Julie Peasgood is a TV presenter, travel expert and Contributing Editor for Cruise International

A Club Ocean Suite Balcony with Azamara Club Cruises
A Club Ocean Suite Balcony with Azamara Club Cruises

Q. It’ll be my first time on a cruise this year. What are your best tips for newbies like me?

A. Don’t overpack, especially when it comes to shoes. Check the ship’s daily dress codes, then make a list and try to stick to it, and remember to leave room in your case for any souvenirs and purchases in port. If your clothes are very creased, hang them in the bathroom, switch the shower to hot and close the door. Open again in 10 minutes and your clothes should be wrinkle-free. Alternatively, running a hot hairdryer over crumpled clothes can also work wonders. Some items worth taking with you are an alarm clock, a tiny torch, binoculars if you have them and a small pad of Post-it notes (so you can leave notes for your travelling companions in the cabin as to your whereabouts on board).

If you’re worried about seasickness, try to choose a cabin located in the middle section of the ship and on a deck that’s not too high. Pack appropriate meds beforehand so you’re prepared (you need to take them in advance) but if you do start to feel sick lie down or go out on deck and eat dry toast or crackers. Sucking on a ginger pastille can often help too.

Finally, check whether tipping is included, and remember to save some cash to put in an envelope at the end of your cruise and hand it directly to your cabin stewards and waiters. Depending on your cruise package, you may also receive an itemised bill at the end of your trip, but it’s worth asking reception for a mid-way statement so you can keep track of all your purchases. Also if you have any queries, it’s much easier to sort them out before the final day when everyone is disembarking.

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