Here are some hints and tips for the first time cruiser.
On the day you are leaving on the cruise, you will drop off your luggage before entering the terminal. I would recommend that you keep with you medicine and anything valuable. Also keep with you anything that you will need the first day. If it is nice out, keep with you a bathing suit for hot tub/pool, sunglasses, hat,… Whatever you keep with you, you will need to carry with you until your cabin is ready. Staple a luggage tag on each bag that you are dropping off. Luggage tag should have your name and information on it. I usually lock my bags before dropping them off. You might want to have a few ones ready because the baggage handlers expect a little tip. You may not see your bags until later that first night. The cruise line will leave the luggage in the hallway in front of your cabin door.
There are sometimes special events offered on your cruise. Sometimes you will want to bring something special in preparation for the event. For example, on most Norwegian voyages, there is usually a White Hot Party one of the nights where everyone wears white. Usually starts later (10:15 or 10:30). Good music and fun. So might want to bring something white to wear. Another example is if you are cruising on Halloween, you might want to bring a costume.
If your children are going to participate in the Kids programs, be sure they attend activities the first and second days. There will be ice breakers so the kids can get to know each other better. Your children will feel much more comfortable the rest of the cruise hanging out with their *friends*!
Bring a water bottle or container with cover. This container can be refilled in the buffet area and then you can use for working out at the gym, going on excursions, bringing back to your cabin, and hanging out on deck. Some people like to fill these containers with juice during morning hours and then have available for drinking in your cabin later in the day. You might also want to bring a thermal mug to bring your hot coffee or tea back to your cabin without spilling.
Try to book your entertainment, excursions, and specialty dining before you leave for the cruise. Less time spent on trying to make decisions while on the cruise and then you will not be disappointed because something is all booked up. Also, more time for fun and relaxing while on the cruise.
If you are bringing travelers checks, guest services will cash checks as you need them.
On the last day you will have a choice to carry your own luggage off the ship or have them pick up the suitcases the last night and bring down to the terminal. If you are able to carry your own luggage you will be able to get off the ship earlier – less waiting time. If you want them to bring your luggage down, you will be waiting until they call your number/color. They will tell you where you can wait. Since you will need to put your suitcases out the last night, you will need to keep and carry your things from the night and the morning (pajamas, bathroom items,…) so you will want to bring a separate bag to carry your things.
I would highly recommend bringing binoculars especially if you are going to Alaska. You will see a lot of wildlife. Many times there is a naturalist on board, especially the day you are going through Glacier Bay. We also had a naturalist on board for our Hawaii cruise. He/she will be announcing what you are going by and where to be to get the best views… On this kind of trip, if is helpful not to have set times for meals so if there is something beautiful to see, you just go to dinner later! There may be special talks on wildlife, glaciers, volcanos… on the cruise also.
Try to catch a sunrise and sunset. When you are at sea, there is nothing more beautiful to see!
You might want to bring some motion sickness patches just in case…
Most importantly, get ready to relax and enjoy! There is nothing like a cruise to get away from it all!!
If you are considering a first time cruise or you are ready to book your next one, I would love to help you make your vacation planning super easy. Give me a call at 413-949-9784 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.