July 18, 2014

7 Tips for First-Time Cruisers

7 Tips for First-Time Cruisers
Before we went on our first cruise my friend and I did a lot of research. We wanted to get a better idea of what to expect. Here are some things that we discovered and wanted to share. I’ve also added tips from other experienced cruisers. No matter what you’ll have the time of your life but why not make it a little easier?!

7 Tips for First-Time Cruisers
1. How to choose your cabin: Location, location, location! Where your cabin is located on the ship matters. It can either make you seasick and/or keep you up all night with noise or it can lull you like a baby and provide exquisite views of your surroundings. That's why doing your homework is important. Ask your travel agent for help and book early for the best choices. There are basically four types of cabins on any cruise vessel:
  • Inside: no window, in an inside corridor
  • Outside: window or porthole with a view to the outside
  • Balcony: includes a veranda that allows you to step outside without going up to a public deck
  • Suite: a larger cabin, often with separate living and sleeping areas, and a wide variety of extra amenities and perks.

Note: While most people don’t spend that much time in their room having a balcony room is worth every penny!

2. Are cruise ships claustrophobic?  Blogger SumDude’s comment sums it up well:
“How do you do in a large hotel? It will be a very similar experience. There is a lot of room on cruise ships. [sort of like being at the mall on an average day.] You are on a giant, floating hotel with large banquet and entertainment rooms, huge cafeterias, swimming pools, and all kinds of open areas, including decks where you can hang out and watch the world go by, with the whole sky above you. The enclosed areas and decks are enclosed by glass windows, so you can see out. [just like in a hotel, there are some enclosed hallways to get from area A to area B, and in the sleeping cabins areas. You can take stairs up and down if elevators bother you.] “
Entertainment on the ship includes casinos, live performances in the main theater, lounges and pool deck. Activities include rock climbing, bowling, swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball (on the sports court), arcade room, special scheduled activities and much more!
3. About tipping the staff: The staff is very well trained and service is excellent. Your wish is their command. They are super-nice, respectful and hard-working. Many cruises include the tipping as part of the initial booking (you can adjust it after the cruise if you didn’t think the service was excellent) which they divide among the staff. This is REALLY nice since you don’t have to worry about carrying cash or tipping while on board. We opted to give an additional tip to
our cabin steward because he really went out of his way to get us whatever we needed and was so nice about it. The staff’s base salary is fairly minimal so they depend on tips.
4. How to communicate with family members on a large ship: Cell phones don’t generally get reception out at sea. Bring along some walkie talkies if you want to communicate with family members while they’re on a different part of the ship. This works especially well with teenagers who are old enough to be on their own but you still want to be able to meet up once in a while for meals, etc.
5. What if the unexpected happens? Top cruise lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Royal Caribbean International (RCI) have excellent quality ships with highly experienced captains and staff. Their track record is impressive but let’s face it, Things Happen. Entertainers get sick, weather can be unpredictable, etc. Not to worry. The cruise lines have things under control and back up equipment and plans for just about every emergency. So enjoy your cruise vacation but like ANY vacation you’ll have a better time if you are a little flexible.
6. Stay healthy - Give your immune system a boost: The larger cruise ships can have upwards of 2,000 or more passengers so no matter how clean the ship is you’re bound to be exposed to a few germs.This is what I did and it worked great for me: I used Zicam to boost my immune system from the moment I got on the airplane to get to the port of departure until I got home after the cruise. While on the ship wash your hands (or use sanitary liquid from dispensers all around the ship) before every meal.
7. A word about seasickness:  I get motion sick very easily so I brought dramamine and my friend had the prescription sea sickness patches which you wear behind your ear. Others on board said their acupressure wrist band worked for them. I’ve also heard that green apples and ginger can ward off mild seasickness. The seas were calm when we went so we didn’t need to use them but it gave us peace of mind to have them on hand. Remember to use them before you start feeling sick otherwise they usually don’t work as well.

Interested in more tips? Follow our Pinterest Board here.

TELL ME: Do you have any cruise tips?  Please share in the comments below!

1 comment:

Frederique Lavios said...

I highly recommend Ginger Chews or some other kind of candied ginger for mild sea sickness.