The clock is counting down the final seconds of the current year. It's New Year's Eve, and where are you? At a boring office party? Freezing in Times Square surrounded by loud strangers with annoying hats? In your living room watching TV and wondering who hired Ryan Seacrest? Is it to the point that you are looking for new things to do on New Years Eve? If one of your resolutions this year is to spend next New Year's on a cruise to some exotic locale, that's a resolution you can keep. Here are a few tips for taking a New Year's Cruise.
- Start your cruise planning early. The first step in learning how to take a New Year's cruise is to realize that it is a holiday and that will require you to plan accordingly. Anytime a trip coincides with a holiday, it's best to make plans well in advance to assure you get a place. Space on a cruise, a flight, a hotel: All of these things can be in demand when a holiday is involved. Starting to plan early doesn't just allow you to make reservations; it also gives you and your companions time to schedule time off from work, save to pay for things, get passports or other needed documents, and be completely ready to go when December 31st rolls around.
- Plan the basics. As with any cruise vacation, you will need to decide who's going and where you're headed. Is this a couples-only cruise, a family one, or one for singles on the prowl? You'll need to decide who is involved with your trip before you can make any concrete plans. Once you know who's going, you can all reach a consensus about where to go. The Caribbean? The Greek Isles? Down the Danube? Where do you want to go?
After you pick the who and where, you will need to pinpoint the "when." Sure, you know you want to be cruising for New Year's - but does that include New Year's Eve or do you want to celebrate that on dry land? How long do you want to be gone? Will this also be in part a Christmas trip? How much time can everyone take? These are all things to take into consideration as you negotiate the basics of your trip.
- Pick a type of cruise. Once you decide who's going, where you're going and when, the next step is to figure out the type of cruise you'd find most enjoyable. What activities do you want on board and on shore? Cruises especially tailored to entertain couples, for example, may not be much fun for people with kids, and vice versa.
Another important thing to consider is, of course, how much you can afford to pay. As you check out your options, you will have to be the judge of whether or not each option fits your budget. Keep in mind you may be able to find deals that put certain cruises in your price range even if they initially seem too expensive.
Also, how much do you want New Year's to factor into your cruise experience? Do you want a holiday cruise where there are a lot of festivities? Or are you simply using New Year's as a convenient time to get away on an educational cruise, a second honeymoon, or a trip to Disney World, and what happens on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day isn't relevant.
- Check for packages and deals (or let someone check for you.) Speaking of deals, as you plan your trip, consult a travel agent or do your own research into holiday deals and group rates that may apply. Also make sure special deals that are good during non-holiday seasons still apply; don't get caught in a "blackout." Checking for blackout dates is one of the most important tips.
If you are going to spend time off the ship, you will probably also want to do research about your travel destination and packages that exist there. If you are visiting "off season," you may find some good bargains. If you are visiting in the most popular tourist season, you may have to pay more for things than you initially planned.
- Be clear on local and onboard regulations. New Year's Eve is one of the great party nights of the year. If you're on a ship or docked in a foreign country, the last thing you want is trouble with the authorities to mar your celebration. So if your New Year's Eve plans have you drinking champagne outside, congregating in groups with other loud revelers, setting off fireworks, skinny dipping in a pool, or doing anything else out of the ordinary, make sure it's legal. Check with the cruise concierge or security personnel if you're not sure. And on dry land, unless you really know who you're dealing with, don't just take the word of a local citizen that what you're doing is perfectly okay. In some places, dealing with the police can also be difficult. Part of the fun of cruise travel is enjoying novel local experiences, but getting arrested is probably one you'd rather pass on. Be careful and avoid any international incidents.
A New Year's Cruise can be a fun, exciting and relaxing way to ring in a fresh three hundred and sixty-five days. With proper planning, you two can enjoy New Year's cruising the high seas.