Cruising around the world is probably at the top of many bucket lists. From romantic cruises to adventure ones, this type of travel gives you an amazing opportunity to discover numerous destinations while enjoying life on the sea. With all the luxury amenities, of course. However, there are several tips and tricks that will prepare you for your journey while making it much easier.
Keep reading for the top things you need to know before booking your first cruise trip.
1. Choose the right cruise
With so many different types of cruises, it can be a tough decision to make where you want to go. However, lots of travel agencies have a special staff oriented just on cruise trips so consider counseling with specialists. On the other hand, you can decide to explore your options by yourself. Regarding what kind of traveler you are, some of the ship options you’ll find are:
- Luxury Cruise – ships are equipped with the most sophisticated and technologically advanced systems, luxury amenities, high standard features and comforts
- Adventure Cruise – usually smaller ships with luxury features
- River Cruise – ships with a capacity of a few hundred passengers are specially designed to navigate rivers
- Mega Cruise – currently the largest and most sophisticated ships with a capacity of 5000 passengers
There are many other cruise options, each special in its own way.
2. Book your cruise on time
Don’t wait for the last minute to book your cruise. If you want to make a good deal, you should book well in advance. Not only are you going to save money, but you will be able to choose the best cabins/rooms, and that is a pretty good reason to book a cruise ahead of time. Keep in mind that some of the rooms don’t have windows, so do your research before choosing the room.
3. Choose the right cabin
There are four types of cabins for you to choose from. Inside cabins (interior cabins) are the cheapest. Those are the rooms without windows, but make significant savings. Outside cabins offer an ocean view and can be found along the exterior of the ship. Usually, they are located on lower decks. Balcony cabins also offer an amazing ocean view, but the price is double than the outside cabins. Finally, yet importantly, there are suites that are the most comfortable and expensive cabins. All those cabin types have other sub-categories, which is another reason why hiring a travel agent is not a bad idea. He can lead you through all amenities and cabin layouts.
4. Plan your activities before you board
There are so many exciting activities to enjoy while cruising along. To avoid stress and to properly prepare for your trip, don’t wait for last-minute bookings. Think about all the things you would like to do and see, and make a list of all shore excursions you would like to have. If you think dinner reservations, spa treatments and entertainment activities are not necessary to put on that list, think twice. For lots of things, pre-reservation is needed, so it will be much easier if you have your spot before getting on board. Lots of independent shore excursion companies probably offer cheaper prices than the cruise company, so it would be a good idea to research your options.
Also, don’t forget to check what is included in the price of your cruise, and if necessary pre-book drink packages and Wi-Fi services.
5. Pack a day bag
As you don’t know exactly what time your luggage will be delivered to your room, pack everything you need in your carry-on. Essentials like sunscreen, bathing suit, flip-flops, and any medication will make your life easier if your bags don’t arrive as expected.
6. Forget about cash
Prepare your banking card and forget about cash, because all cruise lines operate with a cashless system. After registration onboard, you will get a key that not only opens your cabin but also serves as a credit card for all your expenses. All the extras mentioned above (spa treatments, drinks, restaurant fees, shopping onboard, etc.) will be included as well. Even if it seems unfair for all cash lovers, you will see this system is much more convenient than walking around with a bunch of bills.
7. Tips are (not) welcome
Depending on the cruise line, the tipping policy varies. Some of the lines don’t expect tips because they are already included in the price. These are, for example, Marella Cruises, Seabourn, Saga Cruises, Azamara, etc. On the other hand, some cruise lines charge service on extra facilities like spa treatments. This is automatically added to your bill, but cannot be removed even if you are not satisfied with the service. You may even find some of the lines offering the possibility of pre-paying the tips before you get onboard. Before you book a cruise trip, do good research on the company and all its travel conditions.