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First time cruise tips - Become an expert cruiser before you even see the ocean!

Updated on December 5, 2014

First time cruise tips - from a (very) veteran cruiser

I really wish I'd known some first time cruise tips before I set sail on my first cruise waaaaay back in the day (exactly how way back is not important - let's just say I was 22...). The first time I stepped on a cruise ship, I was wholly unprepared for this type of wonderful vacation, in fact, I didn't even know I was going on a cruise! How'd that happen you ask? Well, the story of my first cruise is below but, before I get to that story, let me tell you what else you'll find on the "First Time Cruise Tips" article and how it came about.

A dear friend of mine, Bobbi, just booked her first cruise last week. As I am a veteran cruiser of over 20 cruises at this juncture in my life, she turned to me for cruise packing tips and cruise advice. As I went over the ins and outs of cruising, it dawned on me that I knew a lot on the topic so I decided to share the wealth of information on cruising travel vacations. I explained to Bobbi the cashless society of cruises, how tips on cruises work, and, most importantly, how to become one of the people on a cruise that the cruise staff wants to help (and, subsequently, how to get the best service on a cruise, from the dining room staff to the cabin room steward).

So, come along and read some of my first time cruise tips. Even if you're a veteran cruiser, you just might pick up a cruise tip or two.

Note: All pictures were taken by me with my Nikon D5100 camera. I took the picture of the lighthouse as the Carnival Pride was coming into Freeport in January, 2013. First time cruisers: keep a camera handy!

Updated: 06SEP2013 - We're off on another cruise today! Heading to Puerto Rico for a cruise of the southern Caribbean on Royal Caribbean's Jewel of the Seas. Stay tuned for another Squidoo article within the next week or so.

Updated 08JAN2014 - The Puerto Rico cruise was delightful! Royal Caribbean came through again! We just booked another cruise last week. This one is a European cruise so will be a much different experience. Once we've done the cruise (Feb 2014), I'll add a link here to the new article so bookmark this page and check it out in early March 2014.

Updated: 03MAR2014 - John and I are just getting off a Costa cruise in the Mediterranean. The cruise was not good, the ports were fantastic! Here's an article I wrote about a power strip John brought along for the ride - the thing is indispensable: The Monster Outlets To Go Power Strip. I highly recommend buying one of these for your trip.

Freeport in the Bahamas

Freeport in the Bahamas
Freeport in the Bahamas
See more pictures of my cruising parents on my website.
See more pictures of my cruising parents on my website. | Source

Lori as a first time cruiser

First time cruise tips would have come in handy!

Knowing absolutely nothing about what my parent had planned (hint: an upcoming cruise), I flew from Maryland to Arizona to visit my folks while I was on spring break back in 1980. Now, I frequently went to see my parents as we were very close, and I knew they loved to travel but I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me.

The very next morning after my arrival, my Mom and Dad decided that we'd drive to Los Angeles to visit my Uncle and his family for a few days. It seemed a bit of an extreme vacation trip to me, considering I'd just flown 6 hours to see my parents but, what the heck - I was always game for a good an adventure! So, off we went to Los Angeles.

When we got to LA, we did, indeed visit my Uncle for a few hours, and then my folks decided they wanted to show me the cruise ships that were in port. I was game to see a beautiful cruise ship - there's way worse ways to spend a day. So, off we went again. I kind of would have preferred to unpack and sit for a spell but my folks were intent on showing me the Royal Caribbean Sovereign of the Seas cruise ship that was about to sail that Sunday - a ship that would become near and dear to my heart and set a high standard for future cruises.

As we approached the cruise port, my Dad pulled into line with the other cars and parked. Now, this was way before security was so strong so it wasn't a big deal for those wishing others a Bon Voyage would be on the dock as the cruise ship pulled away. Yes, that scene from "The Titanic" actually happened back in the day. So, out of the car we got. I started to wander toward the cruise dock when I noticed Dad pulling luggage out of the trunk. WTH?! Yep, that's when my adorable parents told me were were going on a cruise! I was beyond excited. What a wonderful surprise! I was about to be whisked away on a Mexico cruise and I was about to head out in high style with a balcony room!

First time cruise tips to understanding cruise cabins

There are basically 4 types of cruise cabins - teeny weenie, teeny, bigger, and the biggest cruise cabin. I'll detail these cruise cabins below.

