Best practices in planning your vacation

By Myrna Burgoyne

Vacations don’t come around nearly often enough, so you want to make yours count.

You want the best value for your hard-earned dollars to plan a memory-filled vacation that’s fun yet not exhausting, invigorating and memorable yet not out of your budget, and one that takes you away from it all to lounge in comfort far from all your cares.

Perhaps you like the idea of a cruise, but don’t know which kind to choose, what each one offers, or even if you’d enjoy a cruise.

Couple relaxing and drinking wine on deck chairs in an over water bungalow. They are holding the wine glasses. (iStock via CAA Travel)

Ocean cruise versus river cruise

As the names reveal, an ocean cruise is one which takes you across large expanses of water, hosting hundreds and sometimes thousands of passengers, visiting coastal sites with lots to do on board and a plethora of exciting shore excursions.

River cruises follow meandering rivers past many smaller stops, with only a fraction of the number of guests on board, and a less busy vibe. These rivers often take you further inland so you can get a real taste of the local culture.

Which one is for you?

To decide which type of voyage better suits your travel personality, speak with an experienced travel agent who will ask you a series of questions to narrow down your options.

For example, if you’re traveling with young children or multi-generational companions, you might choose Royal Caribbean Cruises. If you’re a couple or travelling solo, Holland America Line or Celebrity Cruises might be your choice, as they both offer a wide variety of activities, on and off the ship, that anyone would love.

An experienced travel agent can help you simplify all the components of your trip — airfares and scheduling, hotels, car rentals, and activities to suit your interests. Special promotions that are only offered to travel agents could turn your vacation into an amazing trip of a lifetime.

Who’s who in travel agents

CAA Travel is one of the largest member-based travel agencies in the world with their highly trained experts offering unforgettable and unique adventures whether you’re traveling with a group, as a couple, or solo.

CAA North and East Ontario travel professionals will lead you step by step through horizon-expanding itineraries selected specifically for you and your unique interests.

Can’t you just do it yourself?

Sure you can, but CAA Travel has an entire planet’s worth of adventures at their fingertips through exciting partnerships with cruise lines, tour companies, safaris, hotels and car rentals.

As a CAA member, you’ll receive exclusive offers and savings that aren’t available anywhere else. They can source and include adventures you didn’t know you needed in your life – like a French cooking class or the joy of para-sailing, all while racking up savings, accruing travel credits, and building amazing memories.

Your CAA Travel Consultant will spend their day finding and planning the most incredible journey for you while you spend your day tending to your normal pre-vacation life.

What kinds of activities are offered on board?

You’ll be spoiled for choice with their list of on-board activities. Swim or bask by the pool, join in a trivia game, achieve your step goal each day on their walking track, take

a yoga class, and enjoy nightly shows performed by world-class singers, musicians, comedians, dancers, and magicians. You need never be bored – unless you want to be.

Are there unique travel partnerships they want you to know about?

Celebrity Cruises have a partner for your port activities, too. Shore Excursions is your one-stop-shop for the best shore experience in every port of call, and you can be confident in their guarantee to have you back to the ship in time for departure.

Advice for cruise travellers

  1. Airfares can be significantly less expensive if you book to leave in the middle of the week. To keep your costs in line, advise your agent that you’re willing to travel mid- week.
  2. Use your mid-week airfare to plan one or two nights’ stay in your cruise departure city, allowing for unexpected disruptions including flight delays and weather events. You’ll be set to arrive at the ship with time to spare.
  3. Avoid the rest/eat/play/eat/sit/eat trap. When you choose your meals ahead of time, there is less motivation to attend the eat-all-you-want-all-day-long buffet. Celebrity offers many choices from casual or pub fare through to Michelin-star dining – all on board. Planning ahead and pacing yourself make for a far more pleasant experience.
  4. Pre-book your excursions using CAA trusted partner Shore Excursions. Choose activities that appeal most to you but don’t overbook. Allow enough down time so that your activities are enjoyable, not exhausting.

When you’re ready to travel, book an appointment with a CAA Travel Consultant or call 1-800-267-8713 for expert guidance. Sail beyond your own borders and enjoy every minute of it!

This Content is made possible by our Sponsor; it is not written by and does not reflect the views of the editorial staff.

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