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5 Worst Mistakes to Make When Packing for a Cruise

clock 18th March 2019 | comment0 Comments

Packing for a cruise can cause anxiety in some guests – whether they’ve cruised before or not. Questions like ‘what am I expected to wear on a formal night’, and ‘are towels provided for the pool’ might be swimming around your head. While answers to these questions will differ among cruise lines, there are some cruise essentials that you would do well to remember, just as there are a number of faux pas that can be avoided when packing for a cruise. Read on for the five worst mistakes you can make when packing for your cruise holiday.

 

 

1. Not researching airline rules

One mistake which can really put a damper on the start of your holiday is to forget to check the luggage weight limit for your airline. Some cruisers can become preoccupied with abiding by cruise line rules and then don’t check those of the airline. This can be a huge mistake considering most cruise lines are very generous – with luxury lines such as Silversea Cruises and Regent Seven Seas offering no limit at all. Common weight limits for larger airlines are around 20-23kg, however, many of the smaller ones are just 15kg. Be sure to double check this to avoid a nasty bill when you check in (the information will be available on airline websites).

 

2. Assuming every day will be hot

Although understandable, another error is to think that every day on your Caribbean cruise will bring sunshine and temperatures upwards of 25°C. While this part of the world is known for its warmer climes, the truth is there could be grey days, windy weather, and even rain during your time there. Same goes for destinations in the Mediterranean and Asia. Be prepared for all eventualities by packing a light cardigan and a foldaway raincoat/poncho even if the forecast tells only of sunny skies. Neither of these items takes up much room in your suitcase, and you’ll be grateful for them if the weather does turn.

 

 

3. Forgetting a plug adaptor

Many of us are guilty of this one - especially when cruising from Southampton or another UK port. Most cruise lines take pride in catering for an international clientele – including British passengers – so it’s easy to forget that many are actually European or US-based companies, meaning they have European or US style plug sockets onboard. In fact, it’s only Cunard and P&O Cruises that have the standard 3-pin British plugs. Be sure to find out what plug sockets will be in your stateroom, and pack at least one adaptor so that you can charge your phone/tablet, straighten your hair, or use any other electrical item you need to bring with you. 

 

4. Wasting suitcase space

It’s easy to overpack when cruising, especially if it’s a no-fly venture with next to no luggage limit. Instead of wasting your suitcase space on things you don’t need, consider saving the room for bringing back more souvenirs.

 

 

There are a number of things that you might not realise you don’t really need, for example;

  • Multiple books – there is usually a library with a good selection onboard
  • Large toiletries – often supplied in cabin bathrooms, or can be purchased onboard
  • Hair dryer – usually supplied in the cabin’s vanity unit
  • Towels – most lines supply enough towels for use in the cabin and pools
  •  

    5. Not bringing spare clothes in your carry-on bag

    On embarkation day, you will be asked to leave your luggage with attendants who will see that it is delivered to your cabin. Considering how many people will be boarding, this process could take anything from an hour to most of the day. In anticipation of this, it’s a good idea to pack some clothes to change into when you get onboard. Whether you’ve made a long car journey to reach the port, or you’ve had to fly in, a fresh outfit will put you in the holiday mood ready to explore your new home away from home.

     

     

    For more advice about what you should be packing for your cruise holiday, see our blog about packing for different climate zones.



    What Not to do on the First Day of Your Cruise

    clock 29th May 2018 | comment0 Comments

    If you’re fortunate enough to have a cruise booked and coming up shortly, you’re probably getting more excited every day, and might even be thinking about packing and preparing to get going. If this is the case, take a look at our hints to help improve your holiday from day one. Even seasoned cruisers make faux pas on embarkation day, so we thought it would be helpful to put together a handy guide to explain what not to do on the first day of your cruise.

    1. Don’t ignore the crew

    The staff onboard the ship are there to help make your cruise holiday the best it can be, so take time to introduce yourself, and remember a friendly smile can go a long way. Embarkation day can be hard work for the crew, so try to be patient and remember you are not the only guest they are looking after.