  1. The teeniest-weeniest cruise cabin. The least expensive cruise cabins are inside rooms. These cabins have no windows - at all. So, if you don't mind living without a view, this is, by far, the most economical way to cruise. A benefit to this type of cruise cabin is that you can easily nap any time of the day as you'll be in a blacked out room. People booking an inside cabin on a cruise get all the benefits of any one else on the cruise so, if you're not picky about the room, this is a good choice. Inside rooms are generally around 150 square feet or so.

    Note: for family cruisers, inside cabins are great to book for kids. So, you can bring the family along and not break the bank. This will leave you more money for the cruise casino.

  2. The teeny cruise cabin. The next level up from an inside cabin is a cabin with a porthole. The porthole is usually a round window which at least allows you a view of the ocean as you cruise. This cabin is a bit larger than an inside cabin and usually comes in right around 200 sq feet.
  3. The bigger cruise cabin. The next step up from the cabin with a porthole is a balcony cabin. Now, not all cruise ships offer this level of cabin but most newer ships do. This room is generally around 250 square feet or so but the benefit to having a balcony cannot be overlooked. Now, the balcony might be teeny (something like 40 sq ft) but it's still giving you the ability to sit outside and enjoy the view, especially on the days when your ship is at sea.

    My folks booked a balcony room on that first Royal Caribbean cruise way back in 1980. Sadly, they spoiled me as I now insist on at least a balcony cabin on all future cruises. It sure would have saved me money in the long run if they had booked me to an inside cabin...

  4. The biggest cruise cabin. Generally, there is an 'Owner's suite' level of cruise cabin which is just plain old gorgeous! These cabins are usually around 500 sq ft and have a separate living room area. We had the Owner's Suite on the last cruise we took with my Mom, just 1 week after her 95th birthday. The Owner's suite balcony is also quite large, generally coming in at around 150 sq feet or so.

cruise ship pilot boat
cruise ship pilot boat

An interesting tidbit for first time cruisers

See that little boat down there?

I wondered for a long time what that little boat was that always seems to meet our cruise ship as we came into port and appeared magically when we left. And, WHO exactly was the dude climbing from that little boat to our ship and vise versa when we left port?

It turns out that that little boat is called the 'pilot boat' and here's what its function is:

Cruise ship captains are wizards at steering the cruise ships through open water - that's their expertise. They're schooled in radar, sonar and that kind of thing. But, cruise ports are a bit trickier - there are channels that are dregged out to allow the bigger ships to safely come to shore without running aground. So, to ensure cruise passenger safety, there are special 'Pilots' who are experts in the navigating the tricky waters to their particular port.

The Pilot is brought to the ship on that little boat and boards every cruise ship a few miles outside their port. The Pilot then takes the wheel from the cruise Captain and brings the large cruise ship into dock (or into a deep water mooring where you have to use a smaller ship to get to shore - you then ride a 'tender' to shore). When the cruise ship leaves, the Pilot is on board and guides the ship to deep water where he or she then jumps from the cruise ship back to that small boat. By the way, they always wave and it's polite to wave, cheer, whatever. I always yell a big 'THANKS' - after all, the Pilot just ensured my safety.

Booking a cruise

Just like air travel, cruise prices can vary widely depending on whom you use to book your cruise vacation. I've had the most success with the below cruise booking agencies. I always research the best price and then, I always call to make the reservation. By talking to one of the cruise representatives, I can usually find out the exact cabin number I'm booking and then get online to youtube and see a video (this almost always works). It's saved me on more than one occasion from paying too much or having an obstructed balcony. I strongly suggest using the below folks.

  • This is my favorite cruise booking agency. I usually manage to get at least one free upgrade when I call and talk to a cruise booking agent.
  • is an excellent place to go if you are cruising in the very near future. They always have the best prices on cruise cabins as they are the clearing house for rooms that were not booked previously.
  • Carnival Cruise Lines. I'll be honest; our last cruise in Jan 2013 was a Carnival Cruise on one of their smaller ships. It was not our favorite cruise, and we're not sure we'll cruise with Carnival again. It is one of the cheaper cruise lines though.
  • Royal Caribbean is the cruise line I generally select to cruise. They're mid-price (between Carnival and Celebrity). I like their ships, and the service on their cruise ships seems to be better than that on the Carnival cruise we were on.
  • Celebrity Cruises is a more upscale cruise line. Their ships are gorgeous and service is impeccable.
  • Holland America caters to an older crowd so you might not have the variety of nightlife you would with Royal Caribbean or Celebrity cruises. Holland America is a very nice line though too.

