There are plenty of tips that a first time cruiser will wish they had known. This post is going to be split in two different parts as I have a lot of tips that I can offer a first time cruiser which I feel will help them to enjoy their first cruise.
Don’t automatically book excursions with the cruise company you are sailing with as you may not need to do an excursion at your port. Some ports where a ship will dock can be explored alone without an excursion such as Barcelona in Spain, but then there are some ports where it’s advisable to book an excursion such as La Spezia in Italy. There is a website which I like to use for further information about ports which is whatsinport.com as this allows me to see information about the port I will be visiting.
Captain’s Dinner/ Formal Night
I would recommend to take something which is appropriate for formal night especially for your first cruise as I recommend experiencing Captain’s Dinner. Each cruise company will have different ways of doing formal night but they will have the main dinner in the main dining room that is onboard the ship. Formal night is something which is optional but if you do choose not to participate you have to dine in a different restaurant to the main restaurant.
Cruise companies will offer speciality dining which is where you can go to another restaurant besides the complimentary main restaurant but you will have to pay a service charge which could be £10-£20pp. I recommend that speciality dining is something that should be experienced because it allows you to experience a restaurant that you possibly would not be able to experience at home.
There is a variety of entertainment on offer during cruises which should be taken advantage of as you never know if you will get chance to again. Some of the shows that are onboard are shows that you would normally go and see but sometimes these can be the shows you enjoy most. On a previous cruise I saw a Madness tribute act which I surprisingly enjoyed even though I’m not a fan of Madness. There are quiz shows onboard which you can participate in which can sometimes surprise you as you will sometimes learn something new.
Make sure you take both a European and American adaptor for your plugs as each ship will have a different plug socket.
Take a small suitcase so that on the last night/morning you have somewhere to put your clothes and toiletries as you will have to put your luggage outside your cabin to be collected on the last night. Your luggage is collected from outside your cabin so that it can be taken ready to take off the ship for you when you disembark.
Arrival at Embarkation Port
If you are flying to your port of embarkation it’s best to arrive at least the day before to make sure that you arrive within an appropriate time. It’s best to arrive the day before than to be flying on the day of the cruise embarkation as flight delays could lead to you missing your ship which will not wait for you. This only applies if the flight is not included with your cruise.
Some cruise companies will have gratuities included within the price of your cruise so this will mean you do not need to worry about giving any tips to crew members unless you wish to give them something extra. If your gratuities have not been paid for I would recommend to pay for them before you go on your cruise.
There will be more tips coming on Wednesday.