Travel, Travel Tips

First-Time Cruise Traveler Tips

Are you excited at the prospect of going on your very first cruise? If not yet will help you to choose the cruise right for you. Once you’ve made the leap to put down a deposit for your vacation it can be a bit daunting to plan for your trip. Here are some tips to make your journey easy and memorable.

Organization is Key to Peace of Mind

Print out a copy of your vacation details (your confirmation, details about excursions you’ve booked, shipboard credit you applied for, and the itinerary for the week). Also make sure that you have details about your flight information such as your reservation information and your departure details. Place all of this information in a small folder so you can keep things organized and at your fingertips.

Identification: Make Sure You Have What You Need

Is your ship traveling outside of the United States? Make sure that you have an up to date passport with you along with your driver’s license. Be mindful of keeping your important paperwork, credit cards, etc. securely stashed away when they are not in use.

Be Prepared for Medical Situations

Bring a small medical kit with you. Although there is a medical clinic onboard, you don’t want to have to search the ship for a band aid! Fill your kit with various sizes of band aids, some antibacterial wipes, and medication for pain relief. You may want something to alleviate symptoms of sea sickness, just in case you encounter bad weather. Stomach problems? Bring some antacid as well as anti-diarrheal medication. Pack something for cold and allergy symptoms. Miniature bottles of hand sanitizer are sure to come in handy, although hand sanitizer dispensers are located in many places around the ship and next to any dinning venues.

If you are heading to a tropical location, don’t forget to bring your suntan lotion, as well as a small bottle of aloe lotion for that inevitable sunburn. Buying these things on the ship may cost you a small fortune.

As for your personal prescription medications, be sure to bring enough to last the entire duration of your trip plus an extra few days, in case your ship encounters some sort of mechanical difficulties or has to change your route in an emergency. Carry these medications in their original bottles.

We also recommend that you purchase travel insurance to protect you, your traveling party, and your vacation investment.

Making Memories Last

Even if you don’t keep a diary, you want to carry something with you to record the day’s activities. Later on, when you start looking at your photos, you will want to remember where you were: after a few days those ports of call all begin to look the same!

Don’t Skip Formal Night

Many first time cruisers are intimidated by the idea of formal night. Dressing up in a fancy gown or wearing a tuxedo can cause anyone to worry about not fitting in…well, worry no more! Formal night is not as formal as it used to be: check your ship’s dress code, but in most cases you do not need to dress up as much as in years past. Formal night often has some of the most incredible food choices, so you do not want to miss out!

Enjoy the Food!!

A big part of your cruise experience centers around your dining experiences. At dinner, be sure to look for menu options that are earmarked as chef’s favorites or award winning dishes as a tip that those entrees may be the dishes you want to try. Torn between two options? In the main dining room there are usually no limits on the amount of food you can order, so you can order two different entrees, or sample a couple of desserts if you would like. Don’t be shy: you are paying a lot for this vacation, so enjoy the variety! Another thing to remember is that room service is often complimentary, so be sure to order a late night snack at least one night, just for fun!

Stay Connected

On those days when you are at sea, the options of activities on board are sure to drag your friends and family in different directions. Here’s a great tip to staying in touch: since the door to your room is metal, you can use it to your advantage. Bring some magnets, paper and pen so you can leave notes for each other on the door. It’s also a great way to tack up the day’s shipboard activities and mark the ones you are going to attend. Save the notes as a way to remember what you did each day!

Many cruise lines have started offering onboard smartphone apps that allow you to send text message to your travel companions while onboard. Typically, there is a small fee associated with using the app. Ask your cruise consultant, if the type of service is offered onboard your ship.

Don’t Lose Your Key Card!

Worried about forgetting your room card? Bring a couple of lanyards with you so you can tuck the key card into the lanyard. Here’s another handy tip: the casino often stocks lanyards that you can get for free (what a cool souvenir!) While you are in the casino, check to see if you can purchase a few decks of used playing cards during the early days of your cruise. They are often available for only a dollar and these make awesome souvenirs as well!

We hope these tips for your exciting vacation will help you prepare ahead of time so that you can enjoy the experience of a lifetime!