About Cruising

Overview

About Cruising - Overview


Why Cruise?

Over the past 15 years, cruising has experienced a revolution - and we have you to thank. Cruisers spoke, and the cruise lines listened. Time and time again, cruisers said rock-bottom price isn't what's most important - but rather flexibility, choice, a quality experience, and excellent value are what matter most. To deliver all those elements, the cruise lines made countless changes - in dining choices and quality, in diversity of departure ports, in onboard activities, and in stateroom design, size, and comfort. Spas were expanded, children's programs were enhanced, and state-of-the-art facilities were added for sports, communication, entertainment, and fun. For these reasons, and so many others, we believe cruising now offers the best possible vacation experience.
>> Our Top 10 Reasons Why ...

First-Time Cruisers

Vacation memories are some of life's sweetest moments. At CruisesOnly, travel is our passion, and we find joy in making sure everyone's first impression of cruising is incredible. We believe nothing offers more variety, a better value, or a more unforgettable vacation experience than a cruise adventure. Our site offers terrific, useful information on ships, cruise lines, and destinations. Select from hundreds of unique itineraries in the U.S. alone! So go exploring - we're here to help you find the cruise that's just right for you.
>> Learn more

Advice

Ever wish you knew a cruise expert who could help with questions and decision-making? You do. Hundreds, actually. Our vacation consultants are experts in the field, with decades of sales and customer service experience - plus dozens of cruises logged in their passports. At CruisesOnly, we're passionate about cruising - we cruise for fun, for business, with our families, and with our friends. That love of cruising is at the heart of all we do, and inspired all the advice and "insider tips" you'll find in this section. So take a look, and remember, you've got a lot of friends in the business!
>> More cruise advice

Preparations

Once you've chosen your perfect cruise, your dreams will really start to take shape. And while you're picturing yourself poolside, we've got plenty of expert advice on how to best prepare for your upcoming cruise, no matter where you're headed. From the required travel documents and packing essentials to pier directions and expectations of a typical day at sea, you can rely on CruisesOnly to help ensure you get the most from your cruise experience - both before you sail and while onboard. We believe an informed, prepared cruiser is a happy cruiser, and this section will help make sure the planning doesn't get in the way of the daydreaming. Bon Voyage!
>> More

By Interest

Choice and diversity are two of our favorite things about cruising - and about our customers. Families, couples, singles, groups ... we approach every cruise as a journey unique in its itinerary and its travelers. Every customer brings a new opportunity for us to aid in the pursuit of adventure, even if adventure just means a week of poolside lounging on the open sea! No matter who you are and what you're looking for, our website and all our vacation consultants are dedicated to making the search for your cruise as rewarding as the journey.
Families Groups – 8+ staterooms   Honeymooners & Couples

Explore FAQs

Q: Does formal night mean that I have to wear a gown and my husband has to wear a Tuxedo?

A: Not necessarily. Many cruise lines have formal nights to present this opportunity to interested guests. Everyone is welcome to attend in semi-formal attire if preferred.
>> Read more in our FAQs section
 
 

Cruise Factoid

There is more steel in Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas than in two Eiffel Towers.
 
 
 
Why Cruise?

About Cruising - Why Cruise?


Top 10 Reasons To Cruise

1. Value: Nothing beats a cruise for incredible vacation savings - you'll visit multiple destinations and so much is included, from dining to entertainment, that you may be tempted to make every vacation a cruise.

2. Convenience: Set sail from close-to-home U.S. ports, and no matter how many places you visit, you'll only unpack once. And while onboard, wallets and purses aren't required!

3. Variety: Thousands of itineraries to hundreds of ports across all seven continents. And there are endless activities for every taste, onboard and ashore.

4. Choice: Dine in shorts or dress to the nines - today's cruising can be as casual or luxurious as you like. Choose an action-packed adventure or a poolside retreat - it's your cruise, it's your choice!

5. Comfort: More oceanview and balcony staterooms, more luxurious bedding, and expanded spa and sports facilities are just a few of the many ways today's fleets will pamper you in style.

6. Adventure: You define what adventure means to you, we'll help find the perfect cruise to make it a reality. Ice climbing in Alaska, surfing in Hawaii, exploring unique wildlife in the Galapagos, finding the very best Caribbean beach - you name it, we've got it!

