10 Tips To Hack Your First Cruise
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Looking for an all-inclusive option that won’t break the bank? Would you be interested in cruising?
This is the time of year people in the northern hemisphere people are starting to get sick of being cold. People are looking for an escape from the cold an oasis of warmth and sunshine.
Mom and I took our first cruise back in 2001. We’ve learned a lot about cruising since then. I’ve even had the opportunity to work on a few cruises. So let me share a few tips with you by answering some questions.
Ten of the most commonly asked cruising questions:
1. Is it for the whole family?
Yes. It doesn’t matter when or where you go, cruising is designed for all ages. Of course, most people believe it is more fun for the elderly than it is for the young, but I’ve seen people of all ages having a blast on a cruise.
2. What do I pack?
If you’re wondering about one or two bags let me help you. There’s no weight or bag limit so no need to concern yourself with those pesky rules if you live in the port town. If not, you’ll be forced to abide by the regular rules of the airlines, but let me encourage you to spend that extra money and bring that extra bag. Other than your clothes you’re going to want a few more things.
This is not an exhaustive list but without these essentials in your bag you’ll be sorry:
- Tennis shoes
- Sandals (2)
- Beach bag
- Beach towel (for excursions)
- Aloe vera
- Sunglasses (2)
- MP3 with headphones
- A Book (2 if you like to read)
- Waterproof Camera
3. What should I wear?
I should preface my answer with, I’m not known for my fashion sense or being overly concerned with my looks but being on a cruise changed all that. Besides, you’ll want more than one wet and moldy suit to wear every day. You’re going to want a few suits to rotate and some cover-ups for lunch times. Depending on your excursions you’ll also need hiking gear. There’s another reason to bring another bag:
You’re going to have a few fancy dinners on board where you’ll be encouraged to wear some elegant evening attire. These nights are usually packed with a bit of extra activity on board like shows and dancing after dinner. There are photographers that come around and take pictures of you and your loved ones during dinner. They also host photo shoots in the main atrium and common areas. There are beautiful backdrops and decorated locations that make for beautiful pictures you can purchase anytime before the end of your trip.
4. What can’t I bring?
This list is almost as important as what to wear. There are a few things that are big no-nos. Let’s go through them.
- candles (fire hazard)
- alcoholic beverages (most of their sales come from onboard alcoholic drinks).
- hairdryers/coffee makers (fire hazard and they already have hairdryers and coffee)
5. How can I avoid gaining 10 pounds?
I know this may sound like a crazy thing but if you think you can’t gain 10 pounds on a seven-day cruise I’m here to tell you, it’s possible. Okay, maybe more like seven pounds but either way it’s too much.
So how do you avoid overeating?
Eat yourself full.
No more, no less, just full.
Don’t waste your calories on food that doesn’t taste good. Eat only what you love and leave the rest on the plate. The fish will love you for it.
6. How can I make the most of the variety of the options?
You have only 7 days to cover the entire ship so let me break down how to get the most out of your ship and trip.
Every day you’ll receive an activity flyer with all of the events happening on the cruise that day in addition to your daily announcement from the captain. Pay close attention to it, because it will save you so much time. Instead of running around the ship missing all the fun you’ll be right in the middle of it.
7. Do I need to tip?
No. Just pay for your tips in advance and because it’s the fastest and easiest option. If you want to give a little something above and beyond there is a way to do that.
8. Should I do an excursion?
Yes! However, not all excursions are created equal. You’re going to spend an extra $100 or more, you should love it. Do your own research here. I can’t stress it enough. Start researching your excursions before you even get on the ship. Why? It’s a lot harder to get internet on the ship. From home, you can investigate the reviews from other passengers who’ve taken the same or similar excursions. Also, the lines for the excursions are long and fill up quickly. Get ahead of the rest and get your money’s worth.
9. How can I save on my next cruise?
Join the club. You get a discount by joining one of the many clubs offered directly from the cruise line. Is it worth it? Yes, especially if you really like the cruise line and are likely to use them again. Members get deep discounts and other perks like drinks with the captain. Go to your favorite cruise line and sign up directly on their website.
Another way to get deals is by being flexible. There is still such a thing as a last minute vacation and cruises are at the top of the list. They’ve got lots of rooms to fill and they don’t mind offering discounts to people willing to come with a month or less notice. If you live near a port make sure you find out about those last minute discounts they’ll save you a ton.
10. What if I get sick?
I can’t promise you that you won’t get sick. It happens. However, there are some things to keep you from getting sick and help you if you are starting to feel sick.
First, if you want to avoid that sick feeling you can get when riding on a boat for a long time you could try a drug called *Dramamine. It comes in various forms, pill or patch being two of the more popular.
Second, there are a few natural remedies. One that I’ve tried that works are green apples. Strange but true, you keep your mouth on those green apples and you’ll keep that motion sickness at bay.
So, with these ten quick tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a wonderful cruise. Have a great time! Mom and I are already planning our next one.
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Have you already been on a cruise? If yes, what was your favorite thing about your experience? If you haven’t, why not? What’s stopping you? We would love to read your comments below.