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First Time Cruisers

If you are a first time cruiser you are in for a treat! Cruising can be a great experience provided you are aware of certain things and know how to get the most out of the experience.

If you are flying or driving, I recommend getting to the city where you will board the ship the day before you sail. This will prevent you from running to the ship at the last minute, hoping it is still there, should you have any problems with flight delays, lost luggage, traffic back-ups, etc. This will allow you to rest from your travel and give you ample time to get to the ship on the day it departs. Avoid getting to the ship at the earliest time allowed or at the last minute. Getting there in the middle of the hours designated to check in sometimes reduces the time you have to stand in line to check in.

Be aware of what the cost of the cruise includes and what it does not include. Normally (there are exceptions) the cost of the cruise includes your lodging on the cruise ship, all your meals, port charges, and transfers between the airport and the cruise ship (if you arrange transfers through the cruise line). Things that are usually not included in the price of your cruise are sodas, alcoholic beverages, spa services, shore excursions, tips for services rendered, and any items you purchase while on the ship. The material you receive from the cruise line should spell out what is covered in the cost of the cruise and what is not. If you are ever in doubt ? ask!

Tipping on cruise ships is expected and there should be some guidelines on suggested amounts in the material you receive from the cruise line. Generally, the people you tip are your cabin steward, your waiters/waitresses, and the maitre 'd. After all, they do take good care of you!

Cruising is all about choices ? your choices. If you want to dress for meals and eat in the formal dining room, you can. Or, you can dress down and eat in the informal caf? that most cruise ships have. In the evening, a choice of activities awaits you - a show, some gambling, or karaoke in the lounge. When the ship arrives at different ports you can get off and explore or stay on the ship and lounge by the pool. If you are traveling in a group, there's something for everyone.

If you've never cruised before ? go ahead, give it a try! You'll be glad you did!

Sherry Otto
Specializing in fun Caribbean vacations! Also offering travel tips, hot spots, and information about romantic vacations, beach vacations, sailing vacations, golf vacations, shopping vacations, and Caribbean cruises.

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