We had such a hard time picturing what a cruise would be like before our first cruise with our family. That’s actually one of the things that prompted us to start this website!
Here are some or our best tips to help you if you are preparing for a cruise:
For cruise ports, we recommend looking at Trip Advisor to help you get an idea of what you want to do in each destination. If your planned activity is close to the cruise port, you can save a lot of money by skipping the formal excursions and finding a taxi or public bus from the port to take you where you want to go.
This is a great way to interact with the locals and get a taste of real life there. It’s also really nice to have the the flexibility to do what you want in each destination and be on your own timetable.
What to Bring Along
We highly recommend that you bring an air freshener for your room. We saw this suggestion during our research before our trip and brought along my favorite scent, a Coconut Lemongrass spray. Not only did it help to keep our small room/bathroom fresh and inviting, but when we use it at home now it still reminds us of our awesome vacation that was over three years ago!
If you have a child in diapers, bring enough diapers for your whole trip! Most ships don’t sell diapers on board, so you’ll want to have what you need.
Also make sure to bring something for motion sickness in case you or someone you are traveling with gets seasick. My Sea-Bands really helped lessen my nausea, and the motion sickness pills we brought along helped my husband. The ship may have some medicines available to purchase, but there are no guarantees that they will have what you want so it’s better to be prepared!
If everyone in your group has a cell phone, your ship may offer ship WiFi that allows you to text members of your party while on board so you can keep in touch from different parts of the ship. But if you have kids without a cell phone that you will allow to roam the ship without you, consider bringing along a pair of walkie talkies so you can stay in touch. Our kids loved having the freedom to explore the ship, and we loved that we could check in with them.
If there is any chance you may need feminine hygiene supplies, make sure to pack them and bring them with you. Many ships don’t sell them, and your options in ports may be very limited.
A lot of people like to have a simple lanyard to keep their cruise pass in while they are on the ship or out at ports.
In our experience, and on all other cruise lines that I researched, you won’t need to pack any towels for your excursions since your ship will have beach towels for you to use.
We recommend that you request “Your Time Dining” if available so you can be flexible with your eating time. We really liked being able to eat whenever we wanted rather than being tied to a certain time each night.
All cruise lines that I researched have at least one doctor on board to provide medical care for a flat fee. There is also a limited pharmacy that may be able to fill prescriptions for basic medicines. Of course, if you know you will need a particular medication while on the ship, make sure to bring it with you since the pharmacy on board has limited stock on hand.
Did we miss anything? What else do you think first-time cruisers will want to know?
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