Sink or Swim: Top Tips for Your First Cruise


So you’re planning your first cruise? Plan it properly and you certainly won’t want it to be your last. A cruise is a fantastic way to see the world, and there really is no better way to travel. If this is your first cruise, you may have a number of questions, so here is a guide with some top tips to remember.

Prepare for Boarding Day

The boarding procedure involves turning up, going through the security and check-in, and handing your luggage over to the baggage handlers. Your bags will then be taken directly to your cabin, but there may be a delay, so take a day bag with all your essentials to keep on you until your luggage shows up.

You will be given an ID card. This is to use when getting on and off the ship, as well as to pay for things on board. Once you have this, you will go to the waiting area to get on board. If you can, turn up when passengers have already started to board, because this way there will be less waiting around.

Always prepare your documents before leaving home, and double check that you have your passport, ticket, receipts for excursions and your insurance.

If you arrive at the airport on the same day, you may want to arrange a transfer to the cruise. Cruise companies often have a service available, but research other options first in case you can save some money.

What to Pack for Your Cruise

Knowing what to pack can be difficult on your first cruise. To start with, take a wide range of clothing using your destination as a guide. For example, if you are heading to the Caribbean, you won’t need to pack many cold-weather clothes.

Swimwear, snorkel, flippers, comfortable shoes, a sweater for cooler nights, a hat and sunglasses are all pretty much essential. You may also want to pack some formal clothes for evenings aboard the ship and any special events, but this depends on the type of cruise you book, so find out in advance.

Other things to pack include your gadgets, chargers and batteries, books and a camera. You should also take a day bag and an empty bottle to fill with water on excursions.

A first-aid kit is useful. There is medical care on board, but a basic kit to deal with minor problems is a good idea, as well as painkillers and any medications you take. And don’t forget your sunscreen to avoid getting burnt.

As for money, take your credit cards as well as some local currency for the different places you are stopping at. This can help to save some time having to withdraw cash every time you get off the cruise.

Quick Tips to Get the Most from Your Cruise

If you want to save some money on your cruise, you should consider booking at the last minute. This depends how flexible you can be, but there are definitely some bargains to be found, because cruise companies want to fill up their cabins. You could also compare cruises online and even consider various offers and promotions they have on offer, like these Celebrity cruise packages. Remember that smaller cruises often tend to be cheaper because they have fewer facilities.

Repositioning cruises are another option. This is when a cruise ship moves to another area to take advantage of a different cruise season, and you can often enjoy a less-expensive cruise by hopping along for the ride.

Your cabin is a good place to save money. If you only think you will use it for sleeping, get the cheapest one you can find and spend your money on the facilities instead.

You can also save money on extras by trying to avoid drinking too much alcohol and soda, avoiding the specialist restaurants and taking anything you are allowed on board with you, such as a case of soda.

Go easy on the food on your cruise. The food is usually excellent, and there is a lot of it, but if you want to avoid piling on the pounds, try to take it easy. Eating too much at the start could also make the rest of your cruise uncomfortable.

If you want to arrange some excursions on land, you could consider booking these yourself with a private tour organiser. The cruise company will arrange tours, but these can be more expensive. So research excursions and find a company that comes recommended.

It is also a good idea to keep a watch on you to keep track of the time, especially if you are changing time zones on your cruise. If you lose track of the time during an excursion, the cruise could leave without you, so make sure that does not happen.

Have a Great Time on Your First Cruise

It is easy to get addicted to the cruising lifestyle, so you have been warned. Just make sure that you prepare properly for your first cruise and make sure that your first experience is a good one. So with these tips in mind, start looking for your perfect cruise and enjoy the holiday of a lifetime.

Ryan Posa has a great love for cruising the high seas across the globe. In 2008, he established Cruise Republic, and he loves blogging about the practicalities and joys of voyaging on cruise ships. Keep up with Ryan by following him on Twitter.