10 Things a First-Time Ocean Cruiser Should Know
PHOTO: Carnival Cruise Line is just one of many companies that Cruise Planners works with. (Photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line)
Cruising is an exciting way to vacation as you travel the ocean to amazing destinations.
And Cruise Planners, with its extensive network of travel partners, can put you on the right ship for all your needs.
But if this is your first time on a cruise, you are probably filled with excitement and have quite a few questions. So here are 10 things a first-time ocean cruiser should know:
1. Prepare paperwork: Make sure you have all of your necessary identification and boarding documents on hand at all times, including a government-issued photo ID, passport, credit cards, prescriptions.
2. Dress casually: Years ago, cruising was a formal event with guests dressing to the nines in ball gowns and tuxedos, but according to Cruise Planners, today cruising is all about comfort. The dress is casual, but of course you can dress up for special events and formal nights. Don’t worry about packing the tux because many cruise lines have tux rentals on board for an extra fee (put in your order before you get on the boat, if possible).
3. Stay healthy: Motion sickness is always a possibility, but the cruise ships today are so well stabilized that it’s almost hard to tell that it is moving. However, as an extra precaution, consider bringing motion sickness medication with you along with any other medications you may need. And protect your skin with sunscreen. Keep all medications with you in your carry-on luggage.
4. Carry on: The cruise lines are busy getting your luggage to your stateroom, so make sure you pack a carry on that includes items you may need for your first day – bathing suit, change of clothes, medication, camera, etc.
5. Stay active: There are so many things to do on a cruise it’s hard to know where to start. From water activities, stage shows and live music to comedy acts and karaoke, there’s an unlimited amount of entertainment and there’s something for everyone. There are even libraries for those quiet moments when you want to escape. When you arrive in your cabin, there will be a daily list of activities. If you are looking for something specific, ask your Cruise Planners Travel Advisor for ideas, because some activities and events may book up quickly.
6. Eat and drink: Don’t worry about going hungry on a cruise because your options are endless and many of the venues are open all night long, so don’t worry what time it is when your pangs hit. Cruises typically include free casual dining options, room service, snacks and a variety of unlimited beverages. Other non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverage packages are available.
7. Pay up: Cruise lines are all-inclusive for the most part, but like the food and dining packages and some activities, there are some extra costs. Of course you’ll want souvenirs too and the cruise line can open an account for you to pay for your extras at the end of the voyage with major credit cards or travelers’ checks.
8. Tip the scales: Most tips are included in your onboard account and most cruise line add gratuities to bar tabs, but you can decide how much to tip at any time.
9. Get out and explore: One of the best parts about cruising is getting off the boat and exploring the ports. Most cruises include a program of their shore excursions in your cabin. You can choose to explore the islands and ports by car and, in some cases, by foot. You’ll have plenty of time to see things and shop before you have to get back on the boat for your next port.
10. Is there wireless? It’s hard to unplug, but if you need to check e-mail or keep in touch with family at home while you’re at sea, almost all cruise ships now have Wi-Fi.
More by Lisa Iannucci
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