Rick, the first step you should take is to visit a reputable travel agent in your area. She/he can answer those questions and more. There are some great bargains out there these days in cruises, especially if you can go before the end of this year. Ask your friends and co-workers for an agent they would recommend. Being able to talk in person with an agent who knows cruises will steer you to the best cruise for you - this is especially true for first-timers!
Congratulations, and have a great cruise!