Booking a cruise can seem a little daunting for first-timers due to the unfamiliar set-up and structure of the holiday. However, following a few simple tips in this guide can help you unlock the full potential of a cruise holiday.
Seek independent ship reviews
When searching for a cruise holiday, you’ll inevitably be bombarded with superlative-laden descriptions of ships and their features. Use independent resources to separate the facts from the sales talk semi-fiction. TripAdvisor is not just great for reading reviews about restaurants, hotels and destinations; the site’s Cruises Forum contains impartial reviews of all of the world’s major cruise lines, helping you understand exactly what to expect when booking a cruise.
Research on-board activities
There is so much more to do aboard a modern cruise ship than just shuffleboard. All of the major cruise lines have made considerable effort to ensure their ships are jam-packed with an array of activities to keep their passengers entertained.
A member of the Cruise1st team enthuses: “I always make sure to check the on-board shows of all ships during the upcoming cruise season. My family and I love to take in the Broadway shows whilst on holiday and in the past have enjoyed Chicago, Cats, Mamma Mia and many more. We are currently looking forward to the Queen musical, We Will Rock You, which is due to open on the upcoming Royal Caribbean liner Anthem of the Seas. The on-board show can go a long way to influencing our cruise holiday choice.”
Organise passports and visas
If you are planning on taking a cruise which takes in foreign destinations, always ensure you have all applicable passports and visa documentation completed and organised. A cruise which takes in multiple destinations across various countries and even continents may necessitate a number of different travel visas and documents. Neglecting to organise your visa could compromise your passage or even your entire cruise holiday. Doyouneedvisa.com includes all the information you require about the different visas you will require when travelling, making it possible for you to enjoy all the excursions and visits during your cruise holiday.
Locate the complimentary restaurants
Some cruise lines offer all-inclusive dining services aboard their ships, but also include additional restaurants at a charge. If you have not budgeted for additional dining costs, make sure you locate the complimentary restaurants before being stung with an unexpected bill after dessert. There is a misconception the food in the complimentary restaurants will be sub-standard but the incredible competition in the cruise industries ensures all liners pay close attention to the quality of all their dining options.
If your cruise itinerary includes a number of port visits, there may be opportunities to visit some fantastic destinations and sites around the world. Pre-planning these days in port can help you get the most out of your cruise and give you the opportunity to enjoy some unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Here are three ways to make the make the most of your shore excursions:
– Peruse the excursion options and book through the cruise line’s website
– Book with Cruising Excursions
– Locate the Excursions Desk on the ship and book with the on board team
All of these options give you additional information about the excursions available and what you will experience. The majority of cruise lines also operate Port Talks, the night before an excursion – giving passengers information about the destination, what to expect and what to visit.
Speak to the crew and fellow passengers
Experienced crew members often have a great selection of humorous, interesting and useful stories to share with their guests. Take a little time out to talk with senior members of the crew and the ship’s officers, and benefit from their wealth of experience. From locations to visit during an excursion to recommended itineraries the cruise line also offers; the officers and crew will be able to give you an experienced insight. Additionally, cruise holidays attract many dedicated holidaymakers who return year after year to the seas. Often happy to share their experiences, these holidaymakers can also prove to be useful resources to add extra value to a cruise holiday.
If you have any other tips for first time cruisers, please leave a comment below.