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8 Tips for First Time Cruisers!

We all were first time cruisers once! Here are a list of a few things I wish I had known before I set sail on my first cruise.

1.Pre- book activities before you leave home.

Once you book your cruise you can gain access to the cruise lines portal for shore excursions, dining and drink packages among others. These prices are usually much lower than what you will find onboard and in fact, many items can sell out!

Some ships on some lines also require you book certain entertainment in advance to gain access to the venues on board.

Regardless of what you are looking to do it's best to get the earliest access for the best availability and pricing!

2. Arrive at your departure port at least a day before.

Travel delays happen and the ship will NOT wait for you! We recommend you come into your port area/city at least the day before your sailing. This give you plenty of time to make arrangements for any unforeseen delays.

It also gives you an excuse to extend your vacation. Plus, if you are near your port area you may be able to catch the early morning arrival of your vessel!

3. Pack a Carry-on

Try to get on the ship as early as you can! Pack A few essentials in your carryon to ensure you make the most out of your first day on board. Pack things like swimwear, sunscreen and a change of clothes. Your checked luggage will not arrive to your stateroom until later so make sure you have what you need to get through dinner. Also make sure you have your cruise documents, boarding information, passports, birth certificates and IDs with you!

4. Put your electronic devices in airplane mode

The last thing you want is to come home to outstanding roaming charges. Put your cell, ipad, smart watch in airplane mode. Leaving these items on will continue their cellular service. Since there is no cell services at sea your device will keep roaming until it connects with a signal and if that signal is in a foreign country you could be left with a huge bill! Put these devices in airplane mode and connect to the ships wi-fi if you purchase a package or stick it in the safe and "unplugg". Being on a cruise you truly can be "away from it all"

5. Pay attention to the clock

You will need a device to tell time. Be aware of devices that automatically change time to whatever zone you are in as you want to remain on SHIP TIME. When leaving the ship and going ashore your cruise staff will tell you a time to be back onboard. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you know what time it currently is on the ship and that you stay on SHIP TIME throughout your day. The local time in your port of call may be different to SHIP TIME. Remember - The ship will NOT wait for you at the end of the day.

6. Understand automatic gratuities

You will be automatically billed per day for gratuities once on the ship. These charges range from $15-$20 per person per day and cover services like stateroom attendant and dining services. You do not need to tip these people individually during your cruise unless you feel they have went above and beyond and deserve this additional tip. You should have the option to prepay these when booking your voyage - call your travel advisor or let me know if you need assistance with this.

7. Carryon Alcohol/Soda/Water

Drinks with alcohol or soda are usually not included on most cruises and you will need a drink package to purchase these from the local bars/venues. Some cruise lines give you the ability to bring on a certain amount pre-cruise. Check your lines beverage policy to see what they allow you to bring on board on your embarkation day.

8. Pace yourself and ENJOY!

Cruising can be overwhelming for some people and ships today seem to have more and more activities to enjoy. The basic idea of cruising is to relax and cruise to the next port of call. So however you choose to enjoy your cruise vacation remember to take to time to breathe, look at the ocean, catch a sunset or sit by the window for a delicious meal and enjoy the experience!

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