Monday Myth Buster – Myth: As a first time cruiser I won’t know what to do
Before you go
Cruise ships come in all shapes and sizes from smaller river cruising vessels to ocean-going megaships. Cruise itineraries are just as diverse, varying in length, encompassing rivers and oceans around the world, and existing as stand-alone holidays or part of a ‘cruise and stay’ vacation. So, do your research and visit the Cruise Show before you book to ensure you pick the right destination, ship and type of holiday for you.
Once you’ve booked your cruise check the details on your documents and travel plans are correct, fill in any necessary forms and check that your cruise line is arranging any visas you may need.
Pack as you would for a land-based holiday being sure to keep what you will need on your first day (medication, swimwear and electronic devices) with you in your carry-on bag, as your suitcase(s) may not be delivered to your cabin until after you’ve set sail. Make sure you tag your luggage with the tags sent to you by the cruise line so that your bags end up in your cabin.
Take casual clothes for daytime and check your cruise line’s dress codes for details of what evening wear to pack. Alternatively opt for a line with no dress code like Norwegian Cruise Line. Wear comfortable clothing and footwear on embarkation day when you will be queueing and walking.
Once aboard the ship you will find newsletters, entertainment guides, and plans of the ship to help you find your way about and plan your holiday. Check restaurant opening hours and take note of which restaurants are all inclusive and which will cost you extra.
On day one have a walk around the ship to get your bearings, take a tour of the spa and kids club, book some shore excursions, make some dining reservations then hit the pools, hot tubs and waterslides which will all be open straight away. An announcement will be made over the ship’s PA system to let you know when your room is ready.
Events, activities and classes will be featured on the ship’s TV channel every day, and there will also be well informed crew members (usually 2 per passenger) on hand to answer your questions. Many cruise lines deliver a daily newsletter to your cabin and some such as Disney, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian have phone-friendly apps as a paper-free alternative.
Whatever you’re worried about as a first time cruiser it’s worth remembering that the cruise line you’ve booked with has done this all before. What’s new to you is their area of expertise, and help will be on hand to guide you every step of the way.
Words: Sarah Glayzer