So, you’ve found the perfect cruise and booked it. Congratulations! Since this is your first time taking a cruise, you may be a little apprehensive as you are probably afraid of forgetting to do something, not doing something right or not being able to partake in an event or activity because you just didn’t know about it or how to book it. Don’t let the fear of the unknown overwhelm you! Put the apprehension aside and check out our guide about how to prepare to take your first cruise.
Getting to the Port
If you are driving, make sure you have the address and are familiar with the daily parking rates. If you are flying in, then you may want to Uber, take a taxi or purchase transfers from the cruise line.
When you board the ship you will drop off your luggage and it will be delivered to your stateroom. It can take hours to get your luggage as there are often thousands of suitcases that have to make their way to each cabin. This is why it’s important to bring a small carry-on bag with you that you can keep. Items to include in your carry-on should include your documentation and ID, money and wallet, medications, bathing suits, toiletries, a change of clothes and anything else you might need right away. If you are traveling with babies or small children, don’t forget to include items like diapers and wipes.
You will need your documents a lot on a cruise. Whether you are using your passport (which is recommended) or your birth certificate and license, you will need these items often. Anytime you get on or off the ship you will probably have to have your documents. Make sure you store them in a safe place in your cabin when not using them. It’s a good idea to bring a waterproof document holder where you can securely store these items. In order to board the ship you will need your boarding pass along with your government issued I.D. (passport and or birth certificate/drivers license.)
If you plan on bringing your own alcohol, check with the cruise line beforehand. They all have strict policies about what you can and can’t bring. In some instances, you can’t bring any alcohol with you. Some cruise lines will allow you to bring a maximum of two bottles of wine or Champagne. Don’t worry though if you can’t bring any alcohol because there’s always opportunities to purchase it on board.
Amenities in your cabin
Basic amenities are included in virtually all cabins. You will generally have a hair dryer and 110-volt AC electrical outlets to plug in all of your devices. The amount of outlets you have can be limited so some passengers will even bring their own power strips. Cabins will also have televisions and in some instances DVDs. If you are in a cabin with a window, it can get sunny in the mornings, even with heavy curtains. Many cruise savvy passengers recommend bringing clothespins to keep the curtains shut tightly so their sleep isn’t disturbed by the bright sunlight. Make sure and know your cabin number prior to sailing – it usually does not appear on your key card so you do not want to be roaming the ship in search of your cabin.
Other things that will make the first day go smoother including having money in advance. The ship does charge ATM fees to its better to have cash with you in advance of the trip. Show up early or show up towards the end of embarkation to avoid standing in long lines. We recommend early so you can get on board and enjoy lunch and start getting to know the ship. Make sure and be patient. There will be lines at the port, but soon enough you will be on board.
This is our first installment of a weekly series on cruising. Be on the lookout for our next blog post that will go over what to expect once you actually first set foot on the ship.