With one in three new cruisers vowing that they'll never take a land holiday again, it's easy to see why cruise holidays have flourished. You don't have to be a seasoned sailor to enjoy a cruise, and with a huge variety of ships and cruise lines, there's a voyage out there for everyone - all that's left to do is pick your dream destination.
You may be wondering how to ensure you make the most out of your cruise. As the leading experts, Iglu Cruise have collected the top cruise tips for you to enjoy on your very first cruise holiday - read on to find out more!
Before you cruise
1. Do your cabin research
Some cruisers spend no time at all in their cabins, while others like a private suite for plenty of luxury. If you plan to be soaking up the sea, sights and sounds of your first cruise as much as you can, opt for an inside cabin which is often the cheapest option. Alternatively, if a quiet coffee on the balcony is more your style, choose a balcony stateroom. If you just aren't sure which cabin is right for you, your expert agent will be able to help you choose the best cabin at the best value.
2. Plan what you would like to do in the ports of call before you get onboard
Before your cruise departs, you'll have a good idea of the destinations you'll visit during the voyage. Make the most of your cruise by researching any particular excursions you may want to try in port - better yet, book your excursions pre-cruise to enjoy discounts and secure your place on the most popular activities.
3. Pack appropriately
There is no luggage limit on a cruise so you take as much as you like, but there are still some top cruise tips to keep in mind. On just about every cruise, there will be a formal night where guests can get dressed up in their finery. Remember to pack a cocktail dress or a suit for this, as some cruise lines can be strict about dress code.
It's also a good idea to pack some layers even if you're embarking on a voyage in the sun, such as to the Caribbean. The sea breeze can be chilly, so be sure to pack long sleeve t-shirts, a cardigan, and a raincoat. Here you can check out more information on what to pack for a fly cruise.
4. Choose a Cruise and Stay package
Depending where your cruise is departing from, it is often a good idea to spend the night before in a hotel. A Cruise and Stay package is tailor made to your needs, allowing you to relax in a luxury hotel and usually enjoy the best sights of the city before you embark on your cruise holiday.
On your cruise
1.Book reservations on embarkation day
While most guests will head to the buffet as soon as they embark, if not already as part of your booking, take advantage of the special offers at guest services and book your specialty dining, entertainment and even spa treatments on embarkation day. By being ahead of the game, you'll be able to secure the dining times and front row seats you've been dreaming of - there may even be some fantastic deals on offer!
2. Head to the pool, restaurants and activities on embarkation day while everyone is settling into their cabins
Alternatively, if you aren't fussed about making reservations on embarkation day, take advantage of the quiet pool deck and grab a sun lounger to start relaxing. Our top cruise tip is to pack your swimming gear, a spare change of clothes and a towel in a carry on bag to ensure you're all set for a peaceful dip in the pool. As well as fewer people here, you may find no queues for the exhilarating onboard activities, as well as quiet restaurants that are ready to treat you to a delicious meal with impeccable waiter service.
3. Check the daily cruise schedule
Every day you will receive a schedule of what is going on around the ship, including special entertainment and activities, as well as timings for port days. Have a look at this every morning so you can work out what you want to see, and ensure you don't miss anything. Perhaps best of all, you'll also be able to find out the daily offers of the day - cruise lines will usually offer a 'drink of the day', a special offer on dining, or a discounted price on selected spa treatments.
4. Head to the main dining room for breakfast and lunch
Many assume that breakfast and lunch onboard is served at the buffet, while the main dining room is only for evening meals - this isn't true! If you like your meal times to feel a little more upmarket, you can head to the main dining room for breakfast and lunch for top class waiter service to see you through the day.
5. Enjoy activities during days in port to avoid queues and enjoy off-peak prices
Port days will leave the ship much quieter than normal while everyone is onshore and enjoying the sights. If you're not fussed about certain ports of call, then take advantage of the empty ship to enjoy the most popular activities onboard. With less queues and off-peak prices, staying onboard during port days will prove to be some of the most action-packed yet!
6. Take advantage of the kid's clubs so adults can enjoy days and evenings to themselves
While cruises are a fantastic way to enjoy a holiday with the whole family, a romantic evening with your partner or a fun night with your friends is just what you need. Be sure to make the most of the kid's clubs onboard where expert hosts will entertain and look after the little ones. With fun and safe games in age-appropriate groups, the kids will make friends and memories to last a lifetime while the grown ups enjoy the late night entertainment.
7. Switch your phone's data roaming off, and make use of Internet cafes or Wi-Fi packages
Whether you like to be disconnected from the outside world or record every highlight of your holiday on social media, there's no doubt that data roaming charges can often bring unwelcome surprises when you return home. Avoid the charges by switching off data roaming on your mobile. If you'd like to get online, enjoy the Internet Cafes onboard, or opt for a Wi-Fi package.
8. Make use of the laundry services
While there are no limits to how much luggage you'd like to bring on your cruise holiday, overpacking can lead to feeling overwhelmed in your stateroom. Save space and reduce clutter by packing a small tupperware of laundry detergent. Whether you'd like to make use of the self-service washing machines or simply wash your clothes in your cabin's bathroom, you'll be able to re-wear your favourite pieces throughout your cruise holiday.
Discover more top tips, destinations to visit and other useful info on our dedicated first cruise page.