Tips for Giving Your Mom a Cruise Vacation for Mothers Day

By: Mandy Karlik

Shopping for a Mother's Day present is never easy, but it is particularly difficult for people who want to give their mothers or other special ladies in their life something very special. Cruises are a great way to give your mom Mother's Day memories she'll cherish forever. What's more, they're surprisingly affordable.

A cruise is best considered as an all-in-one vacation package. If you want to comparison shop, your cruise fare equals hotel accommodations, meals, transportation, and entertainment. It does not include alcohol, special amenities (like spa services or casino gambling), or shore excursions, which are optional.

One other factor that influences the total price: you have to get to port city on your own dime, too.

Giving your mother a cruise vacation is a great idea because it is not only an inclusive vacation that most people really enjoy (most people who cruise once become fans and cruise again), it is also a very easy way for you to set up a family get-together or reunion. These group cruises are increasingly popular and most cruise lines encourage them.

In fact, calling a cruise line representative is a good step to see what a particular cruise might be able to offer you for a group package.

There are four ways to give your mom the present of a cruise vacation.

The first method is to let your mother pick out the cruise vacation she wants and then let you come back and buy it for her. This is a bit complicated logistically since there are many cruise lines with many more offerings, and there is no "gift card" option that will let her shop around. About the best gift card you can get is one through a credit card which all major cruise lines accept. The problem with that is that cruise packages can vary a lot in price. Another way to give her this kind of gift is to offer to pay for the cruise she picks out--but your mom might spend more or less than you'd like!

The second choice is that you can be bold and pick a cruise for your mom, pay for it, and give it to her.

Cruises have the "Noah's Ark Syndrome," which mean they want everyone to get in the boat by pairs. Cruise fares are always stated for double occupancy (although you can make arrangements to sleep three or four to a state room, too). Besides, cruising alone is no fun. So book your parents a cruise or, if your mom is alone, get her a cruise with a family member or friend.

The third method of getting a cruise for Mother's Day is a fabulous idea. You pick the cruise and buy it, only you go along with her. Depending on your family structure, it may be just you and your mom or it might be several couples (parents, you and your spouse, maybe a sibling and spouse and so on). These are fabulous adventures and a gift that everyone will always remember. Cruising in a group heightens the enjoyment. Your family can dine together, explore the ports together, take in shows or stroll the ship together, all while somebody else cooks, cleans up, and drives!

The fourth way to get your mom a cruise vacation for Mother's Day involves creating a family reunion group. In this scenario, you pick the cruise and pay for your mom and her traveling mate. You also arrange to travel with them. After that, you just need to tell the family about the plan to see who can join you. Invite relatives, even friends.

Family cruises of many couples are not uncommon on cruises today, and many cruise lines will work with you to help make the organizational chores of setting up this sort of thing as easy as possible.

If you opt for a large family reunion cruise, book it as far in advance as you can. By booking early, cruise lines will often offer you the very best prices and it gives the other people in your family time to make the necessary work, family, and financial arrangements they need in order to participate.

Picking a cruise can be tough these days because there are so many options. Here are afew different ways to approach it.

Some people pick a cruise by destination: Alaska versus the Caribbean or cities of the Far East versus Europe. Others prefer to pick a cruise by port. If you live at or near a cruise port city, this can drastically reduce your total expense. Still others pick a cruise by type. Some cruises call at many ports, others spend more time at sea. Some emphasize fine dining, formal events, and luxurious spas, others emphasize kid-friendly activity and super-casual fun.

Price is a bit more complex in that there are numerous price levels on any given cruise. Price changes on the type of cabin you want (bigger costs more and windows or even balconies, sometimes called verandahs, cost more) and optional excursions can also drive up the price.

The best place to shop is online, in that every major cruise line runs a great, user-friendly website that allows you to window shop and even compare prices. You can even get a sneak peek at cabin floor plans and find out about activities, ports, and excursions.

Although most cruise lines are online, it is best to book by phone by calling the number provided on the website. In fact, some cruise websites do not allow online booking.

Talking to a cruise representative is a great way to familiarize yourself with the many voyages and options available to you. A family vacation can be one of the most memorable Mother's Day gifts your mom will ever receive!

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