One of the MOST IMPORTANT first time cruise tips

Your cell phone can be expensive!

I learned this lesson the very hard and very expensive way. Make sure to set your cell phone to 'airline' mode when you're at sea - otherwise, each time your mobile phone downloads a text, message or you answer a call, you'll be charged an astronomical fee. I do have a solution for you if you need to keep in touch with others in your cruise party...

When we took my elderly parents on their last cruise, we all agreed that someone in our party should stay with them when they weren't in the cabin. This was necessary since Dad couldn't carry his tray at the Lido deck and maneuver his cane at the same time. Plus, I just plain old loved to be around them. So, we used small walkie-talkies (set to low volume...) to get in touch with other family members who wanted to find out where we were. Walkie talkies don't have any cost to us, besides the batteries they use to run. When my folks were in their cabin, we'd leave them one of the walkie talkies so they could 'call me in' to help them get out after their nap. Worked like a charm. I do suggest though that you set the volume to as low as it will go so as not to disturb other (ie, me...) cruise passengers.

Note: we were always able to use the walkie talkies in my parent's balcony room because there was a better range since they had a window. I'm not 100% sure this method will work for inside cabins.

Incident at Sea and Illness reports - Must check links for first time cruisers

Every cruise line is required by law to report any and all incidents that occur at sea. These incidents include people going overboard, listing ships, and outbreaks of illness. I always check the ship's record on these Incident at sea links before I book a cruise. And, it's no secret that illnesses (especially viral) can run rampant within the tight confines of a cruise ship.

You can click the link 'Cruise Junkie' and find all incidents at sea. You can even find the exact incidents based on the ship you're booked for your cruise.

Make your first time cruise a healthy one with hand sanitizers

Cruises are notorious breeding grounds for bacteria - every surface you touch has the potential to affect your immune system. I always keep a pocket sized hand sanitizer on my purse during all cruises and shore excursions. I also like the full sized hand sanitizers for the cabin. And, finally, my favorite hand sanitizers are the individually packaged ones that are easy to carry anywhere.

This photo made the Carnival cruise so worthwhile - Dolphins right in front of me!

This photo made the Carnival cruise so worthwhile - Dolphins right in front of me!
This photo made the Carnival cruise so worthwhile - Dolphins right in front of me!
Click the blue amazon text link to see this item on
Click the blue amazon text link to see this item on | Source

Waterproof Cases: Keep the most important things safe if you do a snorkeling or beach excursion

A very valuable first time cruise tip

John and I never go on a cruise without one of these waterproof containers, especially if we're planning on hitting one of the beach excursions. It you're on shore at a port, you're going to have money and ID with you - there are thieves everywhere who are watching everything you do.

The safest thing to do, if you're at a beach, is to load up a waterproof container with your shipboard pass (you cannot get back on ship without this!), any money you have, and any other important documents and, here's the very important part KEEP IT ON YOU!. Then, leave your beach bag OPEN so anyone wandering by can see that there's nothing of importance in it.

Heed my advice, first time cruisers. I've known a lot of people who have come back on board with stories about losing most of their possessions.

You can see more waterproof phone, camera and wallet cases on this article on my website: Good Gifts For Boat Owners - Waterproof Cases.

Another good first time cruise tip - Bring along water shoes

A lot of the pictures people show you from cruises include beautiful sandy beaches, but, what you don't know is that those sandy beaches are usually attached to coral reefs which mean cuts on your feet. It's always a good idea to wear water shoes even if the ocean is a sandy bottom as there are fish that can sting or bite when you step on them. Here's some decent water shoes and, if you buy a cheap pair, why not give them to a local island inhabitant when you're done with them?

Motion sickness can ruin your first cruise

Even if you've never gotten sea sick (like I hadn't), don't discount what going through a storm at sea can do to you. The cruise we took with my elderly Mom had to come straight through the not-so-remnants of a hurricane as we came back to Baltimore. As a result, we crossed through 28 foot seas (you read that right) 28 foot seas. I grew up on boats and, in later life, have cruised all around the world. I also spend most of the summer on boyfriend John's boat and had never gotten sea sick. Not until that cruise. Along with most of my party, I was sick as a dog. Luckily, my Mom was not affected by the high seas.

The below items are a good thing to have in any first time cruiser's bag. Stock up with more of these anti seasickness items than you think you might need...

