Ten Cruise Tips for your first Cruise

10 Cruise Tips

Ten Cruise Tips for First Time Cruises MRS designs

Today I'm sharing our top ten cruise tips we took away from our first cruise.  I'm a firm believer in planning.  Researching.  Knowing what I'm getting myself into.  Being aware of what options are waiting for me when I get there. But, on the other hand, I also know that in all that planning you've got to be realistic & know that no amount of planning will paint an exact picture of what will actually happen.  I never go into the planning process with that end in mind. It's about being prepared. In order to have the best experience possible. Yes, there's a balance folks! Now that we have experienced our first cruise  some of things that made me nervous or caused me fear were not a big issue like I thought they'd be.

Ten Cruise Tips for a First Time Cruise

Cruise Tip No. 1

  • Choose a Cruise Line for your first cruise

    First things first. What line to choose? Of course, much of my research was finding the right line. I believe it was totally worth the time I spent in that research. We chose Royal Caribbean because it sounded like a really good fit for us & I'm so glad we did! It was the greatest experience. So much so that we've said we're ready to plan the next one! I would even go on the same ship...Freedom of the Seas. (No one has paid me to say this either).

So again, repeating myself here...Planning for your first cruise is pretty important since there are so many unknowns.  Even if you're a just-wing-it kind of person...there are things you can't take the chance with. Like having a passport.  We'd heard that it was optional, but it's NOT.  That should be first on your list!  This is one of the many things we are glad we knew beforehand. Be sure to ask friends who have been on a cruise if you can pick their brains. If they’re as much of a cruise fan as I am, they’d be happy to spend as much as you’d like answering all your questions.

Cruise Tip No. 2

  • Stay unplugged on your cruise!

    This was my favorite thing about the cruise...not being a slave to our phones! It was almost shocking to see people’s faces and making eye contact with others because they weren’t consumed with what was on their phones. It was the most refreshing thing for us because of the kind of work we do (Realtor’s) we thoroughly enjoyed the break.

Cruise Tip No. 3

  • Book cruise excursions.

    I believe you should do this at every port if you plan on spending anytime at each of them. Or do more research so you will know where to go & how long it will take. I also recommend booking excursions through the cruise line because that ensures that you won't be left behind at any ports if your excursion runs late. It was a little disorienting for us when we got off the ship at the ports not knowing where to go. We did book the Wave Runner Excursion on Coco Cay...I highly recommend this one...so much fun! It’s also true if you’re not interested in a port that staying on the ship is an advantage to you because there are less people staying on the ship.

Cruise Tip No. 4

  • take advantage of Eating in the Main Dining Room on your cruise.

    Although we missed one night of eating in the main dining room every night, I do recommend taking advantage of being spoiled. It is an event. Approximately two hours, but so worth it. I believe it was the last night of the cruise that the main dining room staff lined up and danced their way through. It was truly a terrific spectacle. We chose My Time Dining which gives you more flexibility to reserve your dinners each night according to the activities you are doing. You can order as much of anything your heart desires. If you can’t finish it they’ll box it up for you to take back to your room.

Cruise Tip No. 5

  • Be prepared for motion sickness on your cruise.

    I'm very susceptible to this so it was my biggest fear going in. I did feel pretty queasy the first evening, but drank a lot of ginger ale. I also took the advise of a crew member an ate a few green apples along the way. It didn't ruin any part of our week. But, to those people who tell you that you won't feel the ship at all...they have lied to you! I'm here to tell you the truth...you will feel it. It's very subtle. And it's definitely not worth canceling any plans over!

Cruise Tip No. 6

  • Don't pack unneeded items for your cruise.

    I read a lot of advise on what you should take with you. DON'T take a power cord...you don't need it. And DON'T take an over the door organizer...again, you don't need it. There's so much storage in your room to stay well organized and tidy. DO pack a highlighter though. We enjoyed getting back to our room every night finding it clean again (for the second time each day) with a new towel animal and the newest cruise compass for the next day's activities. We went through highlighting what we'd like to see or do. Then you can call down in the morning to make your reservations for that evening's dinner.

Cruise Tip No. 7

  • Check your cruise balance regularly.

    I was impressed that we had access to check our account as often as we wanted to on our stateroom TV. Since it's required for just about everything, it's easy to just hand a crew member your sea pass card without thinking...is it going to cost you? We had no issues concerning this because we were mindful of what had a charge for and what didn't.

Cruise Tip No. 8

  • spring for a balcony for your cruise

    We sprung for one and are so glad we did! I can't imagine ever cruising again without one. We chose one that had a bump out so we could see more of the front of the ship. We took advantage of room service while spending our mornings here with a starter breakfast before we headed out for a real breakfast (mostly for the coffee).

Cruise Tip No. 9

  • cruise Drink package.

    We did buy the Royal Replenish package. It saved us money. We drink a lot of bottled water, coke & the ginger ale that made a big difference for me with motion queasiness. I was also able to enjoy plenty of Starbucks throughout the day. We each had at least one drink & a bottled water at all times.

Cruise Tip No. 10

  • See the free cruise ship shows.

    Especially the ice show. They're included & very much worth the time.

Most importantly, leave room to be spontaneous.  My husband will love that I included this.  Yes, I do like a good plan.  But, I also love adventures and spontaneity. There are plenty of opportunities on a cruise to be spontaneous. Karaoke, dance classes, trivia and scavenger hunts just to name a few. Don't be afraid to let your hair down and have fun...it's your vacation!

Cruise Bonus Tip:  

  • Journal...everyday!!!

Many of our family & friends wanted to hear all about our cruise so the journal helped with this, but mostly it will serve as a great souvenir and aid in any scrap booking that you might do. I just bought a little notebook from the dollar tree (you can see it pictured above with the passports) it was the perfect size.

Other places around the web that helped me as I planned & researched: cruiscritic.com, royalcaribbeanblog.com & the ship mate app.