Given how well the European Cruise market has held up in 2009, even with the recent credit crunch, it probably well worth your while to start looking into cruises scheduled for the summer of 2010, that’s if you want to make sure that you get the date, cabins and ships of you choice before all the best bargains are snapped up.

If you’ve previously this summer, been cruising the Caribbean, then choosing a ship for European waters is a whole different kettle of fish!

On a European cruise, you will find that spending time aboard ship is not one of the main activities, its the shore excursions that count. This is totally different from a Caribbean cruise experience. For example, if you have been on the atypical Caribbean cruise you will remember that you will have spent far more days at sea, so therefore the crux of you enjoyment aboard ship is what facilities and entertainments it has to offer. This differs somewhat to the European Cruise where passengers can expect to spend much less time at sea and more time travelling and touring the ports of call.

This, of course means that the criteria for picking the ideal European cruise, in my opinion should be as follows; The Itinerary, Your stay in Port and finally the expected Dress Code.

When it comes to ships, try and compare the length of time that each will be docked at port, especially if you are visiting a destinations that’s got lots too see and do, for example Venice in Italy. That way you will make the most of the time you have ashore.

Check the dress code of the ships you are looking at too, make sure that you don’t end up packing loads of formal wear and suites when the expected attire is casual, equally the opposite is true, if there lots of evening functions you will need to have enough suitable outfits for the entire cruise.

Another good tip is to not bother with getting a cabin with a sea view, since most of your travelling is overnight and you spend each day in port, there’s not much point really. Much better to save some money and get and internal cabin leaving more money to spend on the critical shore excursions and day tours. After all there not alot of point having a room with a view that you are not spending a great deal of time in.

If you are looking for casual dining options then Norwegian cruise line, Princess and Oceania are you best bets, this is a great option if you intend to spend all your time out and about each day, after all who wants to get dressed up every night when your all worn out for having some much fun exploring those European destinations!