Choosing a Cruise That’s Right for You

AAA Mid States

Is there any better way to fully unwind than embarking on a cruise vacation? Most cruises have it all: meals, entertainment, lodging, fun activities, and stops at some of the world’s most amazing ports of call. However, planning a cruise vacation can be an overwhelming task, and not every itinerary offers what’s best for your vacation expectations.

Here are some key things to consider when choosing your cruise itinerary:

Length. A cruise vacation can range from one or two days, up to 100+ days around the world. For first-time cruisers who are hesitant to do a weeklong trip, you can typically find vacations to the Caribbean and the Bahamas around 3- to 5-nights.

Embarkation. Whether you are okay with flying or prefer to drive, there are many options when it comes to the location of where to embark on your cruise vacation. For example, the East Coast has itineraries to the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, and Canada/New England from ports of call, such as Baltimore, Maryland, and Cape Liberty, New Jersey.

Vacation style. Some vacationers prefer relaxing on the beach with a good book. Others are all about exploring ancient sites or zip-lining through the jungle. No matter what your style is, there is a cruise that fits your expectations. Start by researching potential cruise regions carefully to get an idea of which ports of call jive with your personal preferences.

Ship size. Deciding what ship you would like to sail on is an important factor in making your vacation enjoyable. It can even dictate where you decide to go. Larger ships generally dock at standard ports with beaches, bars, and shopping. Smaller ships can offer unique opportunities to hidden places that larger vessels cannot access.

Budget. Establishing a budget is an important part of any vacation planning. While most cruises cover the cost of meals and lodging, you’ll want to take into consideration any extra excursions, alcohol packages, onboard or in-port purchases, and gratuities while calculating your budget.

First-timers. Many first-time cruisers choose the Caribbean, where itineraries tend to be one week or less. Standard itineraries for Eastern Caribbean include San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. Maarten. Western Caribbean itineraries include ports such as Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Cozumel, and Key West. Other popular itineraries include Alaska, Bermuda, Europe, Canada, and New England, and Hawaii.


Now that you’ve got the basics, it’s time to start planning your cruise vacation. AAA Travel Agents can help make sure your vacation is smooth sailing. Contact your local AAA Travel Agent at 1-800-222-1469 or go to for a list of available itineraries.