Cruising vacations are a great way to explore the world and experience a unique and luxurious vacation. But for first-time cruisers, there are a lot of things to consider before setting sail. From packing the right clothes to understanding the rules and regulations of the cruise line, it can be overwhelming. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to make your first cruise vacation a success.
One of the most important things to consider when planning a cruise vacation is what to bring onboard. Many first-time cruisers assume they can't bring their own beverages onboard a ship, but many lines will allow it. It's best to check your itinerary before you start packing to find out what is allowed. Additionally, if you're planning on attending formal nights, it's important to know what type of attire is expected.
Schedules and guidelines for formal nights vary by cruise line (and even by cruise line), so it's best to check your itinerary before you start packing. When it comes to dining, most cruise lines offer two options: traditional dining or flexible dining. Traditional dining requires you to choose between eating early (around 6 in the afternoon) or late (around 8 in the afternoon) during the cruise. Flexible dining allows you to choose when and where you want to eat each night. Carnival, for example, is mostly a casual evening cruise dress code, with the occasional Cruise Elegant nights where you have the opportunity to dress as much as you want. Cruise lines also often offer prepaid tips, beverage packages and onboard credits as incentives to book during certain times of the year (especially from January to March), which can result in significant savings in the total cost of the cruise.
The modern cruise ships have made health and wellness a central part of the cruise experience, with larger gyms and more fitness classes than ever before. Finally, it's important to be aware of potential hidden costs that can add up quickly on a cruise vacation. Some of the most important cruise ship horror stories you'll find on the Internet are stories of cruise ship newbies who accumulated thousands of dollars in mobile phone charges while on ships. Additionally, a few glasses of wine here and a cocktail there can take a big toll at the end of your cruise vacation.