06 3 / 2013
What to Expect on Your First Cruise
If you’ve never cruised before, you may not know what you’re getting yourself into. And while there are hundreds of cruise options to choose from, most cruises have the essentials in common. Here’s what to expect on most cruise lines:
Food and Drinks
- Fine gourmet dining every night. Other options include room service available 24/7, lunch and dinner buffets. For an additional cost, high-end specialty restaurants are available.
- One or two formal nights during which passengers dress up for dinner. You can always skip and do the buffet.
- As much coffee, tea, and water as you can drink. Sodas and alcoholic beverages are extra.
- Cabins, from cheapest to most expensive: interior (no window), ocean view, balcony, suite (bigger room w/ balcony).
- Phone and Internet access is available, but be careful. It’s pricey.
- Spa & gym include a wellness center for working out, exercise classes, massages and manicures, and a Jacuzzi. Treatments are usually extra.
- Kids programs give you some much-needed alone time.
- Nightly entertainment includes comedy and Vegas/Broadway style shows.
- Pools and deck space for laying out and taking in the sun.
- Casinos let you win back what you spend on drinks, though some cruise lines such as Disney don’t have them.
Ports of Call
- Typically, the ship docks in early in the morning, giving you all afternoon at the destination.
- Cruise lines arrange various shore excursions for an additional cost. Don’t forget, you have the option to explore on your own.
- Cruise ships usually have friendly staff from all over the world. Don’t be shy about asking questions.
- Save some money for tips and give them at the end of the trip ($10-15 per day).
- You’ll find all ages on cruises – young couples, older couples, families, kids, and singles. With 2000-5000 passengers per ship, there is a good chance to meet other people like you. (Join a roll call to find out who’s going on your cruise!)
- What other cruise questions do you have? Let us know in the comments.