As you could probably guess, I have traveled a lot. However, until just a few months ago, I hadn’t ever been on a cruise.
I went with a friend, that had been on several cruises before. The number of questions that I asked her while packing was kind of crazy!
So, I figured, if I had these questions, likely other people do as well.
Here is my list of 6 things you should know before your first cruise:
Not everything is included in the price of your cruise.
If you’ve ever perused cruise prices online and thought that the deal was fantastic, I highly suggest going back for another look at what is included.
Many cruises have a limited number of restaurants that are included in the base price.
Are there any excursions included in the price?
What about alcohol? You might want to think twice before getting another pina colada because they will add up quickly without a package for alcohol!
I would suggest doing a little research before getting on board. If there is a restaurant that you really, really want to experience, then an upgraded dining experience would be in order. On the flip side, if none of the restaurants that are the special ones call out to you, then perhaps it doesn’t make sense to spend extra on the special dining.
No, you don’t need to bring your beach towels.
I know, I know, this seems like such a silly thing to point out. I am sorry to say that I actually called my cruising buddy to ask her if I needed to pack towels.
As a self-proclaimed beach gal, I have been known to pack dozens, yes dozens of towels for trips. So, it seemed unnatural not to add them to my suitcase. Rest assured, you do not need to bring your towels.
However, what they didn’t provide that I was a bit shocked to discover, was bath products.
You know, the sample sized shampoo, conditioner and body wash? The ones that you put in your suitcase every day in exchange for new ones in your shower? Yeah…there were none.
So if you were planning on saving space by just using those bath products, prepare to be very stinky. Plan to pack them.
Pack a small carry-on bag for the first day of the cruise.
Why you ask?
Because, when you check into the cruise, which by the way is very much like checking into a flight at the airport, your bags are whisked away and appear in your room later.
Chances are, you will want to hit the pool, or change out of your travel clothes and if they are all packed away you are stuck until your bags make it to your room.
Bring some formal clothes!
Gone are the days of super stuffy formal cruises each and every night for dinner, however on most cruises there is a formal night for the evening meal. I mean how often do you get to pull out your fancy clothes? If you are anything like me, the answer is not very often at all! So have fun with it, some people go all out, over the top prom dress style, while other people bring basic dressy clothes. If basic dressy wasn’t a thing before, it is now!
Don’t like the crowds? Consider skipping the ports.
Wait just a minute, did she say skip the ports?!
I did. I really did. Hear me out on this. You know the chair by the pool that you have been eyeing all week but it seems that the lady with the big hat might just be permanently attached to said chair? She won’t be there when the ship docks for the day.
If the ship docks in a port that you have been dying to visit, then, by all means, get off explore, do an excursion.
But, if you have been feeling indifferent about the stop, don’t get off, grab the pool chair that you have been eyeballing and enjoy the fact that the ship will be like a ghost town. A gloriously empty ghost town.
Don’t assume the shows will be cheesy!
Prior to our cruise, I had looked at the different shows that were offered while I would be on board and I have to admit to you that I mentally rolled my eyes. I figured that the shows would be an extreme level of cheesy.
You guys, I was so wrong. So, very wrong. The shows were breathtakingly well done, I sat entranced the entire time.
Tell me, what do you wish you had known before your first cruise? Do you still have burning questions leading up to your cruise? Leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!