10 top tips for first-time cruisers
By Mary Ann Pickford | 2 Oct 2021
A cruise is one of the most exciting holidays you can take – with the chance of seeing numerous destinations and learning about many different cultures in one trip. You can also opt for a wide range of cruises depending on your tastes, such as adventure or luxury cruises. There really is something for everyone. Whether you’ve already booked your dream voyage, or you’re only just considering one, these expert tips from 10 of our favourite bloggers will ensure you make the most of a holiday of a lifetime.
10 Top Tips for First Time Cruisers
Consider Staying on Board on Port Days
Becky Wiggins from English Mum says: “Consider staying on board during port days, especially if you’ve visited the area before.
“Ships are mostly deserted and it’s a great time to chill out on the ship’s spas and other amenities often have special offers on these days, too.”
“Pack light. Yes – the holy grail for holidaymakers worldwide, but never has this been more necessary than on a cruise, especially if you’re going as a family,” says Katy Hill from Katy Hill’s Blog.
“When we went we pretty much had a single wardrobe between the four of us, so think ‘capsule’ and bits that can mix and match into a number of different combinations.”
Thorough Research is Key
Julie Falconer from A Lady In London says: “Make sure to pick the company and ship that fit your travel style and to do thorough research on the ports of call and shore excursions before departing.”
Make Use of the Concierge
“Make use of your destination concierge,” says Rosana McPhee from Hot & Chilli. “They have the best tips and hassle-free organisation for day trips inland. Also consider drink packages – it seems steep at first glance but it’s much better value for money in the long run. After all, you are on holiday.”
Gary Bembridge from Tips for Travellers says: “When budgeting work on the total cost from leaving home to returning. There can be many extra and hidden costs on a cruise vacation. Understand in detail what the fare covers.
“The key additional costs are usually excursions (which can cost up to £50 to £100 per person), gratuities (which may be added automatically), wifi, drinks and speciality dining. Make sure you have taken into account transfers to and from the ship and good travel insurance that includes cruise cover.”
Be Vigilant with Timings
“Pay attention to ship time!” says Emily Luxton from Emily Luxton Travels. “When you’re in port, your mobile phone may automatically update to the local time. That’s handy if you need to know the time where you are, but less so if your ship has stayed on another timezone. Pack a watch and keep it set to ship’s time to avoid having to race down the dock after your ship.”
Pack an Extension Cable
“Always pack some kind of extension cable as the socket space in your cabin can be limited,” suggests Danielle Fear from Cruise Miss.
“If you’re like me and travel with 5,000 tons of electrical equipment, you’ll be glad for the extra space. I can charge my phone, toothbrush and iPod all at the same time, as opposed to maybe only being able to charge one of them.”
Abigail King from Inside The Travel Lab says: “Unpack properly before the ship starts moving. Those cupboards have latches for a reason, you know, and playing ‘chase the rolling bottle of shampoo around the floor in the middle of the night’ isn’t quite as much fun as you might think.”
Keeping your room cards away from your mobile phone is essential, according to Dave Monk from Shipmonk. “It’s very frustrating to get to your cabin only to find your key doesn’t work and you have to traipse back to guest services and queue to get another one.
“Also, WiFi on board can be expensive and temperamental so write any emails in ‘notes’ form and just go online to copy and paste and send. Or wait for a port day and find a café with free WiFi.”
Get to Know the Ship
Tara Cain from Sticky Fingers says: “Take the time to get to know your ship as soon as you board. Bigger ships can be confusing and you could end up spending 20 minutes trying to find that sundeck at the front of the ship.
“If you’re travelling with older children, give them the job of ‘mapping’ the ship. Get them to discover where the best pools are, the family friendly restaurants, the sports facilities etc. That way they’ll feel important and you’ll feel more confident that they are less likely to get lost.”