15 Tips for Planning Your First Cruise
If planning your first cruise can be stressful, these tips will help you put together a fantastic cruise.Read on to learn more about what to keep in mind.
Sailing the seven seas may seem like an adventure that only pirates and explorers of ancient times could have. However, anyone – even you – can become the captain of your own adventure by traveling on a cruise ship.
If you’ve decided on this fascinating type of vacation, you may be a little stressed about planning your first cruise. Fortunately, we have put together some tips that will be very useful to create an unforgettable vacation.
Why Should You Go on a Cruise
Although traveling by plane is most common nowadays, this type of travel cannot offer you the wonderful tours that cruises have in store.
We are not only talking about touring different places on a single ship, but also about the comforts that you have at your fingertips. Here is a small selection of reasons why you should be planning your first cruise.
Cruises Offer Great Value at a Low Price Point
Of course, fares will change depending on the cruise line and package you choose. Still, cruise deals indeed allow you to have great accommodations, entertainment, food, and transportation at a lower price than paying for conventional vacations.
In case you’re planning a trip with your family, several cruise lines offer facilities and entertainment for children and teenagers, who seem constantly disappointed in the average shows that most vacation packages offer.
Several cruises include play areas, video games, swimming pools, and even parent-friendly pools and bars. With that in mind, why wouldn’t you choose to take a cruise with that in mind?
Expand Your Social Circle
Meeting new, interesting people is one of the most exciting things about traveling. Fortunately, cruises have amazing activities that allow people to interact with each other. Whether you enjoy a cocktail in the bar or sit by the pool, there will always be someone willing to talk and make friends. What’s best is that cruises are a melting pot, allowing you to interact with people worldwide.
These reasons might be enough to book a cruise right away for some people. Still, others may struggle with motion sickness.
In case you want to take a cruise but feel scared about the dreaded morning sickness, getting sea bands is the best way to finally decide to book that trip and ensure your peace and health aren’t compromised.
What to Expect on a Cruise
Adrenaline-inducing activities, fancy food, and beautiful landscapes are some of the best things you can expect on a cruise. It’s virtually impossible to get bored on a cruise, as each line offers amazing activities that will keep you entertained and happy.
Still, there are some things you should take into consideration when planning your first cruise. For instance, the internet connection will be slower. If you need to work while traveling, this might be a challenge.
Besides the issue above, cruises are actually pretty similar to a city. Depending on the cruise line, you’ll find several stores, laundry rooms, ATMs, and even medical centers. Sometimes you can even forget you’re on a cruise because of the ambiance it has, which makes you feel comfortable and at home, even if you’re in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.
15 Tips for Planning Your First Cruise
Like any other trip, planning your first cruise can be quite stressful. With so many destinations, packages, and cruise lines available, how will you be able to plan the best trip ever?
You may be doubting yourself right now, thinking if going on a cruise is the right vacation for you. However, there’s no way you can find out if you don’t try. For that reason, we have put together 15 tips for planning the first cruise that will hopefully give you the guidance you need to create amazing memories from the moment you pull away from the pier.
Choose the Right Time
If you’re going on a family vacation, it’s ideal to choose summer and vacation periods to make sure your children get to enjoy the most without worrying about falling behind. On the contrary, it may be better not to have kids running around when traveling solo or with friends.
Winter and fall sailings are perfect for a quiet and relaxing vacation, as summer dates tend to be more crowded and full of children. Still, winter dates mean that rough seas and difficult weather are expected. While the crew knows what they’re doing, it may be nerve-wracking for some to sail during such cold times.
Plan How Long You’ll Stay
Cruise lines offer several packages that vary in the length of your vacation. When planning your first cruise, we believe a week is enough time to see whether the cruise experience is for you.
If you’re more of an adventurous person, two or three weeks could work just as well. Make sure you give yourself enough time to explore this new experience and see if it’s something you would enjoy living once again.
Choose the Right Cruise Line
Cruise lines cater to different individuals and offer several different packages and destinations. Disney or Carnival are great options for those who want a family-friendly cruise. You can also check out Royal Caribbean, Holland America, or NCL, all of them with amazing services that will make you feel excited about your trip.
Pick A Destination
Some cruises offer a one-way trip, while others take you to several destinations. Although the latter tend to be longer and more expensive, they offer you the opportunity to visit many places in just one trip.
When planning your first cruise, the safest option is to start with the simplest destinations, which include the Caribbean, Canada, and Bermuda. Depending on your current location, you can also visit the Panama Canal, Mexico, or Alaska.
