5 Quick Tips for Your First Cruise-
By Jen Campbell of Escape Destinations Travel
There is a lot to like (and discover) about awesome cruise vacations! The ports are exotic, the food is super delicious, the service is excellent and the price is so very right. However, there are a lot of things about cruising that may be new or confusing to first-timers. For them, here is my own personal cruise advice:
1. Enlist a Travel Agent!
Travel agents can offer you a personalized cruise advice and customer service for a competitive price. Those of us who live nowhere near a port must also book flights, hotels and transportation. A travel agent can help you with all of the details of planning a great trip, and may still save you some sweet mula.
We recommend booking your cruise vacation with the family travel experts at Escape Destinations Travel! As a travel agency under a very large company consortium, we’ll get you the absolute best price on your cruise without those horrible extra mark-ups or fees.
2. Research your Port Activities in Advance! Plan ahead to make the most of your limited time in each destination. Head to the internet, your local library or bookstore to read up on your ports of call. Here are the questions you should answer in advance about each port of call:
Cruises are advertised as “all-inclusive” and in many ways, they absolutely are. Your room, food and entertainment are all included in one reasonable price. However, there are onboard amenities that cost extra. Here are some potential expenses that are NOT INCLUDED in the price of your cruise and you’ll want to watch out for.
4. What to Wear! The cruise experience is reminiscent of a time and social class where people dressed for dinner and had a regular occasion to wear formal attire. I really like to dress up, but I’m definitely a mom who rarely attends fancy parties at home. Does that mean I had to run out and buy a lot of clothes to go on a cruise? No.
On most major cruise lines, you never need to change out of your shorts and t-shirt, as long as you prefer eating at the buffet. Shorts, t-shirts and swimwear are appropriate in most areas of the ship throughout the day, but they are not allowed in the dining room.
Dinner in the dining room is one of my favorite parts of the cruise, so I pack evening wear. Most evenings, women and girls wear slacks or skirts with dressy tops, or dresses. Sundresses are perfect for evening wear in the dining room. Dressy sandals are OK. Flip-flops are not. Slacks with a polo or button-down shirt, and perhaps a sport jacket are appropriate for men and boys.
I worried about formal night on my first cruise, but it really isn’t a big deal. If you own a tuxedo or formal gown, this is your chance to wear it. If you don’t have one, and don’t want to buy one, don’t sweat it. My husband looks great in his suit and tie on formal night(s) and I wear a dress that looks nice alongside the suit. You will see elegant, sequined and over the top dresses, to fairly casual yet somewhat dressy evening outfits.
Check out our website, where you’ll find wonderful packing lists, to help you decide exactly what to pack and what to leave at home!
5. Don’t Over Pack!
Cruise “staterooms” are very tiny. They are so tiny that you may feel a bit cramped at first! The whole bathroom is not much bigger than a standard bathtub (unless you’re able to get a larger suite). Just think of perhaps an RV sized bathroom and you’re about right. It can be challenging to pack light when you need swimwear, casual wear, evening wear and formal wear for typically a week or less. Here are my tips for cruise packing:
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