Congratulations! You planned a cruise, you are packing 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.
To make sure you enjoy your cruise, as with any vacation, there are always things you should consider and be prepared for. Some you can anticipate and others, no one will tell you about.
Let’s talk about some things you should consider as you get ready to go! While I’m not giving packing tips right now, I’m talking about preparing your expectations and readying your attitude so you can enjoy your cruise to the fullest.
Cruise time: when we get on a ship, we shift into what we call cruise time or vacation mode, whatever you’d like to call it. 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.
Cruising is more popular than ever. That means 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, have theater neighbors talking 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.) While others are obviously enjoying their vacation, they might also be disrupting yours. While we all should be self aware, even on vacation, it doesn’t always happen. 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 to you and alcohol could make for some interesting stories to bring home.
Follow directions. Simple advice, but listening, understanding, and following directions about some of the most important piece of your cruise is important and could even save your life. Understand all instructions or announcements given regarding embarkation, debarkation, and the ship’s safety drill can ensure your safety and make for a smoother experience.
The safety drill on every ship might seem compulsory, and it is. But, it can save your life. No matter if this is your first cruise or you are a cruising veteran, the 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 that we visit 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 is a must. This is wise advice for cruising but a tip 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.
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!