New to Cruise? We've got some top cruise tips for you.
Think that cruising’s not for you? You may be surprised! If you’ve never cruised before, then maybe you have a few preconceptions about this kind of holiday – but cruising has changed a huge amount over the last few years. So here's a few cruise tips that'll help you decide.
Not only is it an unforgettable and truly unique way to travel, but it can also be a very cost effective option too. There’s a cruise line and ship to suit every kind of traveller and every age group these days, though if you haven’t cruised before, the seemingly never-ending range of cruise lines and ships can seem a bit daunting. Here are our top tips, which we hope will answer some of the questions you may have about cruising. And of course, Cruise Direct’s ever - helpful cruise consultants are just at the end of the phone if you’d like to take advantage of their expertise.
What should I pack?
Essentials that will make your voyage go more swimmingly include adaptors for electrical goods (Cruise Direct’s cruise consultants can advise you on which ships require which adaptors), currency to spend on souvenirs from any shore excursions you plan to take, sun lotion, a camera for those all-important snaps of your amazing holiday, and it’s always wise to take an umbrella too, just in case the sun doesn’t shine in every port!
Consider taking a small backpack or tote bag which is useful for carrying items such as sunscreen and water bottles when you’re on the ship or on an excursion. Any medication that you will require should of course be part of your packing ritual, and while basic toiletries will be available in your cabin, you may prefer to take your own. And remember, on a cruise, you need only to unpack once - an added bonus!
What do I wear on a cruise?
What you wear on board will very much depend upon which cruise line, ship and time of year you choose. Some cruise lines are more formal than others, and on these you will find that dressing up for dinner, for example, is all part of the cruise experience. On others, you don’t have to get dressed up at all if you don’t want to.
A variety of different kinds of clothes, including smart, casual, swimwear, and a wrap, jumper or cardigan for evenings, are recommended, especially if your itinerary takes in a number of ports. Cruise excursions may involve some walking, and so comfortable shoes are a must.
Of course, our cruise specialists will be able to advise you on a cruise type to suit your requirements, but in general, we would suggest that you wear whatever you are most comfortable in. The majority of cruise lines these days offer a huge variety of dining and entertainment options to suit all kinds of holidaymakers. Speak to our cruise experts about the options available on your first cruise.
Do I tip onboard?
It is customary, as in most restaurants or bars, to tip when you receive good service on your cruise. You can, however, pre-pay your gratuities prior to the cruise, and on occasion this may be given on a complimentary basis by the cruise company as part of your cruise offer.
What's included in my cruise?
If you have never cruised before, then you may be surprised at how much is already included in the cost! As well as your accommodation on board and the cruise itself, meals in the main restaurants on the ship are included too, although you may also have the choice of paying a small charge to use speciality dining options. Most entertainment and many activities are available for you to enjoy as part of your cruise cost, and these can include West-End style shows in the ship’s theatre, films, gym facilities and swimming pool.
Additional services and facilities may be used for an additional charge. The cruise experts at Cruise Direct will be happy to provide the relevant information on exactly what is included in your cruise price.
Are cruises suitable for children?
Yes! More and more cruise companies offer myriad facilities for kids of all ages on board their ships these days. Some are completely family-friendly with kids clubs, TV characters, water parks, ice rinks, bowling alleys, children’s entertainment and a whole lot more available. As Cruise Direct’s cruise consultants to guide you as to which ships are most suited to families.
Are cruises suitable for single travellers?
Absolutely. The variety of itineraries, and the accommodation, dining, entertainment, on board activity and shore excursion options provide endless enjoyment for those travelling on their own. Cruise ships are generally friendly places and you will be able to make new friends if you wish. Cruise ship employees are well-versed in delivering exceptional service which makes all guests feel extremely welcome throughout their cruise.
Cruise lines may charge a single supplement fee. Speak to Cruise Direct’s experts about your first cruise, and they will advise you of any additional supplement charges.
What accommodation options are available?
