Preparing for a Cruise as a Newbie

When you tell people you are going on a cruise everyone wants to give you a piece of advice. When I told my friends and family that a cruise to Bermuda would be one of my trips this year everyone had something to say. I had never been on a cruise before and it can be overwhelming to sort through all the advice people will give before you go.  You know you’re going to be on a boat for days and you have to come prepared (There isn’t always a Walgreens). So, I am providing you with what I feel are the 5 most vital tips to prepare for a stress-free cruise… newbie to another.  

Below is my Top 5 list of needs to know for any cruise newbie.:

Make a Packing List:  This one makes the most sense to me.  You don’t want to forget anything so, make a list. I prefer writing, but you can type it or use your phone, just make a list! From most of the advice, I received the further out the better so if you forget something you still have time to add it to the list. (I started a month before) There are some great examples of cruise packing lists online if you want to start there first.

Get Sea Sick Prepared: If you know you get car sick, there is a strong chance you are going to get seasick. Even if you don’t get car sick but you have never been on a cruise, you should come prepared. The advice I received is the water can get choppy depending on the weather. For those new to cruising, you may learn that your head and stomach are not equipped for the motion of the ocean.  Dramamine is the most popular as you can buy it in any drug store.  But, you do have other options such as doctor-prescribed pills/patches, ginger pills, and ginger ale.  

Bring Clothing Options: Most cruises are 5+ days.  Just like on land, you may waste things, there may be a fancy diner or you may just want to change into a more weather-appropriate outfit.  Bring as many options as possible.  Keep in mind, if you have to take a plane to your departing city weight is a factor.  But, rolling clothes together in sets instead of laying everything out flat will get a lot more in your baggage.  Remember most cruise ships do not have laundromats.  Some offer laundry services, but they are at high rates, and wouldn’t you rather spend your money on the fun?

Be Prepared for embarkation day: Have all forms needed and your passport found and/or printed in advance.  You don’t want to get to the night before and find out you ran out of ink in your printer and your passport isn’t where you thought you left it.  

Purchase excursions, drinks (if needed), and internet: A lot of people book their cruises through an agent and don’t really need to worry about this.  I booked my cruise myself online so I did have to think about these things.  Even if you are going through an agent ask about your options.  When booking on your own, by prepaying before the cruise, we were able to get discounts on excursions, drink packages, and the internet. Note – drink packages are not for everyone.  See what is offered by the cruise line if you are thinking about this option.  Once my friends and I did the math and thought about how much we typically drink (not just alcohol) we ended up saving money in the long run.

Happy Cruising Newbies!

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