True confessions time: I love cruising because I love the life at sea, visiting foreign ports and because I believe it offers the most value for my travel dollar. What’s NOT to love? Nevertheless, I know that some people are skeptical about taking a cruise. If this is you, then read on because there are some things you need to know so that you can be assured that your cruise will be a success.
Cruises require some planning and exercising some common sense. Do both, and you will probably thoroughly enjoy your cruise and will want to book another one leaving ASAP. If you’re not sure that you’ll like the cruise ship experience, consider booking a 2-3 or 4-5 day mini-cruise. If you find that you really don’t like it then you won’t be out of pocket too much money, and you’ll soon be on terra firma once again. If I were concerned that I might not enjoy my first cruise, I would avoid booking anything 4 or 5 days. On the other hand, if you are certain that cruising is for you, book a week-long voyage just to be sure. After you have taken your first cruise, and have decided you love it, then you can begin making plans for your next (and longer) cruise. If you’re like me, you will be anxiously awaiting your next cruise. In fact, you may not even want to get off the ship!
Inexpensive Cruising for the Novice Cruiser
Most of us work hard for our vacation dollars and don’t want to waste them. If you’re not sure you even want to go cruising, then it’s even more important to make sure that you don’t spend money unnecessarily. One way to avoid paying too much for your first cruise is to bargain-hunt in newspapers or surf the net. Also, try to book early if you can because this will not only ensure a cheaper fare, but will also help you get cabin upgrades—-more value for your cruising dollar! Experienced, budget-conscious cruisers know that they can get a real bargain by cruising during the low season. However, in the Caribbean low season just happens to be hurricane season. Consequently, if you are a novice (and skeptical) cruiser, I would recommend that you avoid hurricane season. Instead, consider one of many repositioning cruises because these also offer considerable savings over peak-season rates.
Are You An “Innie” or and “Outie”?
One of the (few?) mistakes I made on my first cruise was to allow myself to be swept away by the romance of the sea. I was convinced that I would spend a lot of time gazing out to see from behind my cabin window. I guess I would have done so if I had spent some time in my outside cabin! However, as it turned out, the only time I was in there was to sleep, wash, and change clothes. The rest of the time, I was enjoying the many amenities offered by the ship—definitely NOT in my cabin! The bottom line is this: if you’re not sure about cruising AND you’re on a budget, skip the outside cabin, book the inside one and SAVE your money!
Dining at Sea for the Novice Cruiser
In my opinion, one of the best things about cruising is that you can choose to be as active or as inactive as you want. No one forces you to do anything. YOU set your own itinerary by participating in as many (or as few) of the onboard activities as you wish.
One of those activities is—eating! You can eat from morning until night if you wish. The midnight buffet is not to be missed. However, if you’re a novice cruiser, I would suggest being a little cautious about how much (and what) you eat. For the whole cruise? No way! Just wait and see how your body reacts to the motion of the sea. If you have no adverse reactions—then dive in and eat your fill! On the other hand…
Seasickness and the Novice Cruiser
Even though modern cruise ships are equipped with stabilizers that minimize the motions of ships, there are people who still do get seasick. What if you are one of them? Here’s what happened to me and what I did about it.
I’m the sort of person who sometimes feels a little queasy while riding in cars or in certain types of seas. On the first night of my first cruise, the seas were rather rough and the motion of the ship made me feel a little uncomfortable but I took one my motion sickness pills and put on my special wrist-bands (designed to combat sea and air sickness). Another precaution I took was to stay on deck and be as active as possible. Most important of all, I avoided looking down and reading. Also, I kept my eyes on the horizon. Consequently, the feeling soon subsided and I was fine. By the next day, I had my sea legs and never had to worry about it again. If you find yourself getting seasick, try doing what I did and see if it doesn’t help you.
Medical Care, Travel Insurance, and Novice Cruisers
Seasickness isn’t the only malady that can befall the cruiser. Sometimes novice cruisers are reassured to know that onboard medical care is available if illness or injury strikes. However, many people don’t realize that the medical care available on a ship is NOT free. It is NOT part of your fare. …