Deciding to set sail on your first cruise can be really exciting, but it can also be really intimidating. With so many ships to choose from and all of the packages available for purchase, there’s a lot to consider. On top of that, there are some parts of traveling by ship that are very different from what you might be used to.
Before booking a cruise and setting sail, here are a few tips for cruise newbies!
No two cruise ships are the same. Even two ships from the same cruise line and heading to the same destination will not have the same amenities. While one ship might be focused on offering five-star dining experiences, another might have a ton of nightlife or entertainment shows. Make sure you check out what the ships offer before you book.
It might seem obvious, but not all rooms are flashy. Some might not be much bigger than a walk-in closet, and there are a lot of rooms that don’t have windows. There is so much to do on a cruise ship that you might not find yourself spending any time in your room besides sleeping, so it may not even be an issue for you.
However, if you’re the kind of person that finds small spaces difficult or experiences claustrophobia, you might want to think about upgrading your room’s size or choosing a room with a window or balcony.
If you are worried that you might end up seasick, pay attention to where your room is located. You can look at the ship’s deck plan before choosing your cabin.
Swaying will be more extreme on the outside edges, so if possible, avoid rooms located aft or forward. You will feel less of the motion of the ocean in cabins that are located in the middle of the ship, or midship.
Anyone who has been on a cruise before will tell you that the drink prices really add up. While some beverages are included, such as coffee and water, you’ll end up paying for juices, sodas, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages. Cruise ships offer different kinds of drink packages, and they will always save you money.
As a bonus, if your ship is docking at a private island owned by the cruise line, you can use your beverage package there, too.
Your suitcase will likely be full of bathing suits and flip-flops, but make sure you throw something nice in there, too. Cruise ships have dress codes for their dining rooms. If you don’t pack accordingly, you could be refused admittance to the dining room for dinner.
After you check your bags and walk on board, you already have access to the pool, the bar, and other amenities. However, you won’t see your suitcase again for a while. In fact, you might have to wait before you’re given the OK to enter your room. It could take a few hours before your bag is delivered to your cabin and given access to your cabin.
Pack a small carry-on bag with anything you might need for the first couple of hours onboard, like medication, sunscreen, a bathing suit, or maybe a book to read.