With so many cruise lines available these days, travelers can cruise almost anywhere across the world. Cruise is one of the best means of communication to get the best sailaway view in a short period of time. And if you’re a first time cruiser it is always exciting and overwhelming. However, your entire idea of cruising could be daunting if you remain unaware of a few important factors before you start your cruise voyage planning.

Your guidance as a first time cruiser…

Choosing the right ship for you

With countless cruise lines and ships available, it will be little challenging to understand the difference. The immediate important thing is to question yourself as – what do you want? Do you want to relax? Do you want to explore new destinations or try new activities? Are you going with your friends or family? All these factors are important especially while choosing a cruise ship.

You may find three types of ships that offer their individual services – luxury ships that offer lavish ambience, larger ships that focus mainly on selected destination, and smaller ships that are more port focused. Please note that smaller ships will take you to unique destinations and larger ships tend to focus on few major stops and visit larger ports. This is a common trend within the cruising industry.

Opt for the right itinerary

Deciding on the itinerary goes hand in hand with choosing the right cruise line. If your heart is set on an exotic voyage, you have got to pick a ship that offers those particular itinerary. However, draw a list of the things you want to do and where you want to go and then cross reference it with the preferred cruise lines. Don’t pick up an itinerary just because it is cheap. Instead spend some time for reviewing the itineraries listed by different cruise ship websites. It is best to think about your vacation style and then pick a voyage that has a similar profile.

Planning before, during and after the cruise

Things to consider before your cruise

  • Thoroughly research the destinations and plan a list of excursion the cruise line offers
  • Do not ignore your emails from the cruise line. Take a print out of everything you receive as you might need them all later
  • Do not forget your passport, visas, onboard tickets and confirmation
  • Pack your luggage according to your plan and ship events. There is likely to be a formal evening, so do not miss out on packing an evening gown or suit for the event

Things to consider during your cruise

  • Make sure that your onboard account is ready. You’ll be given a card that encompasses your entry to the ship, room keys, and onboard charges. If you want you can link it to your credit card and make the payment in cash throughout the cruise
  • Be sure to attend the port talks as that gives you the details of the land, cabs, ATMs, souvenir options and important sights. You may also find host experts conducting lectures on topics of your interests during your cruising. This is a best way to learn more and meet your fellow passengers
  • Do not miss out on what is going on around the ship. Every day take a look at the schedule and ensure that you do not miss anything interesting. Packing a highlighter is always a better option
  • Today’s ships feature different technologies to make sure your journey is smooth. So if you’re prone to motion sickness, be prepared to handle such situations
  • Ensure that the chosen cruise ship typically consists of a physician and a nurse to take care of temporary illness and accidents.
  • Wake up early and get off the ship to make the most of the port and your exploration.

Things to consider after your cruise

Ensure that whatever you had carried on the cruise ship is still with you at the end of the trip. Take responsibility of your own belongings.

Make provision to stay in touch with your friends and family

Make sure that you leave the name of your ship, your itinerary and the ship’s phone number to your friends and family. You can also use the cruise ship’s phone service and wifi for internet facility to stay in touch with your family.

Check proper provision for baby

If you’re travelling with your baby, make sure that your cruise line offers in-cabin baby-sitting. Check your cruise ship policies along with the group baby-sitting options. Also make sure that your cabin is cleaned especially when you have children with you.

Each cruise line is different, so it is important to do a bit of research or talk to a travel agent to find out the details of your cruise ship and it’s itineraries before you plan your trip.

Matthew Naylor, the owner of Parking4Cruises, has years of experience working in the travel industry. He shares an active interest in writing and blogging, especially about the niche he works in, the travel sector. He offers his ideas, tips and suggestions for travellers planning a cruise or flight from Southampton to regional, national and international destinations.

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