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Travel Blog

New to cruising Blog post August 2, 2015
The main pool on the Lido Deck of Carnival Valor.

vtx / Courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

The main pool on the Lido Deck of Carnival Valor.

Cruising tips for first timers

From via

Taking your first cruise can be both exciting and stressful. You’ve probably been booked for months and as it inches closer and closer your getting more and more excited but at the same time your not sure what to expect. So, here’s a few tips that may come in helpful for you if this is your first time cruising!

Walter Christen's insight:

Your first time going on a cruise need not be stressful.  In this article 7 tips are presented.  Here is my take on each.

  1. Documentation - Make sure you have all your documentation in order well in advance.  Although on some cruises you can use an original birth certificate, I suggest that a passport is still the way to go.  If you are getting a passport, remember to leave enough time from when you apply.  It can take 6+ weeks to receive.
  2. Online check in - The check in process at the cruise terminal can be stressful.  There are many people doing the same thing as you are.  Anything you can do to speed the process such as online check in makes it go all that much faster.
  3. Arrival at the cruise terminal - Living in Florida, I have 4 cruise terminals within driving distance.  I like to arrive early.  I would rather be sitting at the terminal, knowing I will be soon to be on the ship, than still be driving wondering if I will make it on time.  If you are flying to the terminal, it may be a wise option to arrive a day early and spend the night in a hotel.
  4. Shore excursions - Depending upon where you are going, you may want to pre book your shore excursions. When we cruise in the Caribbean, we do not pre book, but when we went to Alaska,  we heeded the warning and pre booked all our shore excursions.  Not all were sold out but a few were even before the ship left port.
  5. Cell phones - Only use your cell phone in an emergency.  it is very expensive and you will not see the damage until you are back from your cruise. If you really need to be connected while away, you may want to investigate the Wi-Fi packages that the cruise lines offer (not cheap either).
  6. Your Bank - Yes it is a good idea to let your credit card company know you will be using their card when out of the country.
  7. Soda and Alcohol - Check with the cruise line you are going on so you understand what you can and cannot bring onboard with you. You may also want to check if one of the beverage packages sold by the cruise line may be cost effective for you.


Here is a additional tip from me for when you are on your cruise so you can remain stress free.


If you are worried about your spend rate while onboard your cruise,, you can check you shipboard account anytime you would like.  Some ships make it easy as pulling up your account on the in room TV and others have kiosk where you can print a current statement.  If neither of these options are available, the pursers desk can print you a copy of your current shipboard statement.



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