The Length of the Cruise
Another consideration to take into account is the length of the cruise. Obviously, if you only get a week off from work then you don’t want to be booking a two week cruise. However, there is a little bit more to it than that.
The length of the cruise can also have an effect on the types of passengers that you will be sailing with. I have never seen any statistics, but my experience has been that longer cruises attract older passengers. The longer a cruise is, the older the average passenger age is likely to be.
The length of a cruise can also be an important consideration for inexperienced cruisers who aren’t sure how they will react to being at sea for extended periods of time. If you think that of course taking a cruise during the off season can sometimes be a risky proposition. For instance if you take a Caribbean cruise during August or September then you are likely to have your trip interrupted by a hurricane.
In some ways the dates that you pick for your cruise may affect your overall cruising experience because children are more likely to be present on the ship during school breaks. I will never forget a conversation that Taz and I had with our stateroom attendant on the last night of a cruise last year.
We had decided to go to the Caribbean for a couple of weeks, with the cruise ending a couple of days before Christmas. Throughout the entire cruise we only saw a few children on board. Later, our stateroom attendant was telling us that there would be over 200 children on the next cruise because the cruise fell within the kid’s Christmas break. While 200 kids might not seem like a huge number, this was not a cruise line that normally caters to children.
Occasionally, you may find that the dates that you pick can affect the passenger list in another way. It is not uncommon for organizations to book large numbers of cabins on a ship as a way of offering their members a theme cruise. For instance, a group of country / western music enthusiasts booked a large number of cabins on one of our cruises. In addition to the normal activities, the cruise line provided country music themed activities for the group’s members. Likewise, we once booked another cruise and later discovered that half of the ship had been reserved by one of the gay and lesbian organizations.
For us, sharing a ship with a group of people who are on board for a theme cruise isn’t a big deal. However, if that sort of thing bothers you then you may be wise to contact the cruise line directly and find out if anyone is planning themed activities for the sailing that you are considering.