You have booked your first cruise, marked the dates on your calendar, and made sure you have the workdays off. Now what?? What should you expect on board? What costs will you run into that you weren't planning on? Will you eat in your assigned dining room or in another dining area? Will you go broke on beverages? It may be time for some great cruise do's and don'ts to help prepare for your first cruise!
If these questions aren't running through your head, they will be soon enough. For anyone going on their first cruise, the excitement of getting away is always tempered by the unknown of a form of vacationing where you are totally reliant on a cruise line. For anyone who has been to an all-inclusive resort before, you will find it much the same with a few changes. But for those of you who are accustomed to travel by family vehicle, prepare for a different world.
5 "Do's" For Your First Cruise!
1. Do Read The Itinerary For Each Day
One of the best cruise do's and don'ts is to always know what is going on around you during your big boat tour. Each night, when you return to your room, along with the mints on your pillows and other amenities, you will find a detailed itinerary for the next day on board. This itinerary will tell you everything from what will be served in certain dining areas to what shows will be going on that night. Use this resource to help in planning your days out. You will definitely miss out on some great fun on board if you skip this read. Keep an eye out for drink specials, debarkation times at port, and information on fun and games around the ship.
2. Do Take Time To Wander Around The Ship
Do not make the mistake of going from one show to the next, and only visiting the pool and dining room in between. Give in to your curiosity! Wander around the ship! You will find opportunities and sites you would not have otherwise found. It may be an out-of-the-way desert bar, or an access to an observation deck. Have fun on a top deck putting golf course. It could be as simple as a bar with a fun bartender more likely to give you added "fun" in your beverage of choice! Make it a game, see who can find something new on the ship; believe me, there is plenty to explore!
3. Do Talk To The Staff
Most people you will see on board will speak to the cruise staff, but only to order a drink or a meal. These people travel on your ship for months. They know everything there is to know about the ship, what shows are worth seeing, what events you shouldn't miss, and when you need to get to the pool deck to get a good deck chair! They also have probably been to the ports of call you are visiting and know where to find fun and what to avoid. These people can be the cheapest travel resource you have on board! It also wouldn't hurt to get chatty with one bartender and make sure to visit him/her every time you need a drink!
4. Do Try ALL The Food
If you are planning to diet while on your cruise, good luck! You will need it. There are many opportunities to eat excellent food. If the cruise you are on assigns you a dining room and a dining time, be sure you know where it is and what the dress code is. These dining rooms can put most vacation resorts to shame, so try a little bit of everything, but remember, order everything you want at the beginning of the meal, the kitchen staff and wait staff will be too busy and anything you add later may not come til its too late. Don't be afraid to try out the buffet dining and fast food bars as well, most of them will surprise you!
5. Do Have Fun!!
Knowing all of the cruise do's and don'ts will not change that the most important thing to do while on board is HAVE FUN! From the time you are on deck waving to whomever may be watching you leave port, remember that this is YOUR vacation. Get involved in on board games. Dance on the pool deck with the live band. Enjoy the many bars and clubs on the ship. When time comes to get off the ship and go back to work, you will be glad you did!
5 Don'ts For Your First Cruise
1. Don't Leave Your Cell Phone On
If you are planning to carry your cell phone on board for your cruise, you will want to turn it off shortly after leaving your port of departure. You will want to check with your service provider to find out your international calling rates which will probably be cheaper than calling on the ship phone. However, leaving your phone on, especially for those of you with data and Internet plans, can prove costly. In international waters, you will pay a large charge for each text message including data roaming. You will also be charged by kilobyte for Internet which will be extremely pricey.
2. Don't Forget To Take Pictures
The worst mistake that happens to many people on their first cruise is forgetting to take the camera! So many people get on board, take pictures, then leave the camera in their room until their ports of call. For many it is because the camera is too big to carry around, not wanting to look like a "tourist", but remember you are visiting some of the best vacation spots in the world! Get a small camera, easy to put in a pocket or a purse, and take pictures until your finger is sore. You may also want to pick up an underwater disposable camera for that snorkeling excursion!
3. Don't Miss The Formal Dinner
Many people, when preparing to go on their first cruise, decide to leave behind their formal dresses and suits and skip the captain's dinner. One of the first cruise do's and don'ts I read before cruising was to not miss the captain's dinner, and I am glad I heeded that advice. First of all, a true "formal" dress and suit is not required. All you need is a nice dress or a coat and tie. There will be excellent dining and great atmosphere! Take the opportunity and go, enjoy the dinner and smile for the camera!
4. Don't Take The Towels
Some cruisers make the mistake of taking the towels from their rooms when going on shore excursions. Please do not make that mistake. So often people who use their room towels on their excursions leave them on the beach and are charged way more than the towels are worth. It's a simple tip, but obviously some people don't figure this one out on their own. Remember, even though you may be visiting one of the best vacation spots, that doesn't mean you won't make the same mistakes you make at home and leave something behind.
5. Don't Buy The Soft Drink Card??
This one is more or less a personal choice, but I would say don't. When on board, you will have the opportunity to buy a soft drink card and not pay for soft drinks every time you want one. The card is usually about $6.00/day, and given the cost of the soft drinks, it seems like a good deal. However, you are allowed to bring 12 sealed soft drinks or water on board in your checked luggage. If you cruise is 5 days or less, you may consider only buying the card for a couple of days or not at all.
Well, those are my Do's and Don'ts, if you have been on a cruise, please tell us yours in the comment area!!
Liz Westwood from UK on July 27, 2018:
I have friends and relatives taking cruises soon. I feel like referring them to this article.
EmpressAwesome from Virginia on July 28, 2011:
I didn't know you were allowed to bring soda on board... I should have done that! Too bad I didn't read this before my first cruise.
swedal from Colorado on March 25, 2011:
Excellent tip about talking to the staff. That one can be used no matter where you go or stay!
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 19, 2011:
I have been on some cruises and this is very good advice.
Mandeeadair from California on January 08, 2011:
Truckstop Sally on January 06, 2011:
Great hub. Another do would be to DO as much as you can that is offered -- wine tasting, BINGO, movies by the pool, art exhibits . . . you only go round once!!