I am so often asked “what is the best deal?” These days it is cruising. But if you are like me and enjoy the independent travel experience, how can you enjoy cruising?
First, find a destination you would like to visit and learn; then pick the best cruise line within your budget. Here are several suggestions to personalize your cruise.
1. Choose cruises with overnight ports of call and late departures. This allows for more time to absorb the local culture.
2. In port, get up early and explore the city on foot before the throngs of tourists arrive.
3. Escape the crowds of the main piazzas and squares. It is the side streets where you will find the locals, the small restaurants and inexpensive shops.
4. Venture out of the port towns. Find a nearby village.
5. Take the train and other public transportation. It is often readily available, the cost is much less than options provided by the cruise and you will meet the locals.
6. Get the inside scoop from the folks who live there. In the shops, say hello and ask questions.
7. Consult your ship’s savvy staff. They have been to these ports on many prior occasions.
8. Opt for small specialty restaurants on your ship. Some will have the port of call local cuisine for dinner that night.
9. Book a veranda stateroom or suite. The open space will give you the opportunity to lounge outdoors.
10. Order room service for breakfast – you’ll feel a nice balance between home and vacation as you nibble on your toast and read the paper.
11. Find your own paradise on board. It can be a favorite bar that is empty during the day or a steam garden for relaxation.
12. Sign up for the ship’s small group enrichment programs and go to lectures.
13. Try to do shore excursions other than the larger ship sponsored groups. There are many companies that offer small group unique tours for often much less money. Or get a private guide to take you where you want to go!
14. There are so many ways to personalize your cruise experience!
Go to Virtuoso Insights April / May 2011 for more detailed information.