Today we have another wonderful Sponsor Spotlight from Alexia from Destinations in Florida. If you missed the last one on Bringing Your Toddler to Disney World, feel free to check it out! It is all about taking a cruise for beginners. There's some great tips in here. I may be able to talk my husband into taking me on one with some of these tips. Thanks so much Alexia. Remember you can get a free quote for a cruise, Disney or Florida vacation by clicking on the pictures in this post and the Destinations in Florida add that is always on the sidebar! I hope you all take advantage of some great vacation deals!
Many people dream of taking a cruise, but put it off or avoid it completely because they don’t know what to expect or how to prepare. Here are my best tips and tricks for first time cruisers:
Pack light. Cabins on a cruise ship are smaller than a standard hotel room and do not have much storage space. If you over pack, you will drive yourself crazy trying to decide where to store everything. Pack light so you can enjoy the space you do have.
Invest in and pack a passport. Most cruise lines will not require you to have a passport if you depart and arrive in the same US port; however, it is a good idea to have a passport in case of a personal or ship emergency and you need to fly home.
Invest in Sea-Bands. Most people who have never been on a cruise before worry about getting sea sick. Invest in Sea-Bands, which help with motion sickness, if you are worried about this. Most first time cruisers report feeling a little queasy on the departure day, but then feel normal the next day.
Know the laws about pregnant women and infants. Women who have entered their 24th week of pregnancy and infants under 6 months old will not be allowed to sail on most cruise lines. Disney Cruise Line will allow infants 12 weeks and older to sail. Take these rules under consideration when you plan your cruise dates.
Give yourself plenty of time between your flight arrival and sail time. You don’t want to miss your cruise because of a flight delay, traffic, or a delay in your transportation to the port of call. Book your flight early enough to give yourself some extra time in case of an emergency.
Pack a carry-on bag. Include all of your first day essentials in your carry-on bag. It may take several hours for your luggage to arrive to your room. If you want to hit the pool right away, be sure to pack your sunscreen and your swimsuit in your carry-on.
Know the cruise line’s alcohol and outside food and beverage policies. This varies greatly between the cruise lines. For example, Royal Caribbean prohibits guests from bringing beer, hard liquor or non-alcoholic beverages onboard. Guests may bring personal wine and champagne onboard only on boarding day, limited to two (2) 750 ml bottles per stateroom. When consumed in any public area, each bottle shall be subject to a corkage fee of $25.00. Disney Cruise Line does permit alcohol on board. However, be aware that any fragile items (including bottled alcohol) must be hand-carried on board in a day bag and/or carry-on bag, the dimensions of which cannot exceed 22" wide, 14" high and 9" deep. Alcohol brought on board may not be consumed in any lounge or public area. Guests who arrive in the dining room with a bottle of champagne or wine that has been brought on board will be charged a corking fee of $20.00 per bottle.
Start small. Most first time cruisers consider a seven or eight night cruise to be too long for a first time cruise. Start with a shorter three or four night cruise instead.
Book shore excursions in advance. Shore excursions are tours and activities that guests can partake in once the ship has reached port for an additional fee. These shore excursions usually book up very quickly. Be sure to book any shore excursions as early in advance as possible to make sure you don’t miss out!
Don’t skip the safety drill. The last thing you want to do on your first day onboard is listen to a speech about what to do in an emergency, but you should. They are usually short, to the point, and well organized. The information you receive could be life-saving.
Take advantage of free kids clubs. Most cruise lines have free kids clubs for kids ages 3-17. These kids clubs are divided by age group (usually 3-11, 11-14, and 14-17) and have different activities appropriate for each age group. They are usually free to use and give Mom and Dad an opportunity to explore the ship’s adult only areas such as the spa or fitness rooms. For infants and toddlers under three, there is usually a nursery also; however, most charge an hourly fee for nursery use.
Be prepared for a lot of food. There will be food pretty much everywhere on the ship. If you are on a diet, be prepared to try to resist a lot of temptation. Even room service is free on most cruise lines. If you were worried about being hungry on your cruise, don’t worry, the food is practically thrown at you!
What advice do you wish someone had given you before your first cruise?
Alexia is a Disney Vacation Specialist with Destinations in Florida. When she is not helping plan magical vacations, you can find her on Facebook and Twitter.