Tips for First Time Travel: Cruising
Cruising has become a very popular pastime and as such many travellers are choosing this form of transport to get them around the World. Due to ever increasing popularity we are now faced with thousands of choices when it comes to destination, size of ship, standard of accommodation, and importantly, cost.
For your very first cruising experience we would suggest that you consider a week around Europe. Long enough to get a feel for this very different kind of holiday and decide whether or not it is for you. Hopefully our Do’s and Don’ts will help you make the right choice!
The Do’s of Cruising
- Pick your destination wisely: where do you like to travel?
- Consider what facilities might suit you and choose your cruise line (and ship) carefully
- Make sure you take hand luggage for your arrival (and departure). It can be many hours before your suitcases are delivered to your cabin
- If you like the idea of being organised, take the excursions on offer. If, however, you are happy to explore yourself, do your own thing and save a packet
- Book an outside cabin for your first trip (the upgrade for this varies dramatically so do your homework)
- Know your ship’s deck plan before travel. First time cruisers are overwhelmed by the size of the vessels!
- Embark as early as possible. Walking around your ship long before it sails is a great way to get to know it before it starts filling up!
The Don’ts of Cruising
- Don’t be tempted to take a short cruise for your first experience. You will not get a feel for cruising on a 2/3 nights sailing and will certainly not be able to explore all that is on offer on the ship
- Don’t be too disappointed if you miss a Port. You are at the mercy of the Captain who will put the safety of passengers as top priority, and will therefore not dock the ship if safety prevents it
- If you are not travelling with children, avoid school breaks. Unlike other holidays there can be some competitive offers in these periods but remember you are confined to the area of the ship, and, although large, it will be evident that you are surrounded by children!
- If you don’t like being hoarded around with a coach load of other holidaymakers, do your own thing
- Don’t be late back to the ship. Plan to arrive back a good hour before the deadline. The Captain will not wait for latecomers!
Extra Expenses on Your Cruise
As with all holidays, upgrades are available at a cost. Keep an eye on prices and book when you feel you have found the right deal. Remember, although all food is included (apart from speciality restaurants which carry a supplement), drinks usually are not. There is an option to purchase a ‘drinks package’, in advance or on board. The average price for a daily package should be around £25pp per night. On most ships all occupants in the cabin must have the same package. This can be expensive but work out if it’s right for you. Spa treatments can be costly, so budget for this if you want to be pampered! If Gratuities are payable, they will be added to your account. Most ships, with the exception of Costa Cruises, allow you to modify this charge as you see fit. That said, it is becoming more common place to ‘include’ these charges in the initial costing.
This can be an issue for first time sailors even if you are never travel sick on other modes of transport. Take precautions by travelling with a recommended travel sickness prescription just in case!
Finally, once your cruise is booked, consider your Airport Parking or Port Parking, taking advantage of our guaranteed prices as early as possible! You could even spend the night before your trip relaxing in a hotel near the port and sleep safe in the knowledge that you have just a short trip to the port in the morning.