If you’ve never been on a cruise holiday on a mega-ship, then prepare to be in awe of their size. They are colossal! When cruise ships are compared to floating cities, it’s these vessels that people are talking about. Mega-ships often have the capacity for around 5,000 guests, alongside 2,000 crew, and many of them are over 1,000ft in length.
All this space has been used effectively to offer as many different features and activities as possible, but it can leave your head spinning if you’re not prepared. To help, we’ve put together our top tips for making the most of a cruise on a mega-ship.
If you’ve been on any type of cruise before, you’ll know that when you board the ship, sometimes you won’t see your suitcase or be able to check into your room for hours. Use this time wisely by packing a carry-on that will allow you to make the most of this time while other guests are still finding their feet.
For example, have your swimsuit and sun cream with you, so you can enjoy time by the pool, or have a pair of trainers and sportswear in a bag ready so you can use the gym, climbing wall or go-karts or enjoy other action-packed activities.
Get knowledgeable on navigation
Don’t underestimate quite how immense or disorientating mega-ships can be. It can be easy to lose track of where you are with multiple floors, decks, and neighbourhoods. Fortunately, there are some tricks to help you find your way.
Firstly, do your homework. Most cruise lines publish deck plans, virtual tours and photo galleries online, so you can get an idea of the layout before even stepping on board. Make a note of key landmarks and main routes to get you started.
Onboard, usually, you’ll find deck plans near stairways and lifts and sometimes helpful colour-coded arrows and signs along corridors. Mega-ships are also often split into different neighbourhoods, each with distinct décor. In these, similar activities or features are grouped together or share a specific theme, such as a family-fun zone, a quiet, relaxation space, or an area for dining.
Ships, such as Royal Caribbean’s Quantum- and Oasis-class or Princess Cruises’ Regal Princess, also have digital technology to help you get around. By scanning your cruise card or wristband on a Wayfinder screen, you can identify your location.
Book, book, book
No, this time, we’re not referring to reading by the pool. Although you may want to chill out and go with the flow on your time off, to make the most of your cruise experience, it’s essential to plan what you want to do and book your slots.
Whether it’s a table at a tempting speciality dining restaurant, a seat at a show or a treatment in the spa, with so many people on board, not reserving could mean missing out. Also, don’t assume that you don’t need to book because you have certain things included in your fare. The crew still need to know when you’re coming and won’t automatically reserve a space for you.
Happily, these days you don’t need to waste time in queues making reservations in person. Nearly all cruise lines offer a free-to-use app, where you can make bookings and add them to your personal timetable.
Make your sea days count
When your ship is at sea for the day, everyone will want to enjoy the facilities and activities on offer. To make the most of this time, you need to plan beforehand. Decide what you want to do in advance of your sea days, check the ship’s timetable to work out what’s on offer and when, and book slots where required. Remember, some ships maximise their space by using an area for more than one purpose, so they may not always offer the experience you want to do at the time you’re hoping to do it.
When the sea day arrives, pack a bag for the day with everything you need in it to avoid wasting valuable time going back and forth to your cabin. These trips can easily take up large chunks of your day on a mega-ship.
To see or not to see
If a port destination does not hugely inspire you, it may be worth using this time on the ship. Most guests will be off exploring on land, meaning increased availability for the ship’s restaurants, spas and activities, and plenty of sun loungers free on the deck. Many cruise lines also offer discounts on things such as spa treatments, gym classes and activities during port days, saving you money too!
With so much to see and do on mega-ships, the key to making the most of your cruise holiday is planning. Work out what you want to do, where it is and when you can go in advance, and you’ll be sure to have the most incredible time while onboard.
To book a mega-ship cruise holiday, please contact our cruise specialists.// END - About the Author ?>