Cruising can be overwhelming if you have never embarked on an ocean voyage before. What should you pack? What’s the best deck to stay on? What cabin should you stay in? When’s the best time to book? We truly believe that cruising is one of the easies and most relaxing way to travel. However, there are some things you possibly shouldn’t do on a cruise.
Don’t pick your ship based on price
Cruise ships may look similar, especially to a first-time cruiser, when looking online. However, each cruise ship has its own strengths and weaknesses and you need to find one that suits you the best. Some have waterslides, a bowling alley and a racing track. Others have adults-only areas, swim up bars and luxury dining. For example, Disney Cruise Line and Azamara Cruises have similar fares. Disney Cruise Line offers the perfect holiday for a multi-gen family with young children with lots of activities and facilities onboard catered to this. Azamara Cruises is more catered towards older couples looking for a quieter, slower paced venture where you can be immersed in a destination.
It is also important to note that the cruise fare might reflect quieter seasons which could mean colder temperatures and choppier seas. Plus, more expensive cruise lines, such as Regent Seven Seas, include much more value in the price. Their cruise fare includes gratuities, beverages, butler service and sometimes shore excursions.
Don’t book the wrong cabin
Picking a cabin can be tricky as there are a lot of factors to consider. The lowest priced cabins are inside rooms. This means they have no window and could potentially be claustrophobic. However, for someone who will be out exploring the ship and destinations, this could be ideal. Splurging on a top-tier suite means you might get a balcony, lots of storage space, great views and lovely amenities. Consider where on the ship you want your room to be positioned too. Do you want to be on a lower level, mid-ship where you might not feel the movement of the ocean as much? Do you want to avoid potentially loud staterooms that are under the nightclub?
Don’t fly to your port of call the day of your cruise
Unlike a land holiday, cruise ships depart from port on a strict timeline. It’s important to fly into port the day before your sailing to make sure you are there in time for embarkation. The price of the overnight hotel stay is worth the peace of mind and cheaper than having to rebook your holiday if you miss it. Plus, you can spend extra time sightseeing in the destination.
Don’t forget to pack key items in your hand luggage
Generally, the cruise ship crew take your bags at the dock and deliver them to your cabin later. We recommend making sure that anything you might need for the first few hours on the ship is in your carry-on baggage. Since staterooms are not often ready to check in to until the afternoon, pack a swimsuit and a change of clothes in your hand luggage so you can spend the morning lounging around the pool. Other key items to make sure you have in your hand luggage are: medications, suncream, passports and other important documents, toiletries and sunglasses.
Don’t forget to book in advance
Whilst a cruise is pretty straightforward and doesn’t require much planning once you are onboard. There are a few instances where booking in advance could save you trouble in the future. Speciality restaurants, spa treatments and shore excursions tend to fill up fast so its important to reserve these in advance so you aren’t let down on the day. You can book tables, preferred dining times and shore excursions a certain amount of days in advance, just get in touch with your travel agent.
Don’t expect super fast WiFi
While internet access at sea has improved considerably over the years, some cruise lines charge expensive rates for the WiFi they provide. Not to mention, rubbish signal when travelling off the beaten track or super slow responses when everyone on board is trying to connect at the same time. It can be used for scrolling social media, streaming on Netflix or Facetime catch ups with family.
Don’t hog the deck chairs
The quickest way to make enemies onboard is to put your towel, book and suncream on a deck chair in the morning and go off to breakfast, the spa, your shore excursion before coming back if the afternoon to finally sit down. There are never enough loungers to go around so be fair.
Don’t limit yourself to shore excursions organised by the ship
It’s a fairly common misconception among new cruisers that the shore excursions provided by the ship are the only excursions available. You can explore more of the destination and often get cheaper excursions if you book them independently, such as Venture Ashore. It is important to prebook these so they are organised for when you dock.
It’s important to note that if you’re on your own, it’ll be your responsibility to make it back to port in time for the ship’s scheduled embarkation.
Don’t forget to keep an eye on your onboard account
There’s nothing worse after your week of relaxing than being hit with a huge, unexpected bill at the end of your voyage. Unless you are cruising all inclusive, things like gratuities, WiFi, drinks and spa treatments can easily add up. It’s a good idea to check daily on you shipboard account throughout your sailing.
Don’t assume you’re immune to seasickness
Although cruise ships are big, sturdy vessels, there is still a chance you will feel seasick if you are prone to it. Booking a cabin that is located in the middle of the ship and on a lower deck can help minimise the sway. Staying hydrated on board and avoiding activities like reading can help limit the feeling of seasickness. If you are heavily prone to it, make sure you remember to pack medications or bands.
For more information, call us on 02380 658 386 or browse our latest cruise deals.