Hi, thank you for your question, hopefully others will drop in with other suggestions, very often cruises like most holidays are the cheapest, when they end just before Christmas or start just after New Year. What are you looking for in your cruise? What is important to you? What do you like to do? Jude.
Cruise lines usually offer 7 or 14 day cruises with two 7-day itineraries which alternate, going to islands 1 to 5 one week, 6 to 10 the next week, then 1 to 5 again and so on. 14 days is way better value than 7 and at the beginning of January its often actually cheaper. Some lines offer a "price promise" to early-bookers, but generally they're much cheaper if you leave it late before you book. So now is a good time to check the current asking prices for next winter and compare them with this winter's late deals. Ocean Village is well worth your consideration, amongst others. They're at the budget end & I rate the value-for-money. On-board currency is sterling, drinks prices are about the same as UK pub prices, tips are at your discretion. They're not perfect, but you'll see from reviews in these pages that expensive ones aren't either! The average age on all the cheaper cruise lines tends to be lower than on the more expensive ships, but still not that much younger than yourself, especially if you go during the schoolterm. Which conveniently tends to be cheaper as well ! Hopefully others can suggest other suitable cruise lines. Whoever you go with, I'm sure you'll have a great time .