How many hours do you put in planning a cruise

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#1
Delray Beach, FL
644 Posts
Joined May 2009
Has anyone kept a log of how many hours they have spent planning a cruise?
We purchased FCC’s on the Grand Princess in March 2007. We then did a land tour of Italy by Train in June, 2007 and decided to return next time by ship. We are Princess loyalists and knew that we wanted to tryout the new Ruby and end in Venice. The question was Grand Med or Greek Isles. We felt that Athens and Mykonos was enough time/ports for Greece, and since we had not been to Barcelona or Istanbul, we settled on the Grand Mediterranean departing Sept 1, 2009 (wow 11 days to go) and booked the cruise in April 2008. We are staying 3 nights pre-cruise in Barcelona and 2 extra nights post cruise in Venice. Thinking back on all the research and planning that we have done, I have a difficult time estimating just how many hours we have actually spent reading guide books, researching tours and on the internet. My guess is that that it is far more time than the 18 days that we will be travelling. But like anything else, you only get out of something what you put in. And it has been a lot a fun, particularly communicating with fellow cruisers on CC. We are down to the short stokes right now, as we leave for Barcelona next Friday. I have a 3-ring, day-by-day, binder ready to explode and DW has her spiral bound note books. And we are still putting in 3-4 hours a night fine tuning our daily plans and checking out places to eat.
But as I read through the posts on CC I’m not sure if we are in the minority or majority when it comes to cruise planning. So how much time do you put in planning a cruise?
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Mike & Linda
Marlton, NJ
#2
Aliso Viejo, CA
41,741 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Originally posted by grandbanksguy
So how much time do you put in planning a cruise?
All told, perhaps a couple of hours. Maybe 15 minutes looking at the ship, itinerary and time of year, then perhaps another hour or so checking out tours. Maybe some time checking flights if I'm not using cruise air. All-in-all, I'm just happy to be on a ship cruising somewhere. Believe me, I get a LOT out of my cruises. I don't think it's related to the number of hours spent researching and stressing over whether I'm doing the right thing.
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#4
Southern California
11,373 Posts
Joined Nov 2005
DH - One hour - That's what he gives me to ruminate over all the plans/places/excursions/hotels/movies/entertainment/clothing required, etc., and what he'll need for the destinations & excursions chosen......

He insists that I do all the planning. Book everything. I'm not allowed to pack his clothes or touch his luggage. He's a good sport about the excursions and will go to whatever I've booked.

Me - Months and months - I work a full-time job so I do all the necessary stuff in between the job. I'm a planner and do not like leaving anything for the last minute.

We like to drive to the docks, as opposed to flying, although we have flown - DH doesn't like it.

It's MY job to make sure that all the camera stuff is ready; the binoculars are packed and the Passports and all documentation is in order, as well.

We travel with a Service Dog so I have to make sure that she's been to the Vet/Groomer and all her food/toys/treat and water are packed.

I pack my stuff within a week of cruising - usually two days before.

