Wednesday, November 22, 2006

How to Choose a Mediterranean Cruise Line

Mediterranean Cruise lines, one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel industry, offer a wide variety of interesting destinations and activities for all ages. Here are steps on how you choose a Mediterranean cruise line that suits your travel needs

STEP 1: Decide where and when you want to cruise and the port you want to embark from. There are Caribbean and Asian sails nearly year-round. Mediterranean cruises usually take place only in the summer.

STEP 2: Deal with a Mediterranean cruise-only travel agent or an online agency that specializes in Mediterranean cruise vacations. They are more likely to have access to specials and cruise deals.

STEP 3: Outline the activities that appeal to you: ports of call, shore excursions, onboard facilities and amenities.

STEP 4: Decide who will be joining you on the cruise. Families have different needs and entertainment requirements than singles or couples.

STEP 5: Decide if you have a preference about ship size. Large ships have more entertainment choices, while small ships have a more personal approach to service.

STEP 6: Determine your budget. Mediterranean cruise lines give discounts for early bookings. You can also affect your costs by altering cruise dates, the length of your cruise and the region you sail to.

STEP 7: Choose the level of formality you prefer. Some ships demand formal or business attire at certain dinners. Other ships cater to vacationers who want to wear only casual clothing.

STEP 8: Ask about the typical age group of those sailing on a particular line or ship. This can help you determine whether you'll be compatible with your fellow passengers.

Tips and warnings

- Bring along toiletries, film and sunscreen. They can be quite expensive onboard.

- Plan your budget for tips to shipboard waiters, room stewards and service personnel. Ships often have suggested amounts, depending on the length of the cruise.

- Be aware that port fees are often not included in advertised prices. They can add significantly to your cruise costs.

- Pack light. Getting on and off ships is not as easy as picking up your luggage at the airport.

That’s it! Hope you choose Mediterranean cruise line that suits you and have great Mediterranean cruise vacation!


Monday, November 20, 2006

How to Get a Discounted Mediterranean Cruise

Average Mediterranean cruise could cost you hundreds of dollars per day. Learn this tips if you want to know how to get a discounted Mediterranean cruise. Enjoy your vacation!

1.Cruise insurance is often recommended by the agency when booking your Mediterranean cruise. Don't purchase cruise insurance from a travel agency, get it from an insurance company. You'll not only save money but you'll probably get a better policy too. We recommend the insurance because with the correct policy you are covered for trip cancellation either on your part or the cruise line, medical and luggage.

2.Get a Mediterranean cruise quote that includes port fees and taxes. If the agency is unable to give that information to you then find another agency. Your interest should be the bottom line, the total cost with No Hidden Fees. Port fees can run a couple hundred dollars per passenger, just be aware.

3.Stay away from the "peak season". Organize your Mediterranean cruise for the "off-season". If you can schedule your time even a few weeks before or after the peak season you'll save substantially. If you can sail before or after the peak season you will save huge.

4.Don't be miss-led when you see advertised specials such as "Discount Luxury Cruise", $599". These advertisements are usually for off-season and do not include port fees and taxes.

5.Cabin rates are typically based on two person occupancy. In other words, the first two people in the cabin will pay the full-fare, additional people will pay 1/2 the fare. If you plan on having more than two people in a cabin, make sure you are NOT paying full fare for the extra two people. If you are quoted full fare for extra people, find another agency.

6.Unless you plan on spending a lot of time in your cabin, get an inside cabin. An inside cabin, without a window, is by far the cheapest. The drawback to an inside cabin, you'll never know what time of day it is since no "day light" comes into your room. Make sure you have a clock.

7.Decide which Mediterranean cruise line you want to sail on. Some travel agencies tend to push a specific Mediterranean cruise line for various reasons; one reason is the agency receives a higher commission. Norwegian Cruise Lines, for the most part, will yield a better savings. Do a little homework and check out the amenities on each vessel to make sure it meets your expectations.

8.Check out your Sunday paper's travel section long before you cruise. It'll give you an idea of what the market is like.
9.Cruising with a group does not always save you money on your Mediterranean cruise. If you are cruising with a group because you want to save money, think again, you may not be saving at all. The organizer of your group, if the group consists of 8-cabins, will usually get the cruise for free. They are the true savers.

That’s it! Apply it and begin to take your Mediterranean cruise for a discounted price. Have great cruise!


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Part 2 - How to Have a Safe Mediterranean Cruise Vacation

This article is the continuations from part 1 where I discuss the first two steps on how to have a safe Mediterranean cruise and avoid become a crime victim. Here are the last three steps.

Step 3: While in Port

If you are going to be a crime victim while on a Mediterranean cruise trip, it is most likely to occur when you are ashore. Most crimes committed against cruise passengers are those of opportunity. I will tell you my friend’s experience while she is on her Mediterranean cruise vacation. There were at least three men on her cruise whose pockets were picked. Two men had their wallets in their back pocket - the worst place to carry it! One of these men was in the elevator of her pre-cruise Barcelona hotel, and another was waiting to cross the street at a busy intersection. The third man was on a crowded subway in Rome, and had his wallet in his front pants pocket. All three of these crimes could have been avoided. So I suggest you better wore an under-the-clothing bag for your money and credit cards.

You can't put your camera inside your clothing and have it ready to snap that special picture. Don't put it in a backpack, unless you wear it in front! I have a small camera bag that I can attach to a belt. If you want to carry it in a waist pack, put the strap through your belt loops.

Step 4: In Your Cabin

When you first get to your cabin, check the bathroom and closet while the cabin door is still open. While a ship is in port, many more people have access to it than you might imagine. Being cautious never hurt anyone. In addition, sometimes the locks on Mediterranean cruise ship cabins are not changed as often as hotel locks. Don't leave valuables lying around in your cabin. Put your wallet and valuables in the cabin's safe or the purser's safe. Be sure to use all the locks on the door when you are asleep. Don't open the door to strangers. Protect your cabin key and cabin number.

Step 5: On the Ship

Although Mediterranean cruise ships are relatively safe, common sense is needed even at sea. Stay in the public areas, and remember that a Mediterranean cruise ship and its crew and passengers are like a small city, not like your family.

If you are cruising with your children, set rules just like at home. Establish curfews for your teenagers, and caution them to not accompany crew members to non-public areas. Don't give your children "the run of the ship" while you are in the club, show, or casino.

These tips on how to have a safe Mediterranean cruise are all common sense. Use the tips to make your next Mediterranean cruise vacation a safe one!