These tips will help you make the most out of your first cruise vacation

These tips will help you make the most out of your first cruise vacation

So maybe you’re tempted with the idea of ​​getting into a cruise ship to live this experience for your next vacation. Here are some tips for your first time on a cruise!

Boarding

  • Make sure you have all of the documents needed to embark weeks before departure: valid passports, travel permits for minors, visas, international driving permits, and so on.
  • Bring all the documentation sent to you by the shipping company: vouchers or reservation and payment receipts, passenger tokens, cabin number, boarding passes, baggage identification labels (placed in suitcases, obviously), and so on.
  • When you get to the port or embarking station you must bring your luggage with the tags on place, except for the carry-on luggage. Then at the counter you must show the boarding tickets, documents and a credit card for additional purchases.
  • You can carry liquids in your suitcase, and in their original packaging. You’re allowed to take these as there is no maximum weight limit per person, if we assume that each one will carry one or at most two regular suitcases. If in doubt, check the baggage policy of your shipping company. No explosives or weapons of any kind are allowed.
  • You will be given an ID card which you will use for everything on board: extra charges, restaurant reservations or sports facilities, excursions, and even to pose for the “official photo”, if you want. I suggest you take a small hand purse or card holder so you will not lose it when you go to the pool, for example. You must identify yourself with it every time you get off the ship at each port, and again to re-board after returning.
  • Some cruise companies already offer an online check in process up to 3 days before the date of your departure.
Image courtesy of Richard Tanswell at Flickr.com

Image courtesy of Richard Tanswell at Flickr.com

Life on board

  • The ships usually have 110/220 volt electricity outlets -with two round plug holes, except for American ships that usually have plugs with a couple of flat holes. You should take a set of adapters just in case, and some extra adapters to charge two things at once (the iron and mobile phone, for instance).
  • It is not allowed to carry alcoholic beverages in your luggage so any drinks you bring from home, or buy on board or at a stop will remain in custody until the end of the trip.
  • You can not travel with your pet, not even guide dogs can board, with counted exceptions. You should consult with the shipping company about your ship and particular route.
  • When you get to your cabin, take a look at all the services you have, you can unpack and hang all your clothes and read carefully the information that every day you will get in your room, in the logbook. There is the schedule of services, activities, shows, news and so on. It will help you get organized each day on board.
  • In your wardrobe you shouldn’t forget to take all kinds of hats or caps, sunscreen and sunglasses because you’ll be surrounded by water, one of the most reflective surfaces.
  • There’s no need to bring beach towels. All cruises will provide them for you to use in the pool area. You’ll find them at the entrance of the corresponding deck or in your cabin. If you find bathrobes in your cabin, do not use them to go to the pool. Keep it for private use in the cabin or go to the spa.
  • To use your mobile phone you’ll have to wait to be near the coast or port because there is no coverage at sea during sailing days. For this you must have roaming activated. Beware of the rates, though! And remember that it is cheaper to send an SMS than to make a call from abroad.
  • Can you smoke? Please note that on some ships it is totally forbidden. Consult before booking. In most, however, they have specific areas for cigarette smokers. Those who smoke cigars or pipes must do so in the rooms for this purpose. Restaurants tend to be areas where you can not smoke, although in some cases they have a smoking section.
  • Each shipping company has an “official language” that may be Spanish, Italian or English. In that language you’ll find the menus and logbooks.
  • At the start of a cruise an emergency drill is conducted. It is very important (and interesting) for you to participate as they will give you instructions on how to act in case of an emergency of any kind. The evacuation route is indicated in each cabin (usually behind the front door).
  • On a ship you’ll eat well, plenty and tasty. The services are plentiful, varied, well presented. But you do not have to eat everything in one day. Do not despair. Try different dishes and take it easy. Do not throw yourself at the buffet, because there will be more. And if not, there will be something else. And if not, you’ll have another service in a few hours.