Why is it so hard to plan a family vacation? We’re looking to book a cruise in 2017 for a family of 4. At the time we book, 3 of us will be considered Adults and one, The Boy, will be classified as a teen.

You would think it should be pretty easy to book a cruise. We know what port we want to sail out of. We don’t really care too much about the ports we stop in. We know we want at least 7 nights. Boom, show us cabin options and tell us how much it costs.

Nope, doesn’t work that way. Sure there’s a list of cabins, but none of them give a true idea of what the room is like. In the photos everything is wonderful, but in reality, not so much. One cruise ship we looked at used the exact same photo for a Suite and a regular room. Having cruised that particular line previously, we were well aware of the differences and weren’t suckered into booking a room that was a third of the size that was being shown. Someone new to cruising wouldn’t have any idea about that and would be severely disappointed when they stepped into their palatially small room.

Then they start with the add-on items. Beverage package, Ultimate Beverage package, Snack package, Upgraded dining package, Coffee package, and so on. I completely understand the up charge for alcohol. It’s an expensive to stock and serve. But soda? I’m fairly certain Coca-Cola isn’t too expensive. It’s rare to encounter a restaurant that doesn’t offer free refills. Why am I paying $3 per soda on a cruise ship? What’s so special about the soda on-board the boat?

Dining is another quandary. Do you stick with the main dining room? Or, do you book a specialty restaurant or two (or more)? Until you’ve cruised that line, you don’t have any firm perspective. I’ve read numerous reviews of the dining options on the cruise lines we’re considering. I can point you to just as many reviews that say it’s the best food ever as there are reviewers saying they wouldn’t feed the dinner to their dogs. Meals are too subjective, so I end up hoping for the best.

I know I’m complaining about something that is totally ridiculous. I see the stupidity in my own actions. Oh well, I guess as I get older I find myself complaining about minor inconveniences more.

Cruise planning should be a wonderful thing. Perhaps I’m the problem, not the cruise lines?