Going on your first cruise can be a little daunting as some things are handled differently from a land vacation. But, being a cruising newbie doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared.
Before I took my first cruise I had many worries. Would I feel trapped? What if I didn’t like the food? What if I got bored? (Hah!). I wish I’d seen tips for first time cruisers myself as it would have helped set my mind at ease so much.
I really liked the cruise tips presented. Not only applies to first time cruisers but everyone. Here is my take on the main points.
Don't miss the boat - Nothing will ruin your vacation more than missing the ship. If you are flying in to take your cruise, yes, come in the day before and stay at a hotel near the cruise terminal. Living in Florida, many of the cruises I take originate at one of the many cruise ports in Florida. I Drive in the morning of the cruise leaving a lot of time in case we get delayed due to traffic. I would rather sit in the terminal than wonder if I am going to make it in time.
Also when in the ports of call, Stay on ship time and allow for plenty of time to get back to the ship. Remember that if you are using your phone, it may reset to local time when in port.
Carry-on luggage - My wife and I each have a backpack we use for our carry on. Mine has my camera equipment, and my wife carries the passports, cruise documents, and medications. We do not typically hit the pool when we board the ship but if that is your plan, you should bring your bathing suits in your carry on. We normally wander around the ship checking it out and also go to the dining room to see where our dinner seating is.
Ships are cashless - before you board the ship you will have to either fund your account with cash or what we do is have our credit card attached to the account. When on the ship, all purchases are made using your ship card
You will also use this card as your room key and to leave the ship when at ports of call. Remember also that at the end of your cruise, you will need it one last time to disembark. Do not pack it away in your suitcase.
Most cruise lines make it easy for you to track your spending so you do not go into shock at the end of your cruise. I recommend that you take a look at what you have spend so far on a daily basis.
Dining - One of the best parts about cruising is the dining experiences available. Great time to try something new, and if you do not like it, ask the waiter to bring you something else. Have a picky eater with you? Most cruise lines also offer a assortment of traditional entrees and when all else fails the children's menu may be the ticket. You do not need to be a child to order from the children's menu.
Daily newsletters - Each evening you will receive in your stateroom a newsletter that gives a breakdown of all the cruise has to offer for the next day. We usually go over the newsletter prior to going to bed and refer to it during the day. You can do as much or as little as you desire. Listed will the times that events are happening, when bars and dining options will be open, the recommended dress code for dinner in the main dining room, and the drink of the day.
Main thing to remember of your first cruise is that this is your vacation, don't stress it and have fun.