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Cruises are a popular way to go on a low-stress, pre-planned vacation. Cruise goers can stop in ports in the Caribbean, explore the coast of Alaska, cruise around the Mediterranean and so much more. Choosing your first cruise itinerary is just the beginning of everything that you need to do to prepare for your first cruise.
A lot goes into the perfect cruise vacation from packing accordingly to picking the right shore excursions; there is a lot to keep in mind. Use these tips to help you navigate the world of cruising for the firs time.
How to get to the cruise.
Most cruises don’t include airfare or transportation to the port so keep in mind how you’re actually going to get to the port when booking a cruise. If you are flying, keep in mind that you should plan to arrive no later than noon to give you time to travel from the airport to the port in time for debarkation.
If your flight gets delayed for any reason make sure to reach out to the staff to make it clear that you are trying to connect with a cruise and they will typically go above and beyond to get there in time. To ease the worry, fly in the day before your debarkation day and get a hotel for the night.
What and how to pack.
Many cruise lines have different theme or dress code nights. Make sure you have an outfit for each of these occasions. Also, it is important to bear in mind what you will be doing when you are actually in port. If you are heading out for some adventure activities make sure to bring appropriate athletic gear for the occasion.
In the ports, typical vacation wear is appropriate but if you are heading out into the local communities at all try to keep your clothing a bit more tasteful with longer shorts and covered shoulders.
On the day of debarkation it is important to pack everything you’d need for the first day in your carry on. On this day, thousands of passengers are being checked in all at once, each with their own luggage. It may take until the end of the day for your luggage to get to your room so pack what you may need and keep it with you to avoid stress on day 1.
Book shore excursions in advance.
When it comes to shore excursions, there are two types of tours you can choose from; those offered directly through the cruise line and independent tours from local companies. Tours booked through the cruise line will typically include food and all transportation to and from the boat. They also make sure they get you back to the boat on time at night. If you choose to venture out on your own, you can often save a lot of money but you will be responsible for getting yourself to the tour location and to get back in to the boat on time.