There is a first time for everything, but a first cruise is always an unforgettable experience. Many people discover that cruising is the way to travel and remain converts for life. In order to make sure everything goes smooth, here are some of the most important things you should know as a first time cruiser.
What should you bring?
Even though cheaper cruises are less formal than before, there are still dress codes to meet onboard. For larger parties (or prom night galas) you should bring your most stylish outfits. For less formal evenings, semi-casual outfits are recommended: a jacket or suit for ladies and a simple suit for gentlemen. For casual parties, you can dress in anything feels comfortable for you. Prepare yourself also for temperature differences between the air-conditioned rooms and the outdoors deck. Don’t forget to pack a jumper and some comfortable shoes besides your swimsuit and flip-flops. Sunscreen is also important especially if you are booking a Caribbean cruise.
You can embark two or three hours before departure, but you must present yourself at the dock at least an hour before, as the gateway will be closed half an hour before departure. Your boarding pass will be handed to you when embarking. This card is your onboard identification and you need to take care of it. With some companies, this is also a credit card that will allow you to purchase various items and services onboard and it may also work as a dongle for your cabin. Once onboard, you can attend an information meeting. You are also free to visit the ship to familiarize yourself with it as your luggage is delivered straight to your room.
Making purchases on board
For security reasons, cash is no longer used onboard by most cruise lines. At boarding, you will receive you a payment card with which you can make all your purchases on board, such as meals or drinks. At the end of your stay you will receive an invoice detailing all your expenses. For expenditures on land, currency exchange is usually available onboard.
There are many activities planned for children and teenagers. Cribs may be provided on request, but you should note that they take up space in your cabin. Some companies also offer a babysitting service for children older than six months.
The need to get vaccinated varies according to your chosen destination. It is advisable to inquire about special conditions with your doctor at least two months before your departure. Pregnant women can travel up to the 28th week of pregnancy, but must be in possession of a certificate attesting they are fit to embark on a cruise. There is a doctor onboard of every ship and local medical services may also intervene urgently when the ship is docked.
Whatever your chosen first cruise may be, make sure you make a thorough research before booking in order to take the plunge confidently!
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