The view at dawn from our cruise balcony

The view at dawn from our cruise balcony
The view at dawn from our cruise balcony
Travel Clock with EL Backlight, Calendar & Thermometer
Travel Clock with EL Backlight, Calendar & Thermometer

I like this little travel clock as it folds flat. It has a nice alarm which I like.


Bring along a travel clock - There are NONE in the cruise cabins

Your cell phone will be off and you'll have no idea what time of day (or night) it might be unless you wear a watch 24/7. I always bring a small travel clock aboard. I also make a note in my cell phone to remember to collect it (and other assorted items I tend to forget in my cabin when I leave - like those battery candles...).

LED Battery Operated Candles

I've been a fan of battery candles for a long time now but never have they come in handier than on a cruise. Since open flames are definitely not allowed, buy a few nice battery candles and put them around the room. The ones with a remote are particularly nice as all you'll have to do is set 'em and forget em. Punch a button and, voila - instant cruise cabin ambience.

Luminara Flameless Candle: Vanilla Scented Moving Flame Candle with Timer (7" Ivory)
Luminara Flameless Candle: Vanilla Scented Moving Flame Candle with Timer (7" Ivory)

I always take a Luminara candle along on cruises as open flames are no-nos. I particularly like this brand as the moving wick makes this battery candle look way more realistic. And, you can set it to come on at a certain time and off 4 hours later so, when you return from the cruise dining room, your candle will greet you in soft light.


First time cruiser tips - Bring the below items along on your first cruise (and subsequent cruises!).

The below items are things that I bring on every single cruise I go on. I've always found them to be very useful and have even loaned them to other cruise passengers upon occasion.

Duck Brand 1265014 Color Duct Tape, Red, 1.88 Inches x 20 Yards, Single Roll
Duck Brand 1265014 Color Duct Tape, Red, 1.88 Inches x 20 Yards, Single Roll

We use duct tape to secure the surge protector cord to the floor so we don't trip in the cabin.

Symak k2105-2pk-X 10 Laundry Hooks Clothes Pins Hanging Clips Plastic Hanger Home Travel Portable, Variable, White
Symak k2105-2pk-X 10 Laundry Hooks Clothes Pins Hanging Clips Plastic Hanger Home Travel Portable, Variable, White

Most cruise cabins have a small clothes line in the shower but I like to take along these hooks also.


Miscellaneous tips for your first cruise

The below are cruise tips I sort of figured out on my own. I've included them here so you don't have to waste time figuring them out on your first cruise.

Cruise Luggage Tags for Suitcases Ship Etags (Large - 8 Pack)
Cruise Luggage Tags for Suitcases Ship Etags (Large - 8 Pack)

The cruise luggage tags are the perfect way to keep the luggage tags visible and safe during your cruise.

  1. Look under the bed for storage. A suitcase can seem enormous when in the middle of a small cruise cabin and might not even fit in the small closet so look under the bed - some cruise ships have open space under the bed where you can store your suitcases and some don't. It's worth a look.
  2. If you're traveling with kids, buy the soda package. All soft drinks cost extra on a cruise so your bar bill can climb astronomically if your kids are drinking sodas all day. A soda package is usually under $40 or so and allows for free refills for the duration of the cruise. The only kicker is that your kid has to hang onto their reusable cup - if they lose it, you'll have to buy another cruise soda package.

    You can also check with the cruise line to see if you can bring your own canned sodas on board. Carnival cruise line does allow a certain amount per person

  3. For those of you who prefer limited child interaction on a cruise, head to the adult only pool area. Almost every cruise ship these days has a separate pool for adults only. If it's on the fantail (the back of the ship), you're got a double bonus as your view will be stunning on those days when you're at sea.
  4. If you don't want to be in a long line getting off the ship when your cruise is over, carry your own bags off ship. You have the option to place your packed bags outside your cabin the night before you disembark from your cruise if you like. In this case, your bags will be collected and will be ferreted off ship where they'll await your arrival. But this means that you have to stick around in a waiting area with 2000 other passengers. Instead, consider rolling your own bag off the ship and you get to leave first. We always do this on cruises.
  5. You don't have to dress in formal wear on formal nights.No matter what length the cruise, there will be a 'formal' night where people dress up. In days of yore, people dressed up much more but not so much lately. You'll still see a few tuxedos (you can rent these on board) and women will be in long dresses but you don't have to. I do suggest though, that, if you choose to not dress up, don't go to the dining room that night. You'll be more comfortable on the LIdo deck where the cafeteria-style food can be had.