7. Sharing your experiences: Cruising offers unique opportunities to meet other travelers - and you'll share new experiences that you won't find with other types of vacations. With plenty of fun group activities, get ready to create unforgettable memories and make friendships that last a lifetime.

8. Become an expert - or meet one: Many cruise lines offer special onboard enrichment programs that immerse you in the things you love most - poetry and prose, fine wine, regional cooking, antiques, wildlife, and music are just a few of the many choices.

9. Experience more: Waking up in a brand new port of call is part of the unique thrill of cruising. And with nearly every new port, you'll have unique opportunities ashore. Jungle safaris, historic city tours, and dolphin encounters are just a few of the exciting shore excursions you can add to your package.

10. Togetherness: There's no better way to travel for large groups of friends and family than a cruise. Planning group reservations is more affordable and convenient at sea. You can pick your staterooms all on the same deck, dine at the same restaurants onboard, enjoy a Broadway-style show together, and so much more. And best of all, there's something fun for everyone. When you travel as a group, the incredible experiences you share will strengthen the bonds of friendship and family forever.

The Best Value For Your Vacation Dollar

A cruise offers unmatched variety, convenience, and fun. Plus, it's more affordable than many land-based vacations. Cruises enable you to visit multiple locations for one low price, without the hassle of coordinating travel details. Your vacation begins the moment you step onboard. And now, many cruises are just a short drive or flight away.

What's Included:
Stateroom or suite accommodations
Ocean transportation
Gourmet dining
Supervised kids' programs
Vegas- or Broadway-style shows
Entry to nightclubs, piano bars, and more
Activities like yoga & basketball
Gym, pool & hot tubs
Non-commissionable fares & taxes
 
What's Not Included:
Gratuities
Spa treatments
Alcoholic beverages
Casino gambling
Shopping
Organized tours & activities onshore
Babysitting
Nominal fees at some restaurants
 
First Time Cruisers

About Cruising - First-Time Cruisers


Incredible Value & Convenience

A cruise offers unmatched variety, convenience, and fun. Plus, it's more affordable than many land-based vacations. Cruises enable you to visit multiple locations for one low price, without the hassle of coordinating travel details. Your vacation begins the moment you step onboard. And now, many cruises are just a short drive or flight away.

What's Included:
  • Stateroom or suite accommodations
  • Ocean transportation
  • Gourmet dining
  • Supervised kids' programs
  • Vegas- or Broadway-style shows
  • Entry to nightclubs, piano bars & more
  • Activities like yoga & basketball
  • Gym, pool & hot tubs
  • Non-commissionable fares & taxes

What's Not Included:
  • Gratuities
  • Spa treatments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Casino gaming
  • Shopping
  • Organized tours & activities onshore
  • Babysitting
  • Nominal fees at some restaurants

Something For Everyone

Cruising is so much more than just shuffleboard and all-you-can-eat buffets. Today's ships offer activities and entertainment for vacationers of all ages, from toddlers to seniors. Family-friendly ships may feature everything from kids' clubs to teen coffeehouses. Want to unwind? Activities are as diverse as spa treatments, basketball, and casino gambling. At night, you might catch a comedy show, relax in a piano bar, or feast on five-star cuisine. From luxury to adventure, there's a ship to suit your vacation needs.

Unique ship features may include:
  • Rock-climbing wall
  • All-oceanview or all-suite accommodations
  • Martini & champagne bars
  • Teen discos
  • Thalassotherapy pool
  • Spiral waterslide
  • Planetarium
  • Boutiques by Harrods & Bvlgari
  • Butler service
  • Miniature golf & golf simulators
  • Bungee trampolines
  • Poolside movies under the stars
  • Ice-skating rink

Explore the Cruise Lines

Get a cruise line overview or select a link below.

Cruise Fun for Singles,
Couples & Families
Carnival Cruise Lines
Disney Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line
Royal Caribbean

Premium Cruises:
Sophisticated Yet Affordable
Celebrity Cruises
Holland America Line
Princess Cruises

Unique Experiences: Smaller
Ships, Exotic Destinations
Costa Cruises
Fathom Cruises
MSC Cruises

Travel the World

From the glaciers of Alaska to the Isles of the South Pacific, we offer 6,500 sailings to 730 ports around the globe. Destinations include the Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico, and the Mediterranean. Some cruises feature several days at sea, while others stop at private islands. Deciding where to go will be the hardest part.

