Home TIPS Be A Smart Senior Sailor & Enjoy Trouble-Free Cruises
Be A Smart Senior Sailor & Enjoy Trouble-Free Cruises PDF Print E-mail

Guest Senior Correspondent BLL, Chester PA: We've been on many cruises since my retirement, and have some suggestions on how to avoid taking the wrong one. After we made some booking mistakes, we enjoyed cruises much more, found them easier to deal with and less costly:

Travel light. After the second or third cruise, we stopped dragging suitcases and need to check them on flights to and from cruise ports. We each took a wheeled bag and a knapsack, and never again checked luggage. No need for extras: Unless a fee-charge excursion during the cruise is an absolute must for you, don't sign up for any. They usually cost $100 or more for a couple of hours circling in a bus to the usual tourist traps. Take a more varied and relaxed tour by riding with other couples in a taxi for a lot less money. Also, you'll have fun just walking or hopping on and off local transportation as you like.

Watch that diet! Many cruises offer 24-7 food servings, too much for most seniors. Your body won't be happy if you go suddenly from 1,500 calories daily at home to 5,000 while scarfing day and night. Often what some clueless seniors call seasickness is just gross overeating.

When ashore in tourist towns, don't eat food sold from open street stands. If you didn't get sick from overeating aboard, your chances of having a stomach rebellion from bad native food ashore are at least as high.

Booking is always a tricky proposition. Traditional and online travel agencies always run ads offering super bargains, discounts and attractive amenities. We've found that contacting the cruise lines directly by phone or online has been our best source of getting the best bargains.

Of course, there are many other ways of avoiding mistakes when booking a cruise. One of the worst we hear is that some seniors don't do their homework before signing up. Then, once aboard they find they’re stuck in crowds of families with decks full of active little kids.

Our favorites are sailings scheduled exclusively for seniors. Check out cruise offers carefully to make sure you get the absolute right one for you.

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