December 2, 2016

5 Cruise Tips for First Timers

#1 Cruise Check-In

The main thing about cruise ship check-in is you must give plenty of time before departure. Cruise ship operates nothing like flights. There will be thousands of people all come at once to check in and to get on that ship. I’d recommend that if you can travel light, that’d be ideal for your first time on a cruise. You will simply walk straight through security, etc. and onto the check in counter where you receive your boarding pass. If you love the convenience of check in online, please do so. But please be aware that online check in let you put in all your travel document information before hand, but you still have to go through queues to get your boarding pass like everyone else. Therefore, if you don’t have time to do online check in, don’t worry about it. If you must travel with big luggages, you drop them at the port where you get tags for your bags, then walk through security, etc. to go to check in counters.

#2 Aboard Questions & Answers

It's overwhelming for the first timer on a cruise ship. Once you board the ship, you notice that there are so many people onboard. To make things worse, the cruise company tries to upsell you things and drink packages at the entrance. Try to avoid all that and head straight to the elevator to get to your stateroom. You will get a chance to buy those packages any time during your cruise. Talking of elevator, that's another nightmare. The amount and performance of the elevator cannot be efficient enough to operate for that many people. Be patient and if you have just carry on, sometimes stairs are much quicker if you are in good shape and your floor isn't too high.

Furthermore, it is human intuition that I need to go check out the ship, I need to go get internet, I need to go reception desk, etc. Slow down! It may ruin your excitement when you try to get up and down using the busy elevator and realize that there are long lines at the reception desk. It's not worth it. Instead, familiarize yourself with your stateroom. Check out the brochure and any information provided to you in the room. Turn on the TV and go to cruise guide channel if available. You'll be surprised a lot of information are answered right in your room. Don't even bother to call reception desk as they are too busy!

#3 Be strategic

When there are thousands of people on the ship, it's inevitable that there are lines to do everything. After browsing all the information in your room and you get yourself to explore the ship, be strategic about time and places. For example, which elevator that's less used by others? What time that's less people go eating? When reception desk is not too busy to answer my call from the room so I don't have to go down there? So on and so forth.

#4 Port of Call Exit & Enter

This is another crazy time when everyone tries to exit the ship all at once to enjoy the port of call or destination. I'm sure you are excited to get out too. At that time, the elevator is crazy busy again. If you can wait until the crowds are all gone, you will exit the ship easily. But if you can't, remember to be strategic, which elevator that's less used by and the rule applies the same when you return at unfortunate time that everyone returns as well.

If you don't want to go out, you will have the entire ship to yourself! No one competes with you for the lounge chairs, swimming pool will be yours to enjoy alone, etc.

#5 End of Cruise

After your cruise, if you need to exit the ship early and you can carry your bags by yourself to exit the cruise ship, make sure you register for self-assist at the reception desk. There's a deadline for it, so the sooner you do that the better. I don't recommend doing it last day or last minute as others are doing the same thing.

Moreover, this is an important part. Make sure all your bills are cleared and if you open any accounts during your entire time on the cruise ship, make sure you close them. Because if you do not, the cruise attendant won't let you get off once they scan your boarding pass and it shows that you still have unpaid or unclosed account with the cruise line. Trust me, you don't want to be in that position because you were in a long line to get out then you get sent back, and guess what, the line at the reception where you go to close the account is even worse because apparently lots of people make this type of mistake.

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