Great Options For First-Time Cruisers

    Last-Minute Cruises - leave in 30 days or less

  Sail from a Port Near You - choose from 21 U.S. ports

Board a "FunShip®" for a sunny escape south of the border!
What could be better than a week in the Caribbean with Carnival?
Find endless adventures onboard & along Mexico's golden shores.

Cruise Lingo & Glossary


Destinations:
  • Port: a destination or city visited by a ship.
  • Shore Excursion: an activity or tour in a port.
  • Cruisetour: a cruise combined with a land vacation. The land portion may consist of anything from a hotel stay before or after the cruise to a fully escorted tour and airfare.

Bonus Offers:
  • Upgrade: when you receive a better stateroom category than you paid for.
  • Shipboard Credit: a credit that is posted to your account upon embarkation. It's yours to spend at the spa, in the boutiques, or almost anywhere onboard.
Accommodations:
  • Category: a group of staterooms (formerly referred to as cabins) that are assigned the same rank because of their size, amenities, deck level, and location. Prices vary according to category.
  • Interior: staterooms that do not have windows.
  • Oceanview: staterooms that feature portholes or a picture window.
  • Balcony: staterooms that feature private balconies.
  • Suite: the most spacious, luxurious accommodations onboard.
Advice
 

About Cruising - Advice


Stateroom Selection

  • Always check pricing for higher stateroom categories and compare - the difference in price can be surprisingly small, but moving up can have a huge impact on your vacation experience.
  • When selecting your stateroom, you should think about more than just deck level - consider its proximity to elevators, restaurants, pools, and the spa.
  • How important is the view? If you wouldn't stay in a room without a view at an island resort, then make an oceanview the minimum stateroom category you consider on your cruise.
  • Considering a balcony stateroom? No matter where you cruise, benefits include private sunbathing, room service dining under the stars, breathtaking views, and convenient photo opportunities both in port and at sea.
  • Balcony staterooms - the ideal choice for viewing the rugged Alaskan coastline, lush Caribbean Islands, and the beauty of Europe. Roll out of bed, smell the ocean air, sit back, and watch the world unfold!

Life Onboard

  • Planning to enjoy the spa while you cruise? Once onboard, make the spa your first stop to get the best selection of appointment times and treatments.
  • Looking for spa discounts? Select treatments are often discounted on the days the ship is in port.
  • Write down your stateroom number in a few places and keep it with you, especially on the first day or two of your cruise.
  • Many ships have very flexible dining options - make sure you know the available choices and visit the maitre d' early to inquire about recommendations and reservations.
  • Cash is not accepted onboard, except in the casino. Plan ahead - choose the credit card you'll use, or set aside an adequate amount of cash to set up your onboard account.
  • Every evening, a newsletter detailing the next day's special activities will be delivered to you. Join in the fun, make your own adventures, or just relax by the pool!
  • Most ships offer a captain's cocktail party on formal night. Photos with the captain - and free champagne - often make for a memorable evening!
  • Adventures Ashore

  • Before you travel, do a little reading about the destinations you'll visit to get an idea of the local activities you might want to try.
  • Planning on booking any shore excursions? If you know exactly what you want, save time and money by reserving them in advance with CruisesOnly. Or, make the shore tours desk your first stop once you get onboard so you can ask for recommendations and make sure your favorite options don't sell out without your name reserved.
  • If you dine early, try to book the earliest excursion times so there's no need to rush to dinner later. Remember - room service is always an option, too!
  • If your tour gets back early, consider returning to the ship to enjoy all the onboard amenities while most of your fellow passengers are still ashore.
  • Be sure to bring proper shoes and clothing for the various types of excursions you’re interested in. Sneakers, water shoes, hats and visors, a water bottle with carry strap ...
  • Planning & Packing

  • The photographers onboard offer a very affordable way to get a family portrait taken. Make the portrait more personal - pack a special outfit or any fun family "props" you might want included in the photo, such as a picture of the family dog or your son's soccer ball.
  • The little things we often forget can be harder to come by onboard - and more expensive than at home. Make a packing list, and check things off as you go.
  • Why wait for luggage delivery? If you bring a well-packed carry-on bag, then the fun can start the moment you step aboard. With a bathing suit, sandals, and sunscreen handy, you can head straight to the pool!
  • Planning lots of excursions and sports activities? Be sure to pack the right shoes and sportswear for your adventures! And remember - most ships have fitness centers, so you keep your workout routine at sea.
Preparations

About Cruising - Preparation


Packing & Dress Codes

"What should I wear?"
"Will I need a tuxedo?"

