11 Cruising Tips for First Timers

Cruising Tips for First Timers
Cruising Tips for First Timers is to pick the right cruise. There are several things that you need to take into account.
With air travel not quite the same as it used to be, the ease of cruising has never been more appealing. Flight delays, cancellations, and lost luggage have become common worldwide as the aviation industry recovers post-pandemic. This particular writer experienced all of the above this year alone. As a result, I, too, am looking to swap the airport with cruise terminals. But it’s overwhelming. How do you decide which to book with so many cruise lines and itineraries?
Being a solo traveler, I need to choose well because the last thing I want is to be stuck on a boat full of families or couples on a honeymoon. Not that there’s anything wrong with those cruises, but they don’t meet my needs and would make me feel incredibly lonely. As such, I have done the homework to provide cruise ship tips for first-time cruisers.

1. Choose your cruise ship wisely

As in the intro to this article, the first (and maybe most important) tip is to pick the right cruise. There are several things that you need to take into account.
As in the intro to this article, the first (and maybe most important) tip is to pick the right cruise. There are several things that you need to take into account.
As in the intro to this article, the first (and maybe most important) tip is to pick the right cruise. There are several things that you need to take into account. What’s your budget? Where do you want to go? What kind of themed cruise are you after? There are cruise ships for families with plenty of activities to keep the kids distracted and night entertainment for the adults. Other adults-only cruises cater to couples looking for more peace and quiet without screaming kids running around. Then there are single’s cruises, sometimes known as booze cruises, that hold parties for Spring break-like events.
Also, consider where you want to go, see and feel. Are you after a warm climate and tropical island escape? Then you might consider a South Pacific or Caribbean cruise ship. But not everyone craves hot climates. Some of the most popular cruises involve visiting the artic and Antarctic polar regions or the Scandinavian Fjords. Or perhaps you want to see iconic cities such as Tokyo and Hong Kong. In that case, Asia and Southeast Asia cruise ship itineraries could be worth looking at.
There are cruise ship trips for all passengers, so it’s worth taking your time researching to find the ideal cruise. And as appealing as it may seem to book a cheap deal you see online on a cruise line’s website, book through a specialist cruise travel agent to ensure you get the correct cruise ship.

2. Book an all-inclusive fareCruising Tips for First Timers 4

Be sure to know what your cruise fare includes. Most cruise lines have base fares covering the cabin, room key, meals, entertainment, cruise shuttle, and onboard activities. But not always. You will most likely pay more for alcoholic drinks, internet, gratuities, shore excursions, travel insurance, specialty restaurants, and port taxes. Mostly, you will find buying an all-inclusive ticket will be more affordable.
Many first-time cruisers experience bill shock when settling the account at the end of the voyage due to not knowing what comes at an extra cost. The other benefit of an all-inclusive cruise is you do not have to worry about paying for guest services once you are onboard. You can sit back, relax, and order room service. Which is how a vacation should be. Check which cruise package is right for you.

3. Consider a short cruise

Cruising Tips for First Timers
As first-time cruisers, you might want to dip your toes in the water by booking a mini voyage for your first cruise.
As first-time cruisers, you might want to dip your toes in the water by booking a mini voyage for your first cruise. Cruises are not for everyone; you are stuck on a boat if you don’t like them. Well, at least until you get to the next port. There are several shorter cruise options that just last a few three to five days.
For example, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Carnival, and P&O offer one to five nights onboard out of Sydney to places like Vanuatu, New Caledonia, and back. Royal Caribbean provides shorter voyages from Miami throughout the Caribbean, often visiting several islands in three to five days. After a mini cruise, you will know if you would like to spread your wings, or sea legs, a little further.

4. Arrive at the departure city early

Most cruise ships do not wait for late passengers, even for a first-time cruiser.
Most cruise ships do not wait for late passengers, even for a first-time cruiser.
This is a big one that many first-time cruisers fall short on; getting to the cruise terminal well before embarkation. Although your cruise is likely to leave in the afternoon, circumstances are outside your control, such as canceled or delayed flights. Therefore, I highly recommend arriving at your departure city at least a day beforehand.
Not only will this avoid any unnecessary stress of missing the boat, but it also gives you time to relax and see some of the port city before you depart. Most cruise ships do not wait for late passengers, even for a first-time cruiser. So, arrive early at the port city before embarkation day so that you can relax before your voyage begins. This is how your vacation should begin; tranquil.

5. Take essentials in your carry-on bagCruising Tips for First Timers 7

Most ships will take your luggage to your cabin door after check-in. However, it does arrive hours later, so make sure you have what you need for those first few hours in your carry-on bags. This might include medications, tablets, and a swimming costume if you want to head straight to the pool deck.

6. Prebook activitiesCruising Tips for First Timers 8

If there is a particular shore excursion or specialty restaurants and spa treatments you like the look of, we suggest booking ahead. This is because reservations book quickly once you get on the ship, especially during peak seasons. It also allows you to save money better by not impulse buying while on your voyage. That said, check the prices of everything beforehand, as shore excursions and private tours can be expensive. Sometimes, you might be better off exploring a port city on foot.
But it is better to plan and book shore excursions, especially for port cities you are keen on exploring. And this goes for non-shore tours also. Say there’s a particular beach you want to see near Lisbon; plan ahead how you will get there. For all the landmarks you wish to see at port stops, have a plan so you can make the most of your time there.

