Getting the Most Out of Your Cruise
Whether you are a first-time cruiser or a seasoned traveller, knowing how to get the most out of your cruise is essential.
After all, you are travelling to multiple destinations and exploring the globe, so you really want to get everything you can out of the experience.
Preparation is key to ensuring you really reap the benefits of enjoying your cruise to the fullest. Cruises are completely different from other kinds of travel – there is a big focus on both relaxing and exploring and you are seeing new places almost every day!
We know that for first-time cruisers it can be a little overwhelming so that is why we have pulled some of our top tips and advice for getting the most out of your cruise. And, if you are not a first timer, we’re certain there will be some useful tips for your next cruise, too.
Selecting the Right Cruise
The first step in making the most of your cruise is selecting the right one. Not all cruises are the same – in fact, they are very different. Most likely you will first want to consider where it is that you want to go; Mediterranean, Caribbean or Europe for example.
There will be a couple of cruise lines usually to choose from based on your chosen destination – so take a look at each of these as they will tend to have a different atmosphere and amenities to suit different tastes. You can then pick the one that matches your travel style and budget.
Once you are set on your destination, you will also want to consider things such as the length of time you want to spend away and how much time you want to spend on the ship, and in port . Some longer duration cruises spend more time at sea, whereas shorter trips tend to be more port intensive so you visit a new port almost every day – something worth considering if you are unsure.
We would always recommend being very organised with your travel documents ahead of time – especially considering the different documentation now required post-covid. Going on a cruise typically involves visiting various ports, and sometimes departing from a foreign port in the first instance. For this reason, make sure your passports and visas (if necessary) are up to date. You can find everything you need to know about documentation here.
Also, make sure to check your specific cruise line for information on Covid-19 documentation and/or tests required as well as relevant destination requirements for anywhere you are travelling to and from.
In terms of cruise paperwork, you will save yourself time by printing your luggage tags ahead of time. You can also check-in online and print out documentation so make sure to do this and review all the information from your chosen cruise company. The best thing you can do is remember is to have all documents ready before you go to the cruise ship terminal. Finally, make sure you have travel insurance!
Planning Cruise Activities
Planning out your activities on a cruise is one of the best ways you can be prepared and plan to get the most out of your experience. It is also one of the fun parts about planning your trip. When we talk about activities, we mean both on-board cruise activities and any you may want to do on-land.
For activities off the ship, you’ll want to research your ports individually – don’t worry there will also be organised excursions you can join but if you want to do your own thing, we recommend planning places you want to visit in advance.
In terms of on-board activities, there is so much to get involved in you will definitely benefit from planning your cruise activities in advance. The hardest part will be choosing your favourites as there really are so many things to choose from!
From fencing, archery and karaoke to musicals and plenty of children’s activities you will be spoilt for choice! We recommend checking which activities your cruise line offers and making a list of your favourites – you may even be able to pre-book some of these so you can be sure you can take part.
Packing for a Cruise
You may think packing for a cruise is the same as packing for any other holiday, but there might be some additional things you’ve forgot. First of all, knowing what to wear on a cruise can be tricky. After all, you will be visiting multiple destinations – so you can’t pack for just one!
Luckily, each of your destinations should have similar weather – especially in places like the Caribbean and Mediterranean, so you can pack for these climates. A common misconception is that cruise ships have a dress code – and whilst this might be true of some, and in the past, it isn’t as common now. We do recommend checking your specific cruise line still as there might be a dress code in dining rooms, or for formal nights.
Some of the items that you don’t want to forget are:
- Adapters – European and/or North American
- Snorkel Gear
- Water Bottle
- Sunscreen and after sun
- Formal attire
- Flip flops and close-toed shoes
- A jacket or jumper for cooler nights
- Beach bag or tote
- Medications and first aid supplies
- Portable charger
Many ships feature great shopping experiences now. You’ll even find ‘mini’ shopping malls on-board bigger ships with a number of stores to explore. We definitely recommend taking a trip to the shops whilst you are on-board – you never know what you might find that you won’t get anywhere else!
Whilst some items won’t be cheaper than at home, we do recommend checking out the duty-free shopping regardless as you never know when you might find a bargain on things like perfume and alcohol.
We hope that with the above tips, you will enjoy your very first cruise experience – or for those who are seasoned cruise veterans we hope this helps you make the most of your cruises!