Boarding The Ship

"How do I get to the ship?"
"Can I park at the pier?"
"When can I board the ship?"

Documentation

"What Proof of Citizenship do I need for my vacation?"
"Do I need a passport?"

Special Health Concerns

"Are there medical services onboard?"
"How should I transport my personal medications?"
"What if I have special dietary needs?"
"What if I need over-the-counter medicine?"

Directions to Piers

Find and print directions to all of the following ports: Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Port Canaveral, Boston, New York, Newport News, New Orleans, Tampa, Galveston, Seattle, Vancouver, Seward, Ensenada, and Los Angeles.
>> Get directions
 
 
By Interest

About Cruising - By Interest


Families

Because today's superliners offer a huge array of fun activities for all ages and lifestyles, cruise vacations are the perfect fit for any family. It's a vacation for your whole crew that actually succeeds in keeping everyone happy. As a floating mega resort sailing to exciting destinations, most ships offer plenty of options so you can enjoy a refreshing balance of time together, time just for the kids, and time just for the grownups.

Children can enjoy their very own vacation experience thanks to supervised kids' clubs that offer more unique adventures - onboard and ashore - than any camp could back home. Many ships also offer special clubs and activities for teenagers, from teen discos and pools to coffeehouses and video arcades. Adults will find endless possibilities, from Broadway-style shows and relaxing spa services to casino gaming and a variety of enrichment classes at sea. And, of course, everyone can enjoy a variety of shore excursions in port!

Groups - 8+ Staterooms

Thinking about throwing a party in an exciting location? Nothing beats a cruise celebration. There's endless fun at sea and ashore for groups of every age, lifestyle, interest, and budget. You'll share new adventures together and make memories that will last forever.

What Is A Group Cruise?
The most fun you can have at sea! Reservations with eight or more staterooms are considered a group. You must book your staterooms with one of our expert group cruise consultants - call us today to get started. The choice is yours: reserve the staterooms all together on the same deck or scatter your party's accommodations across the ship. Many staterooms can accommodate a third or fourth passenger, sometimes at a reduced rate. Group cruises also frequently enjoy special onboard amenities - ask for details.

Popular Groups At Sea
  • Friends & Neighbors
  • Family Reunions
  • Social Clubs
  • Graduation Parties & Reunions
  • Veteran/Military Communities
  • Wedding & Religious Outings
  • Corporate/Incentive Group

  • To get started, call us at 1-800-BIG-SHIP or browse the special section of our website for more information.
    >> Learn more about Group Cruises

    Honeymooners & Couples

    Whether you're searching for an intimate getaway with your loved one or you're looking for a unique and wonderful way to embark on a lifetime of wedded bliss, you've come to the right place. We've got great deals on thousands of honeymoon cruises to some of the world's most romantic destinations. You'll save a bundle, no matter where you want to go - from the Caribbean to Europe, Hawaii to Mexico.
    >> See cruises for Honeymooners & Couples

    Explore FAQs

    Q: Does formal night mean that I have to wear a gown and my husband has to wear a Tuxedo?

    A: Not necessarily, many cruise lines have formal nights to present this opportunity to interested guests. Everyone is welcome to attend in semi-formal attire if preferred.
    >> Read more in our FAQs section

    Cruise Factoid

    There is more steel in Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas than in two Eiffel Towers.

    Expert Advice
    1-800-CRUISES
    • America's Largest Cruise Agency has been selling cruises for nearly 25 years.
    • Speak to one of our cruise experts today (they're standing by 24/7/365)
    • Interested in shore excursions? Book online before you sail to save
      money & time
    Free upgrade!
    Book an eligible stateroom on any qualifying sailing and receive a free upgrade! In some cases, you'll be upgraded to a more desirable location aboard your ship. In other instances, you'll be upgraded to a stateroom with extra space and/or a better view. It's also possible that you might receive all of these benefits. Select your sailing date to see which upgrades are available.
    Refine Search: Clear Filters
    Additional Discounts
    1-800-CRUISES
    (1-800-278-4737)
    • Connect you to any of our 500+ experts
    • Guarantee you the best possible price
    • Make special arrangements & more
    Top
    Cruise Deals by Email

    Receive exclusive offers and discounts to your inbox. Don't worry - we hate spam and we won't sell your email address to a third party.