Going on a cruise is exciting, rewarding and utterly memorable. It can also be a bit nerve racking if it’s your first time. There’s the ever-present fear of getting suck at one of the ports, of not having the right papers, or getting sick and having a generally bad time.
However, with a bit of preplanning and a flexible attitude, you can rest easy and enjoy your cruise. Here are 12 tips to help you make the most of your time on board.
1. Get Cruise Insurance
“Before you even start booking your port excursions and your onboard spa treatments, make sure you get cruise insurance,” writes Timothy Shaw, an author at Researchpapersuk and Last Minute Writing. ”While you’ve hopefully understood the value of travel insurance in general, remember that on a cruise you’re likely to want insurance for other activities, such as outdoors pursuits like snorkeling and diving.”
Also Read: Should I Buy Cruise Insurance?
Without insurance, if anything happens, you may find yourself in an unfamiliar place with little to no means of getting back home.
2. Some Cabins are Better if You Get Sea-Sick
Even the hardiest sea-farers can get seasick at times. The effects of sea-sickness are vastly reduced on a gigantic cruise ship, but that doesn’t mean it never happens. If you do suffer from sea-sickness, pick your cabin wisely.
Some cabins, especially those towards the center of the ship will be better for those who suffer. If you’re not sure, most cruise websites will be able to offer you advice.
3. Don’t Bring Too Much Cash
Holidaymakers often make a big fuss about bringing the right amount of cash. For a multi-stop cruise, the thought of bringing loads of different currency and how much to bring can cause a bit of a headache. But, in truth, you really don’t need to change a lot of money.
You’ll be spending a lot of time on board, where you can charge anything to your room key. When you are at port, you are likely to be in a tourist hot-spot, and you’ll be able to spend using your credit card or even dollars.
The only real cash expenses are going to be tips, and even these are often automatically calculated in your bills.
4. Pack as Much as You Need
Unlike traveling via airports, there are no expensive luggage fees. Without the worry of what you can fit in your overhead locker, you can bring as much or as little as you like.
You should be wary of bringing your entire summer collection, though, as there will be times you can’t rely on porters to move your luggage about. Also, considering the various ports you’ll find yourself at, you may also want to leave room for souvenirs.
5. Pack Some Cold-Weather Gear
Even the best-planned cruise cannot guarantee beautiful weather 100% of the time. It is wise, then to ensure you’ve packed some cold-weather gear. Though going through bad weather on a cruise ship is generally fairly safe, it can get bitterly cold at night, so you’ll need to wrap up warm.
6. Many Hotels Offer Free Cruise Parking
Once you’ve made it to the area you are first embarking from, be smart about where you want to park. Wherever you embark from, consider booking a night or two at a local hotel. Many of these hotels will offer free parking for cruise-goers, helping you to save a little money.
7. Don’t Waste Time in Line
Though it’s often a good idea to arrive as early as possible to get on board, you should be aware that many others will have had the same idea.
Realistically, though, you needn’t rush to get in line, as if you hit the queue at the wrong time, you’ll be eating into your leisure time. Aiming to arrive an hour before embarkation means that you’ll have a quicker check-in and more time to enjoy the start of your holiday.
8. Turn Your Phone Off
There’s probably a temptation to spend your first hour on deck taking snaps, filming the launch or calling friends and family. Beware, though, as often you’ll be hit with roaming charges as soon as you get on board, and these charges skyrocket as soon as you hit any other port.
9. Itineraries Change
“One of the greatest things about a cruise is that you get to see lots of different places and unique local cultures,” says James Locke, a regular contributor to Draftbeyond and Writinity. ”But for various reasons, sometimes itineraries have to change. Though it can be disappointing if you’ve had one place in mind, it can also work in your favor and you might get to see somewhere unexpected.”
10. There are Useful Facilities in Your Cabin
Just like a good hotel room, your cabin comes with some great facilities. Before you go packing money belts and hairdryers, remember – both of these needs are provided for. Most cabins come with a hairdryer which means you can save some room in your luggage.
There are also safes in each cabin, which you should make full use of. Sadly, crimes do sometimes happen on board, and if you have a balcony room, though you’ve got the great views, they are less secure. So make use of the safe as much as possible.
11. Be Prepared to Have Your Picture Taken
Of course, one of the best things about going on any holiday are the photo opportunities that present themselves.
For cruise companies, this is great marketing and if you’re having great fun on their cruise ship they’ll want to document it. If you’re not comfortable having your picture taken, do just say, but be aware it may happen quite a lot.
12. Don’t be Late for Departure!
The biggest worry of cruise travel is definitely one of the most legitimate. It is so very, very important that you have a responsible attitude to getting on board well before the ship pulls away from the port.
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This applies not just to your initial embarkation, but to each and every port that you visit. If you miss the boat, you are likely to end up ruining your cruise and potentially anyone else’s that is traveling with you.