Planning Your First Cruise – Things To Consider Part 1

So you've heard how great cruise vacations are, and now you've decided to take to the high seas for a fortnight of luxury and pampering. But there's a lot to think about. So before you select a cruise line, a cruise ship or even get in touch with a travel agent, there are certain issues…

So you've heard how great cruise vacations are, and now you've decided to take to the high seas for a fortnight of luxury and pampering. But there's a lot to think about. So before you select a cruise line, a cruise ship or even get in touch with a travel agent, there are certain issues that are vital to consider.

1) Who is going on the cruise?

Although this question should be easy to answer, it can have a bearing on the type of cruise line and ship that you absolutely choose.

If you and your partner want to take a relaxing cruise, there are many ships that are aimed at couples. In fact some cruise ships actively discouraged or even ban people from taking children onboard.

If you will be cruising as a couple, it's also important to consider the dining situation. On ships with assigned seating, you will have to specify the size of table that you want. However, on many ships, tables for two are in short supply, so if this is an important issue, this may influence your choice of cruise line and ship. Just make sure that you make this clear to your travel agent or the cruise line when booking.

On the other hand, if you want to take your children or travel with the rest of your extended family, there are certain cruise lines and ships within cruise lines that are specifically tailor with family vacations in mind.

2) How much have you got to spend?

It's possible to find a cruise vacation to suit almost any budget. So before you go any further it's important to work out how much you're willing to spend on your holiday.

But as a general rule, you'll need to set aside at least $ 150 per person per day to cover the cost of your cruise. However, larger cabins in more luxurious ships can cost many times this figure.

However, it is possible to get more for your money if you;

a) Book early. Most cruise lines are willing to give generous discounts if you book your cruise 6-12 months in advance.

b) Book late. Likewise, if you book within 2 months of setting sail, most cruise lines will give you hefty discounts to fill the remaining cabins.

3) How long have you got?

The number of days that you want your vacation to last will determine the type and location of cruises that are available to you.

If you only have a few days, the main option is a one port cruise. This means that the ship leaves port sails around the sea / ocean for two or three days and then returns to the same port. The ship does not call at any other ports, but it does give you a few days at sea. This is a good way to get the feel for a certain cruise ship, or even cruising in general.

If you have a week to spare, this gives you more choices. If you live in the US, this gives you the choice of Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, Mexico or even a Caribbean cruise. If you live in Europe this will give you access to the Mediterranean, north africa, or even a nordic cruise.

Alternately, if you want to increase the number of locations available, you could fly to and from the start / finish location of your cruise or take a one way cruise either flying to the start location or flying home after disembarkation.

If you have two weeks or longer, you can cruise almost any part of the world.

4) What time of the year?

The time of year that you take your cruise will have a major affect on two issues;

a) The Price: As with all forms of travel, your holiday will cost more during the peak season. In contrast, most cruises are cheaper in the spring or fall.

Traditionally, the winter was considered the high season for Caribbean destinies, but due to the weight of supply and demand (people who have to take their vacation during the summer) the summertime costs are almost on a par with the cost of a winter Caribbean cruise .

b) The Locations Available: The time of year that you take your cruise will also determine the locations that are available. Although this will not make much difference to the more mainstream locations such as the Caribbean or the Mediterranean, certain places have a distinct cruise season.

If you want to go to Alaska or northern Europe, the main cruise season lasts from May till September.

For Antartica, the season is even shorter, running from November to February.

Although the tropical regions are in season all year, there is a great variation in the amount of rainfall through the year. Locations such as the Caribbean will have less rain during the summer months and more during the winter months.

And finally, although not a restriction as such, some people prefer to avoid places that may be affected by the hurricane season. If a cruise ship encounters a storm it will alter its route to avoid it, which means you may miss certain places that you wanted to visit.

5) What part of the world do you want to visit?

You can cruise almost anywhere in the world, even landlocked countries are often available to explore through river cruises. So it's no surprise that this is one of the toughest decisions for cruise newcomers to make.

The amount of days that you have for your vacation will narrow your options, but beyond that, consider other issues, such as;

If you want to or have to take your vacation at a certain time of the year, which locations are available?

If you specifically want to use a certain cruise line, which locations do their ships visit?

What type of weather and climate do you prefer?

Are there any particular landmarks that you want to visit?

Are there any activities or adventures that you want to experience?

Now all you have to do it to get in touch with your travel agent.

Cruise Food – Will I Gain Tons On Our First Cruise?