It's a lot of work but so worth it, in the end.
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#6
British Columbia
2,299 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
Originally posted by grandbanksguy
Has anyone kept a log of how many hours they have spent planning a cruise?
We purchased FCC’s on the Grand Princess in March 2007. We then did a land tour of Italy by Train in June, 2007 and decided to return next time by ship. We are Princess loyalists and knew that we wanted to tryout the new Ruby and end in Venice. The question was Grand Med or Greek Isles. We felt that Athens and Mykonos was enough time/ports for Greece, and since we had not been to Barcelona or Istanbul, we settled on the Grand Mediterranean departing Sept 1, 2009 (wow 11 days to go) and booked the cruise in April 2008. We are staying 3 nights pre-cruise in Barcelona and 2 extra nights post cruise in Venice. Thinking back on all the research and planning that we have done, I have a difficult time estimating just how many hours we have actually spent reading guide books, researching tours and on the internet. My guess is that that it is far more time than the 18 days that we will be travelling. But like anything else, you only get out of something what you put in. And it has been a lot a fun, particularly communicating with fellow cruisers on CC. We are down to the short stokes right now, as we leave for Barcelona next Friday. I have a 3-ring, day-by-day, binder ready to explode and DW has her spiral bound note books. And we are still putting in 3-4 hours a night fine tuning our daily plans and checking out places to eat.
But as I read through the posts on CC I’m not sure if we are in the minority or majority when it comes to cruise planning. So how much time do you put in planning a cruise?
At least 2 hrs. a day for 8 months for our upcoming cruise on the Grand in November. (give or take, 480 hrs.)
Theo
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#7
Miami, Florida
67 Posts
Joined Aug 2009
Originally posted by grandbanksguy
Has anyone kept a log of how many hours they have spent planning a cruise?
We purchased FCC’s on the Grand Princess in March 2007. We then did a land tour of Italy by Train in June, 2007 and decided to return next time by ship. We are Princess loyalists and knew that we wanted to tryout the new Ruby and end in Venice. The question was Grand Med or Greek Isles. We felt that Athens and Mykonos was enough time/ports for Greece, and since we had not been to Barcelona or Istanbul, we settled on the Grand Mediterranean departing Sept 1, 2009 (wow 11 days to go) and booked the cruise in April 2008. We are staying 3 nights pre-cruise in Barcelona and 2 extra nights post cruise in Venice. Thinking back on all the research and planning that we have done, I have a difficult time estimating just how many hours we have actually spent reading guide books, researching tours and on the internet. My guess is that that it is far more time than the 18 days that we will be travelling. But like anything else, you only get out of something what you put in. And it has been a lot a fun, particularly communicating with fellow cruisers on CC. We are down to the short stokes right now, as we leave for Barcelona next Friday. I have a 3-ring, day-by-day, binder ready to explode and DW has her spiral bound note books. And we are still putting in 3-4 hours a night fine tuning our daily plans and checking out places to eat.
But as I read through the posts on CC I’m not sure if we are in the minority or majority when it comes to cruise planning. So how much time do you put in planning a cruise?
I plan months and months in advance. I am the big planner of the family. I am responsible for all of the planning, booking of flights and excursions, making sure all of the household bills are paid before we leave and packing everyone's stuff. I LOVE IT THOUGH! My fiance laughs at me when I spend hours online on CC reading other cruisers comments and experiences. He doesn't know even know what ports we are going to until a few days before we sail. I can't complain...I get to book what I like, which turns out to be what he likes too, so no complaints from him. I'm a planner by nature and since I love cruising I combine the two.
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#8
jacksonville fl usa
3,829 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Most of my preplanning is on the CC Message Boards, plus I'm reading up on the ports
and bought the John Lawrence DVD because the Baltic countries are new ones for us.
Our 2nd Med cruise I studied up on Turkey because we hadn't been there.
Other than that, I spend time every day just because it's fun. Anticipation of a wonderful
trip is part of the joy.
#9
Delray Beach, FL
644 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by jagsfan
Our 2nd Med cruise I studied up on Turkey because we hadn't been there.
Other than that, I spend time every day just because it's fun. Anticipation of a wonderful
trip is part of the joy.
It sure is fun. Just finished Rick Steve's Istanbul. Now that we understand the culture, I'm sure we won't insult anyone. And we have good knowledge of the history of the sites that we will be visiting to make the trip more rewarding.
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Mike & Linda
Marlton, NJ
#10
Toronto, Canada
2,332 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Too many hours to count.....lets just say I work for minimum wage .
#11
Lake Worth, FL
962 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
But I consider every hour I spend to be golden...(thank you for that line, Professor Harold Hill)

There's always so much to learn, especially from you CC'ers who have so much experience and knowledge to share.

I feel the more I know in advance, the greater the pleasure and far less potential for unpleasant surprises.

Because I'm semi-retired, I get to spend a lot of time on Cruise Critic, and you folks have never let me down. Thanks to all!
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lel

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#12
Southern Indiana, USA
671 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
It took me weeks of researching and "price shopping" to decide which cruise we'll do for our 40th weddng anniversary in summer of 2010. I think DH was surprised that after all that time investigating I made up "our" mind after an impromptu visit to our TA (who is also a friend).
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#13
Clovis, California
1,043 Posts
Joined May 2004
Too many according to DH. Half the fun is the planning. Not sure how many I spend but all the research and of course, being on Cruise Critic, helps to make our cruises even better. Now if we could make our cruises last longer that would be great.
#14
20,304 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Depends on the cruise. For the Caribbean, next to no time (other than time spent on CC and pleasantly conversing with folks on the roll call). For somewhere like the Med or the Baltics, I am an obsessive researcher. For new ports, I will read books (as in several) on history, art, food, customs, what have you. (Not including guide books...). Then I start in on the fiction..... I'm even worse with land trips.

Seriously, I love to plan my travel. I am keenly interested in history, ancient cultures, modern cultures, food, art, etc, and I always find plenty of fodder both in planning my trips and actually experiencing them. For me personally, I find that I remember a lot more about the places I've been than if I just "show up" and listen to a guide.

