First time cruising
Cruise holidays are getting cheaper all the time, making it a popular option or British holidaymakers. However, many people have a few questions after booking their first cruise: Will I get seasick? What do I pack? Is there enough for the kids to do? And so on. We at The Co-operative Travel have put together a few tips to make your first cruise holiday a success.
It’s often a good idea to make your first cruise one that departs from the UK. A number of cruise lines – including companies running transatlantic cruises like RCI and Princess – port in the UK, meaning no flights are involved. Your first cruise shouldn’t be too far from home. Try Mediterranean, Baltic or Greek Island cruises from lines like P&O, Thomson or Princess. These all sail from the UK – but remember your passports.
If you are meeting your vessel at a foreign port, you’ll need to arrange flights. All-inclusive cruise deals include flights there and back, and factor in things like flight delays, so are best for first-timers. Generally, the cruise lines arrange shuttle buses from the airport.
Before you fly, make sure you have all your embarkation documents and other paperwork – you won’t be allowed on board without them.
Packing for foreign cruises
Unlike hotels, cruise passengers arrive en masse. This means thousands of pieces of luggage arriving at once. Don’t dismay if your bags don’t arrive at your state room until a few hours after you do.
Hand luggage is crucial, especially if you take medication or have a baby with you, so pack first-day essentials like swimwear and toiletries in a small holdall before you fly out.
Cruise restaurants vary in dress codes, from black tie expected, to casual-but-smart, to by-the-pool anything-goes. NCL cruises have a distinctly freestyle approach that means you can either dress up – or wear jeans to dinner. Celebrity and RCI cruises are equally accommodating, although P&O and Cunard are a little more restrained. Generally, the smaller the ship, the more dress restrictions there are.
Remember that cruises to exotic climes can still be chilly at night, so pack a few warmer clothes so you can enjoy star-watching from the deck.
Finding your way round
Whatever the size of ship, you’ll need to spend the first few days acclimatising yourself, but really it’s no different to any other resort – except it’s aboard a ship.
If you’ve never booked one of our cruises before, we at The Co-operative Travel will be pleased to help you.