     

     

    2. Don’t rush to the buffet

    Many cruisers consider the buffet to be their quickest and easiest option for the first day, and because of this, buffet restaurants tend to get very busy very fast. Keep this in mind, and consider trying a different restaurant in which you can enjoy a more peaceful atmosphere and great service.

    3. Don’t miss the Muster Drill

    Those who have been on a number of cruisers might feel that the muster drill – a safety talk – is not necessary for them. Remember however, that layouts and safety procedures are likely to be different on every ship, and attendance at the muster drill is mandatory.

    4. Try not to use the lifts

    If you can help it, try to use the stairs instead of the lifts on embarkation day. They can get very busy with cruisers getting to know the ship and of course transporting luggage to cabins, so avoid the wait and use the stairs - and in so doing you’ll free up the lift for those less able.

     

     

    5. Don’t stay in the sun all day

    When cruising in a sunny destination it can be all too tempting to bask in the sun all day soaking up the rays. This is a mistake however as too much time in the sun is likely to cause sunburn, headaches, and even sun stroke – putting a damper on the first few days of your holiday.

    6. Don’t drink too much alcohol

    If you’re on an all-inclusive cruise, or have opted for a drinks package, it can be easy to get a bit carried away on your first day onboard. Avoid a hangover so early on and try to limit yourself; a good tip is to drink one soft drink (preferably water) between every alcoholic one.

    7. Don’t stay in the outfit you travelled in

    Get in the holiday spirit straight away by changing your outfit as soon as possible. Getting out of your travel clothes will help you feel fresh and ready to get started with your cruise, whether this is by relaxing, swimming, or simply exploring the ship.

     

     

    8. Don’t forget to mention dietary requirements

    Even if you informed your cruise agent of allergies and dietary requirements at the time of booking, it’s a good idea to ensure this information has been logged by mentioning to the maître d of any restaurants you’ll be dining in.

    9. Don’t automatically dine in the main restaurant

    As with the buffet, many cruisers will look no further than the main restaurant for dinner on their first day. This means speciality restaurants usually have plenty of availability – so make the most of this and see what you’d like to sample onboard.

    10. Don’t forget to book activities

    Whether this be the children’s club for your little ones, a lesson on the surf simulator, or a space in the Pilates class, if there’s an onboard activity that you’re desperate to do, make sure you get it booked as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

    See our advice for first time cruisers for more useful information.



    5 Things to do on a Sea Day

    clock 11th May 2018 | comment0 Comments

    People might choose a cruise holiday for all sorts of different reasons, from the destinations you’ll visit and experiences you could have, to the food and features on the cruise ship. Whether you love them or hate them, if you’ve chosen an itinerary with widespread ports – or even a transatlantic crossing – sea days are inevitable. Instead of wishing these days away, make the most of what’s onboard with our 5 things to do on a sea day.

     

     

    1. Try a New Hobby

    There is an abundance of new and exciting activity options onboard cruise ships today. Classes can cover everything from learning Spanish and astrological presentations in a planetarium, to the Japanese art of Origami and culinary knife skills. As well as classes there are all the onboard features to consider. You can go ice-skating, simulated-surfing, play laser tag, and have a go on a zip-line, to name just a few of your choices. Be sure to explore the ship early on to see what you can try.

    2. Eat Something Different

    Cruise ships offer some of the finest cuisine in the world. With each of them competing, it’s good news for us cruisers who get to enjoy better and better food. There are unusual dishes and innovative restaurants to choose from, so you should never be bored when it comes to dining. Here are some of our favourite cruise line restaurants;

    - Qsine, Celebrity Cruises – this fantastic, creative venue allows guests to choose from an array of unusual dishes from an iPad, all of which are served with the utmost style and attention.

     

     

    - Aqualina, Azamara Club Cruises – here guests can enjoy contemporary twists on Italy’s favourite dishes. The desserts here are particularly inventive so be sure to save some room!

