Thursday, February 2, 2017

Travel Tips for First Time Cruisers

Cruises have become one of my favorite ways to vacation. You get to experience life at sea with a beautiful giant ship, consume delicious food, enjoy amazing shows and entertainment all aboard this melting pot of people and culture. My husband and I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise to St. Martin, Puerto Rico and Haiti for our honeymoon and it was incredible.  

This was my very first time going cruising and since I love making lists and taking notes on everything I do (ha) I decided to give you a quick guide to the things you should expect on your upcoming cruise! 

DISCONNECT --- There's a reason I put it first. Unless your job and your life depends on it, disconnect from the world, the internet and your phone. There are too many people that are so attached to their phone that life would seemingly end if they were away from it. Don't be that person. Focus on the here and now and be in the moment. It does the body and your mind good. (Disclaimer: They do have internet packages that you can buy on board for a certain cost each day. They have surfing internet packages plus surfing and streaming internet packages)

KEEP IT CLEAN --- You're on a boat with hundreds of adults and kids. The number one rule that we were given is to wash our hands often. Keep things sanitary and keep things safe by protecting yourself from germs and spreading them to others. They keep hand sanitizer dispensers all over the boat so when you see it, grab some and disinfect!

FIND YOUR WATER SOURCE --- There are a few things that are not easy to find on cruise ships and one of them, is water. Strange right? There are very few drinking fountains around and they actually don't even allow you to refill your water bottle (It has to do with the sanitation, see above) Locate those fountains or drink dispensers so you know where to hydrate!

BE KIND & TIP WHEN NECESSARY --- Always be kind. These people work insane hours and are paid minimum. They work very hard to please thousands of people every day. If you feel like they treated you well, then tell them and show them. My husband is a very generous person (one of the many things I love about him) and he knows how important it is to take care of the people that take care of us.

BOOK SHOWS IN ADVANCE --- Cruise ships will have headlining shows and entertainment that you can book ahead of time. My advice is to book ahead! When you book shows in advance, you are guaranteed a spot close to the front and are allowed to enter first. You are able to get into shows without a reservation, but you'll probably end up in the nosebleed section, or just not very good seats. That's one reason to book shows before you get there!

KEEP A SCHEDULE --- There are so many things to do on cruise ships. There are boutiques, stores, bars, restaurants, shows, plays, recreational activities, competitions and so much more. Every morning you are given a schedule of events that are going on that day. If there are multiple things you want to do one day, grab your guide and plan out the day! 

BRING A WATCH --- Another strange thing that cruise ships don't really do well, is tell you the time. Depending on the cruise, you could be crossing time zones which could make keeping time straight and keeping a schedule difficult. They tell you to stick to "boat time" which is the universal time that everyone sticks to. Have a watch handy (preferably waterproof) on you at all times so you can know what's going on and where you need to be.

BRING A PEN --- One thing that wasn't provided to us either was a pen. It's something you don't really think about, but when you need it, you really need it. We ended up taking a pencil from the mini golf course, just so we could have something to write with. You are offered breakfast in bed, and they'll give you a set of doorknob pamphlets that you can check mark what you want for breakfast, but you can't do that without a pen or pencil. You'll have to fill out a sheet of paper to go through customs when you enter the returning country, but you can't do that without a pen or pencil either!

BRING HAIR TIES & HAT --- I have really long hair and more often than not, it get's in my face. When you're at the top of the ship, things can get very very windy. Bring hair ties to tie your hair back so it's not in your face. Plus, bring a hat to help too. It seems to me that cruise line style almost requires all girls in big floppy hats. 

TRY NEW THINGS --- As you already know, there are lots of things for you to try out on a cruise ship. Why not try all of it? Don't be afraid to get outside your comfort zone and try new things. Whether it's giving the Flow Rider a go, singing a song at karaoke night or go see a show you've never experienced before, give it a try!

TRY NEW FOODS --- This is a great opportunity to try foods you wouldn't normally try. It's an all you can eat buffet anyway, so why not try new foods! They constantly have food ready for you to be devoured. Try something you've never had! I've never had lobster before until I tried it on the cruise!

BRING BAG OR FOLDER --- If you're like me and you love scrapbook or keepsakes, bring a bag or folder to put all of your souvenirs or memories in. Keeps pages crisp and all in one place.

I really hope you found these useful! Cruises are definitely a great way to spend a vacation. You don't have to worry about where you're going or what you're doing. You just get to wake up, grab breakfast, lay out by the pool, go to a show and do absolutely whatever you want. I'd highly recommend everyone to try a cruise at least once! 

Thanks For Reading!
Love, Nick

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