Julie Peasgood is a TV presenter, travel expert and Contributing Editor for Cruise International

The outdoor swimming pool © Princess Cruises
The outdoor swimming pool © Princess Cruises

Q. I’m planning my first cruise – how do I choose the length of my holiday?

A. The length of your cruise will most probably be determined by your destination, so always check out the itinerary when choosing. This will tell you how many days are at sea or in port. “At sea” days can involve everything from enjoying the pool and spa, to listening to guest speakers, beauty seminars and onboard classes such as ballroom dancing and photography – or just general rest and relaxation. Long-haul adventures, particularly if they depart from the UK, will usually involve a lot of sea days, which can be a welcome break from busy days in port. Alternatively, if you don’t fancy this, consider a fly/cruise combination for transatlantic cruises, or opt for something closer to home, such as a Mediterranean, Scandinavian or round-Britain cruise, which are more likely to last about a week. Generally the longer your cruise, the more expensive the initial outlay will be – and the more you will spend on board – so factor this in when making your decision.