    It's a good idea for ladies to have a shawl for cooler dining rooms or nights.You can find some lovely shawls on my website: Good Gifts For Senior Citizens: Warm Shawls

  6. You can have anything you want delivered to your room cabin. When my Mom and Dad took 17 of us on their 60th anniversary cruise, we arranged to have appetizers delivered to their cabin every day at 4 pm. Whomever was around would participate in happy hour and we had the bellies to prove it.
  7. If you book the Owner Suite (or above) on a cruise, you might have a special room where you can go for free cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at happy hour. Believe it or not, our room steward came to ask John and me why we hadn't been to the free cocktail room one time. 'WHAT free cocktail room'? was our shocked reply. So, the steward took us over to the special room, used our room key to open the door and, I swear, I heard angels sing! There was not only free cocktails but they were top shelf cocktails. Can't hurt to ask.
  8. Your room key is also your charge card on board so, if you loose it, immediately report it! You'll need to show your room card so you can purchase cocktails each time. Lose it and you could be in trouble.
  9. Be prepared for rainy weather,especially if you're on a Bahama or Caribbean cruise. Rain storms come up fast in the Caribbean so I like to bring along a very small, very cheap (!) folding umbrella. In fact, what I usually do is pack the cheapest umbrella I can find and, at the last port, I usually give it to a local. Little things like that mean a lot to people who don't have very much.

    Here's an article I wrote about Cheap Umbrellas. You'll find umbrellas from $5 to $25 on this article so buy a few and make a few people happy.

  10. If you're checking your luggage to be brought onboard to your cruise cabin, you'll want to have a tote bag and have inside it the items you'll need for that first day, after you board and before your luggage arrives - note: I've had my checked luggage show up as late as 8 pm that first day (you can usually get into your cabin at 1 pm). This is one reason that John and I always roll our own luggage aboard - that way, we have everything we need right then. But, if you choose to have your luggage delivered, bring along a tote bag and pack it with a bathing suit (no towel needed - they're at the pool already), suntan lotion, your kindle, medicines, etc.

Tipping tips for first time cruisers

I'm a girl who likes to have things my way and, when on a cruise vacation, I'm even more so! I always tip the cabin steward $20-25 the very first time I see him or her, early in the cruise. This generally ensures that my requests (such as having ice in my cabin at all times, having coffee delivered to my cabin door at 5 am, etc) are met and met happily. Tipping ahead of time will also make you stand out from the rest of the cruisers on board.

Note: on our last Carnival cruise, tips were added right to our shipboard account which was fine, but I still wanted to tip above what was recommended for my cabin steward. We had outstanding service the whole cruise.

Note: Tips for cocktails on your cruise are already added to your individual tab. You can tip above that amount but don't feel like you have to.

Have you been cruising?

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    • profile image


      2 years ago

      This is awesome reading material for cruisers!!! I will recommend this to a lot of friends!!

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Always drink bottled water so you don't get bloated.

    • Jack Burden profile image

      Jack Burden 

      4 years ago from Columbus, OH

      Lot's of helpful interesting information and some great bring along items. I love the laundry hangers, I'm always missing things like that!

    • Melissa Orourke profile image

      Melissa Orourke 

      4 years ago from Roatán, Islas De La Bahia, Honduras

      Great, helpful Hub! Love it! My husband and I took a Windjammer Barefoot Cruise years ago. We had a great time. Our daughter just took her first cruise with friends a couple of weeks ago. Now, I'm thinking it's our turn! Thanks for the advice. P.S. I would have been sick and scared in 28 foot seas!

    • luisj305 profile image


      4 years ago from Florida

      This is great information for first timers and repeat cruisers as well. I've always overlooked bringing the water shoes.

    • traveleze profile image

      Lee John 

      4 years ago from Preston

      Hi gottaloveit2,

      Great tips i went on my 1st cruise a few years ago i loved it! Thanks for the tips, i voted up and followed you :) I write travel hubs as well check mine out and any feedback or comments will be highly appreciated:)



    • Taranwanderer profile image


      4 years ago

      The Motorola radio is one of the best ideas I've seen for people planning to go on a cruise ship cabin. It really would save money on roaming charges completely.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      4 years ago from West Virginia

      No, I haven't. But I might like to go on a river cruise some time. I enjoyed reading your tips.

    • Bergey7 profile image


      5 years ago

      Never been on a cruise, but have been to the Bahamas roughing it on a deserted island for a photography expedition. Beautiful islands and people. Thanks for the interesting informative lens!

