Tips for a First Time Cruiser
Welcome to the world of cruising!
You are now part of the 19.9% of all Americans who have partaken in this special form of vacationing and travel. Where else can you unpack your bags only once, see multiple and exciting ports of call, and have access to world-class entertainment. Plus, you can choose from some of the best food prepared by experienced chefs, spend time with friends and family – and even meet people from all over the world.
PASSPORT AND NECESSARY CREDENTIALS
It’s always best to have an up-to-date passport whether you’re going on a cruise, or not. Getting a passport is relatively inexpensive. First-time adult application fees are around $150, and for children under the age of 16, it is around $100. Our travel advisors at CruiseExperts.com, are always available to help guide you through this process.
Whenever you are booking an overseas cruise take time to research any passport and visa requirements necessary. The United States Department of State offers detailed information on what is necessary. Or to apply for a passport go to www.uspassportonline.com.
Remember, always carry your required credentials to board the cruise ship or the officials there will have no choice but to deny you access on board, or perhaps even keep you on board if you don’t have the necessary visa to visit that exciting port of call. But remember that cruise lines provide a blanket visa for everyone on board so exiting the ship to visit the ports of call is not normally a problem. Avoid the worry by carefully reading the cruise documentation to be sure.
However, if you’re pressed for time and cannot get the passport before you embark on your cruise, you still may be able to go. If your cruise begins and ends at the same port, (a closed loop tour, as they’re called) a birth certificate may suffice as required identification. Again, read the cruise documentation to fully understand the boarding requirements.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT DESTINATION
Cruising has become a multi-billion dollar industry and there are plenty of options of cruise lines as well as ports of call. Is it the tropics and the allure of the many islands and the sandy beaches of the Caribbean that beckon? Perhaps it’s whale watching and the spectacular coastal scenery of Alaska? If it’s the history of Europe that calls for a tour of its ancient cities, cathedrals, museums and to soak up its culture, there’s a cruise going there. Or perhaps it’s the exotic South Pacific with its fabled islands and the sophisticated cities of Australia or New Zealand, or even the mysteries of the Far East that beckon. The truth is, there are very few places on earth that cannot be reached on a cruise ship. So choose carefully.
With so many options available and competitive pricing on the forefront, it’s important to get the best deal and it’s important not to just go on the cheap. While many first-time cruisers decide to go it alone and book their own cruise, it’s important to keep in mind that using an experienced and competent travel agent that specializes in cruising can alleviate much of the worry going forth. They can offer you the best advice on which cruise line is best for your needs, the ideal itinerary, which cabin to choose, as well as offering advice on visa requirements. The additional benefit of using a travel agent is that if anything happens to go wrong on the cruise simply contact your agent and they will solve the problem. Remember to enlist the agent to handle issues on your behalf.
I was always told to book excursions ahead of time, but that’s not always the best advice. If you know for sure that you want to go to Hawaii and take a helicopter tour of the islands, than yes, book that excursion. But, if you’re not dead set on one certain thing don’t jump the gun. When aboard the ship you may decide that you would rather do something else at that port, resulting in a waste of money.
KNOW YOUR OPTIONS ONBOARD
Make a quick trip to the reception desk (if you didn’t ask your travel agent) to find out about such things as beverage packages, internet access and laundry service. Some cruise lines allow the beverage package to be purchased on the first day of the cruise so it pays to ask.
By following these tips your first cruise should be an enjoyable and carefree experience, as they’re meant to be. So enjoy!
While this may be your first cruise, it certainly will not be your last.To book your first cruise get advice from the experts today at 1-888-804-CRUISE (2784), visit us at www.cruiseexperts.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For added savings join our Inner Circle for exclusive offers.
Check out these great links for more information!
- TIPS and IDEAS for traveling with children on a cruise
- Tips for selecting your room on a cruise
- Yikes! Help, how much should I tip on my cruise?
- Basic Cruise Ship Terms for Novices
Kimberly Wheeler joined the team at CruiseExperts.com in September 2014. Her role as a Social Media Marketer is to pass on the expertise of the agency to help travelers understand the world of cruising through blogging. Kimberly has an extensive background in Public Relations and Marketing and a passion for engaging the public. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication and Journalism with an option in Public Relations from Fresno State University in May 2014.