If you’re a first-time cruiser, take a look through our collection common cruising gaffes and find out which all-too-frequent blunders you should avoid when you decide to set sail for a holiday at sea.

Assuming all-inclusive means that EVERYTHING is included

Spa treatments aboard Serenade of the Seas

Even if you manage to secure a fantastic all-inclusive deal on your chosen cruise, with drinks, meals, activities and more all included within your original fare, not everything on-board will be covered. Things like spa treatments, shore excursions and on-board credit to spend at your ships casino are unlikely to be incorporated within an all-inclusive policy, so be sure to check what’s covered before you start blowing all your hard-earned cash at sea.

Booking an off-season cruise without thinking about the climate

Always remember that off-season cruises are cheaper for a reason… they’re off-season! This can mean you are likely to run into adverse weather conditions and rougher seas at certain times of the year. For example, off-season cruises to the Caribbean usually run from September to December as this is when hurricanes and generally stormy weather is expected across the archipelago. If the weather is too bad, your ship won’t be able to dock, which means missing that port of call and having an extra sea day instead – one where you’re probably not allowed up on the sun deck for risk of being blown overboard!

Not prearranging shore excursions

Prearranging shore excursions

If there’s an excursion you can’t bear the thought of missing out on, make sure you book it well in advance of your voyage or risk missing out. The most popular excursions will book up very quickly, so whether you’re hoping to visit the Great Wall of China or visit the Great Barrier Reef, booking your excursion early is the only way to guarantee a place on the trip.


Booking your flights for the same day you embark

If possible, try to avoid flying into your port of embarkation the same day you are due to set sail. If your flight is delayed or your luggage is lost, you will have very little time to make it to your ship. Always book your flights for the day before you are due to set sail, spend a night in a hotel and wake up bright and early with plenty of time to spare before you embark. You could even do a little extra sightseeing if you have a few hours to enjoy in your departure port.

Expecting peace and quiet during a school holiday cruise

School holiday cruises

While a school holiday cruise can be perfect for the families with kids, don’t book yourself a place on a family-friendly ship with cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line during the school break and expect peace and quiet. You won’t find it, I assure you!

Not accounting for gratuities within a cruise budget

First-time cruisers often forget that they will be automatically charged for tips and gratuities during their time on-board and will find the extra costs added to their bill on the final day at sea. Check with your cruise line beforehand to find out how much tips will be on-board, unless of course you have secured an all-inclusive deal covering this often overlooked fee.


Trying to arrange it all yourself

Arranging a cruise holiday can be far more complex than booking your usual week away with flights and a hotel. With so many factors to consider, such as flight timings, port transfers, stateroom choices, speciality dining, shore excursions and gratuities, it makes sense to speak to someone who already knows it all. Here at Cruise118.com, we have a dedicated Cruise Concierge team who are on-hand to help arrange your perfect cruise, at the very best price. Give them a call on 0207 980 2847.

Emma Smith
Emma has more than seven years' experience as a writer and has been in the travel industry for nearly five years. She loves learning about new places and cruise ships coming to market, as well as discovering fun and exciting activities to do while you sail. She has cruised with Princess Cruises, Cunard, Celebrity Cruises, Virgin Voyages, Avalon Waterways and Royal Caribbean and is looking to get something in her diary for 2024! Her favourite things to see on a ship include excellent entertainment, a delicious cocktail menu and extraordinary dining venues.

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