Tips for cruising in 2012

Celebrity Eclipse
Celebrity Eclipse. (photo: Celebrity)

For those who have never cruised – cruising abounds with myths and hearsay. Over 50’s travel and review site, Silver Travel Advisor, has come up with its top 10 tips to make the transition from shore to ship and easy one, and a further ten tips to dispel some of the myths surrounding cruising.

Top tips for newby cruisers:

1. Check out what is and what isn’t included in the cruise fare. If you’re a non-drinker, an all-inclusive cruise may mean you’re subsidising others, and if you’re a foodie, you won’t want to pay a supplement for speciality restaurants when some cruise lines include them in the cruise fare.

2. Packing for a cruise can result in weighty excess baggage charges from the airlines, so find out in advance the cruise line’s dress code and how many formal nights, if any you’ll need to pack for, so you don’t end up excess black tie, ball-gowns or tiaras – or a caseload of heavy duty fleeces.

3. Shore excursions help you make the most of your time while in port and can be pre-booked in advance online. Some cruise lines often offer packages or discounts for advance bookings and the cost can be added to your cabin account, so look out for these and plan ahead.

4. If you like a bottle of wine with dinner, don’t feel that you have to drink it all. Your bottle will be labelled with your cabin number at the end of the evening and it will follow you around the ship, even if you dine in different restaurants.

5. Specialty restaurants get very booked up, so book your dining requirements as early as you can. Experienced cruisers will know this so make sure you don’t miss out and make your table reservations as soon as you can, some cruise lines will allow you to do this from home.

6. Whether you’re on the ocean or river cruising, you’re on a `ship’, not a `boat’! You’ll quickly identify yourself as a new cruiser if you refer to your floating home as a `boat’.

7. U.S. guests are used to tipping and cruise lines will notify you of the policy regarding tipping on their ships. It’s usually on a discretionary basis but make sure you’re aware of the guidelines and whether cash is expected, or if they are added to the onboard account.

8. Use the safe in your room for cash and valuables and avoid using your birth date as the code.

9. Take some time to plan your cruise, day by day, making the most of the excursions, the dining, the daily activities and the enrichment programme that many cruise lines offer, from dancing lessons to cookery, learn a language or a new skill.

10. The `Cruise Director’ is in charge of passenger enjoyment and is the person to consult when it comes to anything to do with the on-board activities and entertainment. Listen out for his announcements and make sure you read the daily newsletter that most cruise lines will leave in your room at early evening `turn down’.

Source: Silver Travel Advisor

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