Whether you’re a first-time cruiser or an experienced traveler, there are plenty of things to consider. From what to pack to what to expect in port, there are a few things that cruisers can do to make their trip more enjoyable.
For example, some people recommend getting a drink in port. This can be cheaper than on board, and it saves you a lot of time.
1. Pack a carry-on bag
If you are going to be on a cruise, you should always pack a carry-on bag. This will help you save money and avoid unnecessary luggage fees.
Your carry-on bag should be big enough to hold all your belongings. It should also be lightweight and easy to transport.
One option for this is a duffel bag that has multiple exterior compartments and pockets for organization.
Another popular option for a cruise packing solution is a suitcase with a drop bottom. This design allows you to open the top section and then open the bottom compartment, so you can organize your clothing and accessories easily.
2. Know the ship’s layout
Cruise ships vary widely in style and approach, so it’s important for travelers to pick the right one. Some offer gourmet cuisine, luxury experiences or rare itineraries while others focus on a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.
The ship’s layout can make or break your cruise experience. It’s important to understand where you’ll be able to walk on the ship and how long it will take you to get to where you want to go.
You’ll also want to know how to find your cabin if you’re not sure where to look. There are many different room types on cruise ships, including oceanview rooms, balconies and suites.
3. Know what to expect in port
Port days on cruises are a fun way to get to know a new destination without the pressure of an itinerary or a scheduled tour. You can shop, go on beach breaks, try out local food, sample the nightlife, and more.
Many people choose to book shore excursions or a tour through the ship, but you don’t have to do that to have a great day.
Most ports offer a range of activities and experiences to suit the personality of any traveler. Some people enjoy the freedom to explore and others may prefer a guided tour to help them find their bearings.
4. Don’t skimp on tipping
In many service industries, such as restaurants and cruise ships, it’s common to tip a certain amount of money to encourage good customer service. Similarly, on cruise lines, crew members often rely on tips to supplement low wages.
Most major mainstream cruise lines automatically add a recommended fixed daily gratuity to your account, which then gets divvied up among all of the crew members who serve you during your vacation. Most of these tips can be adjusted or removed at guest services.
In the past, passengers would typically slip cash into envelopes at the end of a cruise to reward staff for outstanding service. However, this practice is less common today.
5. Don’t forget to bring your ship’s contact information
Cruise ships are like floating cities with everything you could want onboard, including shops, multiple restaurants, spas, theaters, pools and more. Many even have Wi-Fi and cell service so you can stay connected to the real world if you choose.
But while that may be a good thing, you’ll still need to have a plan for emergencies. Whether you’re stranded onshore or lost in port, having contact information for travel assistance can help you get back on your ship and on your way home.
You can also use that information to let the people you’re traveling with know your medical needs. For example, if you have a pacemaker, you might want to pack an alert card or a note advising the ship’s security staff of your condition so they can treat you properly.