Cruising is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to travel. You can see the whole world, experience new things, totally unwind and immerse yourself in many different cultures. All this and you only need to unpack once!
Here we’ve gathered our top first-time cruising tips to help you get the most out of your cruise holiday:
Know the dress code
Check dress codes for onboard and on-shore activities. There tend to be three distinct types of dress code depending on your ship: casual, smart casual and formal. Casual means sports shirts and slacks for men, and sundresses for women. Smart casual is a step up with jackets for men and smarter dresses or pants for women. And at the formal end of the spectrum, it’s suits and ties for men and cocktail dresses and evening gowns for women. Download our packing checklist for handy hints!
Make the most of onboard activities
Each ship provides a huge variety of onboard activities ranging from dance lessons, craft activities and cooking demos to golf masterclasses and zip lines. So how can you possibly choose? The best tip is to do what suits you. Take time to read the daily flyer, which outlines everything on offer each day. And don’t be afraid to try something new – it’s not everyday you can climb to the top of the ship’s funnel!
Make time for yourself
Even with all the activities on offer, make time to do nothing. After all, this is your holiday! Find a quiet nook to read your favourite novel or indulge in a sumptuous massage in the spa. Shore days tend to be quieter in the spa so you may even find discounts on treatments.
Get to know before you go
Download a map of the ship (or one of our infographics!) and get your bearings before you depart. Today cruise ships are humungous; so don’t be worried if it’s all a bit confusing at first. Navigation pods will be strategically placed throughout the ship and there’s bound to be a crew member nearby if you get lost!
With all the food and drink on offer, it can be tempting to keep going back for more. But don’t worry, the cruise line do their best to keep all the favourites in stock so they are almost sure to never run out. Even if they do run out, the friendly staff on board will be more than happy to recommend you a new favourite!
Be prepared for on-shore excursions
Excursions are one of the best parts of any cruise holiday, so it pays to be fully prepared for your adventure. Pack comfy footwear and be aware of any local dress customs for places you want to visit. And as with any holiday, don’t forget to pack the essentials: sunscreen, water, hat and sunglasses. If you chose to save a bit of cash and do your own thing on-shore, make sure you’re back to the ship on time because otherwise it will sail without you.
Know the tipping etiquette – and follow it
Tipping guidelines vary widely. Some cruise lines add a service charge to your onboard account, which you pay at the end of your cruise holiday. Others leave it up to you. And some Australian cruise ships have a no-tipping policy. Check your cruise ship information before you depart, just to be sure.
Finally, as the ship comes in to dock for the final time, prepare to feel some serious cruise holiday blues. The only way to avoid it is to get right onto booking your next cruise!
Still got questions? Check out more first-time cruising tips and helpful information in our cruise articles: