Savvy Travel & Family Time

Tips and Tricks to Help You Plan and Prepare for Your First Cruise

When it comes to vacations, you may have always been a strict “by-land-or-air” type of traveler. You’ve traveled to all sorts of amazing places throughout the U.S. and abroad and have enjoyed every minute of it.

This year, however, you’re ready to take the plunge and try something completely new: a cruise. Some of your closest friends and family members have raved about the last minute cruises they’ve managed to book and experience, and you want to give the whole “travel-by-boat” experience a try.

By now, while you’re no doubt an old pro at getting ready for a typical vacation, this whole cruise idea has you feeling a bit anxious in terms of planning and preparation. Fear not, cruise newbie — the following tips and tricks will help you as you prepare for your maiden voyage:

How Much Time Do You Have?

In many ways, planning a cruise is a lot like any other trip ?— you need to know how much time you can set aside to actually vacation. Some cruise liners offer three-day excursions that include a few ports of call in Mexico, while others involve extended transatlantic voyages from New York City to parts of Europe.

Because of the travel involved, you should also be mindful of tacking on an extra day or two at the start and end of the cruise. For instance, if your cruise departs from Miami and you live on the West Coast, you’ll likely need to devote an entire day of your vacation to flying and spending the night at a hotel before embarking on your getaway.

Look at your available number of vacation days, subtract two for travel time and know the remaining number should give you a solid idea of how long your cruise can last.

What Kind of Weather Do You Prefer?

Beyond planning for your travels, experts say your preferred vacation weather will help you narrow down specific cruises. Although cruising is often synonymous with warm weather, there are a variety of cruises that cater to much cooler parts of the world.

For instance, if you live in a cold climate and can’t wait to get into your swimsuit, a Caribbean or Mexican cruise might be ideal for you. But if you’re from Phoenix and are looking to get away from the broiling heat, you might prefer one of many Alaska cruise vacations that lets you experience our 49th state in all its majesty.

Packing Tips 101

Once you select and book your cruise, it’s time to get ready to pack. The first thing to remember is that cruise ship cabins tend to be snug, meaning you won’t have tons of extra space. Packing as lightly as possible ?— and taking as few bags as you’re able ?— will mean your sleeping quarters won’t feel as cramped.

As a side note, check to see if your ship has any type of dress code and pack accordingly. While most cruise liners have relaxed dress code policies, some require more formal wear in restaurants, so you’ll want to be prepared.

Additionally, if you’re traveling across the Atlantic to Europe or Asia, you should be sure you can plug in your electronics. Some ships have U.S. style socket types plugs, but to be on the safe side, you might want to bring along an adapter. Power-Plugs-Sockets offers a selection of adapters for a number of different countries.

Enjoy Your First Cruise!

Taking a cruise can be an incredible way to get away from it all and experience some beautiful parts of the world. By knowing how to plan and prepare for your maiden voyage and taking the time to pack carefully, you’ll be sure to have an incredible time on your vacation and return home ready to plan your next getaway.

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