Are you going on your first cruise? Only the overwhelming emotion that comes with trying to manage and plan for your first trip can compare to the thrill of an anticipated vacation. Everything you do on a cruise is a little different than any other vacation you’ve ever had, from embarking on cruise day to meals and shore excursions. That’s why we’ve gathered a boatload of advice — 57 to be exact — to assist you get a better idea of what to anticipate on cruise day.
We’ve got everything you need to feel confident and enjoy your trip the moment you arrive at the port, from the fundamentals of cruising to how to save money – and much more.
Everything Is Paid Through Your Room Key
You’ll get the key to your room once you’ve completed check-in. (Would you like to check in online ahead of time? It might be in a sealed envelope at your cabin’s entrance.) This “key” is actually a credit card that you will use to unlock your cabin door. However, it accomplishes a great deal more. It’s also linked to your shipboard account, and you’ll charge items to it with your room key, just like a credit card.
You’ll use this card to pay for anything aboard the ships, whether it’s a drink or a souvenir. You’ll only spend cash when you’re off the ship and in port. This is so much more convenient than carrying around cash.
Interior Cabins Are Fine For First Time Cruisers
Are you undecided about whether to book an inside cabin or a balcony room? Don’t worry about it. Balconies are fantastic, but inside cabins have a number of distinct advantages. You won’t be spending much time in your accommodation anyhow as a first-time cruiser. An inner cabin is a less expensive method to go sailing for the first time without breaking the budget.
Interior cabins, as previously said, are ideal for first-time cruisers who spend the most of their time on the ship. However, if you do decide to upgrade to a balcony room, it will be well worth your money.
This is especially true if you enjoy taking your time getting dressed in the morning while enjoying a cup of coffee or simply having your own private area to take in the scenery. If you want to pay a little more for your trip, the fresh air — and the million-dollar vistas — from your balcony is worth the extra expense.
There Are No Body-Scanners
Who these days isn’t turned off by the intrusive security at airports? It’s a nightmare, from having to empty water bottles to removing shoes to lifting your hands and getting scanned by a machine. Thankfully, cruise security is considerably more similar to that of flying. You’ll walk through a metal detector, and your luggage will be x-rayed. There are no screening mechanisms in place that are overly intrusive (at least yet).
Don’t Show Up When It’s Not Your Time
You’ll either be allotted a boarding window or given the option to choose one as you prepare for your vacation. To avoid having everyone arrive at the port at the same time, cruise lines assign a boarding time. When boarding is open, many passengers rush to get on the ship as soon as possible, resulting in huge lineups. Passengers are spread out to ensure that no one has to wait too long.
You don’t want to try to arrive early for your boarding time. You might be able to board early, but you’re also likely to be requested to wait until your scheduled departure time. That means you’ll be stuck outside the terminal until you’re let in.
Passports Are Better Than Birth Certificates
Many cruises enable you to sail with just a birth certificate and photo ID, which is a wonderful perk (if they begin and end in the same port). You can still leave the nation if you don’t have a passport and don’t have to go through the difficulty and expense of getting one.
Even so, it’s far more prudent to travel with a passport. It can not only save you time if you need to leave the ship early due to an emergency, but it can also save you money. Many ports now utilize facial recognition in conjunction with your passport to allow you to enter the country. You’re on your way home after snapping a photo.
Don’t Worry About Changing Money in Port
Are you planning a trip to the Caribbean? Within a few days, you’ll most likely visit numerous nations, each with its own currency. The good news is that you won’t have to worry about currency conversions at each port. The ports you visit rely heavily on tourism and make things as simple as possible for visitors. They will gladly accept US currency and, in many cases, credit cards. You’ll be fine if you pack some smaller bills for your port days.