TRAVEL HERE: FINDING YOUR TRAVEL DREAMS ONLINE
So, last week I shared a few secrets I’d learned about Google and how knowing those things can give you a better experience if you decide to shop online for a cruise. Most of those suggestions were pretty basic, but their primary focus was what to avoid. This week you’ll learn more about what to do.
Where Do You Want to Go?
And don’t say I don’t know! I love to travel and in theory, I would pretty much get on any cruise ship going anywhere. In practice, I’ve only been on one cruise for every decade that I’ve lived. I’m doing everything I can to raise the ratio of cruises to years, but the point is this, don’t hesitate over where to start. Close you eyes and point at a map. Dreaming is free!
If you’re curious about Bali, then start your research there. Before you actually book a cruise, you may be taking a 3 day cruise to nowhere out of Miami, not Bali, but you’re just practicing! The first thing you need to know is what cruise lines go to where you want to visit. As you research Bali, you will start discover things that will help when you start narrowing down your real search.
I hope my next cruise is to the Mediterranean. When I Google “Mediterranean Cruises,” I quickly discover there are at least 12 cruise lines with itineraries in the Mediterranean and that’s just on the first page of results. If I’m just shopping, then why not start clicking. Don’t think of this as work. Think of it as organized day dreaming. Get comfy and maybe get a glass of wine.
When Do You Want to Go?
At this point, your research can take you in several directions, but if you have a specific time for your cruise in mind, then go with that. I want my next cruise to be on my 25th wedding anniversary, which is in May of 2019. If I Google, “Mediterranean Cruises May 2019,” the number of cruise lines goes down significantly and I start seeing sites like Expedia, Cruise Critic and various cruise lines. Start sampling all of these sites. Some will draw you in and you will find you’re still on the site an hour later. Others will just look like a list of prices or you won’t like the font – so just skip these.
One of the tricks of saving money on a cruise is to be flexible about your dates. If I demand to be at a certain place on a certain day for my anniversary cruise, then my choices will at least be limited and I may find no cruise ship will be where I want on the day I want to be there. So keep your mind open about a date. You want to narrow the choices down to a reasonable number, but not be stuck with only one choice.
What Itinerary Best Suits You?
This is very subjective. Many factors play into choosing an itinerary. What cities do you want to see? Do you want to spend some time at sea, enjoying your ship? Would you like to spend a few days at the beginning and/or end of the cruise in a particular city? Do you want to visit cities with museums and historical sites or do you prefer one beach party after another? How many days do you want to cruise?
My husband and I are in this phase of our search for the 2019 cruise. He’s leaning towards the Western Mediterranean with stops in places like Monte Carlo, St. Tropez and Portofino. I’m more interested in the Eastern Mediterranean with beautiful Venice and Croatia, Montenegro and perhaps a bit of Greece. However, we know we want something in the 8-10 day range, so this helps us narrow the search a little more.
By now you should be enjoying the process of shopping for your cruise. If this all sounds like too much work, just call your travel agent. They’ll ask you all the questions and help you find a cruise you will love, but you’ll have to trust them. Doing your own research ensures you’ll love your cruise. Come back next week and we’ll talk about what kind of room you want.