I know from experience that going on a cruise for the first time can be a little nerve racking. There are so many questions running through your mind. Where should we go? What cruise line should we take? Is there anything for the kids to do on a cruise? What should we pack? What documentation do we need? Well, relax. I will help you answer those questions and more.
First, where should you go. Well, as first time cruisers I recommend you take a short 3 to 5 day cruise from a nearby port. This will give you the opportunity to see if you will enjoy the experience with out keeping you on a ship for a long period of time. Think about it, if you do not enjoy yourself, would you really want to be stuck there for 7 plus nights? Probably not. I would be surprised though if you do not enjoy yourself. Look for cruises leaving a nearby port (if possible) that go to interesting destinations that you may want to see. This leads to the next question of, What cruise line should we take?
Deciding which cruise line to take can be as simple as finding out which ones leave that near port, or as difficult as deciding which one has the amenities you are interested in. Cruise lines range from the contemporary to the luxurious. Which one you choose depends on how much you want to spend on your stateroom. One thing to remember about cruising is that when you pay for your stateroom, you are also paying for your food and entertainment for that period of time. Your beverages are not included in that price so remember to keep that in mind. My first cruise was on the Carnival Paradise and it was a blast! If you are worried about getting sea sick, and yes, people sometimes do, you should get a room with a window. Avoid the interior staterooms because it helps to have a window to look out. Also, try to get a stateroom on a higher deck. They get a little more expensive the higher you go but you do not feel the ships movement as much up there.
Taking the kids? Great! Cruising is an excellent way to give kids the opportunity to see other parts of the world they might not otherwise get to see. Most cruise lines understand that kids go on cruises too and they have kids camps for them to go to when parents want some time to themselves. Carnival for example, has Camp Carnival. This camp is structured so that kids are separated by ages. Each age group has activities geared for them to keep them entertained. For the teenagers they have a dance club just for them. The only adults allowed are the camp counselors. At night for a fee, they will watch your children in a slumber party theme, so you can have an evening on your own.
As for documents, you will need a passport, a photo ID, and a credit card for your sail and sign card. The sail and sign card is your room key and also serves as your credit card while on the ship. All purchases of drinks, photos, and duty free shop purchases will be charged to this. At the end of the cruise you will receive a statement of all charges before it is charged to your credit card.
The most important thing to bring is your positive attitude and a big smile. Get out there and have fun! The world is waiting for you. And you do not even have to drive! Check out my blog for more tips and to see some photos from great destinations!