9 Things to avoid on your first cruise
Ok, so you’ve finally made the decision to give cruising a try. There’s all kinds of stories out there about what to do, and what to avoid. But here’s our take on how to make the most of your cruise vacation.
Don’t go nuts on Day 1
Ships today are bigger than you think, and the last thing you want to do is wear yourself out trying to see everything on board. Take your time, leave some mystery for the rest of the cruise! You’ve got a week to see it all.
Sunburns and hangovers
Especially in the Caribbean, nothing can ruin a vacation faster than the excruciating pain of a sunburn, or the throbbing of a knock-down hangover. In the case of a sunburn, a little precaution goes a long way - all of the traditional items such as sunscreen, hats, etc...
Don’t eat at every specialty restaurant
One of the new features of cruise ships is a plethora of dining choices beyond the main dining room. Most come at an additional cost of $10-$40 per person, while some are included in your cruise cost. While enjoying these extravagant dining options is a great experience, don’t overlook the fare in the dining room. Most lines these days feature surf and turf on one or both of their formal nights, and who wants to miss out on unlimited lobster? In addition to experiencing the traditional dining experience aboard a ship, you’ll likely meet some fellow cruisers at your table.
While sometimes unavoidable, if possible leave the laptop and iPhone in the cabin and just go enjoy yourself. I’ve seen countless people sitting on a stunningly beautiful beach staring down at their smartphone and completely missing the amazing site before them. You work all year for a vacation, why not enjoy it!
Don’t spend too much time in your stateroom
Even if you have a suite with a sumptuous balcony, most of the fun of what happens aboard ship takes place in the public spaces. There are tons of fun activities going on throughout the day and certainly all night while the ship is at sea. So don’t be shy, venture out and get involved. Where else can you drink, dine, shake your booty, see a show, gamble and take a moonlit stroll, without having to worry about driving all over town?
Don’t miss the boat
Trust me, you do not want to cut it close when it comes time for the ship to leave. We’ve had numerous calls over the years from customers who weren’t aware of a time change or when the ship was scheduled to sail. Know that the ship will not wait for you. We always recommend having some cash and a credit card on you if this does happen, so that you can get a room and fly to the next port. Even if you just make it aboard, expect a stern “what for” from the captain.
You’re never too cool to participate
Most people lie around by the pool reading, but you know who has the most fun? The people who participate in all of the cheesy activities. They may seem goofy from the outside, but actually they are quite enjoyable and will help you meet many of your fellow cruise passengers. Or just attending these events can be great fun - I don’t recall ever having had more fun than attending karaoke night and watching a 16 year old boy sing to a female teenager he was trying to woo.
Skipping the excursions
One of the biggest mistakes most first time cruisers make is just walking around town, rather than enjoying the myriad shore excursions available. Most of the areas where the ships dock is very touristy and not always terrible scenic. To really enjoy your travel experience, you need to get away from town and enjoy all the beauty these ports have to offer (this is especially so in Alaska!) and to get away from the crowds.
Not being friendly to the crew
These folks work hard – long hours, 7 days a week for 4-18 months at a time. They have seen it all, and if you’re kind you’ll likely get some great stories of past guests, as well as some hints about how to make the most of your cruise vacation. As far as your room stewards go, these people really do hard work, and if you’re kind you’ll find all sorts of extra surprises waiting for you when you get back from dinner each night!
Our goal is to guide our clients to the most enjoyable vacation experience possible. If you’ll let our cruise consultants make suggestions and plans on your behalf, you’ll find cruising to be a wonderful way to vacation!
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