You can book a cruise last minute (to travel this weekend!) or you can book far in advance, 2 years or more depending on the cruise line.
Typically if your cruise is more than 90days out you put down a deposit to hold your cruise which may or may not be refundable depending on the cruise line. Typically 90days from the sail date is when total payment is due.
Cruises can be as short as 2 days or as long as...well..months! 7 night cruises are some of the most common. In general you'll see cruise lengths from 5 to 14 nights.
You can book directly with the cruise line or through a travel agent. The travel agent could specialize in cruising or it could be a general travel agent that books all types of travel.
Cruises can be as cheap or as expensive as you want them to be. Some cruise lines will have deals for $299 for 5 nights while others will charge you $7,000 for 7 nights. It all depends what you want, but always remember you get what you pay for!
We learned most of what we know about cruising by actually going on the cruises, but before we went we visited CruiseCritic.com religiously and asked questions. We think it is a FANTASTIC resource to ask questions and meet other cruisers.
Here you will find a basic list of terminology that you will come across not only on this site but on cruise forums and perhaps even when booking or taking your cruise. These terms are broad and most will not only apply to Celebrity but to all cruise ships and cruise lines.
This is when you board the ship
This is definitely a sad day. This is when you leave the ship
SEA PASS / SAIL CARD
Each cruise line will have a different name, but Celebrity calls them your "sea pass" card. This is a card you have that is linked to your onboard account. You use it to purchase drinks and it is also your ticket on and off the ship!
MUSTER DRILL / MUSTER STATION
The Muster Drill is your safety drill which is held at the beginning of your cruise prior to setting sail. Your muster station is not only where your muster drill is held, but it is where you would go in the event of a real emergency. Remember this location!
Refers to the rear of the ship
Refers to the front of the ship
Refers to the right-hand side of the boat, when facing forward
Refers to the left-hand side of the boat, when facing forward
The ships jail (lets hope you never have to go there!)
Main Dining Room
The walkway used to enter and exit the ship
TENDER / TENDER BOATS
When the ship cannot dock and small boats take you ashore from the ship