There’s no denying it – there’s something addictive about cruises. Whether it’s the allure of the open seas, the onboard facilities, the busy social aspect or the wonderful service, once bitten by the cruise bug, you can be sure to keep returning for more and more. In order to get the most out of your cruise, it’s always a good idea to listen to those who’ve been there and done that. Even basic tasks like packing and picking your cabin can be improved with just a few cruising hacks!

If you’re new to the cruising world and are preparing for your first voyage, arm yourself with these tips and tricks for your next cruise. You’ll be a pro in no time.

1. Grasp the language of the sea

Seasoned sea dogs will never call your vessel a boat – it’s a ship, of course – and it’s always feminine. As in, ‘We love our ship, she’s a real beauty’. ‘Ashore’ means dry land, while ‘aboard’ only refers to the floor beneath your feet on your ship. It’ll probably take you the whole cruise to master all the terms of your new language, but it’ll be useful for your next adventure.

2. Learn to pack like a pro

You really don’t have to include the kitchen sink when preparing for your cruise. If worse comes to worst, you can usually find most essentials onboard or in port. Old-hat cruisers will tell you to bring a tote bag of sorts that you can use to carry your things with you at sea, so you aren’t constantly going back and forth between the pool and your cabin. Another essential piece of kit is a runner’s ‘flip belt’ to store your cruise cards, phone and cash while moving about.

3. Choose your outfits wisely

Before setting sail, it’s always a good idea to check out the dress code onboard your ship – are there any formal nights, or fancy dress nights? Make sure you find out – you don’t want to be the only ones not in the right attire! Formal nights are a great reason to get glammed up, so pick something you feel great in. Of course, there’s many cruise lines who don’t adopt a strict dress code or have any formal nights – so if that’s the case, you can just relax and pack what you like!

4. Make the most of meals

With chefs Marco Pierre White and Jamie Oliver establishing onboard restaurants, plus eateries like Nobu branching out into the cruise catering industry, you’re in for a gastronomic treat. No matter which cruise line you sail with, it’s a given that cruise cuisine is pretty top-notch as a whole.

Take your pick at the buffet or enjoy three, four, and five course meals in one of the restaurants onboard. You might even want to try out any speciality eateries! Plus, depending on which cruise line you sail with, you can even take part in some truly unique cooking classes – with the world-famous chefs themselves!

If there’s one thing we love about cruising – it’s the foodie adventure you go on, too.

5. The concierge is your new best friend

You might not realise it, but the concierge onboard your ship are most definitely the people that know everything once you’ve set sail. They can deal with all types of queries, special requests and, in an emergency, even arrange for forgotten medicines to be provided.

6. Make reservations – early!

Even though cruise ships and all their offerings seem as endless as the buffets, there’s a limit on space just like anywhere else. If there’s something you know you’ll want to do while on your cruise, book it sooner rather than later. A spot on a cocktail class, reservations at the steak house and even that seaweed wrap at the spa you’ve been eyeing – it’s better to book it early and save your space.

7. To tip or not to tip?

While tipping isn’t mandatory, you’ll notice that seasoned cruise hands will usually always tip for services provided. Different companies have alternative guidelines for tipping – some already include gratuities in the cost of your booking – so be sure to look these up when booking your trip, so that you’re aware.

Most cruise lines operate an automated service charge system, as this saves putting cash into envelopes at the end of your holiday and ensures all are tipped fairly.

8. Nail your cabin selection

Position is everything when it comes to choosing your cabin. Take a good look at the ship plan when you’re making your selection and think about your own needs. Light sleeper? Try to avoid cabins that are positioned close to the stairs or lifts, that way you won’t risk being kept awake by passers-by or loud conversations in the small hours.

Or are you prone to the dreaded sea-sickness? Cabins based mid-ship and on a lower deck are best for avoiding motion – the more central and lower down you are, the less roll and sway you’ll feel.

9. Know your package

Are you Full Board – or have you opted for a cruise line that offers All Inclusive? If you’re the latter, then make sure you know what’s included – you may find it’s not absolutely everything. For example, with an All Inclusive package you’re usually still expected to pay for particular brands of spirits and champagne – unless of course, you’ve upgraded to a ‘Premium All Inclusive’ package.

Marella Cruises take their All Inclusive offering very seriously, boasting four current All Inclusive ships, with the entire fleet set to join the trend as of Summer 2019! If you don’t want to have to worry about racking up a hefty bar bill, then an All Inclusive cruise could be the way to go!

If you’re Full Board, it’s worth checking out what’s included at meal times, or whether taking out a drinks package once you’re onboard the ship is something worthwhile. For example, P&O Cruises offer various packages – from those including soft drinks to wine and coffee.

10. Take part in activities

To get the most out of your cruise, try out and take part in a new activity. Cunard offers a huge array of lectures and even ballroom dancing classes, while Princess Cruises can teach you a thing or two about photography. Each day will bring a new schedule with new activities, so make sure you find out what’s going on to truly get the most out of your ship.

Even if you’ve never thought of trying a cooking class or taking an exercise lesson, you’ll make new friends and possibly learn something new. So why not?!

Got the cruising bug?

If you simply can’t wait to set sail, take a look at our Latest Deals for a bit of cruise inspiration! Of course, you can always give us a call on 0800 027 8302 and a member of our friendly cruise team will be more than happy to help find you your perfect sailing.

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