First Time Cruise Mistakes And How To Avoid Them
Cruising is an excellent way to enjoy a relaxing vacation, but certain mistakes can ruin the entire trip. Whether you are a first-time cruiser or have traveled before, it’s essential to learn and avoid common mistakes that can turn your dream cruise into a nightmare. Here are some of the first time cruise mistakes to avoid to ensure an unforgettable cruising experience from beginning to end.
Booking Flights Too Close to Embarkation and Disembarkation
One of the most critical aspects of cruising is ensuring that you arrive at the port on time. To avoid complications such as flight delays, it’s advisable to book your flight at least a day before the cruise. Doing so will provide a buffer period, and you won’t miss your sailing even if you encounter problems during the journey. Likewise, booking an early flight on the day of disembarkation can cause delays as the process can take a while. Ensure that you book your flight at least after 11 a.m. or noon, depending on the distance between the airport and the port.
Not Having a Valid Passport
Travel documentation is essential, and a valid passport is a requirement to board a cruise. Ensure that your passport has at least three to six months of validity left after the end of your trip. This requirement is necessary in case of unexpected changes to your itinerary, and you need to enter another country or travel back to your home country.
Not Checking COVID-19 Restrictions
The COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for cruising, with different countries imposing various restrictions. Ensure you are up to date with the restrictions and regulations of each destination you will visit. Check the requirements for vaccinations, masks, and social distancing protocols, especially if you plan on visiting multiple countries.
Not Monitoring Prices After You Book
Cruise prices can be dynamic and fluctuate based on demand. After booking, it is essential to monitor the prices to make sure you are getting the best deal. Sometimes prices drop after booking, and you can request a price adjustment. Consider using tracking tools or working with a travel agent who can proactively make adjustments if the price changes before the final payment.
Skipping Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is crucial for any trip, including a cruise. You never know when an emergency will arise, and it’s essential to be prepared. Most domestic health insurance policies do not cover medical treatment while onboard international waters. Without travel insurance, you may incur significant expenses in the event of an accident or illness.
Picking a Cabin at Random
Picking a cabin is crucial, and it’s important to research the ship’s layout and cabin categories to ensure you select a cabin that meets your needs. Consider consulting with a travel advisor who can guide you to serene slumber. If you are prone to seasickness, select a mid-ship cabin with a lower floor and avoid cabins at the front of the ship, where there is the most movement.
Taking Only Ship-affiliated Shore Excursions
While cruise ships offer great shore excursions, you can also choose to book with a third-party provider or explore the port on your own. Book day passes at luxury hotels or explore the destination independently to have a unique and personalized experience.
Arriving Late to the Pier After a Day in Port
When exploring the port on your own, be mindful of the embarkation time and ensure you return to the ship with ample time. Consider setting a personal alarm or watch to remind you of the time and avoid the embarrassment of being late.
For a seamless and enjoyable cruising experience, avoid these common first-time cruise mistakes. By taking the time to plan, prepare, and research, you can ensure that you have a memorable vacation from beginning to end.
Choosing the Wrong Dining Time or Style
When booking your cruise, you’ll usually have the option of early or late dining. If you have a preference, make sure to choose accordingly, as switching dining times might not be possible. Additionally, you’ll want to consider the dining style. Some cruise ships have assigned seating in the main dining room, while others have flexible dining options. Make sure to research your ship’s dining options and choose the one that works best for you.
Overpacking or Underpacking
One of the most common packing mistakes is bringing too much or too little. To avoid this, make a packing list ahead of time and stick to it. Consider the dress code on the ship, the activities you’ll be doing, and the weather in the destinations you’ll be visiting. Remember to also leave some space in your luggage for souvenirs or any items you may buy during your trip.
Forgetting the Essentials
While packing, don’t forget to bring the essentials. This includes things like medications, sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable walking shoes. You’ll also want to bring any necessary travel documents, like your passport, and a small amount of cash for tips and other expenses.
Ignoring Onboard Safety Procedures
During your cruise, it’s important to pay attention to the onboard safety procedures. Attend the mandatory safety drill and familiarize yourself with the emergency exits and procedures. If there is an emergency, follow the crew’s instructions and remain calm.
Not Taking Advantage of Onboard Activities and Amenities
Cruises offer a wide variety of onboard activities and amenities, from poolside lounging to Broadway-style shows. Make sure to take advantage of these offerings and participate in activities that interest you. Additionally, consider purchasing a beverage package or dining package to make the most of your onboard experience.
Booking Your Next Cruise After You Get Home
If you have thoroughly enjoyed your cruise and can’t wait to book your next one, you might want to consider booking while still on board. This way, you can take advantage of the onboard promotions and discounts, which can be significant. Cruise lines often offer onboard credits, free Wi-Fi, and cabin upgrades to guests who book their next cruise while still on board. Another advantage of booking while on board is that you can secure the cruise you want at the best price. Cruise prices fluctuate regularly, so by booking early, you can take advantage of the lower prices. Furthermore, you can secure the cabin type and location that you prefer, which might not be available if you wait until you get home to book.
Not Using A Travel Agent
Booking a cruise can be a daunting task, with so many options available and countless details to consider. While booking your next cruise while on board may seem like the easiest option, it’s important to note that it’s not the only way. Taking the time to research other options and consulting with a travel agent can be highly beneficial.
By using a travel agent such as Sunshine Travel and Tour, you can get invaluable advice and guidance to help you find the perfect cruise for you. A travel agent can help you navigate the vast array of options, find the best deals, and take care of all the details, including flights, hotels, transfers, and shore excursions. They can also provide you with insider tips and recommendations to make your cruise experience even more enjoyable.
In addition to helping you plan your next cruise, a travel agent can also be a valuable resource when it comes to travel insurance, visa requirements, and other essential aspects of travel. By working with a travel agent, you can ensure that you have all the information you need and that your trip is planned and executed flawlessly.
A cruise can be an incredible vacation experience, but it’s essential to plan and prepare adequately. By avoiding these first time cruise mistakes and using the services of a travel agent, you can ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable cruise vacation. So, pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the high seas.