(Credit: CC0 Public Domain / cocoparisienne / Pixabay)
Planning your first cruise can be both exciting and a little bit scary at the same time. Seasoned cruisers know all of the tricks to get the most out of their vacation, which can put first timers at a bit of a disadvantage. By following a few simple tips, your first cruise can be amazing from start to finish.
Tip #1: Know What is Included and What Isn't
While many think cruising is all-inclusive, that is not the case. To avoid a shocking bill at the end of your cruise, make sure you know what is covered. Most cruises do not cover all beverages. Alcohol is normally an additional charge. Spa treatments are a treat, but come at a premium. Before you ship out, set a budget for all your additional costs.
Tip #2: Pack a Carry On
Thousands of vacationers are boarding the ship at once, which means that it can take hours for your luggage to be delivered to your cabin. Therefore, pack carry on bags so you and your family have everything needed to get through until the evening. A bathing suit, change of clothes, a few toiletries, cameras, and anything else you want for the first day should all be in your carry on bag.
Tip #3: Pay Attention to Travel Dates When Booking
Off-season cruises might be a lot cheaper, but this is often because the weather is not at its best. That is OK, but be sure that you pack clothing and supplies accordingly. A raincoat or a light jacket can make all the difference when roaming around the port city during the off-season. Likewise, if you are planning a honeymoon or romantic getaway without children, opt for a cruise that does not coincide with school vacations. Pools will be less crowded and dining venues will be much less chaotic.
Tip #4: Research, Research, Research
Before boarding, make sure you are up to speed on all things related to your cruise. Ask about dress codes. Many ships have standards for dinner in the main dining room, and you don't want to be turned away for not meeting those. When traveling with kids, find out about onboard activities to plan out your at-sea days. If you plan to stay connected, look into the wireless options from both your carrier and your ship. Be an avid researcher before you set sail for the best experience.
Tip #5: Take the Stairs
You've put a lot of work into getting your body cruise ready. Don't undo all of that hard work with a week out at sea. Enjoy all of the delicious food, drinks, and dessert that the ship has to offer, but help counteract the indulgences by taking the stairs rather than riding the elevator to get around. It also often quicker than waiting for crowded elevators during peak times!