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7 Cruising Lessons – What To Know Before Taking A Cruise

Taking a cruise can bring you to multiple locations on a single trip. They range from a few days to a few weeks. To get the most out of your cruise, Easier Travels has some cruise tips to get the most out of your trip.

Here are 7 cruise tips for your next vacation.

Lesson 1: Do not let others influence you.

If friends and family love to cruise that doesn’t mean you will, even if the places you go are places you’ve always wanted to visit. Few will tell you about the constant marketing the minute you get on the ship to buy photos, jewelry, clothes and excursions. It can be overwhelming on your first cruise, which you took to escape the rat race. Sometimes an excursion is the only way to get away.

Lesson 2: All food and beverages are provided.

Well, not exactly. No alcoholic beverages are provided, nor are sodas. The only free beverages are coffee and tea (both caffeinated and non-caffeinated), orange, apple, and tomato juices, milk, and tap water (bottled water is not free). Bring an empty thermos and/or water bottle for off-ship excursions. And don’t be shy about taking fruit, sandwiches, or cookies for mealtimes, when you are off the ship. Be aware that anything in your room’s refrigerator (soda, bottled water, etc.) will be charged to you and are not gratis.

Lesson 3: You don’t have to gain weight while on a cruise.

If you are a fussy eater or vegetarian, there are plenty of choices. Fresh fruit and salads are plentiful. Food is everywhere and available all the time. You can have free ice cream, pizza, and/or a burger in the grill area or eat meals in onboard restaurants (a complementary meal is often given to entice you to come back and pay the next time). There is an all-you-can-eat buffet, the Trough, which is the most dangerous place to spend time. It is best to take tiny portions of the foods that sound interesting and then go back for a little extra of your favorites. Watch out for bread and starches, white sauces, and cream-filled desserts.

Lesson 4: There’s always plenty to do on board the ship.

Hmm, yes, there are many activities and the staff does a great job trying to keep folks entertained. Activities are more important for long periods of time (Alaska) on board, unlike island hopping in Hawaii when you are off the ship quite a bit. Activities consist of a comedian, a singer, a couple of bands, movies, karaoke, trivia games, a casino, and pricey bingo. There are also guest speakers talking about the area you are cruising, and health-oriented talks in the onboard spa. If you are traveling solo and find it difficult to meet people, these activities can help. However, if you have a specific interest, such as jazz, you might be better off trying a jazz cruise, where you are more likely to meet someone with common interests.

Lesson 5: Getting away from all the people can be challenging.

If you are a detective or a writer, it is best to avoid telling people. You might find the same person “bumping” into you everywhere you go. Even with a balcony, rooms can be claustrophobic no matter the weather. Everyone is out on deck when it is nice, and it can get loud with announcements and movies. If you don’t like the constant wind from the movement of the ship when outdoors, you may have more problems than most with claustrophobia.

Lesson 6: Figure out the best time to go.

Do you like it hot, rainy or cool? Do you want the beginning of the season, when the excursion folks may be new to their jobs and kids are still in school? Or do you want the end of the season, when staff can’t wait for it all to be over? Do you want to see spring flowers, certain animals, or fall colors? Figure out what you are most interested in seeing and then book the cruise accordingly.

Lesson 7: You may have to spend more to fulfill the scale of your expectations.

For example, on an Alaskan cruise, you may see whales and experience the thrill of icebergs falling from glaciers into the ocean (calving). However, without very strong binoculars or sharp reflexes, you won’t see either from the cruise ship. Seals resting on pieces of ice are just black or brown dots in the distance even with binoculars. Twenty-five-story glaciers look minuscule when the ship is five miles out to avoid the ice chunks from all the calving in the area. Whale spouts are confused with porpoise spouts, so many folks yelling out “whales” don’t even know what they are seeing and in the blink of an eye, whatever they were, are now gone. Thus, the scale of things is much smaller than your expectations, when compared to National Geographic photos. The only way to cure that is to go on a whale-watching excursion, which will cost you more.

Conclusion

Start small with a 3-day cruise. Some people like to let others make all the plans and don’t mind being passengers. Other folks want to be in control all the time. Decide where you fall before committing to the time and expense of a cruise. Most people on cruises are retired, older, and laid back.

If you are active and a control freak, you may still have fun, if money is no object, by getting away on excursions or consider taking a cruise on a much smaller boat. You can get away on your own, but it will require a little more effort, and the ship staff is more interested in telling you about excursions (and spending your money), than in letting you know about free nature hikes and beautiful scenery just down the road. If you like to explore on your own, perhaps you should wait another ten years before trying a cruise.

Find your best cruise tips on EasierTravels.com

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