First time on a cruise? Excited and nervous all at the same time? Well, no worries, here are my top three traveling tips that I wish I knew beforehand when I went on my first cruise!
Tip 1: Research
Prior to being suckered into booking the cheapest packages available, one should really get to know the cruise line, specific boat type, boardroom location, and destination details. Here’s the reasoning behind the necessity for all of this research. Each cruise line and boat type is known for its own amenities and activities. For example, Disney Princess Cruises are more geared towards families whereas Royal Caribbean and Carnival have a multitude of boats that accommodate different types of travelers such as children, adults, seniors, and teenagers. First know what kind of boat you want to be on and what activities will be offered during your cruise because you are going to be at sea for a major portion of your trip and you want to be able to enjoy the included entertainment. The ocean is beautiful, but when the sunset fades away there is nothing but a dark abyss that gets boring after awhile especially when you stay up past dinner.
Most importantly, check the weather forecast the night before. By knowing the weather, you can pack the right attire and accessories so you are well prepared and know what to expect. It is also not that hot on the boat and sunbathing is ideal, but hardly do you get perfect tropical weather on the boat in the middle of the ocean to get that special bronzed tan you were dreaming of, but it is possible.
Tip 2: Location
Next is location, location, location! I cannot emphasize this enough. I have always had motion sickness as far back as I can remember, but usually the Dramamine tablets and behind the ear medications are more than enough to keep my queasiness at bay, but not on my cruise. I was well prepared for motion sickness, but I did not realize that different parts of the boat were more prone to causing nausea. Having booked a cheap deal and coming to realize that our room was almost completely underwater was a big no-no for my stomach, especially with the constant swaying. We had to wear seat-belts at night to keep us from falling off the beds from the nighttime waves. You can only imagine the amount of sleepless nights spent on the deck instead of in my room. Having a peephole window showing the pitch black water was not a good reminder either! I recommend booking higher floors even if they cost a little more as you will not be disappointed. Also, know where you want to be such as in the middle of the boat, closer to elevators, on one end of the boat or another and so on.
Tip #3: Cost Saving Tips
Lastly, your cruise is all inclusive, but not EVERYTHING is included. There is a 24/7 buffet located on the boat and daily Captain dinners are served free of charge, but anything beyond what is offered is not covered. If you are a soda or alcohol drinker, then be prepared to pay extra and refills are not free either! There are other restaurants for individuals not fond of the included fare with prices ranging from affordable to over the top expensive.
Do you book a tour or not, is the question? You can book tours prior to your trip from travel sites or locally upon arrival which may save you a bundle. You can also book directly through the cruise which is a great choice if you are traveling solo or not very familiar with the area, but be aware that tours bought on the cruise are way overpriced and not often a bang for your buck.
With these great tips in mind, you are now well equipped as a first time cruise traveler!