Before we answer that question let us tell it like it is: Medallions of young cod with a rich shellfish sauce, prawns wrapped in pancetta, flamed in Armagnac, Potted fresh and smoked salmon seasoned with herbs, lemon and fromage blanc, New York steak cooked to perfection and served with garlic, parsley, Cognac and special savory…

Before we answer that question let us tell it like it is:

Medallions of young cod with a rich shellfish sauce, prawns wrapped in pancetta, flamed in Armagnac, Potted fresh and smoked salmon seasoned with herbs, lemon and fromage blanc, New York steak cooked to perfection and served with garlic, parsley, Cognac and special savory steak sauce … Rack of lamb covered with a mushroom duxelle, wrapped in puff pastry and baked until honey gold. A creamy vanilla pudding flavored with a hint of nutmeg, diced apples and sultana grapes, warm crepes flavored with orange and Grand Marnier, oozing, melt in you mouth 7 layer chocolate cake. Still breathing?

That's just ONE SMALL example of what Cruise Ships are creating for you. In a nut shell, Cruise Ships provide all food all the time 24/7. Why? Because they love you. And want to please, please, please you! So there it is; an ocean of food on the high seas. All styles from simple casual to sophisticated gourmet. You wanted us to be honest did not you? So back to answering that all important question; Will you gain a ton and sink the ship?

Before you ever climbed onboard your ship, or planned your Cruise to theth degree you have been for years deluged with information: Low carbs, High carbs, no carbs, calorie counting, no counting, food pairing, food “blending”, fasting, metabolic rates, weight loss patches, and diets, diets diets, South Beach, the Zone, Atkins, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystems, The Chocolate Cake Diet, the Grapefruit Diet. And as we speak the Food Industry could not be happier getting to market quickly a new box of cereal cutting the trend Du Jour 0% of whatever plastered all over the box. Well Okay, we could go on for a month. Here's the deal:

You are intelligent. We are giving you all the credit. We KNOW that you know this fact: You are a direct result from all your daily actions. Yup. If you Are overweight now, you either were never taught how to eat for your own body or never learned yourself from some time spent researching and caring enough.

YES, of course there are in very few cases comparatively exceptional biological reasons actual blocks to normal weight management occurrence. Most of the time it is you and your eating choices. Food types, amounts, times of day, accompanied by the lack of appropriate exercise. In reality when you are on your Cruise you will most likely continue your same culture of eating so here's a big eating management tip: Look at the food menu or actual display in front of you and ask yourself this big question, “CAN I GET THIS AT HOME OR DOWN THE STREET AT MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT? ” If the answer is yes, do you really need it right then?

Opt for the items you swear you have never seen or will never see again. If something is really extraordinary go for it, it will become a part of your Cruise fond memories. If you are not overweight, watch out! You could fall prey to the “I never gain weight” aura that surrounds you at home. Remember a Cruise is an aberration in the most luxurious form. Again, you will be surrounded by food. You will say to yourself, “I'm on vacation, I'm going to get my money's worth.” In the 50's and 60's there were “all you can eat” places and people painfully stuffed themselves to get “their money's worth”. You're not overweight now because of your selective eating habits at home. Take that same value with you on your Cruise … tasting only the finest offers and you'll be fine.

And for all of you. Again know that the Cruise Director has your best interests in mind especially in the area of ​​soup to nuts. If you have special diet needs just say so. You can request and get confirmed your special requests for, vegetarian, kosher, diabetic, low-fat, low-sodium, low-cholesterol, gluten-free and lactose-free diets.

Well prepared food is to be seductive, selective, sipped and savored. Enjoy the art.

Our First Cruise Currency Concerns Will A Credit Card Do?

We have not quite arrived at a cash free world just yet! On your first cruise we highly recommend that you take a certain amount of small bills with you for spontaneous smaller purchases and that spur the moment tipping when least expected. For instance there are numerous ships with Casinos. Tipping will be easy…

We have not quite arrived at a cash free world just yet! On your first cruise we highly recommend that you take a certain amount of small bills with you for spontaneous smaller purchases and that spur the moment tipping when least expected. For instance there are numerous ships with Casinos. Tipping will be easy with cash. Also cash is always good to have in the many ports you will be visiting. If safety is a concern, most all ship cabins have personal safes. If your cabin does not have a safe or you would feel more comfortable with storing your jewelry and money elsewhere, your Cruise Ship will have a ship vault. Be sure to get your itemized receipt and ask about the ship's policies regarding your personal items stored in the vault.

Before you take your first cruise you will want to set up your own charge account for all purchases from a cup of coffee to extensive Spa Treatments! This makes everything go very smoothly. The emphasis here is on “credit” cards. If you use a “debit” card you may be limited by your Cruise line to only spending a certain amount. And what if you do not have a credit card? Simply make arrangements to deposit a certain amount of cash before your cruise in an account for your use only. If you are sharing a cabin with a friend both of you charging will not be a problem as you will have separate charge accounts.

