This week begins my new series on Cruising! If you have read my Introductory Cruising Page you will know how “Cruising” as a destination developed for us. We are now booked on the five star, Regent Seven Seas Explorer for our first cruise EVER! In the months that have gone by I have learned a great deal about cruising so I want to share with you some tips and fun blog posts that have helped me get a grip on what we are about to partake in! I don’t like to do anything unprepared, because I don’t want to miss out on anything!
With that said, I have to say we were assigned a Regent contact immediately after we booked our cruise. We could call him at any time with our questions. However, we felt the biggest hurdle was over, because we had actually made up our minds to take a cruise and found more than one on Regent, that offered destinations we had never been to. Those were our biggest decisions at first. After that I did not know what questions to ask. As I thought about things I could always call our Regent guy, Al. It is also great that Regent has you make decisions about options over a period of time. I think if I had to make up my mind about cabins, restaurants, excursions, and more, during that first call it would have been overwhelming for us. So you make your decisions in steps over several months. However, since some of the cabins were full and filling up (this was a year out) we had to come up with a room decision. We had no idea really, all of the rooms have a beautiful balcony and the choice seemed to be big or bigger or “are you kidding me?” So we didn’t select the highest or the lowest, but took one that was GTY. I didn’t know what that was at the time, but the middle seemed a good place to be, both in price and on the ship. More about that later as I learned more!
The other thing great about Regent, and another reason we chose to select their cruises, were the all-inclusive feature. This was a critical decision for us and one that seemed to be the correct choice for us (See the Cruising Page above for more info on that) The 1st class airfare to and from our destination is paid for. We are flying into Heathrow and departing from Barcelona. Someone would be holding up a sign to greet us at the airport to take us to our hotel and then again the next day to the ship’s dock. Once on board all our alcoholic, soft drinks and water are paid for. We get to eat at five fine cuisine restaurants and all the buffet restaurants for free. The various excursions are paid for. The tipping and taxes are paid for. The wi-fi is free. We get our own private butler. There are only extra charges if you really want something above and beyond the best and want to be the best of the bests. For example, if you want your own private car and chauffeur for the various excursions or if you want a private car and chauffer to go off on your own to a different location other than what is offered. There are many excursions offered at the twelve ports we will stop at and they are selected by you according to your activity level, stamina and interests. For this reason my hubby and I selected different excursions. He is the “bungie jumping, minimum “10,000 stairs” stair climbing, adventurous type” and I am the “where is the cute little village with the coffee shops, shopping and gardens type.” So we will be seeing different things! So over the last few months this is what we did. We went over all of our options and made our selections. What fun!
Then I discovered “Cruise Critic.” If you are trying to decide if a cruise is for you, this is where I would start. Who knew there were so many different cruise lines offering destinations in every direction, for any time of year, any number of days, and at a variety of prices? I had no idea! If you are looking for a particular cruise with a specific idea in mind you can find it and more on Cruise Critic! Do you want the best cruises for a honeymoon? Do you want a cruise where the children will have numerous activities and you can do your own thing? Look at Cruise Critic! What ship has the best restaurants? What destination activity did the guests like best? What cabin did they choose and why? And on and on……… No matter what type of cruise line you are looking for it will be featured on their web site! The other thing I liked and go to frequently is there Forum pages. Do you have a question about cruising, and I mean any question………you will find a forum with members answering your questions. It is free to join Cruise Critic and I have found it invaluable to answer my questions. In addition to that, you can join Roll Call to look up your specific cruise and sailing date and find other people who will be taking the same cruise as you! So you can meet other people, who will be on the cruise, find out a little (or a lot) about them and ask them questions too. I feel I have known them for a while now and since many are seasoned travelers they have good advice. Regent also offers a “Meet and Greet Party” just for those of us, who have been communicating in the Roll Call Forum on Cruise Critic. So we will meet up and put faces to the people we only know now by their forum names like Cruiser 99 or California Cruiser, etc.
Once a week or so Cruise Critic sends out blog posts with interesting tidbits which I have found very helpful. Here are some of my favorites so far…….. be sure to check these out!
5. And my very favorite! 21 Signs You’re a Cruise Addict! I especially got a kick out of the section on those people who suffer from Post Cruise Depression! This post offers side effects and prescriptions that are hilarious and informative as well. I got a lot of great ideas from this blog!
I hope you have enjoyed my first post about cruising! It is going to be a fun adventure! Won’t you join me from the start to finish? See you next week!