Cruises are truly the best bang for your buck vacation out there; however if you’ve never taken one before, there is a lot you need to know! Here are The Best Tips for First Time Cruisers. Make sure to check out the 20 Items you MUST pack and a few things to leave at home too!
If you’re headed on a Disney Cruise, you might want to get matching Disney Family Vacation shirts! We have found some super cute ideas to buy and make!
The BEST Tips for First Time Cruisers
Don’t forget to budget for gratuity
While a cruise is considered a semi-all inclusive vacation, there are a few unexpected expenses that are not included in the cost. When planning your trip, make sure to set aside some money for gratuities. In the fine print of your cruise itinerary, you should be able to figure out how much gratuities will be but contact your cruise line for more details.
If you decide to take an excursion or visit a beach at a stop, those tips will be separate from onboard gratuity. I like to keep several dollars with me for these types of tips that I give out.
Research your ports ahead of time
From food to entertainment, cruise lines have everything you need to have a fantastic vacation all in one place. However, if you choose to leave the ship to explore one of the ports, it can be worthwhile to research your ports ahead of time. Your ship is usually only docked for a few hours or overnight in other locations, so the clock is ticking from the minute you get off the ship. Since you are on a limited time crunch, do some research ahead of time so you can make the most of each port you visit.
Remember that you do not have to book an excursion at every single stop, it’s fine to stay on board as well. Actually, the ship is much less crowded if you decide to stay on. This could be a great time to schedule a spa treatment or even just lay by the pool without getting splashed!
There’s also usually restaurants and shopping within close walking distance to where the ships dock. If you look ahead you’ll be able to find the best places to go, or maybe even taxi to a hidden gem that’s close by.
Unless you have a suite, prepare for a small room
Cruise ship rooms are tiny, so overpacking can lead to problems during your stay. Large suitcases will be challenging to store. Pack light, and focus on only bringing the necessities. Your cruise line will provide shampoo, soap, and even towels, so save your precious luggage space for what’s important.
Some of the cruise lines, like Disney Cruises, will have room to place your bags under the beds. But you’ll either need to unpack your clothing in the closet or drawers otherwise you’ll be constantly getting the bag out.
I like to take a makeup bag that you can hang in the bathroom and get to easily. It makes getting ready in the morning so much easier. I use a hanging bag like this one.
Book your excursions in advance
If you are planning on doing an excursion, and you have something particular in mind, book them in advance. Popular excursions will book up fast, and by the time you board the ship, all the good ones will be taken already.
When you budget for your cruise, make sure to take the excursions into consideration. They’re obviously not a requirement but you have a ton of fun options that you won’t want to miss. Remember to look at the age restrictions as well as the activity level on the excursions before picking out the one that you want to do. It may be that everyone but your two years old can go, which is fine on a Disney Cruise because they have a kids club but not all cruise lines provide this.
There are so many cruise lines out there, each with their own unique experiences and way of doing things. However, these tips are ones that apply to all cruise lines and will be the most helpful on your first cruise.
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