Taking your first cruise is exhilarating. You want everything you can possibly think of to run smoothly as there will always be a surprise or two. One of the things to clearly plan for is preparing the children for how THEY will spend their time if traveling with you. There are a couple of plans you could consider:

1. You are in charge of all the kid's expenses and will make all transactions yourself.

2. You could have a separate credit card with a limit on it for the children's use only. Remember, they would not be carrying this card around but would be charging items to their account.

3. You could deposit a certain amount of cash into an account for the kids before taking the Cruise for them to use, making it clear that there is only a certain amount to spend. Perhaps this could also serve as lessons in budgeting and spending habits for them.

Exchange services is an excellent thing to find out before you ever board your first cruise. Some Cruise Ships do offer money exchange services, and some do not. Most people feel more comfortable exchanging their money in a frequented tourist port where their is an exchange bureau provided to exchange all sorts of currency.

You are so used to using your ATMs but please know this: they are very expensive to use onboard. Using an ATM machine while visiting a Port is a much better idea. Generally, know just about what you've allotted to spend for your cruise Cruise that way way you will not feel the pain of too many purchases and by being organized up front you will not get stuck without the proper funds nor be embarrassed when it's that moment to tip! Have fun!

Taking Your Kids On Your First Cruise

Call us biased but we think that planning a cruise with the kids is one of the best family unifying, soul enrichment, bonding and new discovery relationship building for all of you out there! Here's why. On a Cruise you've got a safe, defined, yet vast environment with everything well planned and SPECIFICALLY designed just…

Call us biased but we think that planning a cruise with the kids is one of the best family unifying, soul enrichment,
bonding and new discovery relationship building for all of you out there! Here's why. On a Cruise you've got a safe, defined, yet vast environment with everything well planned and SPECIFICALLY designed just for you and your children! It can not get much better than that!

Each of your family members have age appropriate endless choices. It was not at all this way a few years ago. Planning a cruise with your children was almost unheard of. There were the endless challenges of who was going to care for your children while you were gone plus could you possibly even have a “good time” worrying about the loves of your lives back home? Those courageous parents who did take their children had plenty of challenges undertaking this huge task not to mention the discriminating comments and gazes of fellow travelers. All that has changed 180%. Many major Cruise Lines realized that they were missing a grand productive concept and that was to listen to and make the customer happy. Now your dilemma becomes almost too many incredible choices.

There are SO MANY fun activities for any age child that one could end up not seeing their kids all day! Therefore when deciding on each of your itineraries could be important to plan significant time all together say for instance in a game room or in the pool area for some lovely quality time each day of your cruise.

So let's just examine what we are talking about when we say “endless choices” … Disney is the mother of all fantazmagorical (our word) packages for combo adult and children Cruises. First know that Disney has wisely designated adult-only areas and children-only areas plus plenty of all-family areas to enjoy all together.
If you have little ones ages, 3-4, children can train to be Mouseketeers, practicing their marching, and watch a video
clip of the 50's Mouseketeer show opening. And of course, Mickey Mouse himself will come to see how they are doing and lead them in a Mouseketeer march! Children ages, 5-7 can hang out with a colorful Pirate who fills little heads with mesmerizing stories of adventurous buccaneer tales with historical emphasis and if they are lucky, Captain Hook will make a surprise visit and have a chat with his old friend the Pirate !

These age-specific programs are created by Disney's Oceaneer Club with the added luxury of giving all parents pagers so that everyone will be in touch at all times! If you get teens … they will meet tons of friends at a New York-style coffee house complete with music, games and a huge TV screen. There's even an Internet Cafe primarily for teens 13-17 they will feel they are definitely with their peers speaking their same language! In addition for teens there is a sports equipment area called, “The Glow Jam” with games, and music to listen to. Teens can also experience Karaoke at it's best practicing to become future rock stars and showcasing their talents. All children will get to have opportunities with the famous Disney characters roaming around inspiring giggles and so much fun.

You have a little more to think about when bringing an infant. But this can be accomplished very successfully. Disney allows infants, as young as 12 weeks with baby sitting services provided in their nursery. Here are things relating to your baby to think about and discuss with your Cruise Director..getting a crib confirmed … in advance! Discuss also crib bedding, bathing facilities, medical staff, any special needs? … and of course, baby sitters. Some Cruise Lines do not want infants at all and each have their own age limit and their own set of services and policies.

When Cruising with small children visiting a port successfully may be better if you book yourself into a shore resort where bathroom and eating facilities are conveniently available. From that home base you can take short tours, walks and feel less stressed about food and sometimes a spur of the moment basic some-thing-or-other that you left back on the Ship.

