I spend 6 days floating and porting through the western Caribbean on this lovely ship, called the Getaway. Now, I will admit, while I was enthused for this first trip out of the country I was extremely leery of the idea of living at sea for such a long period of time. Will I get seasick? Would I get bored? What if my roommate and I have a disagreement? Will the food be good? Will everything have pork or shellfish in it? Will my allergies be going crazy? Will there be a lot of loud children? Do I have enough books to keep me occupied? Will they play trap music? Will there be cute men on board? Will this be the beginning of a whimsical fairy tale romance?
I ended up really enjoying the trip and officially down to attend any and every cruise. I quickly learned that cruising is a lifestyle and picked up some life-saving tips as soon as I landed at the port. Some of these things where ideas that never crossed my mind before boarding or questions I asked but couldn't really find answers for when I searched the interwebs before my trip. I think they'd be really useful to everyone so check out this quick list
Considering this was a first cruise (on the Norwegian Getaway), the takeaways are pretty solid.
Negotiate everything - Here is where a good travel agent (like the Cruiseable travel advocates) can help to insure you are getting the right cruise for you at the right price.
Pack light - In our early cruise days, my wife and I admittedly over packed. It actually was amazing to see what clothes we did not use. I recommend that you try to pack clothes that you can mix and match and re-use. Also travel size toiletries are great.
Also research the cruise line and ship you are going on. Some ships are more dressy than others (Norwegian is very relaxed dress code wise).
Don't forget gratuity and bring cash - Make sure you budget for the gratuities as they will be added to your final bill. You can also prepay these on many cruise lines. You can pay you cruise charges in cash prior to the final bill but we usually have the charges for the cruise go to our credit card which gives us points.
Don't buy any drink packages - My wife and I are not big drinkers so we do not even consider the drink packages although when my son comes with us, we get him a soda package as he is a big soda drinker. Even then he has to drink at least 4-5 sodas a day to break even (not hard for him). Cost it out and figure if it makes sense for you.
Buying the "duty and tax-free" liquor on the ship isn't a steal - Maybe years ago the duty free shopping for liquor any have been a deal, but sadly, this is no longer the case. If you know your prices, you may be able to save a few dollar but it wont be a lot. Also remember that you will have to lug what you purchase off the ship and you would have to check it if you have to fly home.
What were some of the things you learned on your first cruise?