So, you’ve finally decided to tick off one of your bucket list items and go on a cruise adventure. Congratulations! It’s probably one of the best things you have ever done. Your first time at sea can be a bit daunting, so we have compiled a list of tips on how to get the best bang for your buck and to help you find your sea legs.
Planning your Cruise Destination
This is the most fun part before embarking on a cruise for many people. Where do you want to go? What would you like to see? The areas of the world with the most cruise ships and therefore the biggest variety in itineraries and prices are: the Mediterranean, the Caribbean and Alaska, as well as Scandinavia and the Baltic to a lesser extent. If you’re looking for the road less travelled, there are also cruises to South America, the Middle East, the Far East, and around the world, but they don’t usually come cheap. If budget is a major concern, sign up for cruise deal emails and consider travelling in the ‘shoulder season’, industry speak for going just before or after the school holidays, or throughout Spring and Autumn.
Choosing the Right Cabin
There are usually four types of cabins to choose from:
the smallest cabin with no ocean views, perfect for the budget conscious. Newer ships have inside rooms with screens on the side to give you the feeling of having a window. It comes in helpful for those suffering from sea sickness.
this cabin is either the same size as an inside cabin or a bit larger but comes with the added bonus of having a window, where you can appreciate the spectacular outside scenery during your cruise.
this cabin takes it a step further and allows you to not only see but also experience the outside by stepping onto your own private veranda
these cabins, also called state rooms, are the best on ship with separate sleeping and living areas and are sometimes interlinked with other cabins for those travelling together with large families or groups of friends. These exclusive cabins often come with a many different extras, amenities and perks.
Booking your Cruise Online
Booking online has never been easier. You can pick your cruise from hundreds of itineraries, get email alerts about any special deals and read up on the type of cabins available. Agencies that only sell cruises are, by nature, likely to have the greatest knowledge. A good agent will question you extensively about your tastes, age range and the kind of holidays you have taken in the past.
Cruise Nation is proud to have been voted the Best Online Cruise Retailer at the 2017 British Travel Awards. We also won Best Online Travel Agent and most importantly the Passenger Favourite Cruise or Travel Agent at the 2017 Wave Awards. Why bother spending time when you can get all the information you need in the convenience of your own home, with operators on standby to for further help from 9AM to 9PM every day?
Get Organised to Get the Most out of Your Cruise
Let’s face it, a cruise holiday is a lot less stressful than visiting several sites and cities on your own. You don’t have to worry about catching plains, trains and taxis or buses all the time and finding the hotel and hoping that the hotel would be as nice as its listing. You get to do all of this while relaxing on a luxurious ship.
There will, however, be some planning involved and it’s worth checking out what tours are offered at each port of call. Remember that it’s not worth booking back to back trips if you’re on a port-intensive cruise, meaning it stops at a different town or city almost every day. Sometimes, ‘staying in’ is lovely as you will get to have your pick of a sun lounger at the pool, while everybody else is about in the hustle and bustle. Also remember to sometimes plan evenings on the ship as some restaurants, shows, etc. can sell out in advance.
One thing we’d definitely recommend is to see if your cruise line offers special tours of the ship on your first day as these tours are especially aimed at first time cruisers. It’s a great way to learn all the ship’s ins and outs, after which you can simply relax and enjoy it.
Packing like a Cruise Ship Pro
Packing for a cruise is a little different than packing for a hotel or resort holiday. Here are the top 5 things you should consider packing:
First Aid Kit
pack all the basics as, even though many items are available on board, it doesn’t come cheap, and foreign ports may not have the same items you usually use. Pack some travel sickness pills just in case.
one for day trips, one for laundry, a plastic bag for wet items and even some zip-log bags for snacks etc.
Your favourite cold drink or tea bags: Not all ships allow this and there are limits to what you can bring but checking and packing some of your favourite pop can save you a small fortune, especially if you drink several glasses a day.
Portable chargers or a power strip
Smartphones, tablets, laptops etc. aren’t much fun when their juice is gone. Make sure you bring device chargers and a portable charger that lets you charge on the go.
Days on-board (and on land) are pretty much come-as-you-are. In the evenings, the dress code is smart casual for ladies and trousers and a collared shirt for men. For ships with formal nights, you’ll want to dress up. Ladies should bring a cocktail dress or nice suit, and men should pack a suit (with the tie being optional).