Top 6 Things to Know Before Boarding Your First Cruise

Cruise travel tips

A few months ago I was able to set sail on 3-day cruise to the Bahamas for my friend’s wedding. After all of my bridesmaid’s duties had concluded and the happy couple we’re officially one, I sat on one of the decks and reflected on my experience. Looking back there are a few things I wish I would’ve known before boarding my first cruise.

Preparation for security check-in
Somewhere in the movies, they sort of skip the part of the security check-in. In reality, you give your luggage to the cruise version of skycaps and then you head into the cruise terminal and go through a typical metal detector check-in. I wasn’t prepared for the confiscation of the handcuffs that we had bought as a gag gift for the bride and groom.

Not the right place to be if you are single and seeking
If you are single and looking to mingle, you might want to go on a cruise that is specified for singles only. I was already looking at terrible odds of meeting someone with all the groomsmen being married and all the other male attendees were husbands of the other members of the bridal party. I figured this cruise would have hundreds of single people on it. Nope. There were couples galore.

No drank in my cup
The standard meal package included in the price, included unlimited food and drinks. However, the unlimited drinks were water, juice, tea, and coffee. If you want bottled water or a soda you had to pay extra. You could have gotten six cases of water on sale at your local grocery store for what they were charging for just six bottles.

Also Related: International Travel With Kids: 5 Tips & Lessons Learned

Additional service fee charges
If you decide to go through a travel agent, find out if the fees and services you are paying at purchase includes ALL of the fees and services. At the rehearsal dinner prior to boarding the cruise, another guest mentioned that there is a fee, similar to a resort fee that you pay. You can either pay it prior to setting sail or pay it before leaving the ship. After checking the fine print I found the fee was approximately $13/day/person.

Reserve shuttle transportation early
Just as you board the cruise in waves of groups, so is the process when you return ashore. They let disabled people off first, then they let off people that have reserved ground transportation to the airport, and then the remaining passengers. The ground transportation from the port is approximately $16 dollars per person and you should do this as soon as you board the ship when you first arrive.

Board “bathing suit ready”
When we first boarded the ship I only had my laptop and purse. But I noticed several people were dressed as if they were going to the beach. I didn’t think anything of it until we boarded the ship. This is because our staterooms were not ready and wouldn’t be for another hour and a half. The voice over the intercom suggested that we grab food, drinks, and tour the ship. That’s when I noticed all the beach-clad people had drinks in hand and were in the pool, lounge chairs, and the jacuzzi.

Even with all the rookie mistakes, the trip and overall experience was amazing! These tips will definitely make my next voyage even better. Remember that all prices mentioned were unique to the cruise line and travel package that I purchased. These prices and what is included in the initial travel package may vary depending on the cruise line you travel.

What travel mishaps have you experienced?

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1 Comment

  • Christine St.Vil
    April 10, 2016 at 12:18 AM

    OMG DiSheen these tips are really great and right on target! My husband and I experienced our first cruise in 2014 and we didn’t know a lot of this stuff (including the “hidden” fees). But I’m cracking up at the confiscation of the handcuffs. That’s crazy! Glad you still had a great time!

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