There are so many exciting things about going on a cruise, whether it is your first time or fiftieth. No matter if you are a pro cruiser or a nautical novice, there are a few things you need to know to make the most of your at-sea adventure.
The first thing you need to master is your flight agenda. It is important to leave a big cushion for delays both before and after the cruise. If possible, arrive at the home port at least a day before your cruise departs. Doing this will help you begin your cruise stress-free. When you book a departing flight to return home after the cruise, give yourself at least five hours from the time you arrive at the home port until your flight departs. There are many things that could delay you getting to your flight. Keep in mind that debarkation and going through customs usually takes a lot more time than boarding the ship. Most ships have a priority deboarding system in place so passengers who are able to carry all of their own luggage get to leave the ship first at the end of the cruise. With this being said, packing light is a good thing to try to do.
The second thing you need to master is packing. There are many items that you already know are essential, but there are a few that you may not have thought about. The first thing that you should put in your suitcase is a power strip. Staterooms on cruise ships have limited outlets so bringing a power strip will ensure that you have plenty of spaces to plug in electronics. Don’t forget your international cell phone and charger. This will be a valuable tool to use in case of an emergency or to use to stay in touch with family and friends. It is important to pack all of your essential items including a swimming suit in your carry-on bag. It could take a long time to receive your checked luggage after boarding the ship so doing this will ensure you have the essentials right away. Don’t forget closed-toe shoes and water shoes to wear during shore excursions. Also, packing a pop-up laundry hamper will provide a convenient place for you to put dirty clothes during the cruise.
Finally, you have to enjoy your vacation while you are on and off the ship. If a certain port doesn’t pique your interest, this may be the perfect time to do some exploring on the ship. Port days leave the ship mostly unpopulated, so you won’t have to wait in line for the things you want to do. You might even get the whole hot tub to yourself for the afternoon. When you want to explore the shore during a port day, it is very important to pay attention to the ship’s time. Even when you dock in a different time zone, keep your watch set to the ship’s time so you arrive back on time at the end of the day.