5 things to know before you go on a cruise holiday

Is travelling more one of your new year resolutions? If you want to explore the world this year, why not book a cruise for your next holiday?!

A cruise holiday is a great way to reach many off-the-beaten track destinations or to add an extra feel of adventure to your trip. With so many cheap cruise holidays these days getting there by ship could ensure that you see your dream destination sooner rather than later. If you’re a first-timer on a cruise, here are a few tips how to make your experience smooth and enjoyable.

cruise holiday - ship at a port

How to pack for a cruise

Even if you’re a travel guru and you’ve mastered the skill of packing, it’s good to keep a few things in mind when preparing to board on a ship. Be sure to carry-on your travel essentials and anything that you cannot live without for a couple of days (like medicines, swimsuit, clean underwear), just in case your luggage gets delayed or even lost.

If traveling with a companion, divide your checked items into two suitcases. That way, if one of the bags is lost, you will both have some clothing to wear.

Take care of your health

Ships have hospitals, doctors and nurses, but medical bills can quickly add up in case of illness or accident. It’s important to have a good travel insurance. Make sure you have all necessary immunisations for the ports you will visit.

If you are prone to motion sickness, take precautions and bring pressure bands, drugs or natural remedies with you. Smaller craft, including the converted clipper vessels (although even these have deep drafts), are best avoided if you really do turn green at the sight of a whitecap. It’s good to know that in more severe cases the ship’s doctor can administer an injection.

Check what’s included in “All-inclusive”

Read the small print on the brochure or ask your agent what’s covered by the cost of your cruise holiday. The “all-inclusive” fare usually doesn’t include bar bills, except on high-end luxury ships. Room service might also be served with a charge at certain times.

Look out for attractive deals on included drinks packages, often offered to encourage bookings. At full price, some packages would inflict severe liver damage before becoming financially viable – and they may well have limits on what is included.

Vienna cruise port

Research the ports

How you get there is fun, but the destination is what made you take on the journey. Research all the ports your ship stops at before the cruise holiday. Otherwise you may end up overwhelmed at a new port and without the slightest clue of what to do for the next eight hours. The crew will provide you a map of the town gems (with which they often have special business agreements). So with limited time in port, it pays to know what you want to visit.

Tipping policy

Most of the popular cruise lines have instituted auto-gratuities these days – a set amount that is charged to the passenger’s on board bill on a daily basis, or they simply add a service charge to your bar bill. Since many crew members depend on tips as a part of their salaries, it’s worth checking this in advance.

Traveling by water is becoming very popular with one in every eight foreign package holidays now being a cruise. If you’re looking to experiencing your first voyage this year, keep in mind these tips for a smooth and enjoyable sailing.



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