7 Things You Didn’t Know Before You Took Your First Cruise

November 28, 2016

When you start cruising, you learn a thing or two about life on the seas! But sometimes you learn things that you wouldn’t expect… Whether you didn’t realise how fun cruising could be, you didn’t know what you would need to pack or that you had a hidden talent for Latin dance, a cruise can be a real eye opener.

With that in mind, here is our list of the most surprising things you’ll learn on your first cruise that you had no idea about before!


It Doesn’t Have To Be Super Formal

Long gone are the days when cruising meant sticking on a stuffy dinner jacket for formal dinner followed by dancing and maybe a hearty swig of brandy. If that is what you’d like out of a cruise, then there are still ships where you can do that! But if your idea of fun is letting your hair down and trying lots of restaurants rather than just the main dining room, you can do that too.

Lines such as NCL and Royal Caribbean have very relaxed dress codes and if you don’t want to dress up for formal night (of which there are only a few) you can alternatively eat in one of the many relaxed dining venues. For example, if you don’t fancy donning a frock for a dinner in Silk on Royal Caribbean, you can just pop along to Sorrento’s and grab a slice of pizza! It’s your holiday after all so relax, enjoy, and make the most of it.


Our specialist cruise consultant Anthony told us: “I do love dressing up but I also like the freedom that comes with so many ships about what to wear. On luxury ships the dress code is most often ‘country club casual’ so you don’t have to be uncomfortable whilst you’re tucking into your lobster!” Find out more about Anthony here!


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It’s More Relaxing Than You Thought

Many people are under the misconception that cruising isn’t that relaxing, as strange as that sounds. Especially if you’re heading out on a trip on a very large ship (e.g. 5000 passenger capacity), you might worry that you’ll be so busy that you won’t end up relaxing… but that’s where you’re wrong!

Even on a megaship there are still plenty of places to relax. Take a swim, or if the outdoor pool is crowded, head to the indoor one instead. When you have a sea day and everyone else is heading to the buffet in drones, why not order breakfast to your cabin and relax on your balcony? And when you want a quiet place to sunbathe in peace, why not look for hidden spots to get a bit of sun on the walkways of lower decks rather than head straight to the sunbeds around the main pool?


Our specialist cruise consultant Billie told us: “My favourite way to relax is just to head to the spa! If you go whilst the ship is in port you’ll often get a huge amount of discount. The best spa I’ve ever seen is definitely Celebrity’s Canyon Ranch Spa with its Persian Gardens and relaxation room.”  You can find out more about Billie’s views on cruising here.


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The Kids Will Have The Time Of Their Lives

We all know that kids love to run off and have fun. Perhaps you thought that your kids would like your cruise but maybe expected them to get bored halfway through once they run out of things to do? Well that’s definitely not going to be the case!

Between high action activities like learning how to surf on the Flowriders on Royal Caribbean, playing in the splash parks on MSC ships or taking part in kids’ club activities in P&O’s “The Reef”, your children won’t have time to be bored. Almost all the major cruise lines cater for children and have plenty for them to do on-board. You may well find you barely see them on your holiday at all!


Our specialist cruise consultant David told us: “My favourite cruise line for families has to be Royal Caribbean. Ships with water slides, games and activity centres also tick all the boxes.” You can check out his blog here or watch David tour the kids club himself below!



It’s Better Than Land Holidays

Once you’ve tried cruising, you just won’t want to go back to land holidays again! That’s because there’s simply so much included in what you’ve paid for. You could try a sky diving simulator on Royal Caribbean, play games on the lawn in the Lawn Club on Celebrity cruises or head for the skies as you walk along a sky-high ropes course on Norwegian Cruise Line. Want to know exactly what else makes a cruise better than a land holiday? You can read our article about this here!


Our specialist cruise consultant Lesley recently had an experience which made her realise cruise holidays are far superior to land holidays… You can read all about what happened by reading her blog here!



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Cruising Doesn’t Have To Mean The Sea!

Riving cruise is becoming ever more popular and the incredible itineraries mean it’s easier than ever to try your hand at sailing rivers instead of seas.

Those who have never been on a river cruise before might worry that it will be boring in comparison to ocean cruising because the ship is so much smaller. But you couldn’t be more wrong! Whilst small, your ship will still have plenty of entertainment and you’ll be docked right in the heart of the location you’re travelling to. For example, when sailing through Amsterdam you may only be a ten-minute walk from all the shops and nightlife! You wouldn’t get that on an ocean cruise now would you…


Our specialist cruise consultant Jill told us: “I’ve always loved river cruising, it’s my favourite way to travel! You aren’t even confined to European waterways either as you could even travel along the Mekong on a once in a lifetime trip like I did!” You can read more about Jill’s incredible journey through Cambodia and Vietnam here.


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It’ll Change What You Thought About Food On Ships

Cruising has changed so much in the last twenty years and one of the main changes has been the food! Cruise lines have got more and more competitive with their food offerings and rightly so, because it’s one of the main parts of your holiday after all.

Nowadays you won’t just find a few offerings in the buffet and a waiter offering you peas in the main dining restaurant… you’ll be taken on a culinary journey! Tuck into succulent lobster on Princess, try a variety of fresh seafood on Seabourn or eat world class meals prepared in partnership with Relais and Chateaux on Oceania.


Our specialist cruise consultant Janet told us: “My favourite food on a cruise has been when I ate at Jamie’s Italian – what can I say?  It was fabulous!  I love Italian food at the best of times but this was well worth the additional charge.  Although we didn’t order every course, there was still a huge amount of food, certainly more than we could manage in one sitting!” Find out more about Janet here!


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You’ll Discover Hidden Talents

There are so many enrichment activities available at sea that you won’t quite know which one to sign up to! You could be learning how to salsa with a Strictly Come Dancing instructor on P&O, whipping up your first soufflé in the Culinary Arts Centre on Holland America or stargazing on Cunard. You never know, you could find a hidden talent or even a new life long hobby!

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So there you have it! Have we missed anything? Is there anything you’ve learnt since you’ve been cruising that’s surprised you? Let us know in the comments below…