Poll Position: Port Preparation

September 19, 2012 | By | 1 Comment

Many factors come into play when planning a voyage: cruise line, ship offerings and size, and price. But lately we’ve been wondering how itineraries (which ranked highest among our readers on a recent poll‘s list of things that affect bookings) factor into the equation, particularly as they relate to individual ports of call. With so much port coverage on Cruise Critic, we were curious whether cruisers even bother to research where they’re headed and, if so, how that research affects their booking decisions.
What we asked: Typically, when I do serious cruise port research, I ___.
What they said: The majority — 72 percent — of more than 4,400 voters said they book first and then research. Another 17 percent said they do their homework before booking. A further 9 percent said they don’t do much research at all, and the remaining 3 percent said they just research to learn, unrelated to cruising.
What it all means: It seems that when itineraries are part of the decision-making process, it’s more about overall regions than individual ports.
“Since I already know where the ports/countries are, I have a pretty good idea of what to expect when I book,” says Pam Hilton on Facebook. “Then, I research the details and decide what I’m going to see.”
However, others do think it’s important to read up beforehand: “Research first. Did the reverse once and learned a good lesson,” says Valleri Churchill Callahan.
Still other folks say it’s important to mix it up. “Research unfamiliar ports prior to booking. Book first on repeat itineraries,” advises Lynne Christen.
Linda Collins “made the mistake last year of concentrating on the ports, which were fantastic, but the ship was disappointing.” According to her, “you have to research both and have a balance.”
What’s your approach? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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    One Response to “Poll Position: Port Preparation”

    1. John
      September 19th, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

      I pretty much know what I am going to do in the ports prior to our arrival. With 33 cruises under my belt, I learned over the years to book my tours in port independently. There are many independent tour agencies that save you a bundle rather than booking an excursion while aboard the ship. Ship excursions can cost you roughly 50% more than independent tour reps on the island in most ports of call.

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