New to Cruising?


I don’t want to do formal nights.

Most cruise lines provide alternatives for those who do not wish to participate--like eating at the buffet, eating in your room, etc. Again, some cruises no longer do formal nights at all anymore-let us know if this is a big deal for you or not as there are alternatives.

Here are some reasons to give a formal night a try. It’s fun to glam it up once or twice. Most ships have photographers taking portraits for free while you look your best. You only buy photos you like. You can get a great photo at lower cost than going to your local portrait photographer!   The food in the main dining room is usually upped a notch (think lobster!) on formal nights. There’s often a little ballroom dancing (non-dancers can watch).

Men can wear dark suits, tuxes are not required. Ask us for our tips for buying a tux more cheaply than a one or two night rental if you are interested. Gretchen’s husband bought one that has served him on multiple cruises, and which was lent out to our son’s friends for more proms than we can count 🙂 It was a great investment!

What kinds of activities? 

This varies widely. Make sure you tell us what is important to you so we can make sure your proposed cruise includes it. Most ships will include: 

Children’s activity schedule or even a special “camp” with counselors.

Adults only areas.

Games such as bingo, trivia contests, and escape rooms, educational lectures, talks about the history or culture of the area you will be visiting.

Live music.


Evening shows--some of Broadway quality.

Shore excursions (usually extra cost).

Multiple bars.

Room service.

Multiple dining options (some at extra charge but most included in the fare).



Golf (putting at least).

Promenade deck for power walking or strolling.


Free Money!

On most cruise lines you can get “On Board Credit” (OBC) or shipboard credit. This is credit you can spend while on board your cruise. You can use it for almost anything--specialty dining, drinks, gratuities, photos, laundry, shore excursions, spa treatments, even shopping in the ship’s shops. There are various ways you can get OBC. It might be a part of a promotion, or a gift from friends. Depending on the cruise line, you might be eligible if you are active or retired military, if you own 100 shares of the cruise line stock, friends' referrals, putting down a deposit on a future cruise while onboard. The good news is we keep track of what is available on each cruise line, so once you book with us, we’ll work with you to maximize any possible on board credits.

Do the Math.

Cruising is often one of the most cost effective ways to travel. Your meals and accommodations are covered, as well as most transportation.

No packing and unpacking.

Because you are not packing and unpacking and catching transportation every day or so, there is more time to relax and enjoy your vacation.

When is the best time to book?

Although a good deal can come up at any time, often the best deals are very early (a year or more in advance) or at the very last minute. If you book with us, and a better deal comes up before you have made final payment we can usually rebook it for you to obtain the savings.

Try it once.

You never know for sure until you try it once. We have a family member we were sure would hate cruising. Guess what? He loves it.

There are cruises with as few as two or three days, so you can try a short one first.

Picking the right cruise.

Be sure to let us help you match you to the right cruise. Some are family oriented, some are party-oriented, some are classy. Very few are “stuffy.” Itinerary and price are important, but it is more important that the cruise matches your style. There are variations in cost, what is covered, type of other passengers likely to be traveling with you, quality of food, etc. Sometimes, the more expensive cruise is actually a better value as they may include things like airfare, tips, shore excursions, specialty dining and drinks which the others charge for. Ask us for our cruise style questionnaire to help us pick the right cruise for you.

Will I get seasick?

Today’s modern ships are large with sophisticated stabilizers. That said, if you are prone to motion sickness, bring some Dramamine. (over the counter) or get a prescription from your doctor. There will be a ship’s doctor very well versed in treating motion sickness. It is possible to hit rough seas now and then, but, honestly, seasickness is much less of a problem than in years gone by.

Will I feel confined?

Very likely not. Most of today’s cruise ships have tons of activities and plenty of places on the ship--you are rarely standing around with 1,000 other people. If you are especially worried about this, pick a cruise with few “at sea” days and many port days. Also, we do recommend getting an outside cabin with a window; balconies/verandas are even better!