How to Plan for a Cruise: Tips for First-Timers

Last year, 2020 was the most extraordinary of years.  While we all sat at home we dreamed of experiences and travels that we once took for granted; we assumed they would always be there when we were willing to go.  Like taking a cruise for the first time.

Now there is hope.  And with that hope has come a flurry of discounts and new cruise itineraries for late 2021 and beyond.  So, if you are considering taking up one of these opportunities and booking a cruise for the first time, I’ve sought some advice on how to plan for a cruise.

I’ve asked Gloria Mabery from Aqua Expeditions to share some tips for first-time cruisers so that we can all be well prepared for when we can cruise again.  You can learn more about Gloria at the bottom of the post.

Heading out on a cruise, whether that’s a private cruise that’s tailor-made to your desires or a large ocean cruise with hundreds of people, is a great way to take a “different” vacation. You get to visit multiple places, you get to enjoy yourself while you’re travelling from one place to another, and there’s never a dull moment.

The thing is, if the cruise you’re planning is your first one, it’s easy to make a mistake while planning, a mistake that could make for an unpleasant experience. To help you avoid this, here are a few tips for beginners who want to head out on their first cruise.

In this Article on Tips for First-Time Cruisers You Will Learn:

This post by Tips 4 Trips contains affiliate links*.  This means I may receive a small commission if you click on these links. Learn more at the bottom of this post.

Take the Appropriate Clothes

If there’s one thing that can make or break your entire cruise, it’s the clothes you wear. Getting clothes that aren’t appropriate for the weather you’ll be travelling in can leave you freezing, or you can be too hot and uncomfortable.


The goal is to carry clothes that are versatile, but suitable for the type of weather you’ll be travelling in. For example, if you’re going to be travelling in Indonesia, where the weather is usually pretty warm, you won’t need more than a hoodie or lightweight jacket. However, travelling in the Amazon rainforest can turn into a freezing experience, so something warmer is always a good idea.

Plan what you are going to pack for your cruise with the…

Another thing to keep in mind here is that layering is a great idea. Grab a natural or synthetic inner, or base layer, something that will insulate as a mid-layer, and something that’s waterproof and breathable for the outer layer. This kind of clothing will leave you dry and warm in the cold, and you have plenty of layers you can get rid of if it becomes hot.

Top Trip Tip: Make sure everything you pack is lightweight and compact – carrying less, lighter luggage is always great when moving around.

Leave Early Enough

You’ve probably heard the saying “Early is on time, and on time is late”. And this is very, very true when you’re embarking on your first cruise. While you could have a little bit of wiggle room with a private cruise, an ocean cruise won’t wait for you to get on board before they set sail. That’s why the dates and times of departure are set months ahead.

If you live in a city that’s used as a port of departure, the only thing you should take care of is getting to the port a few hours early. If you know traffic can be tricky, make sure you give yourself a few extra hours to get there. You’ll grab a cup of coffee or something to eat if you get there ahead of time, but you know you won’t miss your departure.

On the other hand, if you need to travel to get to the port of departure, it’s a great idea to arrive at the departure port town a day early. This gives you enough time to settle down in the city and gather enough information to know when you need to leave for the port in order to make it on time. And again, if you’re unsure about how much time it’ll take, it’s probably better if you do things a few hours early.

Top Trip Tip: If you aren’t sure how much time you’ll need to make it to the port, always add an extra day to your itinerary – that makes sure you don’t miss your cruise ship.

The Ships are More Prepared Than You’d Think

The last thing you should keep in mind is that a cruise ship is prepared a lot better than you’d think, in every possible way. This does include things like electronics (hairdryers, irons, chargers), but also things you may or may not need while travelling, like an umbrella, for example.

The thing is, the cabin crew is well versed in the trips you’ll be taking, and they are experienced in regard to the environment you’re dealing with, and everything you might come across during your trip. They’ll be able to help you out if you need anything, although this is best used for emergencies only. The more prepared you are, the better, so take the essentials like a phone charger with you.

Oh, and here’s something you should definitely do – leave the alcohol at home. The cruise ships have bars that are extremely well-equipped, and you can find any alcohol you might need on the ship itself. Bringing bottles with you is an easy way to get in trouble (the staff will probably confiscate them), and you don’t want to annoy the crew from the get-go, do you? 

Top Trip Tip: Leave electronics like a hairdryer or an extension cord at home – not only do they pose a potential fire hazard and can be confiscated, but the cabin crew will more than likely have some available for you.

⇓  PIN THIS  ⇓


Similar Posts