What do they say? How to
by Linda Coffman
Years ago, before the Internet
became a savvy traveler's primary source of information, brochures
were often the first glimpse of what potential passengers might
expect on cruise vacations. In some cases, they still are.
Brochure styles vary from
straightforward in approach to as dreamy and romantic as a romance
novel. Some brochures are beautiful enough to qualify as coffee
table books. But are they a slick marketing device or useful
planning tool? You be the judge. Open any cruise brochure and you
are sure to find a dizzying display of information and photographs.
What you want are simple facts, displayed in an informative manner.
What are you likely to find?
First of all, you have to select
the right brochure. While some cruise lines feature their entire
fleet and all itineraries in one volume, others publish brochures
for specific destinations—the Caribbean, Bahamas, Bermuda, Alaska,
Maybe it's just us, but the
CruiseDiva.com staff likes to see a Table of Contents. After all, a
brochure is an enticing book. It saves a lot of time and searching
to have such topics as staterooms, dining options, on board
facilities, activities, entertainment, children's programs, and the
"fine print" in a Table of Contents. Fortunately,
brochures are often organized in that manner.
What more do we want? We want those
facts mentioned above. Can we bring a bottle of champagne to
celebrate a special occasion? Or will one be provided free of charge
for the asking? We want to know what to pack to be appropriately
dressed, what our stateroom features are, what's included in our
fare (and what's not) and, most importantly, what happens if we have
an emergency and must cancel. For that and more...
Begin in the
You probably wouldn't start
reading a mystery novel on the last page, but CruiseDiva.com
suggests you immediately turn to the last few pages of the brochure.
That is where you will find the "fine print," which
everyone considering a cruise needs, or at least should want to
know. The section may be titled, "Things to know before you
go," "What you need to know," "Important
policies," or even "Terms and conditions." READ IT.
Read it closely.
Judging by the queries posted on
Internet message boards, few people take the time to read that
"fine print" in the back of brochures. Answers to
frequently asked questions can be found simply by thumbing through
the brochure of the cruise line you are considering from back to
Also look toward the back of the
brochure for details about Air & Sea programs, insurance, and
amenity packages to enhance your cruise.
After absorbing the facts,
go back to the front and take a good look at the illustrations.
Would you be happy to share a cruise with the people pictured? While
they are more likely than not models, those people "could"
be your on board peers. A brochure depicting children in a majority
of photos should be a solid hint that the cruise line caters to
families. Similarly, stylish middle-aged to older couples hints at a
Plans, Staterooms & Fares
Location, location, location. A deck plan is a map of a ship
and, unlike a road map, can give a fairly precise idea of what
features the neighborhood will hold.
More about pictures—we'd like to
know what kind of a lens was used to take the vast majority of
stateroom photos. As a rule, accommodations look exactly like the
pictures and are perfectly adequate for the average passenger;
however, they are usually smaller than expected. Many staterooms
appear larger in brochure photos than in reality.
Some armchair brochure
browsers get caught up in "crystalline waters" and
"historic wonders"... is there anything in between? Well,
information... Go to —> Part
Line Web Sites
Articles & Advice