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11 Mistakes Travelers Make When Booking A Cruise (And How to Avoid Them!)

Hey travelers! As your trusted Travel Advisor, I wanted to share some insider tips on avoiding common cruise booking mistakes. Booking a cruise can be tricky with so many options out there - but I've got your back! After working with SunRay Travel and chatting with travelers for years, here are the 11 biggest mistakes I see people make:

1. Assuming all cruises are the same

These days there are SO many types of cruises to choose from! You've got big party ships, small luxury yachts, family-friendly boats, adventure expeditions - the list goes on. It's easy to think you know what a cruise is like from seeing ads or posts, but every ship has its own vibe.

The fix: Chat with me or your travel advisor about your ideal vacation. What's your goal - relaxation, exploration, entertainment? What types of activities and food do you like? This helps match you to the perfect cruise line and ship for YOUR perfect getaway!

2. Focusing too much (or too little on the ship)

Some travelers get so excited about ship amenities like waterslides and restaurants that they overlook the destinations and time in port. Others obsess over exotic ports but don't realize they'll have a ton of free time onboard to take advantage of!

The fix: Look at the full itinerary with me - both onshore excursions AND onboard entertainment. That helps set proper expectations so you can make the most of your whole journey.

3. Overpacking (so much overpacking!)

Travelers tend to cram wayyyy too many outfits for cruises. I totally get the temptation to have options, but lugging bulging bags is no fun!

The good news? Most ships have laundry rooms or services so you can wash clothes onboard. This lets you pack lighter and leave room for souvenirs on the flight home!

My tips:

1. Repurpose dress pants or dresses for multiple nights

2. Re-wear swimsuits/coverups

3. Limit shoes to 2-3 versatile pairs

4. Check airline size/weight rules before packing

Cruisers pack enough clothes for 3 trips but only wear half! Save your backs and leave space for island treasures by scaling down. 😎 The ship's laundry will handle the rest!

4. Arriving on Embarkation Day

I know travelers who've shown up to the port city the same day as boarding - and missed the ship because of a delayed flight or traffic!

Instead, I strongly suggest coming 1-2 days early. This gives wiggle room in case of travel mishaps, and lets you adjust to any time zone changes. It's also a chance to explore the embarkation city! Ask me for fun restaurants or sights to see the day before.

5. Missing Out on App Perks

As soon as you book, download the cruise line's app! These have deals on drinks, WiFi, excursions and more. The apps also let you reserve restaurants, shows, and kids club spots early.

Utilize that app to customize your sailing and save money! Excursions especially book up fast, so plan ahead.

6. Assuming Last Minute = Best Price

Some travelers think booking a cruise last-second means scoring an amazing deal. But cruise lines rarely slash super low prices nowadays. Inventory gets snapped up so fast that last minute rates are usually higher!

For the best price, book your cruise as early as possible. Look at ships with price drop guarantees too - then if rates go down you get credit!

Let me know if you have any other cruise questions! I'm here to help you avoid pitfalls and set sail on an incredible tailored vacation.

7. Skipping Travel Insurance

I know, buying insurance feels like an extra expense you don't need. But trust me - you'll be grateful in case luggage gets lost, you miss connections, or any medical issues come up that require evacuation. Anything can happen on trips, so it's good to have that backup plan!

8. Overplanning the Itinerary

With so many fun excursions and onboard activities, it's tempting to book things back-to-back-to-back. Resist overpacking the schedule! Leave room to relax or be spontaneous. Trying to do everything often leads to needing a vacay from your vacay!

9. Booking Excursions Last Minute

If you have your heart set on specific shore trips or shows, don't wait on those either. Popular stuff books up fast! I've heard so many "But it's sold out?!" cries when travelers wait too long. Secure your must-do excursion slots ASAP.

10. Misunderstanding "Guaranteed" Rooms

Gotta be honest: Booking one of those "guaranteed" staterooms to save money often backfires. You might end up somewhere loud, shaky, or removed. And they're first to get bumped if overbooked! For the best experience, pick your room location/category. Trust me on this one!

11. Not Booking Your Next Cruise Soon Enough

Cruises are wildly popular right now, with high demand. Waiting too long to book your next sailing might mean settling for an interior cabin or undesirable location. Book that next dream trip 12-24 months out to lock in the perfect room for your situation! 

Hope this helps avoid some pitfalls in your cruise planning. Let me know if any other questions pop up!