There’s no denying that cruising is one of the most interesting ways to take a vacation that’s not a typical vacation. Whether you’re going on one of those small ship cruises, or an ocean cruise that’s done with a massive vessel, there are things you should know before you embark that will make your trip easier. So, if you haven’t been on a cruise before, here are some things you should keep in mind (and do) before you embark.
A Friendly Guide for First Time Cruisers
You’ve probably heard the saying “Early is on time, and on time is late”, and with a cruise, that’s as true as it gets. Each cruise ship has a specified date and time of embarkation, and most of them won’t wait for you to come aboard.
When you’re embarking from a city you don’t know, it’s easy to get lost, and it’s easy to get stuck in traffic when you’re trying to get to the port. This is why it’s always recommended that you get to your departure city at least a day early, and you leave for the port a couple of hours earlier than planned. Being late is not a fun way to start a vacation, is it?
Take The Essentials With You
The thing with cruising is that you’ll probably board the ship long before your luggage gets to your cabin. And while this might not be too much of a problem, it may become one if you don’t pack a bag of essentials and take it with you. We’re talking travel documents, important medication, and chargers for your electronic devices, as these are all things that you can’t really wait for. There are compact travel organizers made specifically for this that are extremely handy.
Of course, if you have the ability to take a larger carry-on bag, you should get a few more things, such as a bathing suit and sunscreen. This will let you get in the pool or grab a sunbed pretty much instantly. Isn’t this a much better way to wait for your things to arrive? We believe it is.
Be Prepared to Pay Extra
This is something that could catch you unprepared, and you don’t want that. Unless your cruise specifically mentions that you’re on an all-inclusive cruise, you should be prepared to pay extra for a lot of things. The cabin, your daily meals and pretty much all onboard activities will probably be covered by the cruise fares, so that’s not something you should worry about.
However, things like the internet while you’re on board, drink packages and gratuities, and especially shore excursion, port charges and taxes aren’t things that come in the cruise fare. While some of these might not sound like much, they can easily add up to hundreds of dollars, and that’s on top of your cruise fare. Yes, it’s always a good idea to carry a bit of extra money, but with these things, you should carry at least a few hundred in order not to get a sticker shock.
A good way to get an idea about how much you should take with you is to contact the cruise line before you set sail. You can ask what’s included in the cruise fare, and you can get an idea of what you’ll be paying extra for.
Take Things Slow
Each morning you’ll receive a plan that lets you know of any scheduled activities or events that will happen on the ship itself. With a good cruise provider, this will include things like movies, arts and crafts, seminars, shows, bands, you name it. And to add to this, you’ll need time for your meals, and you do want to swim a bit in the pool as well, don’t you?
If you rush to make it to everything, you’ll find yourself exhausted before you know it. And to add to this, you won’t be able to fit everything in because there are just too many things to do. If you’d rather avoid this, you should only pick the things you really want to do or attend and stick to them. Not only will this give you a more relaxed experience, but it will also mean that you won’t need a vacation after your vacation.
Set Your Phone to Airplane Mode
The primary reason to do this is to make sure you don’t spend hundreds, even thousands on international roaming rates. But there’s another one, which is a lot more important – you’re on vacation, and you shouldn’t have to deal with phone calls from people who aren’t on vacation.
You should be able to relax and not think about anything other than what you’re going to eat when you come out of the pool.
Of course, the outrageous phone bills you might come back home to should be reason enough for you to switch off your cell phone, but a call from your boss at work might ruin your day. If you don’t want this and want to get a truly relaxing vacation, set it to airplane mode.