A cruise vacation offers the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and enjoy multiple cities all from the comfort of a giant floating hotel. Being on a cruise means you only need to unpack once and then enjoy yourself as you are catered on by the incredibly accommodating staff and crew. But for those who have never been on a cruise, it might be daunting as you might not know what to expect. Here are a few guidelines to help make your first cruise an experience you will never forget.
The first thing that should be done when booking a cruise is to do your research. Find out everything you can about the cruise ship before you make a payment. Find out if the cruise is age specific, gender specific or any other specialized cruise that you might not enjoy. Booking a cruise for your family to only find out you booked it on a spring break cruise can turn out to be an experience that will leave a sour taste in your mouths. Finding the right cruise for your needs is very important as the right crowd can make or break your vacation.
A major focus of your research should be the dining and sleeping accommodations available on the ship. When it comes to sleeping accommodations, cruise ships can offer a multitude of options. The most basic option being an inside stateroom, which is the most economical choice as it offers a cozy sleeping area with no windows or view of the ocean. Be aware when booking an inside room if any of your traveling party is susceptible to claustrophobia. The next option after an inside stateroom is an outside stateroom, which does have a window, but my not have the best of views.
After that you can upgrade to an outside room with a verandah or balcony, which offers great ocean views and a feeling of intimacy on your own private balcony. Cruise lines also offer suites and mini-suites, which usually include a queen or king sized bed, separate seating area and a private balcony. Be aware of some mini-suites as they can just be a stateroom with a balcony and might not be worth the extra expenses. You can’t go wrong with any of these styles, as the only use of the room is for sleeping and changing clothes. Most of your time on the ship will spent elsewhere.
Expect any room that you book to be smaller than a hotel room, but don’t be discouraged by this. Cruise ships have evolved quite a bit in recent years and the staterooms feature well thought out storage options, meaning you can fit all your stuff inside your room with plenty of space to spare. If you are a person that gets sea sick, don’t be turned off by a cruise vacation. Technology has developed on the ships that reduce the motion of the ocean. You can also book a room in the center of the ship, closest to the ocean will tend to notice the movements of the ship the least.
When it comes to dining options onboard, make sure to do your homework. Some ships only offer a strict dining plan, where you are assigned a specific table and dining time for the duration of your cruise. This can sometimes be inconvenient, so some cruise lines have adapted their dining options to be more flexible. Often times there are multiple restaurants and cafes on board which allow you to mix it up during your cruise.
Another helpful hint for first time cruisers is to be aware of the “cruise time.” This is more important for international cruises that cross different time zones. In this case the ship will adhere to a set time zone so that cruisers aren’t constantly changing the time on their watches and not missing meal and show times. Find out the time that the ship will stick to so that you will not be missing out on any fun activities because you had the wrong time. Also it is a good idea to bring a small travel alarm clock as most staterooms do not feature an alarm clock.
Studying the ship’s layout and design is a good idea before you board as ships these days can be quite large. Boarding an unfamiliar ship can often be intimidating so if you are prepared and know what to expect you can alleviate these worries.
Don’t let the unknowns of cruising shy you away from this awesome vacation option. Any experienced cruiser will tell you that cruising is addicting after your first journey through the seas. Let the cruise experts at Destination Oceans help you plan and save money on your cruise through Europe.