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How to Be a First-Time Cruiser Without Looking Like One,

How not to look like a first time cruiser

1. Prebook activities before you leave home

· Reservations onboard book quickly — especially during high-traffic times like spring

and summer breaks and the holiday season,”

· You can budget more accurately if you book early.

2. Plan to arrive at your departure city a day or more before the cruise

· Your ship may leave in the late afternoon, but a delayed flight or heavy traffic is not a

fun way to start your vacation. If you are late, the ship will leave without you.

3. Pack a carry-on bag

· Typically, you’ll board the ship well before your luggage reaches your cabin, so pack

any necessities — medication, important documents, phone chargers — in a carry-on


· If you’ve got room, include items like bathing suits and sunscreen so you can

immediately jump in the pool or soak in the sun without having to wait for your other


4. Switch your cellphone to airplane mode

· International roaming rates can cost hundreds of dollars, even if you don’t make a call,

so switch to airplane mode or contact your cell carrier about travel-worthy phone plans.

· “Many a passenger has come home to an outrageous cellphone bill because they didn't

understand how it worked on a cruise ship.

5. Don’t assume the cruise is all-inclusive.

· Cruise fares typically cover the cabin, meals, onboard activities and entertainment.

· Expect to pay extra for drink packages, gratuities, internet, shore excursions, taxes and

port charges.

· “All combined, that could add up to hundreds of dollars more than your base fare

· For cruisers who aren’t familiar with added fees, there’s often a bit of sticker shock

when it’s time to settle the bill

· Contact the cruise line/agent before you set sail to better understand what’s included in

your fare — and what’s not.

6. Pace yourself

· Each day you’ll receive a copy of the ship’s newsletter with scheduled activities and


· The options can be overwhelming — movies, dance classes, arts and crafts, seminars,

comedians, bands, and shows — not to mention time for meals, swimming, and


· Wondering how to fit it all in? You won’t so mark your top choices. You don’t want to

end your cruise feeling like you need a vacation.

7. Understand automatic gratuities

· Most cruise lines use an automatic gratuity system.

· Gratuities are pooled and distributed among the housekeeping and dining crew, as well

as to staff providing behind-the-scenes support.

· Bar and spa staff members rarely share in the automatic gratuities, so tips are added

when you’re served.

· Whether you’re ordering a martini or enjoying a massage, expect an automatic 15 to 18

percent gratuity.

8. Watch the clock

· Some ports are in different time zones than the ship’s clock, so make sure the times


· Passengers are usually required to be back on board 30 minutes before the ship’s

departure. And the ship won’t wait if you’re late!

9. Don’t take food off the ship

· If you’re planning a picnic lunch and using the ship’s food while you’re in port, forget it.

· Fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and cheeses, nuts and seeds, and even baked

goods aren’t allowed off the ship,

· “Certain ports have dogs checking every single backpack, bag, and purse, just to be


· Stick with prepackaged and sealed snacks, such as granola bars.


10. Relax and enjoy

· “A bad day on a cruise ship is better than a good day at work!”

STAY TUNED: How to Be a First-Time Cruiser Without Packing Like One, 

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