Going on a cruise for a first time can be confusing. You are receiving so many things in your mail or email and trying to figure them all out can be overwhelming. There are a few things you might not now know about a cruise if it is your first time. Don’t worry! Below is a list of things to catch you up to speed:
1. When booking, it is best to book over the phone so you can ask for a specific floor. The higher floors are better and if you get motion sick the lower floors are uncomfortable because they rock more.
2. Don’t ignore your emails. Print out everything you receive from the cruise line. You will need it all!
3. Get to the port a day early. Fly in the day before and stay at a hotel near the port. Many of these hotels have cruise shuttles and will bring you to the port the next day. Don’t book a flight the same day as your ship departs. You will more than likely miss the boat and they will not wait for you. Trust me, keep your mind at ease and go in a day early.
4. Most people are nervous about doing this, but it is fine! Make sure you are dropped off at the correct boat (there are usually numerous ships in port at one time) and you will drop your luggage off with an attendant (make sure they are working for your cruise). They will do a security scan of your bags and drop them off outside your room a few hours later. I recommend packing a bag with a bathing suit, book, sun tan lotion and whatever you want with you while you are waiting for your luggage.
5. You will go through a security checkpoint like in the airport before you get in line to get your key cards and passports stamped before you get onto the boat. Don’t pack waters and drinks because you will have to throw them out.
6. Keep your key card with you at all times, on most boats it a replacement for your drivers license and a credit card that can be used on the boat for the trip so you don’t even need to carry a wallet. Also keep it with you getting off the boat. You can’t get back on without it.
7. You have to put a credit/debit card down for your key card because as I noted earlier, it acts like a credit card as well as an ID. Use a credit card because if you overdraft on your debit card you will get charged big time from the cruise line!
8. Don’t bring alcohol on the boat. Security knows all the tricks and will find it and take it out of your suitcase. Don’t waste your money or time trying to figure out creative ways to smuggle it onto the ship.
9. Use your safe in the room! It will become your best friend. I keep all of my valuables in there.
10. Your room likely won’t have an alarm clock or way to listen to music. Bring an iPod or something to listen to music with while getting ready and it can also be used as your alarm clock. You can also ask for wake up calls.
11. Learn the layout of the boat when you first get on. You will need to know it for emergency plans and for meeting before excursions.
12. Lastly, don’t be alarmed, within hours of getting on the boat, you will hear about an emergency evacuation plan to prepare you just in case.
13. You won’t get cell reception while on the boat so if you are traveling with a family or a group, buy walkie talkies. It is great for finding each other and communicating while on board.