    • FantasticVoyages profile image

      Fantastic Voyages 

      5 years ago from Texas

      I've been on several cruises - both ocean & river cruises. I have to admit, ocean cruises aren't for me. (too many people onboard & too much time at sea). On the other hand, river cruises are great!

      You might point out in your room descriptions that if you are prone to seasickness, it's best to get a room on the lower levels & midship. And if you still come down with it - even after taking preventative measures - that it is best to head out into the fresh air, rather than suffer in your cabin!

      Nice tips!

    • ClaytonDaily profile image


      5 years ago

      Never been to the Bahamas on a cruise but a few years ago I went to a week long western Mexico cruise with my family. It was a great time.

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      5 years ago from Central Florida

      Not sure I want to go on a boat with my hubby. He's already been on a ferry that caught fire and sank off the coast of France.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Marvelous Cruise-tips

      Also shared on Facebook :)



    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love this place .... nice place

    • nikahexplorer profile image


      5 years ago

      I love this place, great work gottaloveit

    • di4422 profile image


      5 years ago

      This lens is awesome!! I can't wait to take a cruise.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      in summer, travel is a good idea :)

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great informatics lens !

    • RobertConnorIII profile image

      Robert Connor 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      We are ready for a cruise!

    • Jim Houston profile image

      Jim Houston 

      5 years ago from Wilmer, Alabama

      Very good lens. My wife and I have sailed and cruised our Islander 32 for years and we used cruising guides to great advantage.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great Info, Thanks with this...

    • AnonymousC831 profile image


      5 years ago from Kentucky

      Great lens. Beautiful pictures.

    • ICM-Vacations LM profile image

      ICM-Vacations LM 

      5 years ago from Swarthmore, pa

      RE"The teeny cruise cabin." LOL that's funny

      also you have it twice ( 1 and 2) just so you know

      RE"Incident at Sea and Illness reports,"

      that's a great bit of info, didn't know that was available..That's useful especially with so many cruise line being in the news lately

      Great lens thanks been wanting to go one for years..

    • sojen9911 profile image


      5 years ago

      Good tips on the Cellphone part. As I roam around, data can be expensive. Gotta remember that when I go for my cruise in Vietnam coming April. Thanks~!

    • Marcel W profile image

      Marcel White 

      5 years ago

      Yes, I've been a cruiser but it would have been very useful if internet, Squidoo and this lens already existed when I went on my first cruise vacation. Very useful indeed.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      @gottaloveit2: Great tips and leads, thanks. I am new here and wanted to write my own experiences for travellers about my home city, and this has been a great help.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Going on our 1st cruise in June,to the Bahamas! It's our 25th Anniversary! I'm very excited,a new adventure! Thanks for all the information! I'll definitely will be using your tips!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm going on my third and longest cruise yet this coming November. I loved your tips!

    • gottaloveit2 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @linda-k-bennett-94: Excellent suggestions! We're headed out on a Mediterranean cruise next week and I will definitely take a hanging shoe rack. What a great idea! Thank you so much.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I highly recommend a hanging shoe storage bag. There is never enough counter or desk space to hold all of the "stuff" that is needed even for two people. You can hang that over the bathroom door (we usually do the outside of the door just in case someone is taking a shower and someone else needs something) or over a closet door. This depends on the type of closet. Sometimes the closets will not close with the hangers on them. I also found with Carnival, that the blow dryers provided had to have the "on" button held down in order to work. So next time I will bring my own. Along with an electriic outlet strip because there are never enough outlets!

    • gottaloveit2 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Aibrean82: Well, congratulations! You should have a marvelous trip! Bring suntan lotion as it's very expensive on board!

    • Aibrean82 profile image


      5 years ago

      My husband-to-be and I are going on a cruise around the Fiji islands on our honeymoon. We leave in March and we are both first-timers, so I was very excited to see this lens on the subject! I will pin this and have another look at it when it's time to start planning what to bring. Sea-sickness remedies are definitely on the list! Thanks for sharing this!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      My fiancé and I are going on our first cruise for our honeymoon in July. Very excited, and this was definitely helpful!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I actually have no interest in going on a cruise but this is an outstanding travel lens.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      looking forward to my first cruise after reading this lens.

    • VioletteRose LM profile image

      VioletteRose LM 

      5 years ago

      I have never gone for a cruise yet, but I would love to go for it sometimes, here you have some really helpful information. Thank you!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      Loved my first cruise even if I was totally unprepared. These are fabulous tips. Hope to have the chance to put them into practice soon!

