One way millions of people enjoy vacationing is by taking a cruise. Whether they are boarding a cruise line to the Caribbean to soak up the sun and do a few fun shore excursions or want to take in vast natural beauty by touring Alaska and seeing stunning and immense ice formations while aboard a ship, cruise’s are a fantastic experience and something everyone should try for themselves.
While cruises are a wonderful time, the part where you have to plan your trip and do extensive research on which cruise line works with your budget and one where you will have the most enjoyable time can be a little stressful. Booking a cruise sounds like a blast, but did you know some cruise lines have a dress code during certain dinner times and that you might want to consider travel insurance, especially if you saved up for it? These certain aspects of boarding a cruise ship and more are what we've prepared for you before you leave on your fun-filled trip.
We've listed 20 head-scratching things about cruises to keep in mind when booking your next trip. Even if you've booked a trip before, you may want to look again at this list to double check that you have everything in order. Cruises are a blast and it's very important that you book one that you will end up enjoying the most. So before you look at the numerous cruise lines that are available, read up on certain aspects of a cruise you may have considered before you board.
20 Seasickness Can Happen, So Be Prepared
Seasickness shouldn't prevent you from going on a cruise and if you are inclined to motion sickness, pack all the essential medicines you need and remember to eat a good meal before going on board. However, if you are feeling the signs of nausea, head out onto the deck for some air and according to Carnival, simply look out into the horizon, a stable focal point, which can help set your equilibrium. Of course, many cruise ships have stabilizers so you probably won’t feel too much swaying. Carnival also recommends that if you are prone to get seasickness, you can purchase Sea Bands. These comfortably elasticated wristbands provide natural nausea relief through acupressure.
19 Some Cruise Ships Have A Dress Code
The clothes you take for your cruise really depends on what kind of cruise you are going on. However, many popular cruise lines have a dress code that you probably want to follow, especially during the evening and formal nights. Carnival notes that on one or two nights throughout the voyage, passengers can show off their best looks during their "Cruise Elegant" evenings where men are required to wear dress slacks, dress shirts, and a sports coat and women are suggested to wear cocktail dresses, pantsuits or elegant skirts and blouses. You definitely don't want to be the one undressed on these particular nights, so make sure you check with your cruise line.
18 Look For All-Inclusive Packages
Before you board your cruise, you should consider buying an all-inclusive package because drinks can be costly, especially if you are planning on drinking every day. According to Travel and Leisure, alcoholic drinks, crew gratuities, and sometimes-even airfare, shore excursions can be included in the advertised price. However, while these are luxury packages, there are also other packages that other cruise lines carry too. Drinks can get very pricey on board, so it might be worth to even get a package, even if it's just for alcoholic beverages.
17 You'll Be Waiting A While
There are hundreds and even thousands of people waiting to embark on a cruise ship, which means there is going to be a lot of waiting around. It's suggested that you go as early as you can or late, and bring along a few snacks and water. Even disembarking can be a long wait so be prepared. Also, be sure you have all of your important documentation with you, such as your identification card, a passport if you are traveling out of state, luggage labeled with tags, and you can speed up the boarding process by completing the online check-in process.
16 Don't Just Book A Cruise Because Of Its Cost
Obviously cost is a major factor when booking a cruise, however, you shouldn’t just book a trip because it's at an amazing cost. If you do, you may end up not having as much fun because they might not have any activities that you may enjoy or have any interests that you may like. Make sure you do extensive research before booking your trip, read stories and experiences online, and find the best deals on cruises that will have activities you will certainly enjoy. Even Royal Caribbean states that the first mistake that you can make when first taking a cruise is deciding on the trip because of its cost. Different cruises cater to different demographics, so keep that in mind.
15 Consider Choice Of Room
Your cabin is similar to a hotel room but much smaller. Cabins fall into different categories and it can be a little difficult when trying to choose one. There are four categories of cabin rooms, which include, inside, the smallest sized room with no windows, outside, a room with a porthole (round window), balcony, a room featuring a veranda that lets you step outside without going up to a public deck, and finally, a suite, a large cabin, often with separate living and sleeping areas that can also include a few perks. If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to consider getting a higher cabin. If you don't want to feel trapped, its recommended not to get a room without a window.
14 What Cruise Will Be The Most Fun For You?
What do you ultimately want out of your trip? Many cruise lines offer different amenities and others cater to different demographics, so do your research before booking a trip. Do you want to relax on your trip or party all night long? If you are a luxury seeker, then the Regents Seven Seas Cruise is probably right for you. If you're on a hunt for a value, Carnival Cruise is your best bet because of its fun destinations like the Caribbean and the Bahamas and activities that anyone can enjoy. And of course, if you want to take the whole family, which includes smaller children, than Disney Cruise Line is what you need to keep you and the kids entertained.
13 Costs For Parking
What's great about cruise lines is that if you are driving yourself, you can park at one of many official port parking lots which can be extremely convenient. You don't want to be lugging your belongings and when you return, you can easily just walk to your car and drive off, instead of waiting for a taxi. If you do decide to drive your car and park at the port parking lot, consider costs be they can get expensive and the safety of your vehicle. If you can't find a spot, consider searching for other safe parking lots near the area, which could end up being a lot cheaper.
12 Cruise Ships Are Safe Despite What You've Heard
There have been some very serious accidents on cruise lines, however, these are extremely rare and exceedingly uncommon. According to the Cruise Lines International Association, from 2005 to 2011, there were only sixteen fatalities aboard cruise ships out of 100 million passengers. Cruise Critic mentions that the Coast Guard has a responsibility to do quarterly inspections of all ships that operate out of the United States ports to make sure they comply with requirements needed just in case of an emergency. Also, people who work aboard cruises are all highly trained for an incident that may occur.
