Deciding to go on a cruise can be overwhelming for first-timers from the initial planning to packing and choosing activities. However, if you follow these essential tips through every step of the cruise process from start to finish your trip will be worry-free and you might even save some money.

Research the Cruise

The first thing you should do before choosing which cruise you would like to go on is researching everything there is to know about each one of your options. This includes the route, destinations, and amenities offered on the ship, as well as the reviews of that specific cruise line. This will help you to go in with realistic expectations for your trip and help you have the best experience possible.

Compare Packages & Deals

Before buying cruise tickets, you should go even further to compare any packages and deals that are offered on each cruise. This includes drink and meal packages as well as special discounts for any other expenses you will encounter on your trip. Calculate the numbers and know the minimum requirements to qualify for these packages to ensure it makes sense and you will get the most out of your money.

Save Money on Alcohol

You can save a lot of money on your trip by bringing your own alcohol rather than purchasing it on the cruise ship. Some cruise lines will allow you to bring your own wine bottles up to a certain limit. This limit will vary for each cruise, so make sure to read into the specific rules for your trip before doing this.

Take Advantage of Restaurants

Even if you decided to purchase a meal package for your cruise, you should try eating at one of the ship’s special restaurants at least once during your trip. When doing this, you should prepare for a slight extra cost per person and be sure to make your reservations promptly after departure.

Pack Your Bags Appropriately

You should always consider the ship’s itinerary that is sent to you before departure while you pack for your trip. Make sure to stay organized and don’t forget any of the necessities that you will need for smooth travels. You should also pack in advance for any stops and activities you will be participating in along the way.

Be Prepared For a Dress Code

Each ship will have dress codes for certain days throughout the trip that will be indicated in the cruise’s itinerary. You should always come prepared with outfits to adhere to the ship’s standards. For example, you can expect at least one night out of the trip to require a formal dress code.

Distribute Your Luggage Wisely

While packing your bags, you should always make sure to pack the necessities needed for your first day of the cruise in your carry on. This is an important step because you will have access to these items all day but will likely not see your other bags until that night.

Pack Essentials

Pack essentials like sunscreen, tanning lotion, and all medications you might need during your trip and keep them on hand at all times. If you forget any of these things and have to buy them on the cruise ship there will be a substantial increase in price.

Sign Up For Excursions

During each port visit throughout the trip, cruises will offer a variety of activities for guests to participate in at each location. You should sign up for these immediately after booking to guarantee your spot because they usually get booked up quickly. Be aware that this will incur additional fees.

Spend Time On the Ship

Although your cruise line will likely offer plenty of interesting excursions at each stop, it is not mandatory for you to leave the ship and participate in every single one. Stay back on the ship for a few of the port stops if certain activities don’t interest you as much as others. This way, you’ll have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the sun without wearing yourself out.

Choose the Best Room Placement

The best rooms on a cruise are in the middle of the ship with some kind of opening to the outside, whether it is a balcony or a window. This will ease nausea during your travels by giving you a nice view of the exterior.

Get a Free Room Upgrade

Cruise ships usually charge a premium for groups to purchase connecting cabins. However, if you book 2 rooms that are next to each other, you can open the divider between both balconies for a free upgrade to an adjoining room. The trick to this is asking a crew member to unlock it for you after boarding to avoid the extra charge.

Don’t Stress About Tipping

The majority of cruise ships will charge a certain percentage of your payment as a tip that will go to the attendants that are in charge of your room. This also applies to restaurant purchases and is often hidden in the bill. Of course you can always tip someone extra if you would like to, but be aware that they have already been directly compensated through the initial charge and you wouldn’t want to give out unnecessary extra tips.

Speak Up!

While you are on a cruise, it is the crew members’ responsibility to make sure you are having the best experience possible. If you are not satisfied with anything during your trip you should let someone know so they can compensate you for it. After all, you are paying a premium for your ticket as well as any additional expenses that will add up during the cruise, so don’t be shy if something isn’t going your way.

Author: Staff Writer

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