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Senior Resources » A Baby Boomer’s Guide to Planning a Cruise

A Baby Boomer’s Guide to Planning a Cruise

A Baby Boomer's Guide to Planning a Cruise

Cruising is a favorite pastime for many Baby Boomers. It’s no wonder! Not only do cruises take the stress out of vacation planning, but they’re equal parts fun and relaxing. From sunrise yoga and lounging by the pool to exploring new cities, cruises have a little something for everyone. The 55 and over community agrees—they’re worth every penny!

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6 Reasons Boomers Love to Cruise

1. It’s easy.

Let’s be honest: vacation planning can be stressful. You have to whip up an itinerary, research attractions and restaurants in the area, call up hotels, and figure out transportation. With a cruise, there are three steps: Book it. Pack. And go! Aside from the drive to the airport, you don’t have to worry about your car or parking. Plus, the crew takes care of the itinerary and dining! Bonus point—this is a comfortable way for individuals with mobility issues to travel, since the ship does all the “driving.”

2. It’s fun.

If you’re retired, it’s safe to say that you’re ready for some fun. A cruise offers an almost endless supply! From casinos to concerts to dancing and stage shows, you’ll have your pick of entertainment. And that’s only the fun onboard! When you reach a port destination, you have even more entertainment options at your fingertips.

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3. It’s a good value.

retirement travel couple

Vacation can cost a pretty penny. With a cruise, the price is comprehensive. Food, lodging, entertainment, transportation—it’s all included in your package price.

4. It’s a great way to visit multiple destinations.

No need to worry about “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve” if you’re on a cruise. Cruise ships take passengers to countless destinations. Want to soak up rays in the Bahamas? Or see Mayan ruins in Mexico? Interested in whale watching in Alaska? How about a trip Down Under to the land of kangaroos and koala bears? You can visit all those places, and more on a cruise. It’s the perfect way to see it all while you can!

5. It’s memorable.

Celebrating an anniversary or a birthday? Or—particularly relevant for Baby Boomers—celebrating retirement? Booking a cruise is the perfect way for the 55+ community to make the most out of any occasion. Who needs more stuff at this juncture of life? Experience is the gift you grant yourself by taking a cruise!

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6. It’s social.

Making friends can be hard for Boomers. A lot of our friends have moved away, while others are busy with family. Some of our friends may still be working! The best thing about a cruise? It’s an easy place to make friends! You’re all going to the same places, anyway. Might as well meet one another and enjoy the company!

5 Best Cruise Lines For Seniors and Retirees

1. Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity Cruises are there for you without being intrusive. If you’re looking for a high-quality cruise with quiet elegance and unique destinations, this is the line for you! Celebrity boasts over 300 ports visited and award-winning experiences, like the Galapagos Cruise.

2. Princess Cruise Lines

Known for its variety of all-ages fun and lively staff, Princess Cruise Lines offers themed getaways, a variety of destinations around the world, and award-winning excursions. Money Magazine named Princess as “Best in Travel,” and Cruise International (UK) has named it the “Best Cruise Line, 5 Years Running.” Princess offers last-minute deals, military discounts, and an array of packages and add-ons.

3. Holland America Line

Understated elegance and laid-back cruising. With Holland America, ships offer a variety of dining options (perfect for those with dietary restrictions), live music, salons, and spas. With special packages that include up to $400 in onboard credit, seniors will love Holland America’s luxurious choices for cabins and excursions!

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4. Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean offers consistently good quality cruising. The service is snappy, and the food and activities are plentiful. Longer cruises are among the 55 and over community’s favorites. By the way, senior discounts apply to those over the age of 55!

5. Viking Cruises

Viking is absolutely and completely customer-oriented! Offering unique options for river and ocean cruises, as well as expeditions, Viking Cruises is a premier choice for seniors who are active in their retirement years! Staterooms and suites are large and luxurious, and the dining experience is top-notch.

7 Tips from Cruise Employees

outgoing retirees

Every time my wife and I take a cruise, we ask staff members for their favorite cruising tips. Here are 7 of their most helpful tips.

1. Bring a refillable water bottle.

Bring a bottle or a refillable container. The water on the ship available for purchase is overpriced! Save money by filling your bottle with water from your faucet in the bathroom sink. Since most ships bunker or make their own water in a reverse osmosis plant, it’s safe to drink.

2. Don’t buy from onboard gift shops until the final day.

Don’t buy any gifts on the ship until the last day. See what you can find in port, and then use the ship as a last resort. Spoiler alert: that’s when everything goes on sale!

3. Be picky with your cruise times.

The absolute cheapest time to cruise is between Thanksgiving and Christmas—non-inclusive of the actual holidays. January is also a good time.

4. No kids? Cruise longer.

Kids are great, but kids are also loud and disruptive. So, if you want to avoid tiny humans on your vacation, sail longer than 7 days and during the school year. Voila! No adorable noisemakers. Want a kid-friendly cruise? Then go on a 3-4 day cruise in July.

5. A little gratuity goes a long way.

hands paying money

Want extra-special service? Pre-pay your gratuities and slip your room steward a $20 or $50 on the first day. You’ll be treated like the king or queen that you really are.

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6. Underpack.

Cruise with carry-on and day bags. From one Boomer to another—no one cares if you wear the same pants 2 or 3 times. This is not a fashion show. This is your vacation! Free yourself of the burden of too much luggage and enjoy yourself to the fullest.

7. Try doing what everyone else is NOT doing.

Avoid the crowds by doing what everyone else is not doing. Go to the pool at night. Eat at earlier or later hours. See the show that’s less attended. (Note: the cruise director will tell you which one it is for that specific cruise. It does vary from trip to trip.)

Originally published December 12, 2023

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