11 Be Budget Savvy
You may have found your trip for a fantastic price, however, once aboard, you can be shocked at how much you end up spending every day. When you board your ship, be aware of how many times you're swiping that credit card, if that's something important to you. If you want to remain budget-friendly, keep track of your daily spending and you can even ask reception for a daily print out of your expenses if you want to see what you are really spending all your money on. Drinks can be expensive, especially if you are planning on drinking every day, so it's recommended that you check out the many all-inclusive packages your cruise offers.
10 Consider Travel Insurance
Many people skip travel insurance when they are flying, however, it might be wise to pay a little extra for it when you are going on a cruise. Travel insurance on a cruise is important especially if you booked quite an expensive trip. Travel Insurance Review suggests that travelers on an expensive trip may have waited and saved a long time for this trip, so it's essential to protect your financial investment. If the trip cost more than you can afford to lose, it may be wise to purchase adequate travel insurance coverage. Also, if you get sick on board, you can be reimbursed.
9 Read The Policy On Electronic Devices
While no one wants to work while on holiday if you must bring your computer, iPad, or any other large electronic device, you may want to read the cruise lines policies on what is and isn't allowed onboard. For instance, Cruzley reported that while it's good to bring an adapter so you can use more than one electronic device at once, some cruises will not allow adaptors with surge protectors. Also, as we've mentioned before, the Internet on a ship can be costly and it can be risky to use your phone because it may connect to the closet network, which is usually the ship's satellite, and you will be left paying a surprisingly hefty phone bill.
8 Don't Travel During Peak Season As To Avoid Crowds
If you are not a fan of crowds, you may want to consider avoiding peak season when booking a cruise. Peak season means that ships and shore excursions, depending on which cruise you book, can get extremely busy. Peak season deals tend to be more expensive and you'll usually end up hitting land with the many activities, attractions, and restaurants packed with other travelers. However, unless you book your trip way in advance, you should consider going off-peak seasons. Going on a cruise during the off-peak season means a lot fewer people, fewer crowds, and your shore excursions and restaurant visits could come with a discount.
7 Do You Want To Take The Kids?
There are plenty of cruise lines that cater to kids as young as two-years-old, but it really depends on what kind of cruise you are looking for. If you want to take the kids, there are numerous cruises that offer babysitting services and other fun-filled activities for your children while you and you're significant other relax on your own time. The minimum month to sail is six months and depending on the cruise, there is also a kid’s menu on request if you need it. Most babysitting services are open all day and night, including the Disney Cruise Line, which has a nursery opened from 9 a.m. to midnight, so you can enjoy plenty of adult activities while on the ship.
6 Tipping Policies
There is always the question of tipping. How much should you tip and whom should you exactly tip while you are on your cruise. According to Conde Nast Traveler, almost every cruise line includes an automatic fifteen percent gratuity on all bar bills so there is no need to tip extra. Also, most major cruise lines automatically add gratuities to your onboard account and are typical $12 a passenger per day. Tipping is not expected on luxury cruise lines; however, it's at the discretion of the passenger if they wish to leave a tip for the cabin personnel.
5 Deals With Flight Packages
There are pros and cons for booking package deals with flights and cruises. It may sound like purchasing a package deal is cost-effective, however, there are some problems that may come your way. According to Household Beautiful, expert Stewart Chiron explains that booking a flight and cruise separately is your best bet. If you book a flight and cruise separately, it can be potentially cheaper because you'll be researching the Internet for the best deals and may stumble upon one. However, the money you save on that flight you find could mean there can be a delay, and the ship won't wait for you, so you can end up missing your trip, which is why travel insurance can be a good idea.
4 Plan Shore Excursions In Advance
To make trips more fun, many cruises plan port visits and organized excursions for additional fees. Shore excursions can be an amazing and a memorable experience and can include sightseeing city tours, cultural events, snorkeling, shopping, and some can even take you to private beaches. It's recommended that if you plan on going on a shore excursion you plan ahead, read independent sources about certain excursions and even book it online before you depart for your trip so you won't be disappointed as some of the most popular trips tend to sell out the quickest.
3 Don't Panic If You Forget Something
It seems like there is always something you forget after boarding your cruise. Don't overly stress about it! Cruises have shops where you can find most of the things you left behind whether it's nausea medicine or even a hat just in case it gets too sunny outside. All cruise ships come with your basic toiletry necessities such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap, so leave all of your luxurious hair good behind. There are also convenient stores onboard, so if you need basic things like toothpaste, a toothbrush or a contact lens case, you'll find it all on the ship.
2 There Will Be A Lot Of Photos Being Taken
There are going to be a lot of people taking photos, who wouldn't when they are aboard a massive cruise line? While taking photos of loved ones is expected, be prepared for photographers who are employed by the cruise line to be taking photos of you and others around you. There are dozens of paid photographers on the ship to take pictures and create memories for passengers, however, these photos come at a price and they may end up being costly. If you aren't a fan of photos, politely decline and you'll be left alone.
1 Leave Work At Home
Cruise ships get their Wi-Fi from satellites thousands of miles above Earth and sometimes these signals can be extremely slow. Slow internet means having to work longer and tons of stress and no one wants that when they are supposed to be vacationing aboard a cruise ship. Also, if you really need to do some work, consider that there might be hidden costs because the Internet can be pricey. Conde Nast Traveler recommends a few cruise lines that have been ranked most popular for those passengers who are desperate for onboard Internet Access. A few of these cruise lines include Anthem of the Sea, Carnival Breeze, and Celebrity Reflection, which all have access plans as well.