Congratulations!!!! You’ve decided to book that cruise you have been talking about for so long! Before you head for the cruise port and on to the sea, you might want the inside scoop on some of the ins and outs of cruising, our first time cruise tips.
First Time Cruise Tips – The Basics
Here are some basics that every first-time cruiser should know….
1 investigate the Cruise Line
Just be sure you know the cruise line that you are traveling with….. The major players will be able to provide you a very nice cruise experience…. Be sure to take a look at what the prior customers have said about the cruise line… Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Lines are all safe bets for first time cruisers!
2 – Plan Your Packing
Each ship and cruise line has its own dress code and will send you information well before your trip so you can plan accordingly. Depending on the cruise line, this dress code may be more of a flexible guideline than strict rules. Each year, I have noticed that the cruise line dress code are more and more relaxed, and most people are dressed casually throughout the cruise! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call your travel agent or the cruise line directly. Don’t get too stressed out by the idea of “formal” dining, however; if you’re not in the mood to dress up, you can typically opt for a more casual dining option on board. My number one tip is to pack light!!! You will be tempted to over-pack… DON’T!
3 – Plan you Carry-On Bag
Most ships have hundreds of bags to get on board, sort through and deliver to each cabin. This sorting and delivery process can take several hours, sometimes even until after dinner the first night. Be prepared for that by having your bathing suits, sunscreen and anything that you may need throughout the day in your carry-on with you. If you have young children with you, include a change of clothes and their special toy or blanket.
4 – All Inclusive Does Not Mean Free
While cruising, all of your standard meals and non-alcoholic non-carbonated beverages are included in the rice of the cruise. Alcoholic beverages, gift shop purchases, shore excursions, spa services and internet charges, all will have additional fees. Take special care of the number of times you swipe that room key or you may have a surprise waiting for you at the end of your trip…. when the bill is slid under your door.
5 – Tips on Tipping
Another additional fee to add to the budget is the tip. The general rule of thumb for tipping on a cruise line is $10, per person, per day. So, a couple with two teenagers on a seven-day cruise could expect to leave $280 in tips. Tips are currently added directly to your bill unless you visit the purser’s desk to make other arrangements.
Hopefully, these tips will help you so that you can enjoy your first time cruise like a pro!!!