When did The Shipboard Cruiser publication first start?
The Shipboard Cruiser first appeared in 1992 as a “Snail Mail” monthly Newsletter. There were not many sources of cruise information in those days other than a couple Magazines and one or two other newsletters. We went online as ShipboardCruiser.com in 1997. We stopped the paper version of the publication to go all electronic in January 2003. We‘ve been read and viewed by the cruising public for 24 years. Millions of vacation cruisers have read and viewed these pages during those years and dozens of new Cruise Lines have begun operation during that time as well. This Blog started with the redesign of the ShipboardCruiser.com web site in May of 2016 and it will be updated weekly for your information and benefit. Bon Voyage!!
Beginners may ask, “How do I plan my first cruise?”
First, I would scan the many offerings of Cruise Lines listed in The Shipboard Cruiser Cruise Lines and Ships section. Check their direct links as a first step to acquaint yourself with some of the Cruise Vacation offerings they publish. Follow that with scanning through many of the various cruise tidbits in the other sections of ShipBoardCruiser.com. There are over 6000 links to cruising around the world listed on our web site. That is an education in itself.
Must I book a cruise through the Cruise Line itself or can I use a Travel Agent?
You can use either or both. The Cruise Lines can book you instantly since they control the booking space and they know what is available, however, depending on the timing and the cruise you seek, the Travel Agencies might spend more time with you explaining your cruise options. Also, if they are big, they may have blocks of space already booked and can give you better pricing in some cases. Proceed carefully. There a a lot of matters of cancellation and Insurance that you also want to consider. You learn as you become more experienced.
If I am open as to a cruise date, what might be a good time of the year for a good price?
The summer is probably when you want to go, but so does everyone else!! So, there might be some good bargains in the period from January 15 toward Spring after all the Winter Holiday Cruises are over and the Cruise Lines might offer some good bargains. You can benefit from a Travel Agent in this area because they have a better feel for the market and they want your future business as well. Let them search around and offer you various deals. Be choosy and tell them to find you “Onboard Credits” to go with your cruise. That saves you money.
What is the single most important reference I can use for Cruise Line information?
Once you cruise, you will want to cruise again, so every vacation cruiser should purchase a copy of the 600 Page+ Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2016 Guide available a most book stores or on Amazon. It gives you a world of information on 275 cruise ships and the Cruise Lines that operate them, plus worlds of information that will serve you well and save you money. It costs about $20.
When we book a cruise do the Cruise Lines offer us information on how to dress?
The dress on cruise lines can be as different as day and night. One rule might be, the less expensive cruises may be booked by beginning cruisers and the will probably come dressed as they would to go to a beach vacation. No fault of theirs, but they may not be thinking of dressing for dinner, but just may go more casual. The more expensive and longer cruises are populated by more experienced cruisers and thus they may “dress up” more. Just look nice.
How do I learn about the new cruise ships that will be coming to market?
As near as we can tell from the Cruise Line announcements, there are about 33+ new ships planned to be built of all sizes and by various Cruise Lines between May of 2016 and the year 2021. These are called New Builds. As in the past, during the last 20 years, we have often cruised aboard these ships and have written Ship Reviews for the benefit of our many readers. We will be reporting on these New Builds in the months ahead in our Monthly Cruise Feature section and if invited to review the ships by the Cruise Lines, we will write more in depth reviews for you to enjoy. There will also be mention made of each new ship in this Blog as we receive cruise line News Releases and further announcements.
Dear Readers: More will be added to this Section as The Shipboard Cruise Blog develops in 2016.