Cruises provide a chance to explore new countries (and oceans!) and enjoy exciting forms of entertainment such as exquisite banquets, stand-up comedy shows, and concerts. Before heading out on your first cruise, consider the following tips so that you can enjoy your vacation with minimal worry.
Do Your Research Before Booking
Before booking your cruise, it's necessary to research the wide variety of cruise lines, ships, and packages available. Short cruises to Aruba are vastly different from long cruises that cover multiple destinations.
Consider not only the destinations you want to visit, but also the size of ship and the activities and luxuries offered. Read online reviews and talk to people who have been on cruises to gain insight.
Do Not Overpack
Overpacking can be a big mistake when it comes to cruising. Remember, you'll be living out of a suitcase without the opportunity to acquire additional items. Clothing that can serve different functions or can be combined in different ways are great options for maximizing your luggage.
Be sure to bring clothing that is appropriate for the weather you'll encounter, as well as some items for unexpected temperatures. You may need comfortable shoes if you plan to do a lot of walking, but if you plan to lay by the pool, you might be able to skip the sneakers.
Arrive at Departure Port a Day Early
Arriving at the departure port a day early will provide you time to relax and get comfortable before the ship shoves off. Planning to arrive early also allows time for any unforeseen travel delays.
Consider spending the night at a motel or with a nearby friend to start your cruise feeling refreshed. This advice is particularly recommended if your cruise lasts more than a few days, as it offers you the chance to live out of your luggage for a day to discover if you have forgotten any items.
Avoid the Buffet on Day One
On the first day of a cruise, many passengers run to the buffet, creating extremely long lines and crowded dining areas. To avoid the throng, opt for a sit-down meal in one of the main dining rooms. You may find that you are able to order items similar to those offered at the buffet, or items of better quality.
Opting to eat at one of the dining rooms will also give you a chance to get to know your waitstaff and begin building a personal relationship with them. Building this personal relationship will likely enhance your experience on your first cruise, as it provides you with someone to turn to when a problem develops.
Sign Up for Tours and Activities Beforehand
Many cruises offer a variety of shore excursions and onboard activities. To ensure you get to participate in the activities that interest you, sign up for them in advance, as space may be limited. Be sure to investigate what supplies or equipment is needed for each activity so you are prepared.
When signing up for offshore activities, consider partnering with someone who will be remaining on board during that activity. That way, if you are not back on the ship by a certain time, your partner can alert staff in order to prevent the ship from shoving off again without you.
Do Not Pressure Yourself to Do It All
It can be easy to feel pressure to do and see everything during a cruise. However, it's important to remember that cruising is a vacation and should be a time to relax and unwind. Don't feel like you have to participate in every activity or see every destination. Take the time to enjoy the ship, the company, and the experience.
Cruises are a great way to see the world and experience new cultures. By doing your research, packing wisely, and planning ahead, you can ensure you have a smooth and enjoyable first experience. Remember to avoid the crowds, sign up for activities in advance, and don't pressure yourself to do it all.