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  • Writer's pictureJay Hicks

First Cruise?

Thinking about Going on a Cruise? That is a very Relaxing and Exciting Prospect!

Cruising can be one of the most enjoyable experiences of your life. After totally unwinding, I have often met people on cruises with no desire to return home. No beds to make, no meals to prepare, and with a few exceptions, cruising is generally all inclusive. There are very few vacation designs to receive lodging, food, and transportation cost for less than $100 a day! However, if it’s your first time out it never hurts to have a few travel tips.

A few bits of advise:

  • Start with a 4 or 5 day cruise. It is just long enough to determine if you like cruising.

  • I always recommend a balcony. If you should feel uncomfortable, you can retreat to your room and have a fresh air with a beautiful view. Your first time experience will not be pleasant in a small inside cabin.

  • You want to look for a great bargain or a specific deal, use an online travel search engine like Vacations to Go. There are so many ships, cruise lines and departure ports to choose from. They also have a tremendous sorting capability, on fields like date, room type, number of days, ship rating and other relevant fields. You must register to use the site, but they only ask for an email address.

There are very few vacation designs to receive lodging, food, and transportation cost for less than $100 a day!
  • If you are coming from out of town to the port, you may want to arrive a day in advance of the cruise. The boat will leave without you, should your flight be delayed and catching up to the ship is sometimes possible, but it is very expensive. Similarly, be mindful of your ships departure time at destination ports.

  • You can buy most things you need on a cruise ship such as toothpaste or band aid, but it is expensive.

  • Try not to pack to much clothing as it is not necessary. Dress is generally casual and dressing up is not mandatory, unless you enjoy it. Even on formal nights, you can find alternative dining if you prefer.

  • Try out everything - there is general fun going on somewhere on the ship all the time.

  • Determine if you would like a large ship with lots of venues and things to do - or a more intimate small ship - less busy and bustle.

The Fine Print

  • Most of the inexpensive cruise lines charge for drinks. If you are a drinker, this is a big deal and you should consider a drink package. If you don't drink, this will be a non-issue. Check with your cruise lines as most will allow you to bring a little bit with you; i.e. 1 bottle of wine per person.

  • You will probably be charged for gratuities on many ships. These can come to 10-40% more for your cruise than your initial cost - especially if you found a bargain.

  • With COVID, study the rules for testing and vaccine for your ship. See my article on Cruising during COVID. Bring Clorox wipes or something similar to wipe down surfaces in their cabin upon arrival and carry on shore excursions. Make sure you have face mask and know the rules.

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