“We dream in colors borrowed from the sea.” -Unknown
Congratulations! You planned a cruise, you’ve started to pack a bag, and you’re about to get the heck out of Dodge! I know you’re excited and ready for a long deserved vacation. Let me wish you, BON VOYAGE!
The simplest advice I can give: Enjoy it! You’ve paid for your cruise now it’s your responsibility to have a good time.
As cruising veterans, it sometimes feels like our fellow cruisers pack a swim suit and jump on a plane without giving thought to the details of their cruise vacation that they would consider. So, let’s talk about some things you should consider as you get ready to go!
When we get on a ship, we shift into what we call, “Cruise Mode.” It’s time to relax, kick back, and have a restful time in beautiful places. However, even when you’re in vacation mode, and regardless of how much you plan, sometimes things happen that can’t be planned for. Things like bad weather can’t be planned for except to pack a rain jacket or umbrella. It might spoil your planned beach day but try to think of it as a day to get some reading done. Remember! You’re on vacation. Sometimes the weather doesn’t cooperate but you can still have a good time regardless. It’s important to stay positive, be flexible, and go with the flow. A day on a cruise ship is always better than a day at work!
Cruising is more popular than ever
Since cruising is so popular and can be an affordable vacation, you need to know that on most major cruise ships, you will be vacationing with between 2,000 to 5,000 of your closest new friends. As a result, you will want to be sure to pack your patience. No matter the size of your ship, you want to be ready to stand in a line from time to time, know that children could be running unsupervised around the ship, experience neighbors sitting nearby in the theatre that talk louder than they should during the evening’s show or through the safety presentation, experience loud, rowdy fellow cruisers who’ve had a bit too much to drink, or depending on the location of your room, a loud night club above you that boom-booms into the wee hours. (Yes, we’ve experienced all of these.)
It’s great that your shipmates are obviously enjoying their vacation, they might also be disrupting yours. Sadly, not everyone is self aware, even on vacation. Just remember that you aren’t cruising alone and you should not be surprised if you encounter any bad mannered behavior. I hope that none of that happens to you but being mindful that you’re sharing a vacation with a large group of people in close proximity with copious amounts of free flowing alcohol could make for some interesting stories to bring home. Just be sure you’re having fun too!
Simple advice: be sure to listen carefully, understand, and follow directions about some of the most important piece of your cruise. Understand all instructions or announcements given regarding embarkation, debarkation, and the ship’s safety drill can ensure your safety and make for a smoother overall cruising experience.
The safety drill on every ship might seem compulsory, and it is. But, no matter if this is your first cruise or you are a cruising veteran, the safety drill only takes a few minutes. Listen to the staff and related announcements. The staff is there to help you and, God forbid, paying attention during the drill and listening to the ship’s crew can save your life.
Your personal safety
Being on a cruise can lull you into feeling safe. However, when you get to a port and venture onto what is a foreign country, you should remember to be mindful of your safety. As a veteran cruiser, there are some ports where we do not get off the ship. Just remember, you might be on vacation but others see you as an opportunity or a target so keeping your children close and your valuables secured. This is wise advice I would give to anyone that travels both inside and outside of the U.S. Don’t be any less vigilant on vacation than you are when you are out and about at home.
Your ship’s crew
Some of the best cruises we have taken have been because of the wonderful crew members we have encountered. Some of the nicest people we have met on a cruise have welcomed us, pampered us, given us recommendations of things to do on shore, or just been delightful people to be around. Get to know the crew that serves you. Some of them are just wonderful people who love what they do. Be aware that they work long, hard hours for not a lot of money. On most cruises, you can pay tips before you even get on the ship so you don’t have to worry about it. Just know that you can and should leave a tip for that special crew member who went above and beyond for you.
I hope these are some helpful tips that will help you to set your expectations a bit as you get ready to go!
Enjoy yourself. Get some vitamin D! Have a drink for me! I hope to see you on our favorite ships soon!