Carnival and Disney seem to be the stars of the kid fantastic fun and care programs, however that is changing as we speak. Norwegian, Celebrity, Holland and Royal Caribbean are also big winners in making the whole family extremely happy and the thing to know) the competition keeps driving already spectacular Cruises for children and adults to even greater heights . Each year tops the one before! So do not dream of leaving the kids behind. There's no reason to any other!

Your First Cruise – What to Wear What To Pack

Actually what to pack and what to wear are two separate articles but for the sake of keeping you from a state of overwhelm, we are going to categorize and organize everything you need to know in one article so you will not need a vacation before you take your vacation! First let's talk about…

Actually what to pack and what to wear are two separate articles but for the sake of keeping you from a state of overwhelm, we are going to categorize and organize everything you need to know in one article so you will not need a vacation before you take your vacation!

First let's talk about what to wear. Count. How many days will you be gone? Where are you going? Will you be mostly on the ship or will you be getting off at every port with scheduled excursions? Then know this. Please do not over do it. How many times have you over packed in the past, just not needing a quarter of the things you dragged around? Not too long ago, one of the first things people thought of when they thought about a cruise was formal attire. Not anymore. You choose. If you want to “dress” for dinner even the term has lightened up considerably. Men who used to feel compelled to wear a tux, simply do not have to. A suit and tie are fine. And women can easily wear something bordering on a cocktail dress but more relaxed, possibly strapless soft linens or flowing cotton silks.

Forget the dripping jewels even if they are faux! It's just not done that much anymore; with rare exceptions. Yes, there ARE exceptions. If you really want to dress to the inth degree then, Cruise lines like Crystal, Princess'Grand-class ships, Cunard's Queen Mary 2 and some of Regent Seven Seas Cruises; the Seven Seas Mariner and the Seven Seas Voyager are the cruises for you!

Most cruises are casual like Carnival, Norwegian and Disney .. These cruise lines like others offer a more formal dining room if you wish.

Most of the time while cruising and even when you get off to explore you will want to be comfortable packing walking shorts, comfortable shoes and one or two lights sweaters just in case. As you count your days and nights think of underwear! Pack plenty of socks, panties, boxers or briefs. It's amazing how important this becomes when you are far from home. Organize and economize. How many tops will go with how many bottoms. Can you get away with just taking four tee shirts versus 12? And think about laundry. The upper scaled Cruises offer laundry service with no charge but most Cruises charge and that can become expensive.

To summarize: For men: Think, khakis, navy sport coat, nice polo shirt or Oxford. Nice jeans. Dark suit if very formal. No bare chests any other place but the pool. Bathing suits should be of the boxer type.

For women: Walking shorts, nice tee's or blouses, nice jeans, sundresses, sun visors or hats.
And for the evening if formal … upscaled casual chic, flowing cottons, linens, tunicile, cotton-silk, faux suede, cocktail length. For non-formal everything from nice jeans to resort pant suits, casual skirts, walking shorts. Do not run around in your bathing suit or short, shorts! Bathing suit cover-ups can be very tasteful and attractive so if you want to keep your bathing suit on while running around, that's a good idea.

When visiting a port you can wear pretty much what we've talked about while onboard. Do know though if you are going to be going to a yacht club or golf resort, check specifically as often there is some sort of dress code even today.

What to pack. It's amazing how important your favorite emery-board becomes when you do not have it not to mention your razor which will shave you like none other. So let's categorize and organize. Think: bathroom stuff. Then think, hair stuff, medicine cabinet things, cosmetics. Stand in the bathroom and focus on each drawer and shelf. Take the things you can not live without and leave the rest. Not all Cruise ships provide hairdryers. Here are just a few things that may be VERY important to not forget, tweezers, ear plugs, hand lotion, lens cleaner, band aids, germicidal hand wipes, bug spray. When you've covered the bathroom then move on to electronics.

Laptop? Battery charger, adapters and converters, PDA, digital camera, and the batteries. Memory cards, night light, flash light, travel clock, walkman plus tapes. Cell phone and do not forget the charger. If you focus on specific topics like this you'll most likely remember everything. Then think
documents:

All tickets, passports, visas (if needed) driver's license, insurance papers (travel and car when you rent a car) medical history or prescription proof, printed emergency contacts back home, ATM card other credit cards, some cash, Picture ID, phone card. With really important documents, have copies stashed back home to be faxed to you. Put even more copies in your luggage, purse, tote bag .. you'd be surprised how this will keep the peace between loved ones. Where there's a document, there are three more just like it in case something gets misplaced, which it usually does. Keep thinking of each person you're traveling with including yourself, one at a time and what specific documents each needs. This will keep you on track. Then thing miscellaneous:

Miscellaneous things would be like duct tape! We're serious. There otta be a book written just about duct tape and all situations that have been saved from this resourceful tape. Other things you might miss are; extra reading glasses, crazy glue, deck of cards, wine bottle opener,
zip loc bags for dirty clothes, maps, clothes pins, a sewing kit, extra buttons, small bottle of woolite in case your favorite sweater gets sloshed by something, fold-up umbrellas (it rains a lot unexpectedly in some areas) and extra contact lenses. Keep thinking out of the box like this and you'll love yourself for being so brilliant when far away from home.

