Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advice for First Time Cruisers

I just overheard one of our cruise specialists here at Direct Line Cruises chatting with a first time cruiser.  Our agents love to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with these cruising newbies! If you’re a first time cruiser (or not) we hope you will find the following advice helpful in planning your cruise.

Make Copies of Your Identification Documentation: I make two copies of the first page of my passport, leaving one home that can be accessed by a family member if necessary, and the other I lock in the cabin safe if I’m carrying the original.  If the original is lost or stolen having a copy makes replacement easier. I think this is especially important when taking a European cruise.

Fly in the Day Before: If you’re flying to your embarkation port, arriving a day early makes the whole trip less stressful. Traffic, wind, snow, and over-sleeping have caused people to miss their flight.  Don’t let that happen to you!

Budget for Onboard Purchases: Although for some a cruise fare can be all-inclusive, for many others it won’t be.  Some additional charges you may incur are for gratuities, drinks, internet use, photos, specialty restaurants, and shore excursions.

Don’t Overpack: It took me a very long time to heed this advice myself!  Particularly on Caribbean cruises, the sea days can be spent in swimsuits (don’t forget a cover-up so you don’t have to change before heading to the lunch buffet).  As for the rest of your travel wardrobe, if you pack lots of neutrals (tan, black and white work well) you can mix and match your pieces and cut down on the shoes you need to bring.

Bring a Carry-On Bag Onboard: Pack it with anything you need access to before your luggage is delivered to your stateroom.  Medication, camera and a swimsuit immediately come to mind.

Take along a Small Tote or Backpack: On the ship it’s great for carrying around your daily planner, sunscreen, i-Pod, book, sunglasses and sea pass card.  Off the ship it can hold your camera, water bottle, map, etc.

Shut off that Cell Phone: Or if you can’t live without it at least check rates with your service provider before leaving home.  Roaming charges, Cellular at Sea and data charges add up quickly.

Pack a Night-Light or Flashlight: It makes navigating your way around your cabin in search of the bathroom in the middle of the night a lot safer. Those inside cabins, in particular, are very dark!

Don't Worry about Formal Nights: These evenings are not what they used to be. There’s no need to pack an evening gown and tux for formal night….unless you want to (and what’s better than seeing your man in a tux?). But anything from black-tie to Sunday best is fine, but if you’d rather stay in shorts or jeans, the buffet is always casual.

Use Sunscreen Liberally: Nothing ruins a vacation faster than a bad sunburn (believe me, I speak from experience).  Sometimes the breeze on deck makes it very comfortable to lounge by the pool all day, since it doesn't feel hot. Don’t be fooled, that sun is frying you. Protect yourself.

Happy Cruising!

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