The most common accommodation options on cruise ships are:
- Inside Cabin - Normally be the most cost-effective accommodation option, inside cabins are situated in the interior of the ship, and therefore usually do not have a porthole or window. They do, however, provide all the amenities of other cabins, so that you can be sure of a comfortable stay during your first cruise.
- Outside Cabin - These cabins are priced slightly higher than inside cabins, as they offer a window which allows you to drink in fantastic views as you sail along.
- Balcony Cabin – Enjoy your own outside space, thanks to your own private balcony! Take in the breath-taking views at sea or in port. Again, these have a slightly higher price-point, but are generally also more generously sized.
- Suites – Some vessels may offer Suite accommodation. This is a premium accommodation type and therefore command a premium price, but most suites will offer a private balcony as well as an additional seating area for guests to enjoy a more comfortable, spacious experience. Some cruise companies will also offer additional benefits for customers paying for suites, including priority embarkation, luggage check-in, deluxe amenities, separate pool areas, and much more.
What is Onboard Spend? And what can I spend it on?
Onboard Spend is a credit which is applied to your on-board account by the cruise line, and this can be used on board the ship only for the duration of your cruise. It can be used to buy drinks, spa treatments, shore excursions, internet connectivity, used in on board shops, or simply put towards your overall final bill at the end of the cruise.
It cannot be used to purchase Duty Free Alcohol, Tobacco or in the casino for gambling purposes.
Where can I go on my cruise?
It’s possible to cruise in almost every corner of the globe, from the Arctic to the Far East and from South America to a tour of the British Isles! The UK itself has a variety of departures from its ports, with itineraries taking in areas such as the Baltic, the Norwegian Fjords, The Canary Islands and the Mediterranean, so you don’t even need to fly to get to your departure port.
If cruising for your is all about stretching your wings, then the world really is your oyster, with choices which include Fly & Cruise and Stay & Cruise. These itineraries include flights from the UK to an airport near your first port of call. The options are endless. Jet off to Miami to start your cruise around the tropical islands of the Caribbean, land in Dubai to start your adventure round the Middle East or India, embark your cruise in Singapore to discover the Far East, head Down Under to explore Australasia, or fly to Vancouver to begin the cruise of a lifetime to stunning Alaska.
Will I get bored on a cruise?
Cruise companies go to great lengths to ensure that they have facilities and activities which appeal to all ages and all types of travellers. Whether you’d like to try a climbing wall on board your ship, work out at the gym, roll the dice in the casino, dance the night away at the nightclub, learn more about wine, buy a work of art at an auction, or are happy just chilling out at the spa, reading a book in the library or sun bathing on deck, there really is more than enough to keep you occupied throughout your stay.
Will I get sea sickness on a cruise?
Modern ships are fitted with stabilisers, so sea sickness is not as much of an issue as it may once have been. The majority of people who cruise do not suffer any motion sickness at all, but if you are prone to motion sickness, it may take time to adjust being on the ship. Talk to your pharmacist about medication which may help prior to the cruise.
When on board, we recommend getting out on deck. Seeing the horizon will help, as will booking a cabin with a porthole or window in the middle of the vessel, and booking a cruise with an itinerary that is mainly land-based rather than including many days at sea. Motion sickness generally disappears within a few days as you acclimatise.
Is the star rating of a ship the same as a hotel?
While cruise ships don’t have star ratings as such, each cruise line grades its vessel, and may have different classes of ship in its fleet. Cruise Direct’s expert cruise consultants will be able to explain the different standards so that you find one that fits your needs and budget.
Can I smoke on board?
Most ships have designated smoking areas on the right hand side of the ship (also known as the star board side), while some do not allow smoking at all. We will be happy to check the smoking policy on board for you to enable you to make an informed decision.
Please note that smoking is not allowed in any cabins on any cruise line, and is not permitted on any balconies or suites, due to the risk of fire.
So that's a few cruise tips for you and we hoped that cleared up a few of your preconceptions. A cruise holiday is the perfect way to take in new and interesting places while you enjoy all the activities and facilities on board your floating resort. Choose to cruise on your next holiday!
- 21st August 2015
- Louise Hopper