Do not let packing at all overwhelm you, remember the Cruise Lines live to please you and most likely if you have left that cherished personal something behind one of the staff will go to great lengths to solve your problem. Make lists! Just making the lists before you pack a sock will make you feel superbly in charge. Happy sailing !!!

Taking Your First Cruise: A Primer

I've been cruising now for over 25 years and it's been a wonderful way to spend a vacation. There have been plenty of articles written about what to expect and how to prepare. This may offer a few insights and observations that duplicate those ideas. But, I figured that I might hit a nerve here…

I've been cruising now for over 25 years and it's been a wonderful way to spend a
vacation. There have been plenty of articles written about what to expect and how to
prepare. This may offer a few insights and observations that duplicate those ideas.
But, I figured that I might hit a nerve here of there.

The obvious decision you have to make is why cruise at all? Will not I get seasick?
Will not I get bored? Are not the rooms tiny? What if I fall overboard? What if there's a
fire? Is not it expensive?

Great questions, and here are the answers: Yes, maybe and so what? Anything
terrible might happen even if you decide to just stay home. But, cruising is like no
other vacation for the following reason: you're at sea. There, I said it. And what can
happen at sea? Yes, you could get seasick (unikely), drown (very unilaterally), or be
attacked by pirates (very, very unlikely). The modern ships have stabilizers that keep
it, her, um, stable. They are huge behemoths capable of carrying thousands of
passengers, take up city blocks, and can rise fourteen stories high. They have
spacious public areas with an assortment of dining, entertainment, swimming pools
and sporting activities. The cabins vary in size depending on budget but all contain
tv's, bathrooms with showers and storage.

The food is legendary: huge quantities at your disposal 24/7. The entertainment
can be terrific. The attendants are attentive. The crew is courteous. And the best
thing is the ports. They come to you while you sleep. The next morning, voila: a new
place to visit. The ship even docks at the port most times, or offers a short tender
(small shuttle boat) ride. Either way, in minutes, you're ashore. And the cruise line
provides many choices of port tours.

And the next best thing is that it's an all-inclusive vacation. With the exception
of alcohol, soft drinks and tipping, the base price covers everything. Excursions are
extra, though. But one can pay the basic charge and tips and not spend a penny
more, if desired.

A big plus for cruising is that you unpack only one time. And, because they go to
almost every major vacation spot, you can cruise your way around the world on
anything from 7 to 30 day adventures. As a novice, I would opt for a short, 3 or 4
day introductory jaunt. They depart from both coasts year-round. I would also
recommend leaving the kids at home this trip, it's far better to get acquainted with
the ins and outs without the extra stress. Enjoy the new venue and check out each
nook and cranny. If you like the experience, schedule something longer and you'll
probably have a larger ship to explore.

A final thought. If you are still apprehensive, talk to any travel agent and ask
your friends who have cruised. Read the cruise reviews on the Internet. But beware:
it can be very addicting and the minute you return, you'll probably be planning your
next trip.

Discover Cruising, First Time Cruisers!

“Why did not we do this before?” Having spoken to so many first time cruisers, their reaction is always the same – they ask themselves “Why did not we do this before?” It is great value for money and should be tried at least once. Cruises are much more affordable than they were in the…

“Why did not we do this before?”

Having spoken to so many first time cruisers, their reaction is always the same – they ask themselves “Why did not we do this before?” It is great value for money and should be tried at least once. Cruises are much more affordable than they were in the past and many offer better value than the conventional land based holiday as all food and entertainment is included in the price. Prices for a 7 night fly cruise to the Mediterranean can start from as low as £ 399, however in general prices work out at approximately £ 100 per day. This price includes flights where required, transfers, accommodation on board, all meals, (be prepared to put on 1lb a day, although a gym on board most ships will help to keep the weight off) entertainment and you get to see a new port each day. Unbeatable value.

1st Cruise Holiday Tip

To get the most from your evening meal, choose the second sitting where offered as you will rarely be hurried to finish and you will get more chance to make the most of the social setting.

“There is nothing to do on a cruise!”

Are you active and need lots to do? Do you want to totally relax and watch the world go by? Do you want to dress for dinner or do you require a more casual approach? Are you happy to fly and join a ship or do you prefer to cruise out and back to the UK? We will guide you and point you in the right direction, alternately you can contact us and one of our experienced cruise consultants will be pleased to help.

