I am apparently on a cruise roll right now. After yesterdays Return Of The Cruise blog, I went cruise crazy. I have watched so many youtubers ‘gone cruisin’ and have compiled a list of tips and tricks for first time cruisers! Of course, I decided to come right over and share with you! So here they are:
Stay at a hotel near the port the night before embarkation. Things happen. We all know this. Can you imagine this scenario? Car is all packed, you have a 2 hours to make your flight to your port city and plenty of time. You get the family in and situated and… the car won’t start!!! It would be a shame to miss your cruise just because of fickle happenstance. That can be avoided by just going down a day earlier and grabbing a room! You’ll be close enough to Uber to the dock.
Leave room in your luggage. or even bring a small empty collapsible bag. This honestly holds true for any vacation. You’ll want a place to transport home all the goodies you procure on your travels.
Your bathing suit should be in your carry on. This is because your luggage won’t make it to your room until later in the day and if you want to hit the pool, you’d be out of luck if you didn’t keep your suit close! This also holds true for any medications you may need, sunscreen, phone chargers, etc.
When it comes to toiletries and meds, bring extras! Cruise lines know that anything you need once you embark, you’ll have to buy on board… and so the price is pretty high. Make sure to pack things you might possibly need ie: meds for headache, nausea (seasickness specifically), sleep; sunscreen, extra batteries, sd cards, hand sanitizer, bleach wipes, air freshener, and even a lanyard for your room key!
Ask me (your travel agent) about private tours and excursions. Yes, you can of course book through the cruise line. But you could be missing some incredible experiences by limiting yourself to that. I may be able to find something right up your alley (and maybe for cheaper than through the cruise line).
Download that cruise app. Not only can it be a valuable tool for information, but you can use it to navigate around the ship, keep track of activities scheduled and on some lines, you can even use it to order a drink to your current location, no matter where on the ship you are!
Research your ports! Unless you are planning on doing nothing but lounging on the beach at each port you stop at, do your research to get the most out of your stop. You may find historic tours, adventure excursions, shopping, dining, and even tastings of exotic spirits!
Pass on the buffet. But only for embarkation day. That day, the buffet is going to be an absolute madhouse as everyone swarms there to grab a bite while waiting for their rooms. There is almost always a second choice; A sit down eatery that will probably be way less crowded.
Pay for your beverage package (if applicable) before you cruise. On most cruises, they offer an “all-you-can-drink” package that includes all your beverages while on the ship. They come in different tiers on different lines. Some are soda, non-premium coffee, tea and sparkling water only, while others include EVERYTHING even liquor, beer, wine, etc. It ends up being a deal because paying individually every time you want something other that water can be VERY expensive. Its an even bigger deal if you buy before you board, as the price goes up on the ship. Most times you can buy as soon as you book! Ask me about it when I book your cruise!
Bring on the bubbly! Most cruise lines allow you to bring a bottle or two of champagne or wine on board with you. So bring a little sparkle with you to toast your first night at sea. A small reminder though: if you want to bring your own bottles into any of the restraunts, you’ll probably be charged a corkage fee!
Don’t wear yourself out. Rememeber, this is a vacation! Make sure you leave some time to just relax. You don’t want to get back more tired out than when you left, do you?
Turn your phone on airplane mode. Maybe this one should be first? So many travelers make the huge mistake of not thinking about the roaming charges you are likely to incur while sailing in the middle of the pacific! Most lines have Wi-Fi packages you can buy so you can save that precious cell data!
When in port, keep the cruise line’s contact info with you. If something happens, you want to be able to contact the line without having to waste valuable time looking for the phone number!
Join Cruise Line Facebook groups. Specifically the ones dedicated to the line you’ll be traveling on! There are many experienced cruisers that will offer their insights and answer your questions.
That is my list. Of course its not EVERY tip and trick out there. This list should definitely go a long way toward making your cruise experience hassle-free. The biggest piece of advice I can give you for stress free cruising? Let me do all the work for you! Do you have a helpful hint that I may have missed? Drop it in the comments!