    • smine27 profile image

      Shinichi Mine 

      5 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      I've yet to experience a cruise and can't wait to go on one especially after reading this great article. Awesome and invaluable tips too.

    • Tricia Deed profile image

      Tricia Deed 

      5 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      We have been on one cruise. It was great. I would recommend cruise traveling because of the convenience and food, food, and more food.

      Since it was a new experience for us, we enjoyed walking around the ship. Our favorite was watching the dolphins jumping alongside of the ship. We felt privileged by their entertainment.

    • cityseacountry profile image


      5 years ago

      Great article. Thanks for sharing. I worked as a private teacher for a year on a private vessel. It was a great time. When I look at your pictures it feels like being again in the Bahamas.

    • Joebeducci profile image


      5 years ago

      Cruising is so cool. I made a small one last year, but I would love to go another time! Your lens inspired me :) Greets,


    • profile image


      5 years ago

      i love cruise! that's was ages ago when star cruise was cool

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Never been on a cruise before, so thanks for the tips!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome lens! Cruising is my favorite vacation and I admire the loving care you gave your parents.

    • davenjilli lm profile image

      davenjilli lm 

      6 years ago

      What a great lense! Your love for you parents is inspiring. Excellent tips about cruising.

    • TheCozyDinosaur profile image


      6 years ago

      I wish I've been cruising! I'm bookmarking this for my first trip :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You offer some fantastic advice here. My girlfriend and I took our first cruise this year to the Bahamas and it was awesome. I did a lot of research beforehand and came across an excellent resource guide that helped us save hundreds on our cruise. One of the best savings was a cabin upgrade at no additional cost. You can find this guide here - I really recommend this guide as there's some valuable tips and information that anyone going on a cruise should be aware off. Thanks again for the great lens!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I haven't been on a cruise yet, but a few friends have and loved them, so I should book one soon. Great lens with lots of interesting info.

    • Max Globe profile image

      Max Globe 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for such an informative post, some good advise here!

    • GeoffSmith LM profile image

      GeoffSmith LM 

      6 years ago

      Amazing! I like it when someone actually give good advise. And the article is so thorough!

    • Michelllle profile image


      6 years ago

      Love the advice about the walkie talkie, the waterproof container and water shoes- excellent advice for any island vacation actually.

    • TipsForMoms profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, some of those items are things I would not have even thought of bringing on a cruise. Thank you for sharing this!

    • mel-kav profile image


      6 years ago

      Where was this lens right before I went on my first cruise ever? Great tips!

    • Fufurinha47 profile image


      6 years ago from Portugal

      Great lens, thank you :D

    • girlfriendfactory profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow, such awesome tips! If I'm lucky enough to go on a cruise I'll know just what to do! :-)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My husband and I are going on our first cruise in September 2013 (count down!). We are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. You have given me so many great tips and advice. Thanks!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am leaving in 8 days for my 11th Carnival Cruise in 8 years but still learned a new tip... about tipping! Am going to give it a try although I have never had bad service. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I am leaving in 8 days for my 11th Carnival Cruise in 8 years but still learned a new tip... about tipping! Am going to give it a try although I have never had bad service. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have cruised with carnival and I love it! Carnival is the only way to go!!! I wouldn't recommend going to Nassau, Bahamas though. The other ports are beautiful but Nassau was very dirty and there was nothing to do, it was also raining. I did get sea sick one day but I took some Bonine and It was the best thing to take, my cousins and parents took Dramamine and mecklazine and they still got a little sick. Carnival employees are mostly nice, just be extra nice to them and they will be nice back. I was aboard the carnival fascination!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a great resource of information for first time cruisers. Well done! More info can be found at

    • mariacarbonara profile image


      6 years ago

      I have yet to do my first cruise, but great tips!

    • Dave Lynch profile image

      David Edward Lynch 

      6 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      Thanks for your cruise tips; I spent a short time (3 months I think) on a ship in the Navy years ago but have never cruised on a cruise ship, only looked around one one.

    • ramonabeckbritman profile image


      6 years ago from Arkansas

      Thank you so much or all the helpful tips. My husband and I have booked our first cruise and are excited. I am going to buy a small umbrella tomorrow. Thanks for the tipping service tip. Will keep that in mind.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very good tips about cruising! Enjoyed it!

