cruises – refers to a special price, cruise deals.  Some say last minute bookings for cruises are the best deals, but lately it seems booking in advance is the best way to do.  There are repeat cruiser amenities but no discounts per se, even though you may get a special offer.  No senior discounts. Veterans should ask for military discounts on all cruises.

Cruise Travel Tips: Resources for a Boomer Cruise

Booking Strategies to Get the Best Cruise Price

Cruise Ship Port Reviews, Shore Excursion Reviews – Great for finding researching your port visit from a cruisers perspective, something the travel books do not do.

CruiseCritic – get fellow cruisers reviews and info

See our post on Boomer Travel Blogs and Travel for Boomers and Cruising for Boomers

Chis Cruises – inside cruise vacations

Toms Port Guides – Free detailed port guides that you can download.  Shows where your ship will port and all about the port.

Check the Green Sheet Report card for your ship. This is from the Vessel Sanitation Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.  This is like the food service inspection for each ship which routinely inspects ships for cleanliness, repairs needed, food preparation and storage, water quality, hygiene, pest management, sickness on board and many other things.

Hope these resources help with your cruise vacation.

Cruise Tips From Cruise Employees

Water. Bring a bottle or a refillable water container and fill it up at the gym or spa. Most of the time they have citrus infused, or cucumber infused water. The water on the ship is so overpriced. Save the money and get the good stuff. Rinse out the container at night, and you’re all good. You CAN drink the water from your faucet in the bathroom sink. Since most ships bunker or make their own water in a reverse osmosis plant, it’s all the same.

Don’t buy any gifts on the ship until the last day. See what you can find in port, and then use the ship as a last resort. That’s when everything goes on sale anyway.

Cruise in shoulder season to get the best deals. The absolute CHEAPEST time to cruise is between Thanksgiving and Christmas, non-inclusive of the actual holidays. GREAT DEALS to be had. January is also a good time.

If you want to avoid kids, sail on a sailing LONGER than 7 days, DURING the school year. Voila. No kids. You want kids? Go on a 3–4 day cruise in JULY, BABY!!

Want extra special service? Pre-pay your gratuities and slip your room steward a $20 or a $50 on the first day. You’ll be treated like the a KING and QUEEN that you really are.

UNDERPACK. Sail with a carry on roller bag and a day bag. Seriously. No one cares if you wear the same pants 2 or 3 times. This is not a fashion show. This is your vacation. Free yourself of the burden of “too much shit,” and enjoy life. This way, you can also walk off the ship whenever you please during disembarkation. They will give you a time frame to disembark, but really – go whenever you want.

Avoid the crowds and do what everyone else is not doing. Go to the pool at night. Eat at off peak hours. See the show that’s less attended (the cruise director will tell you which one that is for that specific cruise – it changes…). But have fun!!

3 thoughts on “Cruise Travel Tips”

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