By Cat Zuniga
As you prepare to embark on one of the most memorable vacations of your life – your honeymoon — it’s important to figure out the best fit for you and your new Significant Other. Are you active and enjoy the outdoors? Do you want a relaxed honeymoon with no plans other than the spa? Are you a luxury-seeker, or do you prefer more informal, cheaper digs?
Honeymoon cruising can be a terrific, hassle-free vacation option, depending on your preferences. However, a honeymoon cruise is not my first choice for many of my customers.
Let me clarify. Cruises can be a great thing, letting you see multiple destinations at a fraction of the cost of each. But unless you want to just glance at each destination, you’re simply along for the ride and not really saving much. After all, it’s not always cheap to get off the ship to explore and sightsee – though not doing it seems a bit pointless to me.
Let’s talk about the cost factor. Cruises have changed a lot over the past 10-plus years, and not necessarily for the better. Cruises used to be all-inclusive, but not anymore! Most large cruise lines define ”all-inclusive” as covering lodging, food, soft drinks, and coffee or tea. Passengers can also bring one 750mL bottle of champagne or wine, but that’s it. Not really all-inclusive, is it?
Smaller boutique cruise lines, like Paul Gauguin Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Silver Seas Ultra-Luxury Cruises, are much more “all-inclusive” and simply wonderful. I am a huge fan of these lines, and not just because they include gratuities, alcohol, and a lot of activities in their cruise costs — making it just a little bit easier to justify a luxurious honeymoon after having already paid for a wedding!
Honeymooners also need to consider the space they’re limited to. Cruise cabins are anywhere from 100 square feet to a couple hundred square feet. If you’re claustrophobic, this is NOT the best option for you – even if you periodically step outside and take in the ocean breezes (which can actually be awfully cold, depending on where and when you travel).
What if you have an emergency? Hopefully you don’t, because for some cruise lines, an onboard doctor visit can cost a minimum of $400. This does not include any additional care, and most insurance does not cover the visit. Kind of ridiculous, if you ask me.
If you’re still interested in a honeymoon cruise, Paul Gauguin is one of my favorite cruise lines. They’re absolute luxury and I would not hesitate in suggesting them to honeymooners or anyone else looking to celebrate or just get away. Although the price point is much higher, the experience is more than worth it. Paul Gauguin does all-inclusive cruises to Tahiti, Fiji, the general South Pacific, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Panama Canal, but the line is most known for its South Pacific cruises. Staterooms start at 200 square feet and go up to almost 600 square feet. Seventy percent of the rooms have private balconies and a plethora of other amenities.
While on these cruises, you often stop and get off like other cruises, but these excursions involve more island time and activities. It’s almost like stepping off a yacht to enjoy the gorgeous blue water of the South Pacific Ocean.
PGC will also offer hotel packages with the cruises, which are nice when traveling to places like Tahiti and Fiji; you get to see more islands – all very romantic for honeymooners. The restaurants on board are delectable. Specialty chefs are brought in for fine dining, and the entertainment and live music is fantastic!
Once you’ve decided on a destination and style of honeymoon, I would speak to a travel professional and get their expertise. If you don’t know where to start and are open to suggestions, they will provide options for you. Start with a list of things you are looking for, a list of things you absolutely do not want, and a budget. I cannot stress that enough. It gives your travel professional a starting point, and helps them steer you in the right direction.
With a budget in hand, a professional should be able to do the rest of the work. What’s left is the fun part – the part where you fulfill your dream and live happily ever after!
Cat Zuniga is an award-winning travel specialist. She specializes in tropical vacations for families, groups, destination weddings, and honeymooners. Visit her site today at http://www.TarverdiTravel.com.
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