When it comes to cruise ships, one size doesn’t fit all. They’re as unique as the people who book passage on them. In fact, a variety of cruises exist to suit just about every personality and interest. But before you pack your bags, slather on the sunblock and set sail, there are some things you should consider. Read on for tips on how to pick the right cruise for you.

River vs. Ocean

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When most people think of cruise ships, they imagine huge ocean liners traveling across the ocean. But those aren’t the only kinds of cruises you can try. River cruises are smaller than most ocean cruises. Instead of being surrounded by thousands of other passengers, you’ll rub elbows with only about 160 other people. This is the ideal cruise for people who hate crowds.

Caribbean vs. Somewhere Colder

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Are you a sun worshipper? You’ll find plenty of cruise lines that will sail you across the Caribbean to soak up all the rays you can handle. Maybe you want to see the wilds of Alaska and spy humpback whales and black bears. There are plenty of cruise lines that will take you there as well. In fact, many cruises sail you around the world.

What’s Your Budget?

Figuring out your budget is one of the most important things to do before deciding on a particular cruise. Fortunately, there’s a cruise out there for just about any budget. And cruises typically offer promotions during the months of January through March, the slow season for the cruise industry. Try booking a trip on an older ship. According the CNBC, older cruise ships are just as good as newer ones but are a lot cheaper.

Fit the Cruise to Your Personality

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Consider your personality and situation before booking a cruise. If you love being around lots of people, you may love a cruise ship carrying thousands of people across the ocean. But if you’re more of an introvert, find a smaller cruise ship that offers a more intimate setting. Smaller ships stop at small ports and offer more opportunities to explore and enjoy personalized attention. Do you have kids? You may want to choose a cruise geared toward children and families. Are you all about upscale dining and entertainment? Maybe you prefer informal activities that don’t require a great deal of dressing up for the occasion. These factors determine the type of cruise you should select.

How Long Can You Be Away from Home?

Cruises offer a variety of trip lengths. Some cruises offer two-day trips. Others are four-, seven- or eleven-day trips. There are some cruises that even offer trips around the globe that last more than 100 days. Even if you can only wrangle a few days off from work, you can often find a cruise that is perfect for your schedule.

Explore vs. Hang Out

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What activities do you want to do while on your cruise? Would you rather spend your the majority of your time on the ship? Choose cruises that have a wide array of on-board activities. Cruise ships may offer activities like rock climbing and ice skating. If you’re looking for entertainment, cruise ships offer Broadway-style shows that rival what you see in New York City. They may have dance clubs, movie theaters and fun activities for the kiddos. On the other hand, if you long to see exotic places and have no intention of staying on the ship throughout the whole vacation, select a cruise that allows you enough time to visit each port of call. This may even include late port departures or even the opportunity to spend the night at certain ports.

Do You Have Any Special Interests?

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Specialty cruises cater to people with specific hobbies or interests. If you love R&B music, you may be able to book a cruise featuring entertainment by R&B singers. People who enjoy square dancing, cycling, cooking, scrapbooking, art history or a range of other hobbies can often find a cruise that suits their hobbies.

Not every cruise is perfect for every person. It’s important to evaluate what you’re looking for in a cruise vacation before paying money for a ticket. Going on a cruise is an amazing adventure. Spend your money on a cruise that suits your personality and your budget. If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll find the best cruise for your specific needs and interests.