If you are planning your first cruise holiday, you may wish to read up on the sizes of ships

Cruise tips will help you the very best of cruising, particularly if it is your first time cruising. Firstly you will need to think about the time of year you want to go.  Then consider the style of cruise that, you wish to experience.

Once you have chosen your cruise, here are some tips to consider for your first time on a cruise holiday. A cruise holiday is a little different to a hotel stay, but if you follow some of the guidelines below your first time cruise experience will pass by without any surprises or disappointments.

large cruise shipsCheck out also some of the online cruise forums where agents and previous cruise customers give their tips on the best cabins on board the various ships, suggest tours to avoid or cheaper ways to take a tour. Research is always best for a first time cruise holiday and make sure you plan what trips you wish to do before you get onto the ship, as some of the popular trips can sell out quickly.

Passports, Visas, Inoculations

Make sure you check your passport is valid for all the destinations you will be visiting and check to see if you will require a visa for any of the countries. Make a call to your doctor’s surgery and check that all your inoculations are up to date. Some cruise itineraries will include visas if you book the cruiselines excursions. However if you want to go alone you will need to make sure you have your visas for entry to the country.

Cruise packing tipsChoosing your Cabin

When you choose your cabin you need to consider which category of cabin you would like. Below is a rough guideline as to the cabins available:

Inside Cabin – Entry-level category of an inside cabin which will have no window. However cruise lines are getting more creative with these rooms and adding large mirrors on the rear wall of the cabin to create a more spacious feel.

Inside Cabin with atrium view. Some ships have these which are inside the ship, but with a window with a view of the atrium and more often the shopping malls of the Ultra-large ships.

inside cruise cabinOutside cabin Port hole– This will give you a window to look out but it won’t open! A good solution if you need to see out and your budget doesn’t stretch to a balcony. Cruiselines are getting creative with these rooms so don’t assume all ocean view cabins are the same on every cruise ship.

Ocean view cruise cabinOutside Cabin Balcony – These cabins come with your own private balcony and offer full views or in the lower category can have restricted views.

Suites – These tend to be large with a separate living room and some of the luxury ships will include a butler. Some ships automatically have balconies with their suites, but it is not always guaranteed. Again watch out for this emerging market with cruise lines competing for the most luxurious suites onboard their ships. Be prepared to be amazed at the sheer luxury of these cabins! Even on the large family ships such as Oasis of the seas Royal Caribbean Royal Loft Suite. At 1524 square feet its a large cabin that sits at the back of the ship on deck 17. Sleeping 6 and at a cost of just under £10k per person it could be one for a special family celebration.

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Meal Time Requirements

Remember to book your preferred seating for meals and the size of table you wish to join each meal time. Normally the choice will be tables of 2, 4, 6, 10 or with some of the new cruise ships you can book anytime dining where you choose when and where to eat each evening.

Cruise ship foodShore Excursions

It is always best to check which shore excursions are on offer and to book the ones that you really want to do in advance. The popular ones can get booked up quickly so it is best to book your space as soon as possible. Keep in mind if you organise your own excursion then you are responsible for getting back to the ship on time. Cruise ships do not wait for anyone, they sail when their time is to sail on their itinerary.

River cruise alternative City BreakLuggage

The cruise company will provide you with baggage tags and instructions of what to do with your luggage on arrival to the ship. There is normally no limit on the amount of luggage or weight of your bags. However, if you are doing a fly-cruise you will have to consider the airline’s baggage allowance and adhere to this to avoid any excess baggage charges. Also, keep in mind the size of the cabin you have booked and where you will store your empty suitcases.

packing for cruise holiday tipsPacking for your Cruise

Daytime on your cruise ship and when off on shore visits will often be smart casual and you should consider your cruise itinerary for what items of clothing you will need.  In the evenings most ships are more informal these days so again smart casual is adequate for most itineraries. On the more formal ships, there will normally be a couple of formal evenings which will require evening dress for ladies and black tie for men, however, some ships will accept a smart suit. Consider reading our cruise packing tips

formal cruise dressesYour cabins normally will provide a bathrobe and towels so no need to pack these and most cruise liners will offer a next day laundry service.  Always pack walking shoes for shore events and dress shoes for your formal evenings.

Tipping on Board

Tipping is optional although some cruise lines allow you to prepay for your “Gratuities” On the luxury liners the tips are included in the cost of the cruise fare and are not required on board. A guide to tipping is £2 for your waiter, £2 for your cabin attendant and £1 for any assistants. You can also just put an amount of money in an envelope to be split by all the staff.

Drinks on American cruise ships will have an additional 15% and on European ships 10% as a rule. Guides for the shore tours will often expect a tip of roughly 5% of the cost of the tour and the baggage attendants on shore normally receive a dollar or euro tip per bag.

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Smoking on Board cruise ships

There are normally designated areas for smoking and most ships do not allow smoking in the dining rooms. However, beware as some European ships do not police the non-smoking rules and you can find on some of the predominantly Italian ships a lot of smoking passengers.

So after reading all this and you think cruising is for you, give us a call 01256 536020 or how about checking out some of our cruise offers online