8 things to know before your first cruise holiday

| January 29, 2020

Every new experience raises doubt and fear of the unknown. If you’re planning to book your first cruise holiday, but don’t have any idea of what to expect, which company to choose and how to prepare, then you’re in the right place. 

My first cruise was an extremely awesome experience, mainly because I had a great preparation before going on the sea. I wasn’t sure which cruise to take, so I just booked one of Sydney last minute cruises with Royal Caribbean. It’s tough to have only a week to prepare for your first cruise, but it’s completely manageable. 

Let’s check out the most practical tips that will help you to have the best first-time cruising experience. 

#1- Sort Your Paperwork

First things first – collect all important paperwork and make copies if needed. Every cruise company is different which means the paperwork requirements may be slightly different. Be sure to make a copy of your passport, boarding pass, booking confirmation and bank statements.

Also, don’t forget to notify your bank so you don’t end up with frozen bank accounts on your cruise. Probably the best way to be completely safe is to have the pictures of crucial documents stored in a cloud. 

#2- Create a Detailed Packing List

Be sure to have a detailed packing list before your departure. You don’t want to end up on a cruise without having a crucial medication or document. Also, you want to check a dress code before boarding as buying the clothes on a cruise can add up the costs.

If you have a prescription medicine, make sure you have enough for the duration of your trip. Other handy items to have in your luggage are sunscreen, swimsuit, extra batteries for your camera and electric port adapter. 

#3- Prepare Enough Cash

Always plan your financials before going on a cruise. If you’re traveling to another country, it’s wise to exchange your money to local currency beforehand. Avoid exchanging at airports at all costs.

For people who’re feeling uncomfortable walking with a pile of cash, I can’t recommend the Transferwise debit card more. It enables you to withdraw the money in different currencies without any/or minimal fees.

#4- Consider Getting a Drink Package

If you’re looking for the time of your life on a cruise and planning to drink on board, it might be wise to buy a drink package. These packages usually cost a couple of hundreds of dollars which may seem excessive, but wait until you get a receipt for a single drink on a ship.

Before getting a drink package, read carefully what’s included in the package as you can get sweet deals including alcoholic drinks, soda, and bottled water. That’s probably the biggest money saver in cruising business ever, so think twice before going on a cruise. 

#5- Be Prepared for Extra Costs

The most important thing to check before booking a cruise is your package. Check what’s included in your package and what are the costs of things that aren’t included. Also, see if there is a package upgrade that might save you some money.

Some cruises add up a daily fee for service which goes to bartenders and other workers in the form of a tip. Things such as day-trips, massages, video games, WiFi, laundry cleaning and drying can add up your trip cost, so be ready. 

#6- Remember On-Board Souvenirs Are Expensive!

Funny mascots at parties who want to take a picture with you can be extremely expensive. Every cruise ship has an official photographer who’s capturing photos for money.

If you get sentimental and would love a photo of you and your family, be sure to take a photo with your camera or ask someone on a cruise to take it for you. That will save you loads of money. 

#7- Pick the Right Cabin

Have you ever heard about the seasickness problem on cruise ships? Probably, there is not a single cruise without a few people suffering seasickness and severe nausea. The best way to battle seasickness and motions on the sea is to pick the right cabin. The higher the cabin is, the less chance of seasickness.

If you’re looking to have a good night’s sleep, be sure to study a ship map before picking it to the cabin. Why? Well, you don’t want to end up having a cabin near the common party room, or any noisy area on the ship. Also, be sure that your cabin has a balcony which may be very helpful if you’re experiencing seasickness. 

#8- Hunt for Last Minute Upgrades

Booking a luxury cabin that features a large bed and balcony, extra room services and massage services sounds expensive? Believe me, it usually is, because these cabins come with all-inclusive packages which cost a lot. No matter if you’ve already booked your cabin, always check if there are free cabins available for a last-minute upgrade.

For instance, a few days before a departure, there will be options to upgrade your cabin for a small fraction of the cost. That way, you can enjoy the luxury for not so huge price difference. Before deciding to do any changes to your current booking, be sure to check if your new cabin is near loud common areas. 

Have you ever been on a cruise holiday? What’s the thing you didn’t know before your first departure but saved you loads of time and money?