Cruising for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. I tried my first cruise recently, and while the trip itself was a dream come true, figuring things out was a steep learning curve. Here are a few of my top tips for first time cruisers, from planning the trip to knowing what to pack…
Pick the Right Cruise
Whilst it’s tempting to browse the sales and book the cheapest cruise you can find, this may land you on something you hate. So do your research thoroughly before you book, and find the right cruise for you.
There’s no point booking a cruise that’s not going to any destinations you fancy, so check the itinerary first. Don’t forget to check the weather for when you’ll be travelling too; hurricane season in the Bahamas can mean uncomfortable choppy seas!
Also research the cruise company and the ship itself. What’s their main target audience? You don’t want to book onto a family ship if you’re a group of single 20-somethings, and likewise an 18-30s cruise might not suit if you’re hoping for a more formal experience. Do your research and find the cruise that works for your travel style.
Find Out What’s Included
Often, the quoted price of a cruise isn’t the total one – even on an all inclusive cruise. So find out exactly what’s included before you work out the final price. Remember to consider the travel costs of getting to and from port, tips (which may be added automatically), WiFi, speciality dining, excursions, drinks, and treats on board like spa treatments.
Explore the Ship Straight Away
Take time to get to know the ship as soon as you’re on board. Even smaller cruise ships can be pretty overwhelming at first, and the larger ones can be outright confusing. So look around and get your bearings before you do anything else.
Some of the more exclusive restaurants can get booked up quickly, so make reservations in advance for any that you don’t want to miss.
Stay On Board During Some Port Days
During port days, the ship will be almost deserted, so this can be a great time to make the most of an empty pool or book a session at the spa.
Knowing what to pack for a cruise can be pretty tough, especially if it’s your first time. I went with the old “pack everything I own” option, but since space can be limited in your cabin this isn’t the best idea. Instead, opt for plain, simple items that can be mixed and matched. Ladies, you can’t go wrong with a few simple shift dresses which can be dressed up or down for day and night! Do some research and plan your outfits in advance. You’ll be sent an itinerary before the cruise showing the number of casual, informal and formal nights, which should help with planning.
Don’t forget to book your Cruise Travel Insurance before you leave…happy cruising!