Your first cruise can be exciting as you prepare yourself for an unforgettable experience taking in foreign sunsets as you set sail from one horizon to the next.
It can also be a bit intimidating if you are planning to test the waters (so to speak) with your first holiday on a ship. With larger ships today reaching as tall as 16 stories high and holding between 3,500 and 5,000 passengers in one go, it is like a small town setting sail!
As a cruise ship can be the equivalent of a town on a boat there are some important things that you can learn before boarding that will make your vacation more pleasurable and the environment itself more enjoyable for all passengers.
Here some IMPORTANT things that you should know before your first cruise.
Not All Cruise Lines Are the Same
It's important to research multiple cruise lines and talk to friends, family or your travel agent before you book your first cruise.
Bear in mind that different lines have their own niche and it's up to you to decide what you're looking for - luxury travel or adventurous excursions to a family-friendly atmosphere or party vibe.
Research Activities Before Booking
Knowing the kind of activities you want to do while on vacation can really help tailor down your list of potential options.
As an example, Genting Dream Cruise will have a jam-packed programme of events, performances and signature show throughout the cruise or you may seek the musical, culinary and artistic experiences in Costa Firenze cruise.
Talk to Your Travel Agent
Talk to your travel agent about what you want out of your vacation. Let them do all the hard work on deciding what cruise line and itinerary would best fit you and your family.
If you don’t already have a dedicated travel agent, ehem... we are here to serve you.
Review all Documents in Advance
It’s very important that you review all travel documents sent to you with your confirmation once you book.
Your confirmation will oftentimes say something along the lines of “Failure to arrive with proper documentation could result in denied boarding, and no further compensation will be offered.
It is sad to be turned away from the ship just because you forget to print something or misread some information. Some cruises require you to obtain your own travel visas for the ports of call you'll be visiting, and you’ll need to show proof of these visas before boarding the ship.
If you are unsure, just read thoroughly. If you go through by an agent, they will surely sort everything up for you.
Understanding Your Reservation/Check-In Process
If available, check to see if your cruise line has an app that will make the check-in process easier. This will save you a lot of time when it comes to boarding the ship.
Double-check when the online check-in process needs to be completed by—most cruise lines won’t let you check-in with the app within 24 hours of departure.
The time listed is much like flight time - this is the time the plane is supposed to be leaving, and you'll need to board in advance. So, if the ship is set to sail at 3, they are expecting all their guest already settle down by 2.30 or earlier.
Oftentimes cruise lines won't even allow passengers to board if they arrive only one hour before the ship is supposed to leave. Remember point #1 - Not All Cruise Lines Are the Same. Same goes here. They will have a different set of rules and regulations, do understand them all.
Have a Map of the Ship
Make sure you have a map of the ship handy to reference where your stateroom is.
Yes, there will be lots of crew members around to help you find your way, but there will also be plenty of other passengers trying to find their room as well.
Plus, it will help you to get around that massive cruise. It's not like a ferry to Langkawi, it's waaaaayy bigger.
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