New to cruise guide
Are you think of taking your first cruise but not sure where to start? I’m hoping this handy guide will lead you in the right direction.
Cruising is a holiday that is designed for everyone, even those that are adamant it’s not for them. With so many new ships hitting our oceans every year and the onboard facilities becoming increasingly advanced in both design and technology, there really is a ship and itinerary to fulfil the holiday wishes of everyone. If that wasn’t proof enough, what if I told you that approx. 1 in 3 new cruisers would now never book a package land-based holiday again? Those are real statistics, I’m not just making it up. I was one of those people that never wanted to go on a cruise, 57 cruises later and hundreds of nights spent at sea and I still can’t get enough of it.
Why Go On A Cruise?
Cruising is a great way to see the world while enjoying everything you would expect to find at a land-based resort. You can opt for the family options or even go for something more luxurious and child free, if that’s what you would prefer. There is a ship out there to suit the desires and budget of everyone, young and old. There are party ships, six-star luxury ships, expeditions ships and even Disney ships. That’s right, if you’re travelling with children, they can step into a magical world at sea where everything revolves around their favourite Disney characters.
What Is Included?
As you would expect, all food and accommodation are included with every cruise line. There are some lines that are fully inclusive, you don’t need to worry about spending another pound when onboard, some of them even include a choice of shore excursions. Other lines offer various drinks packages, so you can tailor-make your own cruise holiday.
How Do I Know Which Ship Is Best For Me?
What works best for you all depends on what you are looking for. Are you travelling with children? Do you want to go for an adult only ship? Are you a young couple looking for something fun but not too adrenalin filled? It really is all based on personal preference and this is where the knowledge of a cruise travel agent will be invaluable. I’d always recommend speaking to a cruise expert before you book your first sailing. Groups on social media channels are also a great place to get advice.
Where In The World Can I Go On A Cruise Ship?
You can go anywhere your heart desires. You could embark on a 2-week holiday in the Mediterranean, or you could head on down to Antarctica and spot polar bears, the choice is incredible. You can sail to many destinations directly from UK ports, or you can fly out and meet your chosen ship at various points around the world. If you want to sample cruising before deciding if it really is for you, there are hundreds of offers available for short cruises ranging from 1 to 7 nights. If you want to kick the bucket list of adventures into full swing, you can even opt for a cruise of over 120-nights and circumnavigate the globe, only even unpacking once.
What Can I Do Onboard?
There is such a great mix of ships available that you can do as much or as little as you like. Take for example P&O Cruises, they offer a more traditional cruise experience that is relaxed yet still offers a vast selection of daytime and evening activities, and entertainment that is suitable for all the family. On the other hand, you have the likes of Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line that are both packed with facilities some would never expect to find at sea, such as ice rinks, laser tag, water parks, dodgem cars, a race track and on some, even an outdoor nightclub several decks above the ocean.
Will I Get Seasick?
This is one question that I am asked all the time. The simple answer is probably not. Cruise ships are fitted with stabilisers which reduce the ships rolling motion thus stabilising the vessel. If you did happen to feel a little seasick then the onboard medical centre can offer medication to combat the feeling of nausea. If in doubt, buy some over the counter travel sickness medication before you leave and then you’re prepared, but chances are you probably won’t need to use them.
Must I Dress Up Every Night?
The simple answer to that questions is no. You will often find a mix of smart-casual and formal evenings during your cruise, but the evening dress codes are simply a suggestion. Should you wish to dine in the main restaurant on a formal evening then yes, you will need to adhere to the evenings dress code, but if you would rather grab a snack in the buffet and relax on the open deck while watching the sunset, then feel free to dress as you please. Not all cruise lines have dress codes, Norwegian Cruise Line, for example, have taken the ‘freestyle’ approach to cruising when it comes to dress and dining, and they aren’t the only one.
Will Cruising Really Keep The Kids Happy?
They certainly won’t be bored, that’s for sure. You’ll probably find that the facilities onboard for children rival those of any land-based resort you have ever stayed in. There are dedicated kids’ clubs that are packed with the latest computer consoles and arcade-style games, and for the teens, they have dedicated ‘chill-out’ areas where they can mix, mingle and make friends with others their own age. The kids club staff are all highly trained, so you can sit back, relax and know your children are in perfectly capable hands. Several cruise lines also offer a babysitting service (for a nominal fee) so you can enjoy a peaceful dinner, just the two of you.
How Long Will I Get To Explore In Each Port?
Time in port varies, some cruise lines have longer port calls and some with overnight stays, while others have slightly shorter calls, but the average per port is around 8-hours. This gives you more than enough to get out there and explore. Ports such as Civitavecchia, Hamburg, Cozumel, Venice and St Petersburg often have long days because there are so many incredible excursions on offer and places to see. Hamburg is the gateway for Berlin, for example, and Cozumel allows for tours to the ancient Maya ruins at Tulum.