Even when I'm returning somewhere I've already been -- like a land trip after a cruise visit -- I'll research new restaurants, new museums, new day trips, etc......
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Wherever the wind takes me I travel as a visitor. (Horace)
#15
Murrieta, California
254 Posts
Joined Jun 2008
I spend hours and hours and hours. I do not keep count as this is, for me, part of the fun of traveling. Every cruise I have taken in recent years, or presently have booked, has been to some place new. Prior planning also makes the trip much more memorable. I know more about what to expect and what I want to see.

I am retired so I have a lot of time to spend on the computer and really enjoy doing the research.
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#16
West Columbia, SC
311 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
10,000 hours, give or take?
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#17
New York State
2,652 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
I spend hours and hours and hours researching and planning. It's all part of the fun of cruising for me. I like to have a plan and an alternate plan for everything just in case we need it. We enjoy learning about the new places we will visit before arriving there. But once we get in our car to drive to the airport to fly to our port city, we just enjoy what ever happens and accept that everything never goes exactly as planned which just adds a bit of added adventure to every trip. With most port times so short I'd hate to think of all the things we've been able to enjoy that would have been missed had I not reseached so much before leaving because we would have never known about them without the research time spent.
#18
261 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
I would say it depends what kinda person your are.

if your like Ron and like watching sports on tv, than you book the cruise and figure what to see once you board the ship and use the ship tours.

If your Noella, you look at all the different cruise out there and compare them and make a decision after a couple of weeks, then spend countless hours getting excited and researching what to see and do on the islands. After a month you settle down and wait while you brag about your cruise in 6 months from now.

If your like me, i want everything to be perfect and making sure various options from every excursions on all the islands being visit. I'am looking every day for any deals better than the cruise i'am going so i can have my travel agent knock down the price if a lower price comes available from a competitor(s).

Right now i'am searching for Airfare. Great AA deals right now, but I Preferre Spirit Air and Delta Airlines which i 'am willing to wait for their great Seat sale to come September 17th, 2010 and October 31st.

My cruise is a 14 day Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico on February 21st, 2010. I did this cruise last year,, it was a blast and the best of all cruise destination in the Caribbean. I paid $1505us pp for a Balcony on www.Smartcruisers.com


I would avoid January cruises since it can be really windy and more of a chance ships not docking to smaller islands. Also March is crazy since its full of kids that parents do not control. and all ships are full and no chairs on the Lido deck!

in Conclusion, you can just use your time efficiently and spend only one hour , or daydream countless hours and make your trip into a great plan that takes up a little of your time on breaks at work on the monitor or at home when the wife doesn't need your attention.
#19
cincinnati, ohio,usa
5,872 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
Originally posted by Rockymountainsparky
If I'm not researching my next cruise, I'm busy trying to figure out where to go next.

Isn't that the truth!
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Last Year
April - Serenade OTS - 10 nts, Eastern Caribbean
June - Serenade OTS - 11 nts Norway/Arctic Circle
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This Year
August - Equinox - 7 nts Western Caribbean

2018
April - Brilliance OTS - 15 nts, TA with Ireland and Netherlands.
#20
Southern California
3,320 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
I hate to think how many hours I plan but, as others have said, that's part of the fun. We have our next few cruises figured out and I start planning before we even book the cruise, which is as soon as the schedule is released. Fortunately, for our next cruise, I am planning with the DW of the couple that is going with us. This will be their second cruise so we are having a blast planning together.
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Janet

2019-Ruby Princess (Alaska), 2018-Coral Princess (Panama Canal), 2017-Crown Princess (Canada/New England), 2016-Royal Princess (Caribbean), 2015-Ruby Princess (Hawaii), 2014-Ruby Princess (Canada/Colonial America aka Canalonial), 2013-Golden Princess (West Coast Getaway), 2013-Sapphire Princess (Coastal-Los Angeles to Vancouver), 2012-Golden Princess (Hawaii), 2011-Sapphire Princess (Coastal-Vancouver to Los Angeles), 2010-Sapphire Princess (Coastal-Vancouver to San Francisco) , 2010-Coral Princess (Alaska southbound), 2009-Coral Princess (Panama Canal), 2008-Sapphire Princess (Mexican Riviera), 2008-Dawn Princess (Coastal), 2007-Caribbean Princess (Eastern & Western Caribbean), 2005-Island Princess (Hawaii), 2003-Island Princess (Alaska northbound), 1993-Celebrity Zenith (Western Caribbean)
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