Choose Your Cabin
Because you’ll mostly spend your time on the cruise, choosing your cabin wisely is important. The most budget-friendly option is inside cabins, which are smaller and don’t receive natural light. If you want to enjoy all the activities and facilities of the cruise, this cabin is ideal, as you’ll only use it to sleep and get dressed.
In case you want to have natural light, an outside cabin is the next best option. They tend to be bigger than the regular inside cabin and give you a breath of fresh air whenever you spend time in your stateroom.
If you want to make your trip valuable, then a balcony cabin is the perfect room for you. Just picture yourself enjoying the sunrise or sunset from your balcony, drinking a fancy cocktail or a soothing cup of coffee. It simply can’t get better than that!
Moreover, it’s important to check the ships’ layout when picking your cabin. Avoid rooms next to busy passageways or next to public areas. Bars can also ruin your sleep when they are above or below your cabin, so make sure you choose a room that’s away from any place that can make you uncomfortable.
Book Activities in Advance
If you’re looking forward to a spa service or a dinner in the cruise restaurant, we recommend you book them in advance. This way, you can budget accordingly, and you also make sure that those activities you’re so willing to do aren’t all booked.
Pack Light and Smart
Fortunately, you only have to unpack once when going on a cruise vacation. Moreover, there’s a laundry service, so there’s no need to overpack and bring with you more clothes than necessary, especially when going on a short trip.
Still, we recommend you pack for day and night. Cruises are somewhat fancy, and most cruise lines have dress codes that require you to level up your outfit by picking a cocktail dress, blouse, or button-down shirt. In addition, make sure you pack a swimsuit and water shoes to enjoy a shore excursion.
Besides clothing, we also recommend taking all the important electronic devices with you and carrying a Cruise Power Strip to stay connected. A selfie stick may also be an important addition to your carry-on to gather beautiful memories on that first day.
Have a Carry On With You
Your main luggage will be taken away from you during the embarkation day. For that reason, having a carry-on with your essentials is the best way to make sure you have everything you need with you for that first day.
We recommend that you take some toiletries like deodorant, perfume, an outfit change (swimsuit included), and any other item you think it’s important to have with you during that day.
Take Your Documents With You
All cruise lines especially establish that guests must present all their travel documents when necessary. Make sure that your passport, visa, family legal documents, and any other required documents.
Budget for Extra Fees
While packages include the typical cabin, meals, entertainment, and onboard activities, you’ll have to pay extra for internet, laundry services, shore excursions, and port changes. We recommend you contact the cruise line and double-check what is included in your package. That way, you’ll be able to have an estimated cost of the total price of your cruise beforehand.
Plan the Transportation
Consider if the port you’re sailing from is near your location. In case you can drive there, plan where you’ll leave your vehicle and budget the parking fee. However, if you cruise out of a port located in another city, you must go by plane. Make sure you add all these expenses to your budget and figure out the best way to get to the port and how to return home.
Check out the services that your preferred cruise line offers. Some of them arrange transport to and from the airport, saving you some money and time.
Contact Your Bank
Many banks freeze your debit or credit cards for security reasons when traveling to a different state or country. Contact the bank beforehand, or go online, and let them know the travel dates to give them a heads-up.
Get the Local Currency
If you’re visiting a foreign country, we advise you to get the local currency beforehand. ATM and money exchange services may be hard to find in port, and you’ll also have to pay extra fees.
Book Your Trip Early
Make sure you plan your first cruise about 18-24 months in advance. While it may sound too early, this will help you get the best cabin and get the best deals. Who knows? Maybe you’re able to book a luxury trip for less money than expected.
Contact a Booking Agent
Does planning your first cruise sound like too much trouble? We know that finding good deals and selecting the right cabin is stressful. If you want to make the most of your money, the best bet is to call a cruise booking agent.
Besides finding the best cabin and cruise line for your needs and preferences, booking agents can even get special deals, like drinks packages and onboard credit. If this is your first time taking a cruise and you don’t want to mess things up, finding a specialist is the best way to go.
How to Make the Most of a Cruise
Cruise vacations are an amazing experience, and there’s no way you’d want to ruin that, right?
Sometimes, we often underestimate the power a relaxing cruise has on our well-being. After some days, it might be difficult to enjoy the activities and facilities of the cruise because you can’t stop thinking about work. If that sounds like you, we recommend you turn off your phone and give yourself the chance to disconnect from work.
The tips above will help you save money and time when it comes to planning your first cruise. However, none of them will be valuable enough if you don’t relax and give yourself a break from the ordinary.