Are you feeling overwhelmed as you plan your first cruise? With an array of options ranging from family adventure cruises to luxurious transatlantic voyages, it’s understandable. But fret not; we’ve got you covered.
Here are some important tips for first-time cruisers to ensure your cruise vacation goes smoothly.
1. Pack a Smart Carry-On Bag
When you arrive and check-in for your cruise, your main suitcase may take a while to reach your staterooms. Pack essentials like toiletries, your passport, sunscreen, a change of clothes, and your swimsuit in your carry-on bag to stay prepared. This way, you can kickstart your cruise experience right away upon boarding. Remember, pack efficiently, as most cruises are quite casual, and you won’t need as many clothes as you might think.
2. Plan Your Activities
Before you set sail, take the time to research your cruise itinerary and decide what you would like to do during your voyage. If your cruise includes multiple port stops, avoid overbooking excursions. Most cruise lines provide daily cruise planners in your room, offering valuable guidance on how to make the most of your days at sea.
3. Explore Drink Packages
If your cruise doesn’t include beverages, consider purchasing a drink package before you set sail. Booking in advance often comes with discounted rates, allowing you to enjoy your favourite drinks on board while saving money. If you’re not a frequent drinker and do not want to purchase a drinks package, be mindful that these come at additional costs and will be charged to your personal account linked to your card.
4. Know Your Ship
Before you set sail on your cruise, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with both the ship and the cruise line. Most cruise lines provide extensive information on their websites, in brochures, or through mobile apps. This information covers everything from entertainment options and dining choices to bars and lounges. Taking the time to explore this information will help you make the most of your cruise experience.
5. Research Your Ports of Call
Before your journey, do some research on the ports of call you’ll be visiting. This preparation can save you time and reduce stress. It will help you decide whether you want to book excursions or explore the areas at your leisure. Additionally, consider the proximity of the port to the town or destination you plan to visit and any necessary transportation.
6. Stay Informed with Daily Planners
As mentioned, most cruise lines provide daily planners, available as paper copies in your staterooms or electronically via mobile apps. These planners feature many exciting activities, from cooking classes to theatre shows. Many cruise line apps even allow you to save events to your personal calendar, making it easy to keep track of your cruise itinerary.
7. Use Aeroplane Mode on Your Phone
Switch your phone to aeroplane mode as you board the ship to avoid surprising roaming and data charges. Most cruise ships provide onboard Wi-Fi, usually for an extra fee. To ensure you stay connected during your cruise, take a look at the internet packages offered by your cruise line. This way, you can plan ahead and keep your online access smooth throughout your voyage.
8. Be Mindful of Dress Codes
While some cruise lines are pretty laid-back when it comes to dress codes, cruising gives you a chance to have some fun with your style and wear outfits you might not typically choose at home. Whether it’s dressing up formally or going for a relaxed resort look, cruises let you express your personal fashion sense. Before you start packing, it’s a good idea to check with your cruise line about their dress codes so you know what to expect and can pack accordingly.
9. Payments: Card/Cash
Cash is becoming less common on cruise ships. Instead, most cruise lines charge your onboard expenses to your cruise personal account linked to your card. To ensure a smooth cruise experience, connect your card to your account before you board. You can conveniently check your account balance on your stateroom TV or the cruise line’s app on your phone, eliminating the need for cash and making it easy to track your spending.
Before setting sail, it’s crucial to understand what your cruise line offers, as not all of them provide all-inclusive packages. Take the time to consider the activities and amenities you want to enjoy onboard, such as speciality restaurants or spa treatments. Additionally, as mentioned, purchasing a drinks package in advance can be a wise decision to avoid unexpected expenses during your cruise.
For additional information on any of the topics mentioned above, please contact our Voyage Consultants at 0808 239 7844.