Cruising seems to have become so popular recently and there are more cruise ships coming to a port near you than ever before. If you are even in a conversation with long time cruisers they seem to have their own language and everybody has their favourite cruise line and even a favourite ship on that cruise line. So if you have wanted to join the cruising club and enjoy a unique holiday here are Travel Coordinates 5 tips for first time cruisers.
1. Pick your cruise line
Each Cruise Line has its own signature. Whether it be the size of the ship (from large to very large), a focus on a particular demographic (kids, seniors or singles) or the types of amenities (from rock walls and ice rinks to waterslides and flow riders). One thing to understand is that the more cruising you do on one particular Cruise Line the more cruising you will want to do on that particular Cruise Line. It works the same way as your airline frequent flyer program, the more times you sail and more things you do on board the more discounts you get and the higher your status. So it is worth doing some investigations to find the Cruise Line that meets your needs and then plan on using it as you become a seasoned Cruiser.
2. Take a short cruise first
There are a large number of cruises that run from 7 days to 35 and beyond and that is a big investment the first time you do it. These cruises usually visit multiple destinations and have days at sea as well as days in port to experience the different cities and cultures. Between these longer journeys, many cruise ships will do a three day cruise out of the port they are stationed in and out to sea or to one other port. These are much cheaper and require a much smaller investment of time. Best of all they are a great way to get your sea legs and find out if you like cruising. It is also a great way to sample different Cruise Lines and pick which one you like best, so look out for a short cruise departing from a port near you and start your Cruising Adventure.
NOTE: This is to ‘sample’ cruising – how you survive sleeping in a stateroom, if you handle sea legs, how you find the entertainment. Be careful not to judge this cruising experience based on others onboard – most short cruisers are not there for the travel experience!
3. Plan your days as soon as you get on board
It can be confusing when you first hop on board, where will I eat, and when, can I see a show and what about a spot at the pool. The best thing to do is plan ahead. So there are a couple of key decisions you need to make. Are you going to eat at any of the specialty restaurants, which are not included in price or are you going to stay with the variety of restaurants that are part of your package. So before you even board, check out what is on your ship and map out the meals and things you want to do. Then when you arrive, book! Get in quick because the seasoned cruisers will be doing the same thing, but don’t panic or stress because you will find lots of options but don’t leave everything until the last minute or you might find yourself eating at 5.30 or 9.30. As for the pool, get their early or hang around and wait for a spot on the sun deck to open up, or just drop your stuff in a corner and jump in, you are on holiday so relax and enjoy yourself.
4. Find your own Cruising pace
There are many different people on board a cruise looking for different things. The party goers will stay up late and might just be having a liquid breakfast, those with kids will be doing the family activities and spending time in the arcades or the kids centres, whilst others will be reading books or shopping. The best thing to do is work out how you want to spend your time with your fellow Cruisers and just follow that pace. Don’t get caught up in the hustle and bustle of anybody else or do not be slowed down by others whiling away their time. It’s your holiday so just enjoy it.
5. Try a little bit of everything
If you are on your first cruise or are still sampling then make sure you try everything on board. Eat at the different restaurants, drink at the different bars, swim in the different pools, and try all of the free things the ships has to offer. Remember you are here to enjoy all of the different experiences, so don’t spend too much time in your room!