It is important to have a good idea of ​​what you want as the range of cruises is awful. Large vessels in excess of 100,000 tons offer superb family facilities including ice rinks, climbing, basketball and mini golf to name but a few. In the evening following a superb meal in one of the many restaurants on board, the ship really comes to life with casinos, night clubs, cinemas and a full range of entertainment to keep the fun loving active individual happy 24 hours a day.

If this all sounds too much for you and your idea of ​​a cruise means lying back and watching the world go in total relaxation, then there is plenty of choice to offer. These ships tend to be smaller and although they do not offer the full range of facilities, they do make up for that in character and tradition. Dinner tend to be of a more formal nature and the range of excursions generally more interesting.

“I thought cruising was only for the well-off”

There is still the old aged perception that cruising is only for the 'well-off' and the upper classes. Nothing could be further from the truth! There are now cruises and cruise lines that suit all tastes from 3 star Thomson and Island Cruises through to 6 star Crystal Cruises. There are cruises that cater for families and others that are adult only. There are very traditional cruises where you have formal nights and the gents and ladies dress in dinner suits and cocktail dresses and there are ships that are totally casual and formal nights are the last thing on the agenda.

“I'm afraid I might get sea-sick!”

Most if not all cruise ships have stabilizers, however many cruise ships are so big these days that you do not even know that you are at sea. In the event of a passenger feeling sea sick there is always a doctor and nurse on board who can give the necessary injection if required or offer sea sickness tablets. Please note that there will be a charge for any treatment from the doctor and there is adequate travel insurance is a necessity. If you think that there is the possibility of sea sickness it is advisable to contact your own GP before travel.

Generally speaking, cruise ships travel where the weather should be good, however just occasionally the weather patterns can change and there may be an alteration to the cruise ships itinerary. This is very rare but can happen.

“What do I wear?”

There is always that temptation to take clothes for every eventuality, but it is advisable to carefully look at your destination and its climate and pack accordingly. If you are taking a fly / cruise there will be a weight allowance and that allowance will increase the further that you are flying. For Ex UK cruises there is no weight allowance.

On more traditional ships (P & O, Fred.Olsen, Cunard) you can usually expect two formal nights where gentleman wear dinner suits and ladies cocktail dress. Although a suit with tie for gentlemen is acceptable. It is advisable to look at the ships dress code and pack accordingly. Details on this will be sent with your tickets, however if you are in doubt please check with your 1st Cruise Holiday consultant who will be pleased to help.

Above all, do not be worried about impressing people or having enough elegant clothes; the whole point of cruising is to make yourself at home, relax and enjoy yourself.

1st Cruise Holiday Tip

It is well worth taking your time to book the cruise that suits you best.

1. Look for the destination that interests you and the itinerary.

2. Look at the cruise line that suits your needs. (Do you have a family or are you just a couple?)

3. Look at the ship and its facilities. Does it offer what you need?

4. Look at the price and that you are not too stretched. Remember on most ships you will have to pay the additional costs of drinks, gratuities and excursions. (Look at our page to see if any suit your requirements and pocket)

5. First time cruisers look at our Taster Cruises. 1 to 7 nights in duration.

6. If in doubt call our cruise consultants who will help you choose.

After you have booked your 1st Cruise

Once you have booked your cruise and your tickets arrive, they will usually be accompanied by a booklet describing the ship and cruise that you have booked and advising on things like dress codes, gratuities, shore excursions, etc. Do spend some time reading this documentation as you'll gain valuable advice on what to pack and how much to budget for drinks, gratuities and excursions.

All ships accept credit cards, although you can deposit travelers checks or cash when you register at the start of a cruise. You'll then run an account while you're on board and settle at the end. A final bill will be delivered to you cabin / stateroom on the last night.

For your convenience and if your tips are not pre-payable (your 1st cruise holiday consultant will advise you on this) some ships will distribute envelopes for passengers to fill and dispense on the final night. You are advised to take dollars, sterling or euros depending on the on board currency.

Inside or Out?

Cabins or staterooms as many cruise lines now call them come in many shapes and sizes, but to simplify matters they come in 4 categories. Inside, Outside, Balcony cabins and Suites.

Inside cabins are less expensive than their outside equivalent. There is no natural light, however lighting is good and inside cabins are now designed with drawn curtains to give the impression that there is a window in the cabin. If you do suffer from claustrophobia, you are probably better to choose an outside cabin especially if it is your first cruise. The advantage of an inside cabin is the price and you do sleep well with no natural light to wake you in the morning. The disadvantage is no natural light and you are unable to view the weather. Therefore a scouting mission is required to get your weather report. Many past passengers book an inside cabin to keep costs down and as you spend little time in your cabin apart from sleeping and a quick change for dinner they do not feel the need to spend needlessly.

