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Cruise 101

Updated on August 24, 2011
Island Time
Island Time | Source

Tips to Heed, Tips you Need!

A glossy Cruise brochure in your hand, your holiday savings in the other, and wow, your dreams are coming true! Plans are in motion to experience the cruise holiday you had long dreamed of!

This was my experience before embarking on my first cruise holiday and surely the sentiments of others who have the same dream holiday in mind.

Informative input from your Travel agent can not be underestimated and I was fortunate in this regard, having been alerted to pitfalls that could occur, both onboard and on shore when taking a cruise.

A glossy brochure containing valuable information pertaining to a choice of cruises available can not be over estimated as a ‘must read’ along with the input of your Travel agent. However, note, that all information provided is of a positive nature and therefore I wish to share a few tips with you omitted in brochures for obvious reasons. Brochures are designed to sell the content and that they do!


When to make a booking?

I asked my travel agent the question, “when is the ideal time for people to book their cruise holiday?” Her reply was “as soon as a person has decided, even if it is a year or more away”.

She went on to explain that the best cabins are booked out far in advance of the departure date leaving fewer options for last minute passengers.

There is a possibility that last minute cruise specials can arise and you see that you have paid more than this advertised price but remember, these cabins are limited in choice and you have meanwhile had the better choice.

Booking through a Travel Agent

A Travel Agent is available for consultation during and after your booking.

Queries can arise during your cruise and after, not only in regard to the cruise but in regard to your onward bookings eg:- return flight home, on shore tours etc.

Should you have an insurance claim upon your return or any other similar matter needing attention your travel agent can be of assistance.

On line booking services can not provide the support services you may well require in these matters.

I found that by making my bookings through a Travel Agent, needed transfers to and from airports for my return flights were arranged.

Deluxe Owner's Suite
Deluxe Owner's Suite
Deluxe Owner's Suite Living Room
Deluxe Owner's Suite Living Room
2 Bed Family Villa
2 Bed Family Villa

Choice of Cabin

This is very personal of course and possibly more dependant on cost more than any other factor. None the less, give this matter much deliberation as once you are on board it’s too late to change your mind.

My travel agent recommended that my husband and I go on a three day ‘Sample Cruise’ as our first experience in cruising to assess just what would suit us with the cabin choice in particular in mind. As you meet with fellow passengers there is an exchange of thoughts on this and other factors.

Consider the effects that constant air conditioning may have on your health as all cabins are air conditioned but those with balcony’s do give the option of fresh air. As a person susceptible to sinusitis, air conditioning has an adverse effect on me and in fact I lost out on three days of cruising pleasure on a recent cruise having to take prescribed medication after falling ill.

A cabin with a balcony is the better option if air conditioning is going to have an adverse effect on your health. Either way, I suggest that for first time cruisers’ a supply of flu related medication be packed. You can’t go wrong!

Another valuable tip on choosing your cabin came from my travel agent. She strongly advised me not to book a cabin that is in close proximity to laundry facilities should the ship you intend going on have such. The reason being, this is where fellow passengers congregate and queue to use the facility. The noise factor can be irritating and the congestion of people.

Mid ship, is the most popular position
on each deck as there is a more
stabilizing of the ship in this area.

Shore Excursions

These tours are not always particularly cheap and taking your currency conversion into consideration they may prove to be too expensive.

Therefore consider if you are a couple traveling together, to make up a small group and hire a mini bus and self drive, or if you are only four in the group hire a local taxi to be driven to recommended attractions.

Speaking to people who have taken the taxi option, it sounds as though they have gained far more information on the area than if they had paid for an organized tour. Apparently it often happens that the taxi driver will agree on a flat rate if requested and all passengers can save costs this way.

Cost cutting even further, my husband and I have taken advantage of the local public transport system. An added advantage to this is the fact that we could return to the ship at a time that suited us.

I observed much frustration by fellow passengers who had taken on shore tours on certain Pacific Islands where my husband and I had arranged our own private transport, and the reason for their frustration stemmed from the
fact that a tour advertised to take
two hours became three.

Beware, there is “Island Time”
to consider!
This factor I can well imagine being
the case in many destinations.

Onboard Sales

No doubt there will be many things on board the ship that you would like to purchase from jewelry to perfumes/cosmetics, clothes and best of all the photos taken of you by professional photographers during the cruise.

Prices of items for sale on the ship are not to my mind cheap but rather, expensive even if advertised “duty free”.

Therefore take a tip from me and wait out on making your purchases on the last day of the cruise when the shops have their closing down sale. You could save up to 50% on the original prices.

This is especially the case in the photographic shop as no one besides yourself will be wanting to buy photos taken of yourself and the shop certainly does not want left over photos.

Before buying the photos taken of yourself and friends that are on display ask the photographer to allow you to view them on their computer screen and maybe you will see others there that you would also like to have printed out. Also, by doing this you may decide on ordering your photos in a different size.

This was my experience and the photographer could not have been more helpful, after all they want happy customers.

So watch out for a good sale price on photos, you will be smiling!

In my next hub - Cruise 102, your training continues for your first cruise and i will be discussing the selection of clothes, dining, theater and importantly your medical requirements.

Pictures Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line


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    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from George, South Africa

      Going on a cruise is to spoil yourself in a big way so hope to hear that you went through with the plan. I can't think of a better way to rest up and of course calm the nerves.

      My husband and I are thoroughly enjoying our lives back in South Africa and thank you for asking.

      Have a nice day and hope you are feeling fine!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I want to go on a cruise now! Great writing here! I hope you are well after your journey back to S. Africa! Voted up!

    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from George, South Africa

      What is nice about being in the hubpage community is that we can all learn from one another picking up on good ideas.

      Have a nice day!

    • Michael J Rapp profile image

      Michael J Rapp 

      6 years ago from United States

      Very informative hub. Great summary of everything to think about when planning a cruise. Off to class Cruise 102 . . .

    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from George, South Africa

      Thanks Nomi!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great informative useful information... keep it up!

    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from George, South Africa

      Thanks Thelma for the encouragement. I have enjoyed sharing my experiences with others and hope you will enjoy my hubs to follow.

    • ThelmaC profile image

      Thelma Raker Coffone 

      7 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

      Great hub. Welcome to hubpages!

    • eddiecarrara profile image

      Eddie Carrara 

      7 years ago from New Hampshire

      Ah yes, island time, if only everyone could live this way, life would be so much more enjoyable, lol. Great tip on buying pictures at the end of your cruise, I didn't think they ever discounted pictures. On my last cruise we paid for the pictures before they were ready and were suppose to pick them up on the morning of departure… we forgot :( Nice hub ladylyell, waiting for cruise 102.

    • LadyLyell profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from George, South Africa

      Thanks Jason, I hope you enjoy my follow up article and benefit from the tips should you be cruising.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting article, good tips for first time cruisers.


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