What to pack? What ship to choose? How much spending money to take? These are a few of the many questions, first time cruisers may have. Don't worry, we have you covered with our top 10 tips below:


Where Do I Need To Know About Cruises?

1. Which cruise should I choose? The most difficult part of a cruise is choosing the right cruise ship. Each cruise provides a completely different experience, from the mega cruise ships which hold a large number of people to those ships which have endless entertainment onboard, the choices are endless. It will entirely depend on your personality, travel style and type of holiday you are looking for. Family cruise ships can provide waterparks as great entertainment onboard for kids, for example. 

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2. Choose port days over sea days.  For those who are unsure whether cruising is for them, or those who are unsure if seasickness might be an issue, choosing a cruise with more port days is recommended for a first cruise. Port days enable you to line up various activities and excursions, get off the ship and experience some local cuisines.

3. What cabin should I choose? Choosing the right cabin is key. Storage and space can be limited. Watching the online cabin tours of your chosen cruise ship is recommended so you can get a realistic idea of space and this can be done by easily googling the cruise ship and cabin type. Room types tend to include the labels: inside staterooms, ocean staterooms, balcony and/or suites which may not mean much to you, so please see below for a description of each:

Inside staterooms: These rooms tend to have no windows and limited space. They are the most affordable option. If you are planning to be out and about all day, this room type is likely a perfect option for you to sleep but if you think you will be in your room frequently, you should start with a balcony cabin.

Oceanview stateroom: These rooms are similar to staterooms but they will have a small window (which is usually a porthole and will not open). These rooms tend to be on the lower levels, for those who want a bit more stability.

Balcony staterooms: These rooms are fantastic if affordable. With a spacious inside, and a balcony you can sit on whilst the ship sails, you certainly will have a great experience staying in one of these rooms – particularly if scenery is a big part of the cruise.

Suites: As predicted, these rooms are the most expensive on the ship. Prices will range in accordance with the size and number of bedrooms. Alongside space, and a larger price tag, you will also get some additional benefits including priority boarding, special receptions, dedicated dining and/or lounge access.

If you are worried about seasickness, another thing to bear in mind is where the rooms are situated on the ship. With less movement in the middle of the boat, rooms here can be popular, with movement usually being felt more at the front of the boat than the back.

Likewise, if you are a light sleeper, you will prefer a room further from the nightclub, lido, theatre and/or lift shafts or if you want easy access to everything, higher floors are better choices.

4. Always have a buffer.  If you are flying in and out of port, ALWAYS arrive into the port a couple of days earlier just in case something goes wrong. Whether it's a mechanical fault or the weather, you could be delayed in getting to the Port. Additionally, always bring a small carry-on for your first day as baggage inspections can take a while and you probably would prefer to have your first day essentials in a rucksack and wait at the pool. However, when departing, you can typically book flights home for the evening of the day you arrive back into the port as most cruise lines arrive back into port on the morning of your last day. Typical check-out times on the ships are around 10am

5. Embarking and disembarking the ship. Be prepared to queue when getting on and off the ship. Security checks, checking in and border patrol can cause delays. We recommend being amongst the first group off the ship if you can and if not, to sit back and relax and wait until the last few groups in order to avoid the queues. Note that queuing can be minimised if you hire a porter to help you through the process (can be approx. $20-50).

6. Get travel insurance. Whether it's a cruise, a long haul holiday or a staycation, we will always recommend you have good travel insurance to cover those uncertainties which may arise between booking and going on your holiday. Drop us an email and we can provide you with a link to one of our suppliers from whom you can source a quote for good, reputable and affordable insurance.

7. What should I pack? Whilst everyone packs differently for a holiday, the first thing to determine what the dress code is for your cruise. This will determine what type of clothing to pack. Cruise lines have different dress codes and rules, particularly to do with what you can and cannot wear in the main dining room . Other key items worth packing include: hand sanitizer, waterproof phone pouch, cruise luggage tags, lanyard for your cruise card, hair conditioner, suncream and after sun and highlighters for marking up your daily schedule. Additionally, every cruise line will have restrictions as to what you can bring onboard (e.g. alcohol) so be sure to ask your agent/cruise line when packing. 

8. Should I tip? Most cruise lines include a gratuities charge to cover the staff on board the ships from your waiters to busboys to cabin attendants but check that this is included – you can usually also pay this at the end of your cruise if not up front. However, you should also budget for providing tips for bartenders, beauty therapists, baristas and those individuals who really stand out. The level of tip is discretional and should be based on their service when you sign your bill. We also recommend tipping your busboys, particularly if you didn't pack light.

9. Book your own excursions! Cruise lines can charge more for excursions in particular areas so do your research. You can normally book with local tour operators or your travel agent before your cruise, just make sure they are flexible as sometimes cruises need to make slight changes to itineraries due to weather.

10. Download the cruise line app. Most large cruise lines have their own apps for your phone which is free to use when online and can give you great tips, help you navigate around the ship and/or make any necessary reservations.







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