Each year, over 20 million people embark on a cruise.
Cruises are a great way to see the world, spend time with your family, and go on a holiday that doesn't require a lot of planning, so it's no wonder so many people love them.
If you're looking to skip the chaos of the holidays this year, then taking a cruise is the way to go.
But how do you plan a Christmas cruise?
Check out this guide to learn the top tips for planning one.
1. Book Early
First things first: you want to make sure you book your Christmas cruise early.
Luckily, cruise lines book their itineraries well in advance, so you never have to worry about booking last-minute.
In fact, if you wait too long to book, the voyage may end up selling out or becoming too expensive.
Also, if you plan to book a specialty cabin or suite, be prepared to book about 12 months in advance.
By booking early, you make sure you get a spot at the minimum cost.
2. Get Ready for Organised Chaos
If you're looking for a quiet, relaxing vacation with just you and your loved ones, a Christmas cruise may not be the best idea.
Most Christmas cruises are extremely family-oriented, and there will be activities going on around the clock.
However, this is great news for large families, as this means you'll hardly have to do any planning yourself.
3. Be Ready to Spend More
When you break down everything that's included in a cruise (food, beverages, activities, amenities, etc.), you'll realise that a cruise is actually a pretty good deal.
But during the holiday season, you should expect to pay more for your cruise.
Undoubtedly, this is the most expensive time of the year for taking a cruise, as schools are on break and many families want to go on holiday.
However, keep in mind that some cruise lines offer flash sales and loyalty club promotions, so be sure to check in with the cruise line website for special deals.
To stay in the loop for the best cruise deals, you should also sign up for email newsletters and reach out to cruise travel agents for exclusive specials.
4. Pre-Book Activities and Dining
Not only should you book your cruise well in advance, but you should also book what you're going to do on the cruise.
Not only will this save you a major headache down the road, but it can also save you a lot of money.
Some cruise lines even offer exclusive, pre-cruise deals on activity bundles, food packages, and other amenities such as drinks and Wi-Fi.
By pre-booking, you also get a chance to reserve a spot on some of the most sought-after dining locations and activities.
5. Book Excursions in Advance
When booking a cruise, don't forget to also book the shore excursions in advance as well, as these activities and tours can fill up quickly.
If your cruise line doesn't offer the excursions that you're looking for, you can also book through a third-party tour provider. In some cases, booking through one can save you money.
6. Know What Kind of Ship to Book
When booking a cruise, you have several different options when it comes to ship size.
Here's what you have to choose from:
If you're travelling with small children and are looking for a range of activities, it's best to book a cruise on a large ship. When we say large ship, we mean one that holds between 2,000 to 3,000 passengers.
While these ships can get crowded, they offer a lot of family-oriented programs, which means you'll never have to worry about the little ones getting bored.
If you're looking for a cruise that has a range of activities for both kids and adults, then a mid-size ship is the way to go.
These ships usually hold between 900 and 2,000 passengers. While they don't have the same number of kid-oriented activities as large ships do, mid-size ships offer a better atmosphere for adults who want to socialise and meet others.
Plus, these ships are less crowded than larger cruise lines.
Lastly, you can choose to book your Christmas cruise on a small ship.
Typically, these are more about luxury and less about accommodating small children. They usually hold 900 passengers or less, and they offer excellent entertainment, luxurious dining options, and top-notch service.
If you're looking for a romantic getaway for you and your loved one, a small ship is the way to go.
7. Buy Flights Early
When booking a holiday cruise, it's also very important to book your flights early.
While it can sometimes pay off to wait to book your flights, when booking around the holiday season, this usually isn't the case.
Also, keep in mind that many cruise lines offer packages that allow you to book your flight and cruise all in one. While this doesn't necessarily save you money, it does add some convenience.
In addition, try to book your flight into your departure city a day or two early. Often, the poor weather and chaos of the holiday season cause flight delays and cancellations.
The last thing you want is to miss your cruise because of a flight delay, so this is why we suggest arriving in the city early. Plus, this gives you a chance to explore the city area you'll be departing from.
Are You Ready to Book a Christmas Cruise?
By following these tips, you'll be well on your way to booking the perfect Christmas cruise.
Also, if you're looking to book a cruise for just one day during the holiday season, be sure to check out our Christmas cruise options. These cruises are great for those who want to throw a party for their friends, family members, or coworkers.