How to Pick an Itinerary if You Don't Know Where to Go

by Heidi Sarna

How to Pick an Itinerary if You Don't Know Where to Go

by Heidi Sarna

It's a big world out there, with lots of cruise destinations to consider. So before you settle on an itinerary, ask yourself these important questions to help narrow down the seemingly endless options, and find the best cruise experience for you.

7
Portofino / iStock.com / StevanZZ
Downtown Los Angeles
1 of 7
How much time do you have?

Cruises in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and Southeast Asia can be as short as three or four days. If you don’t have a lot of free time, one of these brief jaunts out of L.A., Singapore, Seattle, and points along Florida's coast are the way to go.

Cruises in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico, the Pacific Northwest, and Southeast Asia can be as short as three or four days. If you don’t have a lot of free time, one of these brief jaunts out of L.A., Singapore, Seattle, and points along Florida's coast are the way to go.

Glacier trekking in Antarctica
2 of 7
Are you a couch potato or an action figure?

Armchair adventurers can see a lot in Europe from the windows of a motor coach, catamaran, train car, or taxi. But if you want to really dig in, you’ll get a good workout and an adrenaline rush from cruises in Antarctica or on the rivers of Southeast Asia, where you have to walk and trek in port to get the lay of the land.

Armchair adventurers can see a lot in Europe from the windows of a motor coach, catamaran, train car, or taxi. But if you want to really dig in, you’ll get a good workout and an adrenaline rush from cruises in Antarctica or on the rivers of Southeast Asia, where you have to walk and trek in port to get the lay of the land.

Relaxing on the Queen Mary 2
3 of 7
Enjoy solitude or hustle and bustle?

If you like the idea of reading, attending lectures, watching movies, and relaxing for days on end without a port of call, consider an ocean crossing (Southampton, U.K. to New York City, for example). If you’d rather have constant stimulation, choose an itinerary that stops at new ports daily — like the Greek isles, Norwegian fjords, or some Caribbean routes.

If you like the idea of reading, attending lectures, watching movies, and relaxing for days on end without a port of call, consider an ocean crossing (Southampton, U.K. to New York City, for example). If you’d rather have constant stimulation, choose an itinerary that stops at new ports daily — like the Greek isles, Norwegian fjords, or some Caribbean routes.

Tortoise in the Galapagos
4 of 7
Crave natural beauty?

Some of the world's most unique places are best seen by cruise — and sometimes, it's the only way to get there. Take a trip through the Galapagos to get to know the tortoises, fur seals, and blue-footed booties that call the islands home. Or go further south on an expedition to the icy solitude of Antarctica, where excursions (led by experts) take you to glaciers and penguin habitats. Or head to Norway, where you can get a true sense of the majesty of the fjords right from the deck of the ship.

Some of the world's most unique places are best seen by cruise — and sometimes, it's the only way to get there. Take a trip through the Galapagos to get to know the tortoises, fur seals, and blue-footed booties that call the islands home. Or go further south on an expedition to the icy solitude of Antarctica, where excursions (led by experts) take you to glaciers and penguin habitats. Or head to Norway, where you can get a true sense of the majesty of the fjords right from the deck of the ship.

A Disney Port Adventure in Juneau
5 of 7
Kids in tow?

Bringing children changes everything. Pick itineraries that have frequent ports of call with nearby sightseeing options. The Caribbean, with lots of beach days, is obviously a great choice for cruising with kids. Or go further afield to destinations in Europe — Barcelona, Venice, Naples — or Alaska, where you can hike, kayak, and even go dogsledding.

Bringing children changes everything. Pick itineraries that have frequent ports of call with nearby sightseeing options. The Caribbean, with lots of beach days, is obviously a great choice for cruising with kids. Or go further afield to destinations in Europe — Barcelona, Venice, Naples — or Alaska, where you can hike, kayak, and even go dogsledding.

Cozumel beach
6 of 7
Really just looking for sun?

Your companions want action, but you just want to lay out every day, alternating between the pool deck and the beach of whichever gorgeous location you happen to dock. That's an easy one. The sun shines bright in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Southeast Asia pretty much year round, so you can bronze while everyone else explores. If it's summer here, head to the Mediterranean to tan with the Europeans. Australia, with its alternate seasons, is obviously a good bet during our winter. 

Your companions want action, but you just want to lay out every day, alternating between the pool deck and the beach of whichever gorgeous location you happen to dock. That's an easy one. The sun shines bright in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Southeast Asia pretty much year round, so you can bronze while everyone else explores. If it's summer here, head to the Mediterranean to tan with the Europeans. Australia, with its alternate seasons, is obviously a good bet during our winter. 

American Queen on the Mississippi River
7 of 7
Want to avoid flying?

Easy: Choose an itinerary that's within driving distance of home. This doesn’t just mean departing from Florida. There are ocean cruises sailing out of New York, Boston, Galveston, and New Orleans as well as major cities in California and Washington State. River cruises are another option. You can find them on the Mississippi and its many tributaries, or on the rivers of the Pacific Northwest.

Easy: Choose an itinerary that's within driving distance of home. This doesn’t just mean departing from Florida. There are ocean cruises sailing out of New York, Boston, Galveston, and New Orleans as well as major cities in California and Washington State. River cruises are another option. You can find them on the Mississippi and its many tributaries, or on the rivers of the Pacific Northwest.

Up next...

10 Best Ports for Fun Fall Activities

Koblenz, Germany
Go Back
Find The Best Cruises
Find a cruise

Find the best deals!

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices

Click on multiple sites to get the lowest prices