Cruise Planning – Step 2: Cruise Wish List

The second step in planning a cruise is to draw up cruise wish list.

The second step in planning a cruise, once you know how much you want to spend, is to find the right cruise for “you”. Not the one Aunt Masie enjoyed last year, nor the one your boss thinks you should enjoy. This is the crucial step to make sure that you and the cruise are a perfect match.

It is often a good idea to create a wish list BEFORE you start cruising the web pages. Determine what it is you want out of your cruise before you are influenced by the sales pitches - or by Aunt Masie, or your boss who can be pretty persuasive. And remember to refer back to the wish list as often as you can - just to keep check. It is too easy to get carried away - forget the budget and all the other issues that are important to you.


Already established, your budget is determined in step one. The key is to stick to it.

In trying to determine the ideal destination for your cruise, for YOU, a good place to start is what sort of climate you would be most comfortable in. A hot and humid Caribbean vacation is not to every one’s taste. Nor are the chills of an afternoon spent on an Alaskan glacier. Be honest about what you would prefer.

Then decide how far you want to go. If you are looking for a sun vacation, for example, the Caribbean may be ideal for you. If you’re more adventurous, and a long flight is not a daunting proposition, perhaps the Islands of French Polynesia look attractive. There is a world of options, some easier to get to, some not so much.

Perhaps most importantly, the destination in the right climate and at the right distance from home should offer the things that most interest you. If you’re looking for art galleries and museums, a European cruise may suit you best. If you don’t mind a colder climate, a St Petersburg and Scandinavian cruise might appeal. If all you want to do is golf, make sure the destination is offering what you need.

As soon as you have decided where you want to go, and how much money you are willing to spend, the next step is to choose the size and type of vessel that would best suit you.

Smaller ships carry fewer passengers, offer a more intimate environment, and are able to take passengers to destinations that larger ships cannot reach. Larger ships, however, can offer much more in the way of entertainment and facilities - and for some cruisers, the more passengers the better. Medium sized ships offer the best of both worlds but may not make up for the advantages of the extreme sizes, small or large.

Cruise Line
The final item on the wish list is the cruise line you would best like to travel with.

The most expensive and most luxurious cruise lines may not actually be the best choice for you - even if your budget allows for it. The fun, party atmosphere of Carnival cruises may be more attractive than an endless stream of caviar canapés and evenings of opera music. Make sure the cruise line you want is the one that caters to your lifestyle and tastes.

The best way to know which cruise line would suit you best is to cruise the web sites about cruises and to listen to what the comment contributors and forum members have to say. Be warned, of course, that a lot of commentators simply enjoy a good gripe and will complain about anything and everything.

Here is a brief look at the types of cruise lines sailing the seven seas, and how they are generally categorized.

Here are some of the established categories and their member cruise lines sailing the high seas today:

Contemporary Cruises
These include value cruises on generally large liners offering a wide range of recreational facilities in a casual environment. The average cost is between about $100 to $200 per passenger/night.

Carnival Cruise Lines
Norwegian Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean International

Premium Cruises
These include upscale cruises offering more space and comfort in a semiformal environment. The average cost is between about $200 to $400 per passenger/night.

Celebrity Cruises
Holland America Line
Orient Lines
Princess Cruises

Luxury Cruises
These include quality cruises offering more space, comfort and luxury as well as more choices in dining and entertainment. The average cost is between about $400 to $1,100 per passenger/night.

Crystal Cruises
Cunard Line
Regent Seven Seas
Windstar Cruises

Exclusive Boutique Luxury Cruises
These include the finest of the quality cruises offering personalized service in a formal, private yacht-like environment. The average cost is between about $800 to $1,200 per passenger/night.

Seabourn Cruise Line
Silversea Cruises

Specialty Cruises
These include special interest cruises such as exploration cruises to unusual destinations like the Antarctic and the Amazon. Also cruises on sail ships or sail-assisted ships island hopping around the Caribbean or the South Pacific and making epic journeys from yesteryear across the oceans. Also riverboat cruises on the rivers of the USA and the waterways of Europe.

Fathom Expeditions
Lindblad Expeditions
Windstar Cruises
Windjammer Barefoot Cruises
Star Clippers
Amadeus Waterways
Viking River Cruises
Victoria Cruises

On to the next step: 3: Sorting out the finer details

 Cruise Planning

• 1: planning the budget
• 2: the cruise wish list
• 3: cruising the finer details
• 4: booking the cruise
• 5: before you sail
• 6: before you leave home