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How to Plan a Cruise: 10 Things to Consider When Planning the Perfect Sailing

Cruise planning and research are head-spinning if you haven't done them before. From narrowing down a cruise line and ship to choosing a destination and booking shore excursions, learn how to get started.

Below, we've outlined 10 key factors to consider when building your ocean-bound vacation. Although they're all important, their order might fluctuate depending on your circumstances, and any one of them can be affected by others -- if your budget limits your destination choices, for example.

How to Book a Cruise Online or With a Travel Agent

You've decided on a cruise for your next vacation, and you've narrowed down the destination, sailing date, ship and cabin type. What now? We'll lead you through the best way to book a cruise.

Confused About Cruise Rooms? Here's How to Choose a Cruise Cabin

Cruise staterooms, also called cabins, come in a variety of options. Deciding between them can be confusing, so we've come up with a list of things to do to narrow down your search.

Your cabin will be your home away from home for the duration of your sailing. It's where you'll shower, sleep and relax between rounds of trivia, poolside lounge sessions and nightly dance parties, so you'll want to be sure it suits your needs.

Cruise Line Credit Cards: What You Need to Know

If you're a frequent traveler, you likely already know that most airlines and major hotels offer their own credit cards, co-branded with big names like Visa and Mastercard. But did you know that there are also cruise line credit cards?

Not only can you score discounts and other perks when you use these cards to book sailings and buy things onboard, but they also allow you to earn points on purchases -- both cruise- and non-cruise-related -- which you can cash in later for even more savings on things like cabin upgrades and shore excursions, as well as statement credits.

Cruise Line Dress Codes: What to Wear on a Cruise

If you've never sailed before, you might be wondering how to dress on a cruise.

Below, broken down by line, learn what to wear on a cruise during the day, in the evening and on formal night so you'll be properly outfitted for your voyage.

But first, there are a few things that are universal across nearly all major cruise lines:

'Can I Bring My Own Alcohol on a Cruise?' and 5 Other Cruise Alcohol Questions

When it comes to alcohol on cruise ships, you've got questions, and we've got the answers. Whether you're looking to save money or simply want to better understand the rules, you've come to the right place.

Check out six common questions that new cruisers have about alcohol onboard.

1. Can I bring alcohol on a cruise ship?

Cans of beer

Wondering Where to Cruise? Here's How to Choose a Cruise Destination

One of the biggest decisions you'll make when planning your cruise is where to go. From old standbys like the Bahamas and Caribbean to more ambitious options like Asia and the Arctic Circle, there are plenty of regions from which to choose.

What Is a Christmas Cruise Really Like?

If you've never tried cruising at Christmas, it can be difficult to put into words.

Picture yourself drinking a steaming cup of cocoa while you enjoy the sunrise from your cabin's balcony and exchange gifts with your loved ones -- no need to worry about making your bed, cooking a huge meal or cleaning up afterward.

10 Great Things You'll Only Find on Carnival Mardi Gras

As we usher out the old year and prepare for a new one, this is the time when we're most excited about new ships that will be launching in the coming months. One of the most anticipated is, of course, Carnival Mardi Gras.

Carnival Cruise Line took delivery of the ship on December 18, 2020, but due to a temporary halt in operations at Meyer Turku in Finland, where the vessel was built, its big debut has been delayed until April 2021.

Banned: 23 Things You Absolutely Cannot Bring on a Cruise

Universally, one of the most annoying and stressful parts of planning for a cruise is packing. Sure, we all obsess over what to toss in our suitcases, but how often do we think about things not to pack on a cruise?

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