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New Cruisers: Make Sure Your First Cruise Vacation is Fantastic

Posted on 21-Sep-2016 by Administrator

With people leading highly stressful lives, a vacation is probably the best way to relax and reenergise the body and mind. A dose of sunshine and fresh air can work wonders to your health and state of mind. A cruise is a great way to get away from it all and enjoy a relaxing and fun filled vacation.

Cruise vacations are one of the world’s fastest growing travel segments. You have a wide choice of cruise liners, itineraries and cruise duration to choose from. Besides a cruise holiday is great value for money as everything is included – your stay, meals, entertainment onboard the cruise and ocean transportation. Some cruise liners like Oceania, Celebrity & Holland America have onboard ship credit offers, beverage package credit offers, free wifi and even a choice of free shore excursions.

Now that you have decided to take a cruise vacation, here are a few things that you need to know that will help in making your holiday a truly memorable one:

Pack your carry-on bags wisely: Once you get on a cruise, it may actually take a few hours for your luggage to reach your cabin. Make sure you keep a few essential things with you at all times, while you are waiting for your luggage to arrive. It may be a good idea to pack a change of clothes including swimming trunks and important medications in a carry-on bag that you will carry with you when you board the ship.

Pack your check-in luggage wisely: Don’t forget, you need space to carry your souvenirs back home too. Do not over pack your bags. Pack only necessary and comfortable clothing and shoes. Mix and match your clothes instead of carrying too many extras. Also make sure you don’t carry bulky suitcases as you may not be able to slide them under the bed. And this is important as cruise cabins are relatively smaller when compared to hotel rooms and you will appreciate the extra space to move around in your cabin with the luggage neatly tucked away. 

Know the dress code: There may be dress codes on the cruise liner. Always refer to the additional documents provided. Carrying a pair of warm clothes is a must if cruising to North Europe or Alaska. Likewise, always remember to dress up conservatively when touring any museums, churches or cathedrals during your shore excursions.

Carry all other essentials: Apart from clothing, make sure you do not miss carrying all the other essentials for the trip. Do not forget to carry:

  • A camera and binoculars
  • Sunscreens and swimsuits
  • Sun glasses and reading glasses (if applicable)
  • Travel umbrella or a raincoat
  • Phone and camera chargers and adapters
  • A small first aid kit
  • Carry bags for excursions

 Things you must not carry: There is a list of things you might not want to carry which is likely to get confiscated before you board your cruise:

  • Sharp objects like knifes and scissors
  • Coffee makers and hot plates
  • Hockey sticks, cricket bats, etc.
  • If carrying a ball, please ensure its deflated
  • No handcuffs, pepper sprays, etc.
  • Flammable liquids and explosives
  • Alcoholic beverages

Keep all important documents with you at all times: Always carry your necessary ID and cruise documentations in your carry-on bag and never in your check-in bags. Here’s a checklist of documents for you to carry:

  • Cruise confirmation documents
  • Passports/visas or proof of citizenship
  • International driving licence if desired
  • Overseas travel insurance and medical history (If travelling alone)
  • Vaccination certificates

Keep a check on dining times:  These days, some cruise liners are flexible with dining times. However, it is always advisable to keep a check on time slots. There are generally two seatings on a cruise. If you are travelling with kids, it is preferred that you take the first seating so that children can stick to their meal times. If you do not feel the rush to dine early, then you can opt for the late seating. It is advisable to let the cruise line know about your dinning preferences before your cruise. 

Embarkation and disembarkation: For a hassle-free check-in, always reach 2 hours prior to departure. After check-in, it takes 2-3 hours for the bags to be deposited in your rooms. When disembarking, you will be able to claim your baggage in the Customs area at the terminal. Individual baggage carts are readily available.

Tips and gratuities: Tips are mandatory. If not charged in advance by the cruise liners, they will be charged at the time of final billing. You should budget for approximately USD 9 to USD 12 per person per day for gratuities, if not pre-paid.

Be well prepared for shore excursions: If you are booking shore excursions with the cruiseliner, it is advisable to either pre-book the excursions prior to boarding or onboard the ship preferably on the first day itself. Cruise liners offer limited seats and the popular excursions get sold out fast. You may also choose to do some excursions on your own and it would be useful to read up about the destination prior to your arrival so that you know what you would like to see in the limited time available at the port. On the excursion, remember to carry all necessary items in your carry-on bag along with ID’s and copy of your passport (in most cases, the original passport has to be handed over to the cruiseliner for safe custody).

On board expenses: You can either register your credit card during check-in or can deposit cash to hold your shipboard account. Cashless facilities are usually available on board, where you are given a cruise card, which can be used to purchase drinks, duty-free items and any other goods or services on board.

Currency: It is advisable to check with your respective cruise liner about the appropriate currency to carry before you sail.

Internet and calling services: Internet and calling facilities are available on most vessels and a cruise liners charges anywhere from $6 to $10 per minute to make out-going ship-to-shore calls. So it is advisable to carry you cell phone and make calls during the shore excursions.

We are sure these tips and guidelines would be useful for you to have a hassle free and memorable cruise experience.

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