7 tips for First Time Cruisers

by Female Abroad

When we all strive to enjoy the time of our lives while on vacation, things don't always go as planned. As a result, all-inclusive cruises have gained popularity due to their capacity to provide everything, which may seem unachievable, but the way they manage such a diverse group of people and cater to their needs at practically any time of the day certainly leaves you in awe.

However, if this is your first time taking an all-inclusive cruise, there are a few things you should consider both before and during your trip:

  1. Research is king!
    Like every good vacation, yours will depend on your desire to thoroughly investigate every facet of your impending experience. Since this is your first cruise, you want to make sure you are aware of every detail, even though the planning may appear to take some of the actual "adventure" out of it. According to travel experts, spending the time to thoroughly plan and research your vacation accounts for 75–80% of the success of your cruise. Besides just deciding on the duration, dates, and itinerary, look into the cruise lines themselves as they will all cater to a different demographic. If you are in your 20's and looking to party you won't want to go on a Norwegian cruise to Alaska with a bunch of retirees.

  2. Not all ships are created equal.
    Just like however cruise line caters to select clientele, the cruise ships themselves can as well. The wonderful thing about cruise ships is that you may choose from a variety of options based on your budget and wish list of amenities; this is when some of your research comes in handy. Always check into the actual ships rather than the cruise line because what is offered may differ substantially.

  3. Create a budget.
    I always like to look at a few different options in an area I'm interested in so I know what the low, medium, and high prices include then I create a budget. Be sure to set a budget while arranging your first cruise vacation as money issues may ruin a trip faster than anything else, especially if you know you overpaid for something. The cost of getting to the ship port is one factor to take into account. Which makes more sense, flying or driving? Don't forget that gratuities are automatically added onto everything daily, per person so if you do not pre-pay for them that could be another $20-100 per day.

  4. Know your dates.
    Given that many of us have predetermined dates when we can leave on vacation (kids out of school, non-blackout dates at work, etc), this is a little more difficult to contemplate. However, if you want to book a cruise at a fantastic price, do so off-peak because cruise lines are more ready to reduce prices when there is less overall travel demand.

  5. Pack properly and take the time to unpack once onboard.
    You may be anticipating your first all-inclusive cruise with excitement and want to pack everything you "might" need but try to limit the amount of luggage you bring as cabins can be tight for space. Once you are onboard, spend some time actually unpacking as living out of a suitcase while on vacation is annoying. Additionally, having everything readily available and visible makes getting ready easier, whether you're running for the pool, the buffet, or dressing for a formal function on board.

  6. Explore!
    Learn how the ship is laid out and use this as an opportunity to mingle with guests as well as employees that might be able to give you some tips like when the next evenings menu's are posted, which paid restaurants will be having deals, when certain things open, etc. Also take some time to simply gaze around while your attention is being drawn in all directions while you conduct your study as there are colours, lights, artwork, and more just wanting to draw your gaze.

  7. Find a quite spot.
    This is your vacation and while there are thousands of other people onboard, you can usually find some quiet spots which are great to escape from the crowds or just to get a breather.