Figuring out everything you want to see, do, taste and experience on your cruise vacation can be almost as fun as the trip itself. With a little bit of planning, you can make sure that you enjoy every minute of your time on the ship and in port. Here are a few tips and tricks we’ve gathered from our years of experience cruising, to ensure that your first cruise goes off without a hitch. From the all-important task of scoring a table at one of the most popular restaurants on your ship, to making sure your luggage arrives safe and sound, we’ve got you covered.

Pick a Trip!

The first step in planning your cruise is, of course, picking a trip. There are cruises to suit every taste, from family-friendly voyages complete with kids’ clubs and pools, to adults-only escapes with plenty of daytime activities and nighttime entertainment. You can choose a cruise that sails to just about any corner of the globe, whether you’re looking to explore the Mediterranean or take a Caribbean getaway. And with so many different ships to pick from, you’re sure to find one that has everything you’re looking for in a vacation. We absolutely recommend checking out Princess Cruises for a great trip and deal!

Once you’ve decided on a destination and a ship, it’s time to start planning all the fun stuff you’ll be doing on your trip.

Research Your Destination and Ports

On a cruise, all you’ll need – food, fun, and rooms – is well organized in apps, maps on the ships, and daily programming fliers delivered to your room. While cruise companies are more than happy to promote their land excursions to you, they don’t always do the greatest job of communicating exactly what you should see or do in ports of call. Before you board your ship, make sure to do some research ahead of time. Oftentimes, cruise lines will only hand out a map of the port town’s jewelry stores (with which they usually have special business agreements). With limited time in port, it would behoove you study up before going. And even if you booked an excursion, after that three-hour snorkel trip is done, you could find yourself with more than enough free time on your hands.

Be Mindful Of Packing

While some people might argue that everything you need for a cruise can’t fit into one carry-on bag, it’s definitely possible – and probably your best option if airlines keep losing luggage. But even setting travel logistics aside, most cruise ship rooms (and bathrooms) don’t have a ton of floor or storage space. So unless you want to live out of your suitcase, it’s worth thinking twice about overpacking – especially if you’re trying to fill up a standard room.

Be Early & Board Early

Make sure to book your boarding time online before your cruise as soon as possible. You want to make the most of your vacation time and Boarding earlier in the day allows you that chance! The pool deck is fully operational on embarkation day so take advantage of it. Order a drink of the day from one of the poolside bars, take a quiet lunch in a secluded location, and relax by the pool. You won’t be able to access your room right away, so pack your swimsuit in your carry-on and change in one of the public restrooms. As we previously stated, you may use part of your day to tour the ship and get a sense of its layout.

Pick A Cabin That Works For You

Don’t pick the cheapest cabin just because it’s the cheapest; think about where you’re going and how long your cruise is, and let that be your guide. If you’re headed for a warm-weather destination, a balcony cabin is great for sun-worshippers — but not so good for those who prefer to stay out of the heat.

Utilize Your Cruise Daily Planner

Many cruise lines provide a daily schedule on board, which may include activities such as lectures, dance lessons, and trivia games. Daily planners are jam-packed with things to keep you occupied, including dancing lessons, quizzes, and theater shows. Many applications allow you to save appointments to your calendar and will even alert you on your phone if necessary. A bright highlighter is useful if you use a paper planner.

Look At The Weather Forecast

With the current global climate conditions, it’s smart to investigate the weather in your cruise destination before setting sail. In places where cruises are popular, like the Caribbean and Mexico, rain seasons and dry seasons have changed, Moreover, extreme temperatures have become more common during summer months. You should also look up the weather in a few ports on your journey. Even though you’re sailing across the Caribbean, the weather might vary considerably from island to island. The same can be said for Alaska, the Baltic States, and other locations around the world.

Save Your Money!

Shore excursions on cruise ships are known as cruises. These tours are available in each port. If you go on a cruise and want to participate in these activities, you will have to pay extra. You may save time and effort by booking these excursions through the cruise line, but the costs might be prohibitive. Make sure your excursion is convenient with your port of call. Just keep in mind that if you miss your ship’s return due to a cruise-purchased shore excursion, it will wait for you. It won’t if you booked independently.

In conclusion, remember to have fun and relax on your cruise! It’s important to do your research ahead of time so you know what to expect, but once you’re on board, sit back, enjoy the ride, and make the most of your vacation. Thanks for reading!