Do you remember going to school for the first time, or riding your bike, driving a car? I’m sure you had some fear in you. It’s scary doing something for the first time. Especially if you’re doing it alone. I’ve been on quite a few cruises by now but I remember that feeling I got the first time I booked my first cruise (and I was going solo). I had a million thoughts running through my head, “What did I get myself into? What should I expect? These things are supposed to be massive, aren’t they? What do I do if I get seasick?” and the list goes on. But don’t worry, I’m here to help! Here are 10 tips for first time cruisers, that I wish someone told me before I went.


Your room card is your pass to everything

Cruise ships are cashless, and also credit cardless. That little card that has your name on it is the answer to all on a cruise ship. You will be buying drinks with it, checking out at the café, paying for specialty dining, spa packages, you can also purchase anything retail related with your card, and more. The card is also needed to get off and on the ship, so be sure to have it with you at all times. I’ve purchased a fun lanyard that I carry my card on, in order to keep it with me at all times.

What's the deal with tipping?

Most of the cruise tipping is already done for you. You pay a specific percentage amount per day either before the cruise or at the end. As for drinks, there is already a tip included in your drinks, but if the bartender does a phenomenal job I usually leave a bit more. I also tip my room steward on disembarkation day.


Check the Daily Newsletters. Daily!

Seriously read this thing. This is your daily schedule and activity guide. These things will tell you exactly what time entertainment is happening, what time special events are happening that you may not want to miss, what time you’ll be at port, what time you’ll need to be back on the ship, and more. Read it and find something fun to do.

What's the dress code?

Check the cruise ship dress code before you get on the ship so you know what to pack. Most ships have at least 2 formal nights, but they also have themed nights like white night, costume night, etc. You can check all of this out online prior to your boarding date.

Book your shore excursions early

Once you have a confirmation number for your booked cruise, you can go online and start browsing the many different excursions that are offered. Look at this as quickly as you can because some of the better ones do sell out quickly. You don’t want to miss that zip line you’ve been dying to go on because you waited to book until you were on the ship.

Looking for a Shore Excursion for your next cruise? Check out these fun excursions.


Be sure to take advantage of the first-day offers

There are many special offers that you can get for the entire week on the first day that you can’t get any other time. Some of these include the special dining, discounts on some excursions, spa packages, and also alcohol packages.

Carry on your luggage

This one is easy for me since I only travel with a carry-on. But for those that don’t pack in a carrry-on, be sure to pack your most important things in your hand luggage. Sometimes it takes hours to get your actual luggage to you, be sure to pack a bikini, a change of clothes, and anything else you might need later into your carry-on.

There are maps at the elevators if you get lost

Ships are big! I’ve gotten lost on them before, especially after I’ve been drinking a bit. If you ever find yourself lost head over to the elevators and there will be maps of the ship there.


About getting seasick

Someone once told me that you only get seasick once and then you’ll be fine the rest of your trip. I found this to be true, though I don’t want to test it again. My first ship I got seasick on about the third day, but then I was fine the rest of the ship. Now I just take some Dramamine to prevent getting sick or wear these motion patches. Because I rather not experience that gain.


Don’t miss the ship – LOL

This is a given, but seriously! A ship doesn’t always leave port at the same time, port time might also be different than ship time. Make sure you check what time you need to be back on the ship because it will not wait for you. I know people that have been left on islands before then had to either fly home or fly to the next port. You don’t want to be THAT person.

Looking for your next cruise adventure? Click here to check out some amazing deals on cruises.

Xoxo Ania Travels 💜

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