If you’re a first-time cruiser, read our 10 tips to make the most of your cruise holiday experience.


Unless you have travelled on cruises in the past, you won’t really know what to expect when you embark on your maiden voyage. Even if you have been on a cruise holiday before, there could be routines which you could take a little differently to really maximise your enjoyment as you explore the oceans and territories around the globe.

We’ve blogged extensively about cruises in the Cruise Nation blog, but this time we’re looking at 10 tips to help you make the most out of your cruise. A cruise is all about adventure, luxury and relaxation. That’s not to say you shouldn’t be as planned and organised as you can. We like to make things as easy as we can, and this blog will certainly outline how you can do that.

1. Get there early

It’s an old saying, but don’t miss the boat. By arriving early, not only will you save yourself a mad and frantic rush to the liner when at the port, but you’ll also be able to extend your holiday by an extra day or two. This is great news if your cruise is leaving from a city which you’ve never experienced before and which is being used only for your point of departure.

Try out some local cuisine and try exploring dry land before the time comes when you need to head to the harbour and embark on your cruise holiday.

Before you are looking to travel to your destination, why not treat yourself and get in the holiday spirit? Buy some new outfits, be it a bathing suit or casual swimwear. Even a new pair of sunglasses can be enough to put you in an early holiday mood. These things will keep you looking good, feeling fresh and will put you in the right mood for your break.

2. Be vocal

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. This is true in the world of cruises, especially if your cabin is not what you expected. Try asking politely if you could move. The thing is, you will never know if you don’t ‘put your feelers out’ and in most cases the staff on board will be more than happy to help you out.

3. Plan your day trips

When you travel on a cruise holiday you will be visiting some of the most desirable places in the world. You could be passing through Venice whilst on a Eastern Mediterranean Cruise, The British Virgin Islands when voyaging around the tropical Caribbean or dropping anchor in Hawaii during a Pacific adventure. Whichever part of the world you are in, it is advised to do your homework as you will have a set amount of time in each destination.

The last thing you want to do is be unprepared, and ultimately miss out on seeing the sights you’d like to, or miss the liner as it sets off for the next destination. Book your excursions early, and reserve yours and your families place on them. The popular ones will sell out quickly, and if you’re booked on early you will avoid having to queue for them in the morning, leaving you more time to relax by the pool.

Don’t be that family who become stranded in a city on the other side of the world with no clothes or belongings!

4. Pack lightly and smartly

There is no need to take every single item of clothing which you have in your wardrobe with you on your cruise, however tempting it might be. You’ll need casual outfits for the daytime, bathing clothing and something a little smarter for the evening, be it dinner or a disco which you’re heading to.

You should unpack as soon as you arrive and make yourself at home, afterall, the ship will be your home for the duration of your holiday.

Take a bag which you can put a few items in during the day, be it a camera, mobile phone, passports, suntan lotion and sunglasses etc. The last thing that you want to do is arrive onboard and spend half of your day unpacking and organising. There’s a whole ship to explore, so be organised and pragmatic about your decisions.

5. Take an alarm clock

It’s all about making the most of your holiday, and by packing something simple like an alarm clock, you will be able to rise and shine and really squeeze every last moment out of your trip. The morning can be the most peaceful times when at sea, so why spend it in bed?

6. Use the onboard gym

You’ll need to pack your sports shoes or trainers and your gym wear, but if you don’t, you might regret it. While you’re going to be busy most of your holiday, it can be energizing to let off steam in the morning to get yourself set up for the day.

If you’re in a destination you want to explore, why not get up early and head into the town and take a run. Not only will you get your exercise in, but you will be able to explore a new destination quite quickly before the hoards of other holidaymakers start doing the tourist trails. Try this on the ship as well, if you take an early morning stroll, you’ll be able to learn the layout and all the nooks and crannies, plus any gems which are hidden away.

7. Try the nightclubs

Everyone loves to dance, and by heading to a disco of some sort, you will be able to let off some steam whilst also benefiting from meeting new (and hopefully interesting) people. Try something different, you might not have been out partying for a whilst at home but a cruise allows you to stay up late without hassle of hailing a taxi or being out on the streets late at night.

Try bingo, a late night buffet or sample the cabaret. The chances are you will really enjoy yourselves, before returning the next night.

7. Get involved

Don’t ever think that you’re above all the silly activities which happen onboard a cruise ship. They might be incredibly cheesy, but so what? You only live once and even if you just clap along with the corny entertainment, it’s a great place to meet new faces.

8. Eat on your own terms

The cruise might have set dining times which are organised in advance, but you are able to break away from routine if you like. You could slip away onto dry land and sample some of the delicacies that the part of the world you’re in offers.

Order room-service breakfast and try eating it on your cabin balcony if you need some time away from your fellow passengers. Dont do this exclusively as you’ll be missing out on all the fantastic and varied personalities that you are travelling with.

9. Prepare for rough seas

You might have the impression that holiday makers who choose cruises are in some way exempt from seasickness, but you’d be wrong. Although it’s not common, it might happen a little more than you realise. The best way to combat what seafaring fellows have been experiencing for years is to simply act like you do when you’re at home – don’t go too wild.

We all know that holidays are a time to play hard, and letting go is just a part of the fun. Take things easy though because a rough hangover combined with rough seas is not a good mix. That’s not saying you shouldn’t enjoy yourself, because you should. Just take it easy and take suggested remedies with you incase you do feel a little worse for wear. Afterall, time is money, and time spent battling unnecessary sickness could be used enjoying all the delights the liner has to offer.

10. Enjoy yourself

Absorb yourself into the culture of the cruise, just enjoy being out in the middle of the ocean or in a brand new city which you’ve never visited before. You’re on holiday after all.

There are loads of reasons to take a cruise. With the many exciting and vibrant cities across the world which you can visit, to the onboard entertainment and leisurely pace of live that liner life offers. Cruises can be terrific, fun and memorable and if you prepare as best you can, you will have the time of your life!

From spending the daytime on land, to the evenings by the pool and nighttime eating in a swanky onboard restaurant, cruises offer plenty of possibilities. There is something for everyone on a cruise holiday, and the best thing is that it is all your choice.

Do you have any of your own tips as to how you make the most of your cruise holidays? Let us know by leaving a comment below or join in the conversation on Twitter.