Cruise Tips for First Time Cruisers

Cruise tips usually begin with packing tips. But, this post begins with cruise tips about what you need know and to do before you even start to pack.

Cruise tips on packing suitcase

There is lots of room for error when packing for a cruise. The first time I cruised, I took far too many outfits for seven days. Once in my double occupancy cabin, I discovered that my share of closet space could not accommodate all the clothes I had packed.

As it turned out, my clothing choices were not the best either. Forty+ cruises later, these are the cruise tips I have to share with first time cruisers.

Prepacking Cruise Tips

Before you put anything in a suitcase, do your cruise homework. Review all the documents you received about the cruise. If you have not done the following, do so 30 days in advance of sailing:

Special Dietary Needs: Make the ship staff aware of special dietary needs you have, because of medical conditions, religious observance, or personal preference such as Vegetarian or a Gluten-free diet.

Trip Insurance: If you did not purchase insurance when you booked, it is not to late to do so. Contact your travel agent, or the cruise company you booked with, and purchase trip insurance. Get a policy that covers you for all travel related to your cruise as well as the cruise itself. Why do you need insurance? Because things may happen that will be out of your control. If a last minute illness, a family emergency, or travel delays prevent you from taking your cruise, insurance will compensate you for the cost of your cruise. On-board medical care will also be covered by trip insurance.

If you don’t have answers to the following questions, call your travel agent or the cruise company. Get the information you need to pack for a comfortable cruise trip. In order to pack, you need to know:
  1. The Dress Code: Many ships have a more casual approach for dress. However, they have guidelines as to what is suitable in the dining room, theater and other entertainment venues. While some cruise ships still have a formal night, other ships have a more relaxed attitude about dressing for dinner. They usually have suggestions for attire for women and men.
  2.  Weather Conditions in Each Port of Call: Will you need two sets of clothing because of  temperature differences in various ports?
  3. Laundry Facilities or Laundry Service: Does the ship have self service laundry facilities, or do they have a laundry service that picks up your laundry and returns it within 1-2 days? Being able to launder your clothes, or have them laundered, cuts down on the amount of clothes you need to pack. There is usually a charge for laundry service. If you get an on board credit as a part of your cruise package, you can apply some of it for laundry service.
  4. Internet Access: Internet access maybe offered in a computer center where you purchase Internet time in packages billable by the minute. Internet access may also be sold in bandwidth packages for use on your personal computer, tablet or smart phone.
  5. Onboard Shopping: If you are planning to do some shopping on board for clothes to wear on the cruise, you need to know more about the ship’s selections. All ships usually feature a large selection of jewelry, a limited selection of clothing for men and women, and a limited choices of  personal care necessities. Local pharmacies carry travel size personal hygiene and other care products for less than what these products will cause in a ship’s store.

Packing Cruise Tips

Make a packing list for clothing, and another for incidentals such as personal care items. Have another list for needed documents, including all cruise related documents, passport and driver’s license. It is smart to carry medical information in case of illness. It should include medical history, medications, and allergies. Given how tech savvy many of us are today, make a list of what equipment, beside a smart phone you want to carry around on the cruise.

Carry on Bag: This packing list is crucial! It can save you a lot of heartache if your luggage is lost while traveling to the cruise port. Also, luggage, checked in at the cruise terminal may not arrive at your cabin for hours after you board. This is the bag where you have boarding documents, passport, driver’s license, medical information, medications, and a change of clothes. It is also where you should carry your camera, electronic equipment, cash, and other valuables.

 Essentials

  • Sun glasses are a must.
  •  Comfortable walking shoes are best when in port.
  • A hat is important when outside on shipboard, walking around in ports, and on excursions.
  • A jacket is important even if you are traveling to a warm climate. You will enjoy movies under the stars, and other outdoor evening activities on shipboard if you are not cold.
  • Carry on an adapter for electronic equipment.
  • Bring extra one dollar bills. You may want to tip staff for exceptional service.

If you are interested in taking a cruise, call me at 800- 388-8781. I can help you choose a ship that meets your interests and is within your budget. My services are complimentary.

Please check out my cruise travel website at candostreetfamilyfriendlycruises.com.

Thanks for visiting!

Best,

Jean