For many seniors, cruising is ideal. You don’t need to do a lot of planning to enjoy a top-notch trip, and you can sit back and enjoy while almost everything is taken care of for you. You want a fun-filled vacation but don’t want to plan the activities yourself. Who can blame you?
Winter cruises are especially fun with exciting seasonal destinations like The Bahamas, Costa Rica, Belize, Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, Asia and even Antarctica. But before you click “Buy!,” we have five tips to help you make the most of your winter cruise.
Tip #1: Don’t count out the little guy
There are hundreds of cruise lines with ships in every imaginable shape and size—each one offering something different. Typically larger ships have more to offer in terms of activities and restaurants. But that doesn’t make large ships the best choice for you.
Many senior travelers prefer cruising on smaller ships because the decks are easier to navigate. And there aren’t as many passengers! There may be fewer amenities, but if you’re simply looking for relaxation and nice excursions, a small boat should fit the bill.
You might want to consider booking an adults-only cruise though. This type of cruise is a great way to cut down on some of the crowds and noise sometimes associated with cruising.
Tip #2: Thoughtfully select your cabin
Once you’ve selected your cruise ship, you’ll need to decide where to stay once you’re onboard. With some cruise lines offering as many as 20 different cabin configurations, the decision can be daunting.
Narrow your search for the best room by how many people it should sleep, whether you prefer (or need) a window or balcony, and how close you want to be to the elevators, pool, restaurants and other entertainment. Of course, you probably won’t be spending much time in your cabin, so you may be able to trade the balcony for a window room that costs less.
As you search for the right cabin, you may notice extremely competitive pricing. If you see a surprisingly low price, be sure to read all the fine print before booking. No matter how great the bargain, you’d hate to spend your trip in a windowless cabin below a nightclub.
Tip #3: Plan excursions and activities in advance
You might be tempted to leave planning your activities and excursions until you’re on the boat. After all, not having to plan is the reason you’re cruising in the first place, right? But waiting until you get to the ship can be a mistake.
Space will be limited for the most popular activities, whether you want to zipline through a jungle, visit a cultural site or get a relaxing couples massage during a day at sea. So think about what you want to do on your winter cruise, and make your reservations as early as possible!
Tip #4: Get to the port early
Don’t fly into your port of call the day you embark. Delays happen, flights are canceled, taxis get stuck behind road work… The last thing you want to do is start your trip stressed and worried about making the port on time.
So get to your port of call a day early, and rent a hotel room the night before. You’ll be relaxed and ready to leisurely make your way to the ship when boarding begins. And don’t forget to check if priority boarding is available for seniors. You’ll be glad you did!
Tip #5: Invest in travel insurance
Despite your best efforts to plan and prepare for your vacation, there are some things that are simply out of your control. Whether it’s a family crisis, unfortunate winter weather or a medical emergency all you can do about those scenarios is insure against them. If something happens while on the trip, and you need medical care beyond what’s available on the ship, you don’t want to be responsible for those costs.*
Don’t book your winter cruise without securing travel insurance. Learn more about plans that can work for you here.
Winter cruising is a great way to vacation while avoiding chilly weather back home. So as you plan your cruise, keep these five tips in mind. You’ll be well on your way to enjoying the trip of a lifetime!
*There are a few coverage exceptions, but Medicare doesn’t provide healthcare coverage while you’re on a cruise.