Most cabins come equipped with TV, Phone, Safe and private facilities in the way of bath or shower.

Outside cabins will either have a porthole or picture window depending on ship and / or position on ship.

As you move up the cabin / stateroom scale, they become larger and better positioned on the ship. Mid ship cabins are generally more expensive than those at the front or rear of the ship. The facilities will increase and provide greater wardrobe space. Balcony cabins are now becoming much more popular and ships are providing more and more of these cabins.

Suites have a lot more facilities and many include canapés being sent to your suite each night before dinner together with a glass of Champagne. Some of the larger suites include your own butler and pianist, however, these do come at a price.

For more of John Gibb's excellent advice for first-time cruisers and more of his 1st Cruise Holiday Tips, check out 1stcruiseholidays.co.uk

1st Cruise Holidays.co.uk is filled with answers to commonly asked questions and solutions to the natural worries of cruising for the first time.

The site does not only cater for travelers worried about cruising, though! With detailed information on every cruise line and ship, including ratings, itineraries, ship details, ship photos and more, you can find out everything you want to know about your cruise holiday before you book it.
1stCruiseHolidays.co.uk has an expert team of cruise consultants who will find you the best possible deal to make your first cruise experience a great one!

Short Cruises – The Perfect Match For First Time Cruisers

Would you like to try a cruise, but are not sure if you really like it? Some people are intimidated about making a seven-day commitment to a cruise vacation. What if they experience motion sickness? What if they feel claustrophobic? For some people, these are very real concerns. If you experience any of these apprehensions,…

Would you like to try a cruise, but are not sure if you really like it? Some people are intimidated about making a seven-day commitment to a cruise vacation. What if they experience motion sickness? What if they feel claustrophobic? For some people, these are very real concerns. If you experience any of these apprehensions, perhaps a short cruise of three, four or five nights might be the best way to determine if cruising is for you.

Virtually every aspect of the cruise experience will be the same on a short cruise as it would be on a longer cruise – it just ends a bit sooner. Passengers can experience the amazing cuisine (always a big hit with cruisers), the onboard entertainment, the luxurious surroundings of the ship itself, and stops at several exciting ports of call in exotic destinations.

Many of the major cruise lines now offer short cruises. They are a great fit for the couple or family who want a quick getaway vacation, as well as for groups who like to travel together. Short cruises are also a perfect match for no-hassle family reunions. There's not a huge time commitment, yet there are plenty of varying activities for everyone in the group.

Short cruises usually carry a lower price tag than a traditional seven-day cruise. So, in addition to committing less time to the trip, you're also committing less money as well. It's the perfect way to sample the cruising life to see if it's right for you!

Interesting 5 Tips that First-Timer Cruisers Need to Know

First-time cruisers sometimes confuse about choosing the destination for either cruising nor they aware about the hidden costs in the cruise. So this cruising tip should help them to prepare about what they need to know before they go for cruising: 1. Book early or late You will get better deal by booking well in…

First-time cruisers sometimes confuse about choosing the destination for either cruising nor they aware about the hidden costs in the cruise. So this cruising tip should help them to prepare about what they need to know before they go for cruising:

1. Book early or late

You will get better deal by booking well in advance of your sailing date or at the last minute. Booking early in advance can save you between 15 to 50 percent and also lock in the cabin category of your choice. If you wait wait to book at the last minute, you will even get a better discount on a ship's unsold cabin. But of course you will not be able to choose the cabin that you like, whatever is left is available.

2. Drive rather than fly

You could save a lot if you just drive to the nearest port in the city rather than you fly. Nowadays there are more cruises than ever before departing from “close-to home” ports such as Boston, New York, Bayonne (New Jersey), Philadelphia, Baltimore, Charleston, Jacksonville, Tampa, New Orleans, Mobile, Galveston, Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Francisco and Seattle.

3. Take a short cruise first

If you are a first-timer cruiser, it is better for you to take short-cruise 3 to 4 days on the weekend. In this case, you will be able to “test the water” before you jump-in to the real cruise. There is a good selection of ships sailing on short cruises to various destinations in the Caribbean, as well as along the Mexican Riviera and to New England / Canada.

4. Beware of added charges

You have to be prepared for added charges when you are on a cruise. Expenses such as playing in the casinos, alcoholic beverages to photos snapped by the ship's ubiquitous are not included in your cruise fare. So, travel-smart by preparing your budget in advance when you are going on a cruise. If you must buy something, wait until the final day of the cruise – most of the stores will throw a sale then.