    • Rangoon House profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      I am set to go now - thank you for all your help.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've only been on 2 cruises - both on Carnival. My first experience was awful, I was super seasick the whole time - my dad, who has cruised a lot said the water was extraordinarily choppy on that particular cruise. The next time I went with my boyfriend & some friends and stayed on Dramamine the whole time and did not get sick. However, the on-board entertainment was kind of lacking. We brought our own board games and still managed to be bored while cruising. That said, I'd like to try it again - maybe with another cruise line instead, and maybe with a larger group of friends and family to keep me entertained. I'd love to do an Alaskan cruise especially one day.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have never been on a cruise but hope to go on one one day. You have written a great lens with lots of useful tips for the first time cruiser.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 

      6 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Have never been on a cruise so I really enjoy virtual ones like this :D

    • JamieHopes LM profile image

      JamieHopes LM 

      6 years ago

      Great lens and tips. I didn't know about the special pilots. You sure know your way around.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      6 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Excellent information.

    • gottaloveit2 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: Sarah - you're going to get your expectation (relaxing and romantic) on your cruise and, I'll bet, it's even more wonderful than you think. I know you're going to have a wonderful time. Drop back by and let me know how it went! Have fun!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My Husband And I just booked our very first cruise for our 10yr anniversary! We are VERY excited...I found all of your info very helpful! We are just doing a 3 day to sort of Try it out! But I hope it is everything we hope for...relaxing and romantic! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have yet to go on a cruise, but I am still young and plan to take many throughout my life. Thanks for the awesome tips, I will surely use them!

    • DANCING COWGIRL profile image

      Dancing Cowgirl Design 

      6 years ago from Texas

      What a surprise!!! I have almost the exact same photo that you are using in your introduction. I took it while on a cruise to the Bahamas/Nassau. I had a good time with about 150 other dancers on a dance cruise. We had dance workshops during the days we were at sea and exclusive use of the disco during certain hours for our social dancing. FUN FUN!

    • pauly99 lm profile image

      pauly99 lm 

      6 years ago

      What a great resource for first time cruisers and even those of us who have cruised before.

    • DrCimren profile image


      6 years ago

      nice one

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      6 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      What a great bunch of tips for making your first (or 50th) cruise great!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      a must read lens for any cruising novice.


    • GardenerDon profile image

      Gardener Don 

      6 years ago

      Another tip I'd add is research the age groups the different cruise lines attract. I booked our first cruise on Holland America purely on price & destinations, but remember saying to my wife when we were lining up to embark, "My God, we are the Babies on this trip"! And we were - and were both 60 at the time!!

    • gottaloveit2 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Namaste12: I AM your girlfriend, goofy boy!

    • MoreBetterThings profile image


      6 years ago

      Great advice through and through. I love cruising! I think I recognize that lighthouse in your pic! :-)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your cruise vacation tips. I'm sure many people will find this helpful.

    • Camden1 profile image


      6 years ago

      I have been on a few cruise ships. I love your tip about bringing along battery operated candles - a great suggestion for any trip!

    • Frischy profile image


      6 years ago from Kentucky, USA

      This is great advice for anyone heading out for their first cruise trip! I might be needing this advice soon. Fingers crossed! If so, I will be sure to visit this article again for the best cruise tips! Thanks!

    • Scraps2treasures profile image


      6 years ago

      I have not been on a cruise yet, but it is definitely on my bucket list. Maybe after my kids are all grown and out of the house. You have featured some great tips here. I will definitely keep this info in mind when I do finally get to go on a cruise. Blessed.

    • gottaloveit2 profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @chas65: Great comment Chas and I will add. Sadly, John and I almost NEVER do anything except eat, drink and generally be merry.

    • chas65 profile image


      6 years ago

      As others said, I wish I had know all of this before my first cruise. One other suggestion. Remember this is a vcation, you don't have to do everything available. It is OK to nap and skip some of the events. I was worn out from trying to do everything. And you rpobably will put on a few pounds, but it is a vacation. Enjoy all of the delightful food.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens.. I wish I had a better grasp on all of this when I took my parents on a cruise... Great information!! Fortunately, my g/f knows all this information for when we cruise..

    • Onlinemum3 profile image


      6 years ago

      Fantastic lens! Really enjoyed the story of your first cruise. My parents-in-law are huge cruise fans. I am going to show this to my mother-in-law as I am sure she can pick-up a few tips. Thanks for such great advice.

    • SnipClips profile image


      6 years ago

      If I ever decide to go on a cruise I know to come back here and re-read all of this. What a lot of great advice! Awesome...thank you very much for being so informative.


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