Tips and Tricks for Your First Cruise
Going on a cruise for the first time can be overwhelming. You don't always know what to expect once you're onboard and there’s all the planning and preparation in the lead-up to the cruise as well.
To take the stress out of your first cruise holiday, we've compiled some handy tips to help you on your way.
Do your homework - research, research, research
What does a cruise holiday mean to you? What will you be expecting on board a cruise? Do you want to stop off at various ports on a river cruise, or would you prefer a non-stop ocean cruise?
It pays to research the many different cruise lines to see who caters for what you’re looking for, or seek the guidance of a cruise specialist who can recommend options specifically tailored to your wants and needs. Cruise lines vary substantially in terms of what they offer; some are big party ships whereas others are more classy with a relaxed atmosphere.
Give yourself plenty of time to board the cruise
Either fly into the port a day early or arrive at the port at least a few hours before the cruise sets sail. Keep a close eye on your watch. Cruises don’t wait. If you’re one minute late, tough, you’ve missed your cruise!
Choose your room carefully
There are accommodation options to suit all budgets on a cruise. If you plan on spending most of your time on deck or trying the various activities on offer, then a stateroom would be sufficient. If you're looking for ocean views and would like to be closer to the various entertainment options, choose a room with a balcony or a cabin near the above floors.
As well as doing your homework, be cost-efficient with your booking - talk to a cruise specialist to find out about potential room upgrades and bonus onboard credits!
Treat boarding a cruise like boarding a plane
Boarding a cruise doesn't differ much from boarding an international flight. Be careful with your packing - everything you take on board a cruise will go through a security check scanner and it's important that you don't pack excess amounts of liquids, including alcohol as this will be confiscated.
As a tip, lock your suitcase and add coloured ribbons to it so it doesn’t get lost amongst the many suitcases. As your suitcase only gets delivered to your room later in the day, make sure you pack your swim wear, sun screen, book and anything else that you would like to use at the pool area in your hand luggage.
Getting off and on at different ports
Plan what you want to see and do at the various ports well in advance. Remember, you’ll only have a certain number of hours to spend at these ports, so it's important to plan your day wisely so you can fit everything in!
Also, be careful with what you buy at each port as everything goes through a security scanner before you re-board the ship. Again, similar with international flights, there are certain restrictions on local produce. Also be sure to give yourself plenty of time to re-board the cruise as it will leave precisely on time.
Keeping a hold of your finances
The great thing about a cruise is that majority of your expenses are paid for up-front, when you book, limiting the chance of an unpleasant surprise at the end of your holiday.
Always be sure to check the inclusions of your cruise and budget for shore excursions. It can also be useful to use a credit card when purchasing items on board because if you overdraw from a debit card, you might also get stung with a charge from the cruise line as well as your own bank.
The experts at Cruiseabout can recommend a cruise to suit every taste and budget! For more information on cruise holidays, please contact a Cruiseabout cruise specialist or call 0800 22 11 00.