10 Tips for Cruising Newbies
Despite the name, these tips aren't just for newbies! These 10 tips are sure to help make your cruise one to remember!
Hey, y'all! Welcome to one of my favorite days of the week, Travel Tuesday! By now, it's no secret that I love to cruise. For the last 10+ years we have cruised at least once a year with our friends and family. We've been able to experience incredible places like Alaska, Honduras, Mexico, Aruba, The Bahamas and Belize. I've sailed to more than 20 different ports and been on countless cruises. Knowing this, my friends often ask for travel tips and insider tricks.
I came up with this list of 10 Tips for Cruising Newbies to help you all get your cruise addiction started and to make sure you have a successful vacation.
Research The Dress Code
Some cruise lines are super fancy whereas others allow you to roll up into the dining room in a pair of shorts and a tank top. Know the dress code before you go! You can do this by checking social media pages of the individual ship you are sailing on. You'll be able to scope out other people's photos to see what kind of outfits they are wearing. You can also check out packing guides to help give you an idea.
Don't Blindly Book Your Cabin
It's so tempting to just click a random cabin and book it, without really know what you're getting stuck with. Make sure you check out the ship's deck plans before you commit. Make sure your cabin is not under/above the comedy club, clubs restaurants, pool, sports deck, or even the main atrium. These areas tend to be noisier, for obvious reasons. If you're worried about getting sea sick, book a mid-ship cabin as these cabins tend to feel less motion.
Plan Your Excursions in Advance
The best excursions often sell out, especially if you're traveling during peak season. Whether you're booking through the cruise line or through an outside source, make sure you look into your options in advance. You're going to be super bummed if your excursion sells out!
Know Your Rights!
Some cruises allow each person over the age of 21 to bring a bottle of wine or champagne on board. Make sure you look at the ship's policy about bringing beverages on board. You may be allowed to bring on your own water, soda, or even alcohol.
Check Your Cell Phone Plan
I can't tell you how many people I know have used their phones out to sea not knowing that they were racking up phone bills that surpassed hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Do yourself a favor and check your phone plan before you leave. Call your carrier or go on their website to find out how much international calls cost and what the data usage rate is. You can also research where you can latch on to the WIFI so you can use FaceTime, Skype or other apps rather than making actual phone calls. If you plan on using the phone while you're on the ship, plan on spending about $1.99 a minute.
Be Prepared for Day 1
Many cruisers don't realize that they may not see their luggage for a couple of hours. In fact, you may not even have it in time for dinner. Make sure you are prepared for day one by carrying on anything you may deem necessary during the first few hours of your cruise. These items may range from medications, valuables, bathing suits and sunscreen.
Be Prepared for Days 2, 3, 4, etc...
You probably remembered most of the basics, a bathing suit, underwear, clothes and flip-flops, but have you given thought about other things you might need? Every cruiser has their own list of essential items, research what other cruisers pack to help you figure out what you need to bring.
No...not the kind that wears on a relationship, I'm talking about beach bags, backpacks, etc. Make sure you bring one of these along. They are fantastic to have poolside and even better to have handy when you're in port.
Grab a Ship Map!
As soon as you get on the ship, grab a map. Most ships will have them available as soon as you step foot on the boat. They should be easy to spot. This is a great way to get oriented with your home for the next few days. The ships can be huge, and sometimes intimidating, so it's great to have one of these to reference. They are especially handy if you plan on letting your kids explore on their own. Take a look at the map so you can get acquainted with where your dining room is, where your cabin is and where you can find the amenities. If you don't feel like toting around a map everywhere, there are ship maps located at each of the elevator bays.
Food, Food, and More Food!
Everyone knows that eating is a huge part of a cruise. There are countless food options available to you...don't worry there are gyms, and jogging tracks too. Did you know that you aren't limited to just 1 appetizer, 1 entree and 1 dessert in the main dining room? If you see 2 appetizers you like, order them both! If you can't choose between 3 different desserts, order them all! Cruises are a great opportunity to try new foods. You've already paid for it, you might as well try it!
Don't limit yourself to just the buffets. Be sure to check out specialty restaurants and the main dining room. I eat in the main dining room for breakfast and dinner and enjoy the buffet or other eateries at lunch.
Bonus: Have Fun
This should go without saying, right? Cruises are all about the experience. Get out there and do things you wouldn't normally do. Eat foods you typically wouldn't try, go on adventures that scare you, just a little and be open-minded! Say "Yes!" to anything that comes your way while you're out to see. Be the most outgoing, fun-loving you that you can be and you are sure to have a good time. Know that nothing is ever perfect, just go with the flow and have a good time!