Cruising is proving more popular than ever before and plenty of cruisers set to sail this year will never have been on a ship before.
For those lucky passengers who are about to embark on their first voyage, we reached out to our cruise community to find out what advice first timers desperately needed and how they could make the most of their maiden sailing.
Read on to find out exactly what the seasoned cruisers behind our cruise community advised – and ignore their warnings at your own peril…
Make Sure You Know What You Want
People who have never cruised before often assume that every ship is the same… And that couldn’t be further from the truth!
Annie from Glasgow reminded us that you should think about whether or not you want to experience formal nights on your cruise. You can choose whether to enjoy the full tuxedo, James Bond style experience or else go for a cruise line who have a very relaxed dress code. The choice is yours, but make sure you have a look at your chosen line’s dress code before you book! (And you can do so here…)
Another cruiser told us: “Find a ship that suits your needs, especially if children are going.” You can do this by looking at guides of which cruise lines are the most child friendly (here), reading more about the different cruise lines (here) or speaking to one of our specialist cruise consultants (here)!
Whether you want something quiet, a ship with lots of activities or an adult only environment, there will be a ship for you.
Put Simply: Research, Research, Research
Duncan from Falkirk said: “I’ve spoken to a few people who have had a bad cruise experience, and some of the things they didn’t like (formal dress, dining options, activities) they could have known about before booking.”
So our cruise community’s main piece of advice? “Research, research, research.”
Our own website has plenty of information about all of the different cruise lines or one of our specialist cruise consultants can help you.
Top Tip: Ilovesunshine from East Yorkshire told us: “I would say if price is a consideration, go for a lower grade cabin on a better ship rather than the other way round.”
It’s easy to avoid stress on your cruise – all you need to do is do a bit of planning beforehand!
If you’re worried about what you will do in your different ports of call, simply ask yourself the key questions and get researching.
As Duncan explained: “Researching ports while on the ship can be impossible or expensive, and some activities, tours, etc. may fill up in advance. Have a look at each port and decide what you’d like to do in the vicinity. Can you do it yourself? What’s public transport like? How much would a taxi cost? These are all questions you can ask yourself well in advance. If you sort out your itinerary before you sail, you’ll have a stress-free time and nothing to worry about!”
We think this is pretty sound advice!
Seconding this, Alandrover from Beccles said: “Go with the mind set of enjoying yourself, don’t worry about every little imperfection and relax.”
Try Something New
Many new passengers will be aware of the different things you can do on-board, but perhaps be a little reluctant to try them!
Our cruise community advised that new passengers should try new activities during their holiday. Whether it’s learning how to fence, taking dance lessons or trying a cooking class, you’ll be amazed at what you can learn.
Guy from Ormskirk told us: “I would say go with an open mind and maybe try things on a ship that you wouldn’t do at home. I learnt to paint, can do a nifty line dance, and use a fencing foil!”
You’ll come back from your cruise tanned, rested – with a new skill to boot!
When In Port
For those that have never cruised before, docking and shore excursions can be a bit of a mystery.
A cruiser from Larne told us to look out for advice given to you by cruise lines in the on-board newsletters. They’ll tell you exactly what time you need to be back on the ship, as well as often giving you some handy phrases and greetings in the language of the country you’re visiting!
Another piece of advice we heard was that cruise lines will give you maps of your port, but you will also be able to take leaflets from locals waiting around in port. They’ll often give you vouchers or offer you alternative tours, restaurants and bars to those recommended by your line so that you can spend an interesting day in port, doing something a little different! (Just remember that whatever you decide to do, you get back to the port in plenty of time to board your ship! It won’t wait for you…)
Remember that you are going on a cruise! Now this sounds like an obvious one, but many passengers who have never cruised before forget that they will be sailing. Whilst ship stabilisers these days are so effective you are very unlikely to get sea sick, there are other issues you need to remember…
Jocap from Cumbria told us: “We met a couple on their first cruise; he had an artificial leg, and a dodgy knee cap. Because of the ship’s natural movement through the waves, he could hardly get around at all. They said they’d forgotten that a ship moves.”
In fact, it is often these unaware cruisers who make complaints because they haven’t researched their cruise properly. You can read some of the funniest complaints we’ve heard here!
Cooke from Ashby joked that first time cruisers should know… “Be aware that sea air shrinks your clothes! I take first week clothes and second week clothes.”
And lastly, Val from Wolverhampton advised first time cruisers should… “Join this forum and seek advice, there is such a wealth of information to be found here.” Wise advice Val!
You can read more tips about cruising for the first time here.
If you want to read more advice from our cruise community about cruising for the first time, you can browse it here!
So there you have it!
Do you agree with all of these tips? Are there any you think our cruise community have missed?
Let us know in the comments below.