A Beginner’s Guide to Cruising

Cruising offers a unique and exciting way to explore the world, providing a luxurious and comfortable holiday experience. For those embarking on their first cruise adventure, the prospect might seem a bit overwhelming. Fear not! This beginner’s guide is here to navigate you through the ins and outs of cruising, ensuring that your maiden voyage is smooth sailing.

Choosing the Right Cruise:

  1. Destination: Begin by selecting a destination that aligns with your interests and preferences. Whether you’re drawn to the Caribbean’s turquoise waters, the rugged beauty of Alaska, or the historic charm of Europe, there’s a cruise for every taste. The joy is in the journey as I learned on my recent cruise with Fred. Olsen!
  2. Cruise Line: Different cruise lines cater to different demographics and preferences. Some focus on family-friendly activities, while others are known for their luxury offerings. Do you want or need the climbing wall, lots of fellow guests and water slides or are you happier with a smaller ship with more low key entertainment and a more intimate atmosphere? There is a ship for everyone!

Booking Your Cruise:

  1. Timing: Be mindful of the timing when booking your cruise. Prices can vary significantly based on the season, with off-peak times often offering better deals. Additionally, booking well in advance can make for great savings.
  2. Cabins: Choose your cabin wisely. Cabins come in various categories, from budget-friendly interiors to lavish suites with ocean views. Consider factors like cabin size, location, and amenities to find the best fit for your preferences and budget. If you are concerned about sea sickness, the choice of cabin (deck, position and view) can be a key consideration.

Preparing for Your Cruise:

  1. Documentation: Ensure you have all necessary travel documents, including passports, visas, and any required vaccinations. Some cruises may also require additional documentation, so check with the cruise line well in advance.
  2. Pack Smart: Cruises often have dress codes for various events and dining options. Pack accordingly, and don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, medications and comfortable shoes for shore excursions. I also have a packing list which you may find useful and which can be used a basis for creating your own.
Bow of the Balmoral - Beginner's Guide to Cruising

Onboard Experience:

  1. Activities and Entertainment: Most cruise ships offer a range of activities, from Broadway-style shows to fitness classes and spa treatments. Take advantage of the onboard entertainment to make the most of your experience.
  2. Dining Options: Cruise ships are known for their diverse dining options. Many have specialty restaurants in addition to the main dining rooms. Explore the different choices to savour a variety of cuisines during your cruise. They are very good with dietary requirements but you should tell them in advance of arrival of any dietary needs. Some ships will have set dining times and others will have “open dining” and so this may be an important factor for you.

Shore Excursions:

  1. Research and Plan: Before arriving at each port, research the available shore excursions. Whether you’re interested in cultural tours, outdoor adventures, or simply relaxing on the beach, planning ahead will help you make the most of your time ashore. Make sure you make a note of the “all aboard” time so you don’t miss the boat!
  2. Budgeting: Keep in mind that shore excursions may come with an additional cost on many cruises (although they are included in some but these cruises usually do cost a bit more). Plan your budget accordingly and prioritise the activities that interest you the most. Cruise lines will also have helpful guides on what is included and will send allow you to pre-book excursions before you set sail, this is just one example.


Embarking on your first cruise is an exciting adventure filled with new experiences and breath-taking destinations. By choosing the right cruise, preparing adequately, and embracing all that the ship and its ports of call have to offer, you’ll set the stage for a memorable and enjoyable voyage. Bon voyage!

This Beginner’s Guide to Cruising is just the first step and the world of cruise may be overwhelming with all the different options available to you. Let me help guide you through and find you the perfect cruise!

Why not let me help you plan your next adventure:

tonisharp@designertravel.co.uk | 07951 219293

A Beginner’s Guide to Cruising

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