How to Cruise

First time cruiser? Stressed out already? Planning is going to be key to a great cruise, take a look at these tips and sit back and relax! That's what cruising is all about, right?


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    Set a budget, remember to ask questions while planning your trip such as what is and what is not included in the total cost, "all inclusive" cruises usually cover food and some non-alcoholic drinks such as water or juice, but drinks containing alcohol and food off the ship is not included, plan for this in your budget. Plan also for excursions, which you should schedule in advance, spaces can fill up quickly on popular ones.
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    Give yourself plenty of travel time to get to connecting flights and to port, you may find it best to fly in the day before the ship leaves to allow for travel delays.
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    Talk to your travel agent they should be able to offer a great deal of information on the trip and activities that are available while in port. You can also look up information on your destination online or in travel books(available in most book stores and libraries)
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    Find out the dress code for the cruise. Check with your travel agent or contact your cruise line before you pack. In most cases resort casual is a safe bet- khakis, nice slacks, and comfortable shirts. Depending on your style and which cruise you are taking there maybe nights when formal dress is required or suggested, you will find this information with your brochures.
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    Check the weather forecast before departure and bring clothes accordingly. You may want to pack shorts and a t-shirt in your carry on if you are leaving somewhere cold and arriving somewhere warm so you can make a quick change at the airport upon arrival.
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    Be sure to leave some extra room in your luggage to bring home souvenirs or other treasures from your trip. It may be helpful to pack a collapsible bag inside another piece of luggage to use when coming home.
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    Getting on that ship for the first time is exciting! Make sure you have all of the proper paperwork (passport, photo id, etc.) before getting in line to board to insure a smooth boarding.
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    Keep your carry on with you, as your luggage will be put on the ship for you.
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    Once on board get accustomed to the lay out of the ship and find your room. Your luggage should be brought to your room by the staff.
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    Check your dining room, if your cruise assigns dining rooms (on your seapass your dining room and seating time will be on it). This is a must. You might want to be in a table for 2 to only find you're in a table of 8 or vice versa.
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    Shortly after boarding there will be a safety meeting, do not miss this all passengers must attend. There the staff will show everyone where the life boats and life jackets are and what to do in case of emergency.Please be considerate of your shipmates and don't be late for this meeting.
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    ~Daily news bulletins will be delivered to your room to inform you of the activities planned for the following day. These are for your benefit and come in handy in planning all the things you want to do. Port arrival and departure times will be listed there, as well as special activities on the ship; movies, classes, contests, shows, hours of service for services and amenities, etc. Some ships have a channel on the television in your room with all the information you need (weather, estimated times for arrival in port, etc.
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    Sea days are the days where you're just sailing and not in port. This is the time to take advantage of the beauty parlor, gym, and other amenities offered.
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    Get to know your cruise director. The cruise director and his/her crew are in charge of most of the activities on board.
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    Port days will be days spent off the ship (you can choose to stay on) You must make sure to take your photo id and any other papers required with you to get back on the ship at the end of the day. You should keep track of the time you need to get back to the ship they will not wait for you if you miss the boat!
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    Excursions are things to do in port. Most excursions have to be reserved ahead of time. Depending on where you are cruising excursions may include things like snorkeling, para-sailing, helicopter rides, there should be plenty to choose from for everyone.
    • Remember to steer clear of the cruise ship's help desk right after boarding the cruise, as it will likely be swamped with passengers. Wait until that night or the next day to book your excursion, buy packages, etc.
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  • Be courteous to the staff they are usually more than happy to make your stay with them great and will help you in any way they can. If you are feeling generous it wouldn't hurt to leave a little something extra for your housekeeper, or an extra help full waiter/waitress.
  • Buy travel insurance. The cruise lines require a deposit that is not refundable after a certain date. You lose the entire deposit without travel insurance if you cancel for any reason after the cutoff date.
  • If you have never been on a cruise you should talk to your Doctor about the seasickness patch. It sticks right behind your ear, you never know it is there and it will save you from ruining your cruise by being sick.
  • Do your research find the best deal for what you are looking for in a cruise, there are many options!
  • Don't be afraid to take children there are plenty of activities designed just for them. There are also "day cares" on board so you can enjoy some time alone relaxing.
  • Many cruise lines charge an extra daily service charge to the bill 'so you don't need to bother with rewarding the staff on a daily basis!'this is not mandatory and you can opt out of this but you must do it before the on Board final bill is paid... service charge is also added to every drink you buy so you are tipping twice


  • Follow all instructions and rules given to you by the captain and crew, they are for your safety as well as the safety of the other passengers.
  • Read and follow all signs aboard the ship, such as "do not throw cigarettes on the ship as they can be sucked into an air vent and start a fire"

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Categories: Travel Cruises