Cruise holidays are one of the major components of international tourism. Beloved by old and young alike as a comfortable and convenient way to explore coastal destinations around the world, many of us have cruising high on our bucket list.
However, while cruises aim to provide everything we could want or need during a trip, those new to this mode of travel may find the prospect of cruising a daunting one. Use these top tips for your first cruise holiday to find peace of mind and make sure you are fully prepared ahead of your glorious getaway.
1. Research your cruise lines
First things first: research the different cruise lines carefully before you book your trip. Some cruise lines have all the facilities of a major resort including water slides and lively evening entertainment. Traditional cruise ships tend to be smaller and more peaceful and have the advantage of accessing a wider range of ports.
2. Pick your holiday type
If you’ve never been cruising before, you may think that there is not much variation in a cruise holiday – but this is certainly not the case. From ‘there and back’ single-destination cruises to multi-stop coastal adventures, cruise holidays are as varied as traditional tours. Bear in mind that river cruises are also an option as well as adventures at sea, ideal for those seeking a small-scale cruise experience in stunning surroundings.
3. Discover your destination
Once you have settled on your cruise holiday, take the time to discover your destination in advance of your trip. Doing thorough research into the stops on your itinerary will give you a thorough understanding of what there is to see and do in those areas, ensuring you don’t miss any highlights.
4. Seasick? Book midship
When you are booking your trip, bear in mind the location of your cabin. Booking earlier gives you more chances to specify where you would like to sleep. Those easily disturbed should aim to be far away from restaurants and event rooms, while anyone who suffers from seasickness should book a stateroom in the middle of the ship where the rocking is less noticeable.
5. Check the packing rules
Even if you don’t have luggage restrictions in terms of weight, it is advisable to pack light given that your bags will be stored in your cabin for the duration of the cruise. You should also consider that there may be some items that are specifically prohibited: this typically covers anything that generates heat or has an open flame, and sometimes you cannot bring your own alcohol on board.
6. Pick the right meal plan
Particularly for modern cruise ships, often you will have the option to do an all-inclusive package. This covers all food and drinks, sometimes including alcohol, and onboard events as well. This is a convenient way to ensure a cashless holiday but bear in mind that, depending on your eating and drinking habits, this might not be the most cost-effective meal plan for you.