7. Don’t be a lounge-chair hogCruising Tips for First Timers 9

These annoying people wake up early to reserve a lounge chair by the pool by placing their towel or other belongings on it before leaving to do something else like eat breakfast. As frustrating and selfish as this act is, do not stoop to their pathetic level. Many cruise companies are cracking down on these lounge-chair Nazis. 
So, if you see a lounge chair with a towel on it yet, it’s unoccupied for more than half an hour, alert staff. They may be able to remove and mind the belongings until the hogs return, allowing you to use the lounge chairs. Or, you could move the towels yourself and when they ask, deny everything… never underestimate the power of denial.
Another area you will most likely have to compete for space is the cruise ship buffet. The people who hog the lounge chairs will most likely be the first (and probably last) queuing up for the all-you-can-eat smorgasbord in the main dining room. This could be an opportune time to go steal their lounge chairs.

8. Read the daily cruise-planner

First-time cruisers often don't realize all the activities on the ship for when you are at sea.
First-time cruisers often don’t realize all the activities on the ship for when you are at sea.
First-time cruisers often don’t realize all the activities on the ship for when you are at sea. They miss out and often get bored, unsure of what to do. To avoid this, read the daily cruise planner, usually delivered to each room nightly for the next day’s events.
From karaoke to escape rooms, arts & crafts, and hula-dancing classes, most quality cruises are chock-full of scheduled activities to keep you engaged and entertained. Of course, you can choose to do nothing, which is excellent about vacations. But if you don’t have a balcony cabin, it can sometimes feel claustrophobic inside interior cabins. If this is the case, it’s all the more reason to know what’s happening outside of your room.
Your cruise company might offer a ship tour early for cruise virgins. I suggest joining one of these as it’s a great way to get acquainted and orientated with your ship.

9. Be wary of drinks packagesCruising Tips for First Timers 11

Many cruise lines offer drinks packages, and it’s best to think before you buy them to ensure you get your money’s worth. Furthermore, there can be so many packages to choose from with so many variables it’s hard to know what to get. Some packages will require you to prop yourself up at the bar all day to drink your money’s worth! The last thing you want is stumbling around with the risk of falling overboard!
Moreover, chances are you will be doing much of your drinking at the port when exploring pubs and bars or having a boozy lunch at a restaurant. Many first-timers make the mistake of buying expensive drink packages only to find they mostly go to waste. Additionally, many cruise lines charge a 10 to 20 percent gratuity for every drink, which goes on top of your drinks package.
Finally, some cruise ships allow you to bring your own drinks on board the vessel. One such cruise line is Disney Cruises. They allow for two bottles of wine, soft drinks, or a six-pack of beer at the start of the cruise and at every cruise port. Most first-cruise users do not realize this, so check the cruise line policy for bringing alcohol on board.

10. How to navigate tipping

But this is not the case for all other cruise lines where tipping is expected. Several offer different ways to pay, and it's essential to do your homework.
But this is not the case for all other cruise lines where tipping is expected. Several offer different ways to pay, and it’s essential to do your homework.
I find this a pain point whenever I travel in general. Maybe because I’m Australian, and we have one of the world’s highest minimum wages, the staff is generally paid well enough not to have to rely on tips. This likely explains why Australia’s Princess Cruises, Carnival, and P&O cruise lines stopped charging gratuities altogether, which suits me just fine.
But this is not the case for all other cruise lines where tipping is expected. Several offer different ways to pay, and it’s essential to do your homework. Some cruise ships offer to pre-pay the gratuities when you book. Others, like Norwegian Cruise Line, will add a daily service charge to your onboard account. While some will allow you to pay waitpersons and other staff in cash. Either way, ensure your cruise ship company is transparent about their cruise fares, tip expectations, and how you can pay the gratuities.

11. Keep your phone in Airplane mode and buy an internet package

you may still be a cruise virgin, but you are now well-armed with some first-time cruise tips for your upcoming cruise.
You may still be a cruise virgin, but you are now well-armed with some first-time cruise tips for your upcoming cruise.
This is a substantial one first-timers make. They do not realize that when you head out on a cruise ship, you are into international waters, which equates to expensive international roaming charges from your telco provider. The horror story of the newbie cruiser getting bill shock weeks after their voyage is real. Many first-timers rack up thousands of dollars in international roaming charges after watching videos online during their cruise.
To counter this, you can use a WIFI package to let you stream videos, make WhatsApp calls, and use social media without breaking the bank. So, as soon as you leave your home port, or fly to another country’s port city, switch your phone onto airplane mode and do not turn it off until you get home. Then, while on board the ship, turn on your phone’s WIFI, and buy an internet package before calling, streaming, and surfing the net.

Are you ready for cruise ships?

Okay, you may still be a cruise virgin, but you are now well-armed with some first-time cruise tips for your upcoming cruise. Now you can stroll around like you’re the captain of the ship. If there’s one thing, or theme, to take away from this marvelous piece of content, the more research and prep you do before you set sail, the more you will get out of your maiden voyage. So, strap on those sea legs and get yourself into cruise control.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here