There are so many options, travel agents, cruise deals, packages, ships, destinations and type of cruises to choose from, that your first cruise should always be handled by an expert so you get the best trip, advice and pleasure from your first cruise.To help you get started there are about 10 questions you will want to answer before you contact Cruise Planners/American Express Travel Agents.

Who is going on the trip?
This helps determine the type of cruise you want to go on.How much are you prepared to spend?  This pre-planning helps you know how to budget your money for the cruise.  An agent will help you plan this to include all the little necessities that might be included that we would not normally think about. (tips, etc.)

How much time do you have to be on vacation?
Where you go can depend on how many days, you can travel.  Less than a week, might be Bahamas, Mexico, parts of the Caribbean or a cruise to nowhere. A week’s vacation will open up the Caribbean to you, and depending on where you live you can even get to Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, or the South Pacific.

When do you want to Travel?
Season?  Is there a special time you want to go, Vacation? Summer? Holidays?

Where do you want to go?
Cruises can be cheaper in the Spring or Fall.  Some ships have longer or shorter travel times.. For example, if you are going to Alaska or northern Europe, you will have to cruise between May and September. If you are going to Antarctica, November through February is the season. The dry season for most tropical locations like the Caribbean and Hawaii is in the summer, and the rainy season is in the winter. This does NOT mean it will rain all the time.

What type of things do you like to do?
Hiking?  Scuba Diving?  Water Sports…or just sit on the deck and enjoy the ride? Do you like Museums and visit the culture of other countries?  Private tours, or popular hangouts?  It is all there for your pleasure.

What type of cabin do you want/need?
While budget is a consideration as to your accommodations, you might want to spend just a tad more to get a cabin with a balcony or patio for ocean views and more “open” space.

When do you like to eat dinner?
Dinner time varies on a ship.  They offer both early and late dining options. They usually come under the options of early seating, late seating or open seating.

Do you like to dress up or stay casual?
Most cruises have a day set aside to dress up one day where you wear semi or formal attire.  In the later years, cruise ships now also offer country club casual, or resort casual every night.

How will you get to the cruise ship?
Fly? Drive? Depending on your transportation needs, the travel agents can offer you a combined rate for flying and cruising. Your agent will advise you on the best arrival time to assure departure, especially in considering delays due to mechanical or weather related late arrivals to the ship. They can also help you plan a hotel stay if necessary.

That’s it!
It is just that easy when you have the right agency behind you. Your best plan for your first cruise is to know these key facts prior to calling the agent at Cruise Planners/American Express, Express and you will be ready to set sail before you can say…Let’s go!