A cruise can be an amazing experience. You unpack once and visit amazing ports of call. But what if you’ve never gone on one before?
To make sure your first cruise is smooth sailing, take our advice!
1. Arrive at your port destination at least one day before departure. This is especially important if you are flying to get to your ship. By adding an extra day (or two), you will be ready to go on embarkation day. No stress or worrying about missing the cruise for you! Instead, you’ll be able to sleep in, enjoy breakfast, and then get to the ship with plenty of time to spare.
2. Make sure you have appropriate travel protection. If your trip involves flights, hotel, and the cruise, ask your travel advisor for a quote that covers everything.
3. Be prepared with a carry-on. There will be staff members and porters to get your bags to your room, but you won’t see them for several hours after you hand them over. Your carry-on bag should have all of your electronics, travel documentation, and any medicines you may need during your vacation. Be sure to pack your swimsuit too as the pool will be open when you board.
4. Smile for the camera. Everywhere you go, there will be photo opportunities. There is no charge for these photos so take as many as you desire. At the end of the cruise, you can look through them all and decide which ones, if any, you want.
5. Be aware of your balcony. Even if you can’t see others, they can see you, so keep the high jinks to a minimum. Additionally, the winds can be very strong. Secure your swimsuits and towels if you are going to hang them outside to dry.
6. Order as many appetizers, entrees, and desserts as you want when you’re in the main dining room. They are included in the cost of your trip and we promise the waitstaff won’t look at you strangely. Part of the fun while cruising is trying foods you may not get at home. Escargot, anyone?
7. This brings us to our next piece of advice... bring stretchy pants to wear toward the second half of your cruise. On average, people gain one pound per day while they are on a cruise ship.
8. Be prepared to go with the flow. There are circumstances where the captain of the ship may need to alter your itinerary, for example, if there is a storm in the area or there are sickness warnings in a port. If that happens, the captain will change the time or go to an alternate port. It is important to know that these decisions are never made lightly and always have your safety as a priority. Should this happen, be flexible and kind to the crew.
9. Don't be a “pier runner.” These are the people who are making a mad dash back to the ship in hopes they can make it back on board before the ship pulls up the gangplank. (Yes, this is a real thing!) Instead, be back on the ship at least 30 minutes before it is scheduled to leave so you can watch them from the lido deck.
10. Plan for a carry-off bag. If you want the crew to carry your bags off the ship for you, you will be required to leave it in the hallway on the last night of your cruise. Make sure you have clothes to wear the next morning. We’ve seen more than one person exit the cruise ship in nothing more than a robe and slippers.
11. Choose your cabin location wisely. Rooms categories can be difficult to decipher and instead of a nice, quiet room, you may find yourself beneath the disco. Room location is also important if you are prone to seasickness. Thankfully, your favorite travel advisor (me) knows where the best rooms are.
12. Our last piece of advice is to use a travel advisor to plan your cruise. We will ask questions about your travel style, reasons for cruising, and preference to steer you to the perfect cruise line, ship, and itinerary. We will be here before, during, and after your trip to provide support. We can even get extra perks that the general public doesn’t have access to.
So, what are you waiting for? The ocean is calling.
We look forward to helping you answer the call.
I wish you well. I wish you safe and happy travels. And I can't wait to see you under a Canopy of Stars!