5. From ship to shore- savings on excursions

Sometimes the largest additional cost is escaped shore excursions offered in every port of call ranging in price from $ 25 per person for a tour by motor coach to as much as $ 300 for helicopter flight-seeing. For two couples, it is less expensive to hire a cab or rent a car for a day than for each person to join an organized excursion. Also there is no requirement to leave the ship when in port. Some passengers prefer to relax on board and lounge by the pool as the ship is much less crowded after most people have gone ashore. Shore excursions make the most sense when few attractions are within walking distance and local means of transportation are scarce.

Hope that this tip will be helpful for those first-timer cruiser. Bon Voyage !!

Plan Your Cruise Vacation And Save Time And Money

Once you decide that you'd like to cruise, there are a number of other things to consider to enhance your cruise as well as make it go smoothly. Naturally you need to sort out things like when and where you want to cruise as well as with which cruiseline, which ship and what things you…

Once you decide that you'd like to cruise, there are a number of other things to consider to enhance your cruise as well as make it go smoothly.

Naturally you need to sort out things like when and where you want to cruise as well as with which cruiseline, which ship and what things you want to do off the ship. Do you want to cruise to Alaska and watch whales or stay warm and cruise the Caribbean? Would you rather sail on a massive ocean liner or does a smaller, more elegant vessel interest you? Are you ready to leave tomorrow or would you rather wait and search out the deals? When the ship docks in the various ports of call, will you remain on the ship, head out shopping or go on a fun filled, exciting shore excursion?

There are a few ways you can collect this information and doing the leg work up front will save you time, money and aggravation down the road I promise you that. Saving the legwork and getting right down to the good stuff is what most people are after. I have written three books on cruising and have compiled all of the slick tricks that I've learned into the books for you to have all the info you need together in one spot. Follow the link in my resource box and have a look.

You should also search out, join and familiarize yourself with the Cruise message boards. On these boards, members will post their reviews of everything from flights to ships to shore excursions and more in great detail. Do take these reviews with a grain of salt though. Some of the people seem like they could not have fun anywhere!

This is an excellent way to find out about the various shore excursions. Members will report back on what tours they did, what operators they liked or disliked, any problems they had and more.
In many cases, someone on a forum will start a post called a “roll call”. This is a gathering place for passengers of a specific sailing date for a specific ship and I highly recommend you search them out. If you can not find a roll call for your cruise … create one! How do you say? It's very easy …

Let's say you are cruising on the Carnival Legend from February 17th to February 24th. You would simply search for or create a post called “Carnival Legend – Feb. 17th to Feb. 24th” People will find it, trust me! Once a few of your cruemates find your post, you will be able to swap plans and stories, maybe learn a tips or two and maybe even make some friends. My wife and I always make a point to meet up somewhere on the ship with our roll call friends and we've kept friends with some of them to this day.

Let's not forget your friendly local travel agent. Sure you can research and book your flights and cruises all by yourself online, but if you find it overwhelming, do not be afraid to let the professionals take care of you. Sometimes paying a few extra dollars is worth it to know that someone else has taken care of the details. My guides and the forum participation will still insure that you are able to make informed decisions.

Before you go

I'm generally not a paranoid person, but would like to share a few security tips that could help keep things secure while you're on your vacation. Before you leave for your cruise, it might be a good idea to call the post office and have them stop delivery of your mail. If you have not arranged for someone to come and get your mail while they feed your pets, you might want to look into that. A large pile of mail sticking out of your mailbox is tolling sign for thieves to come and rip you off.

Your home phone should either have the ringer turned off or have you answering machine set to pick up on two rings. This could reduce the risk of someone figuring out that you're not home.
If you happen to live in a snowy part of the world, your driveway might get snowy while you're gone and if you have not got any tire tracks in your driveway, this could have all the indication thieves need to know it's safe to enter your home.

Rather than rely on mail stoppages, answering machines and light timers, I prefer to keep things looking natural while away. I always have a friend come over to get the mail and feed the cat as a minimum. If they are a really good friend, they're shovel the driveway and walk, but people do not like to do their own shoveling let alone yours, so why not have it done? One way is to pay the neighbor kid a flat rate to keep it shoveled while you're gone. Letting his / her parents know when you'll be leaving and returning as well as what you've asked to have done is probably not a bad idea.

If you know someone with a plow or have a local plow service, you can ask them to come scrape your driveway after each snow. I guess if you're really cheap, you could just have the friend drive on your driveway when they come to get the mail.

At any rate, chances are that someone is not lying in the bushes waiting for you to go on vacation so you'll have to gauge the risk and do what gives you a piece of mind.

Next time I'll cover packing and preparing for your cruise. If you want to cut to the chase and get right into the info, stop by http://www.cruisevacationparadise.com and pick up one or all of my cruise ship tips books. They contain a vast amount of information that will allow you to select and prepare for the cruise vacation of a life time!

Until next time, be well and happy cruising!