• How to make the most of your first cruise

    2013-10-08

    Cruises can be a fun and relaxing way to enjoy a vacation with your family, but it can also be confusing if you have never set sail before. Here are some tips that can ensure smooth sailing on your first cruise experience:

    Understand the tipping policies
    One of the advantages of a cruise is their all-inclusive nature. While some tips are built into the fees of the trip, such as those for housekeeping, you may want to consider tipping wait staff and other workers at the end of the journey. Pool attendants, casino dealers, bartenders and food servers who go above and beyond are some of the ship staff you may want to reward, so consider having some cash on hand to tip them.

    Be courteous to others
    It's easy to get caught up in you own enjoyment when you're on a cruise. With so many options, you are constantly taking part in activities that are pleasing to you - but you should not lose sight of others you are cruising with. Hogging deck chairs, saving seats in venues and slowing down lines can be detrimental to other guests. While there's nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, you should make sure you aren't impeding others in the process. Even taking a few small actions can save a lot of time and frustration for you and your fellow cruisers.

    You should also be mindful of your children when taking a cruise as part of family travel. It may be tempting to let them run around and enjoy themselves within the safe confines of a ship, but other travelers might not appreciate their adventures. Let them roam in children-centric areas, but be sure to keep an eye on them otherwise.

    Punctuality matters
    Although you will be free to create your own itinerary, the cruise line will likely have its own schedule of events going on throughout the trip. It also operates several shore excursions for guests when the ship makes port. No matter what you are participating in, you should plan to be at the designated area on time. Not only will some excursions leave without you - which only wastes your time and money - but if they wait for you, they'll be forcing all other guests to wait as well.

    Similarly, your meals in the ship's dining room will also be at a set time. It is important to be punctual for this as well. You may be sharing a table with others and will have a specific waiter dedicated to your section. Showing up late can cause meals to be delayed.

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