So you’ve taken the plunge and booked your first ever cruise – how exciting! Now it’s time to ensure you’ll have the most amazing holiday without any drama. We all know about that pre-holiday stress -making sure you have packed all the right clothes, and most importantly, your passport! Whether you’re heading on a mini cruise or venturing off out to sea for 16 days, preparation is key – so here’s everything you need to know for all you first-timers out there! After all, our aim is to make sure you sail away happy.

Cruise through check in

Sometimes with all the excitement and rushing around, it’s easy to let the important things slip your mind. It’s all well and good remembering your hair products and aftershave – but unfortunately that won’t get you out of the country!

Do whatever you need to do so you don’t forget any travel documents – and that includes the big one, your passport. Make a point of getting it out well before your cruise – it needs to be in date! You don’t want to miss out on any of the amazing destinations out there through these silly hiccups – especially when they’re bucket-list worthy locations.

Double check, triple check, and then check again that your name and date of birth are correct on your cruising documents. You may also need visas for some of these amazing locations – so make sure to research this in advance of your trip.

Kitchen sinks aren’t required

It’s always tempting to include everything in your wardrobe when packing for a holiday, especially when you don’t know what to expect – but resist the urge!

A good place to start is swimwear – whether you’re soaking up the sun on a beach, relaxing in the bubbling hot tub at the onboard Spa or simply lounging around the pool – there’s water everywhere! Totally essential if you’re hoping for a tan, too. You’ll also need a good pair of comfy shoes to wear – there’s so much to explore onboard, nevermind what you get up to onshore – from hiking or simply wandering the local town – so make sure they fit nicely.

Some cruises require formal attire for evening meals or ball events – so fish to the back of your wardrobe and get your glad rags out, because it’s time to party! Grab a tux or a cocktail dress – or simply your favourite dressy outfit – then you’ll be dressed to impress and good to go.

If you’re ever in doubt, check out your ship’s dress code and use it as a guide when you’re packing.

Don’t waste time

Here’s a little tip from our expert cruisers – pack essentials in your hand luggage, such as beauty products and swimming gear. That way whilst you’re waiting for your baggage to be retrieved, you can still hit the pool and freshen up.

Cash rules – sometimes

If you’re looking to treat yourself to a new bag or a cocktail or two onboard, just bring your credit card. The only time you may need cash is if you decide on spending once in port, in which you’ll need the local currency. But if you forget, you can still exchange cash onboard – but it’s cheaper to do so at your local bank.

You’ll also need some cash for tipping your favourite staff during your cruise – though it’s worthwhile checking your cruise line’s policy on tipping and whether an automated service charge system is in use.

Always inform your credit card company in advance that you’ll be taking a cruise, and the countries you’ll be visiting – you don’t want your card to be flagged up as a potential security problem because it’s registered in Bolton but being used in the Bahamas.

Snooze you lose

Get ready for an adventure when you zip-line through the Caribbean or hike up the Fjords – whatever it may be, there are plenty of shore excursions to suit your needs. From wine tasting to kayaking – you don’t want to miss out on these amazing experiences! Don’t wait another minute to make your getaway even more memorable – book in advance.

Your home away from home

There are so many room types – it can be pretty confusing, but it’s important that your room suits your needs. Some come with balconies or verandas – you may even prefer a cosy inside cabin. If you need special arrangements, make sure to get in touch with your cruise line so that you can sail away happy and have an amazing nights rest. After all we want it to feel like home away from home.

Medicine and insurance

There’s nothing worse than getting ill on holiday – and sometimes accidents can happen. When you’re cruising, you’ll want to banish all worries from your mind. And you won’t need to worry about a thing if you just remember to take out some travel insurance for peace of mind. If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, take extra precaution and make sure you have all your medication on hand. We just want to ensure you have the best time!

Last minute bits and bobs

There’s nothing more frustrating than unpacking your bags and realising you’ve forgot something important – like your phone charger or adaptors.  Often it’s because these are last to be packed – and in the rush, forgotten. Before you leave for anywhere, do a final check of the necessities that should be packed, as well as the bits and bobs you should have on your person. There’s nothing worse than leaving behind a must-have item!

No need to rush

Keep cool, calm and collected – we don’t want you having that Home Alone moment of snoozing through your alarm or being stuck in a traffic jam worried about missing check-in. Give yourself plenty of time in case any unfortunate events occur, and make sure to set a back-up alarm. We don’t want you missing out on the journey of a lifetime!

* Terms & Conditions apply

We are acting as an agent on behalf of travel suppliers and your booking will be subject to the supplier’s terms and conditions. Prices may be subject to very limited availability and are correct as at the date and time of writing. Prices may go up or down from time to time. Prices quoted are for the dates, accommodation, board basis, departure points and number of persons sharing specified only and cannot be combined with any other offer. We reserve the right to amend any quotes given if there is a genuine error as soon as we become aware of it. We reserve the right to withdraw any offers without notice.