Happy Monday! This is a post I have been eager to write ever since my first cruise at the beginning of the year.
My husband and I went on a cruise with his family just a few days after Christmas. It was my first time going on a cruise and really, it was a trip full of firsts for me… my first time flying, my first time going to an NFL football game, and my first time some new drinks, like a Sex on the Beach. All in all, it was a great trip with family! I definitely learned A LOT more than I was expecting to, especially in regards to cruising.
So, today I’m spilling all the beans on what you need to know before you go on your first cruise. Again, keep in mind that I’m not a cruise expert and that I’m just an everyday person. With that being said, these tips will definitely be useful to you, because I’m keeping it real! 🙂Things To Know Before Your First Cruise Click To Tweet
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BOOKING:
The Best Cruise Line For You // While prices are usually a huge factor in choosing which cruise line people will try out first, you can’t make all of your decisions on the price. If a cruise has a lower price it could mean it’s a great deal or that price could be a reflection of certain things about the cruise – how old the ship is, service, activities, and other things. Before searching for the best price, look for a cruise line or ship that has activities that you’re interested in.
Consider The Crowds On Board // Are you wanting a laid-back experience? Or are you wanting a high-end experience? If you’re like me and want a more laid-back experience, some of your best cruise line options are Royal Caribbean or Carnival Cruises. If you’re not wanting to be around families of all ages and want a more upscale experience, consider looking for cruise lines that don’t appeal to families like Princess Cruises.
Decide Which Season You Want To Cruise In // Depending on where you’re wanting to cruise, you’ll need to also keep in mind the season you’ll be cruising in. We cruised at the beginning of January to The Bahamas and while it usually is warm, it was actually very cold, haha. It was a fluke time! I’ll talk more about that later.
P.S. You can choose whichever stateroom you prefer but friends, I highly recommend saving up for a balcony room! It was heavenly and probably one of my favorite parts of our cruise, having our personal outdoor space!
WHAT TO DO BEFORE THE CRUISE:
Book Excursions Before The Cruise // We didn’t participate in any excursions on my first cruise since it was only a 3-day cruise, but if you’re wanting to book excursions, book them before the cruise. If you wait until closer to your trip or when you board chances are excursions will be sold out. Hop on them ASAP!
Plan A Budget // While you pay for your cruise upfront it’s important to note that not everything is included on your cruise. For example, there are different drink packages (soda or alcohol) and other activities. Plus, when you’re on land you might want to buy some snacks or souvenirs. Either way, go on your trip with a budget and stick to it.
WHAT TO PACK FOR YOUR CRUISE:
There are so many different resources out there that have packing checklists pre-made for you, but sometimes they overlook some nifty items that you should definitely bring along with you. I’m not going through the entire packing list for you, but here are a few items you might not think to bring but you definitely need to have with you.
- Anti-Motion Sickness Medicine – Bonine and Dramamine are both great anti-motion sickness options. We took a Bonine each morning with breakfast and it lasts for 24 hours. It worked wonders for us! We also had up to 10 ft. waves on our cruise, so we were glad we came prepared.
- Magnetic Wall Hooks – Most of the staterooms have metal walls. This is a great opportunity to hang magnetic wall hooks up for extra storage. Your staterooms are really small so you want to maximize space the best you can. We used ours to hang our hats but they’re also great to hang wet swimsuits.
- A Powerstrip – You have very limited access to plugs so if you have multiple phones, cameras, and other things to charge or use that require plugs, a powerstrip is a must-have for you.
- A Hanging Shoe Organizer – Again, storage space is limited in your stateroom so another great option for extra organizational space is a hanging shoe organizer. This is great for holding toiletries, medicine, and other small things. It was perfect for storing some of my sandals, too! This was probably our favorite thing that we packed for our room.
- A Couple Sweatshirts – Always bring a sweatshirt, cardigan, or anything with long sleeves with you. Even if you’re cruising to The Bahamas, you’re on a ship so it’ll get windy which means it’ll get a bit chilly in the evenings. Though, as I mentioned before, the weather was cold our entire cruise. I didn’t get to go swimming once because it was that cold, so be prepared for anything!
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FIRST BOARD:
Explore The Ship // When you first board the ship, you won’t have access to your luggage yet. The staff on the ship will bring the luggage to your room within a few hours of boarding. This gives you a great amount of time to start to familiarize yourself with the ship.
Make Dinner Reservations // While looking around the ship you’ll encounter some restaurants for dinner. Every cruise is different but the one we went on ran off reservations. Choose the restaurant you’d like to dine at and book ahead of time, especially if there’s another activity you’re wanting to participate in for the night. Make sure you do this every morning, too!
Make Yourself At Home // Unpack right away! Remember, your stateroom isn’t large so you don’t want to leave your suitcases out – you’ll be tripping over them! So, make yourself at home and then tuck your suitcases under the beds or inside the closet.
WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU WHEN YOU GO ASHORE:
When you stop at the different locations you’re visiting on your trip, it’s very important to bring a day bag with you with some must-have items.
- Your Passport – Some places might be different and the cruise will communicate that with you, but you have to bring your passport with you to disembark and return to the ship.
- Your Cruise Card – This is your personal identification card for the cruise and you should have it with you at all times on and off the cruise. You won’t be able to leave or get back on the ship without it.
- Small Amount of Cash & A Credit Card – Keep a small amount of cash tucked away and a credit card, if you’re comfortable. This is great in case you end up purchasing a souvenir or something to eat while you’re off the ship.
- A Hat
- Bathing Suit
- A Bottle of Water
- Small Towel
WHAT TO REMEMBER AT ALL TIMES DURING YOUR CRUISE:
RELAX & HAVE FUN!! // You’re on vacation so enjoy every moment of it! Sit by the pool and enjoy the sun. Sip a lot of drinks and daze off into the gorgeous ocean. Laugh with those you’re with. Take advantage of all the ship has to over. Take a nap midday! Meet some new friends. Just have fun and relax. You deserve this trip!!Going on a cruise? You need to know these things! Click To Tweet
Have you been cruising before? Where do you cruise to? What was your favorite part of the experience? What are some other first-time tips you’d give! Let’s chat!