    - Butcher’s Cut, MSC Cruises – spoil yourself by selecting your own steak from a glass, meat-aging fridge, and then watch on as it’s prepared before you in the open kitchen.

    3. Enjoy Some ‘Me Time’

    Many cruisers consider their sea days to be a blessing, in that it’s as if they’ve been given the gift of time to simply relax. With this in mind, there are all sorts of things you can do onboard to help you chill out and rejuvenate. Your first thought could be to simply lounge by the pool taking in the sun, having a dip every so often to cool off. While this is a great way to relax, you should also consider the other facilities on offer to you – specifically the spa. Whether or not you opt for a treatment like a deep-tissue massage or facial, the spas onboard cruise ships usually offer a variety of calming spaces. As well as saunas and steam rooms look for other options like the Snow Grotto on Viking Cruises ships, and the Thalassotherapy Baths with Costa Cruises.

     

     

    4. Meet New People

    Whether you consider yourself a social butterfly or not, there are bound to be a fair few people of like mind on your cruise, who could indeed become lifelong friends. One of the best ways to get to know others is striking up a conversation at a class you’re both taking part in, or in the queue for the rock-climbing wall you’re both about to face. If you’re friendly, approachable, and open to some good conversation, the rewards will surely be rich.

     

     

    5. Take Care of Yourself

    In addition to trying new things and having some fun, and taking some time out to relax, another valuable way to spend time on your sea day is working out. There are some brilliant exercising facilities on cruise ships, with most offering state-of-the-art equipment in onboard gyms, pools large enough to swim lengths, jogging tracks on deck, and even sports centres. The sports deck with Norwegian Cruise Line for example, has facilities for guests to play bowling, football, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, and mini golf.

    For more inspiration about what to do on your cruise ship, take a look at our 10 best complimentary things to do onboard.



    What to Wear on a Cruise

    clock 8th May 2018 | comment0 Comments

    You’re all booked and getting more excited by the day for your upcoming cruise, and have even started thinking about putting things aside to be packed. But, if you’re like many other new and even seasoned cruisers, you might have concerns about what you’re expected to wear. Instead of getting in a fluster and over-packing, take a look at our tips about what to wear on a cruise.

     

     

    Clothing for the Daytime

    Whether it’s a sea day and you’ll be trying out onboard activities, or you’re in port and out exploring, in general clothing for the daytime on a cruise should be casual and comfortable. No matter if you’re on a luxury cruise or a budget one, the theme of your holiday should be simply doing as you choose; so if you want to soak up the sun in swim clothes all day, do it. Or if you want to be hiking in port, or climbing the rock wall onboard, you can do that too. As long as you cover at least shoulders to knees when dining or in other indoor spaces onboard, wear whatever you like.

    What to Wear on a Formal Night

    Formal nights are still popular occasions on many cruise lines; passengers on Cunard’s Queens for example often choose the cruise line for its traditionalism and classic cruise features. These evenings can differ with each cruise line, with attire expectations ranging from tuxedos and ball gowns to cocktail dresses and casual dinner jackets. Sometimes formal nights are optional, but sometimes they are mandatory and guests have been known to be turned away from restaurants if they’re not dressed appropriately. Be sure to find out what the case is for your cruise when booking.

     

     

    How to Dress for Casual Dining

    Again the requirements for clothing at dinner on non-formal nights will change depending on the style of the cruise line. One rule that’s seen throughout however is that you must cover bathing suits, so be sure to take appropriate clothing to cover up. Guidelines on what to wear in the restaurants are diverse. Some cruise lines specify that jeans are not allowed, and some say no vests, shorts, flip flops and other beachwear for example. Again the best advice would be to check with the cruise line before embarking.

    Different Clothing for Different Destinations

    The clothing you decide to pack will of course be in relation to where you’ll be cruising to. If you’re off to the sunny Caribbean be sure to pack plenty of summery clothes, sunglasses and a hat. If you’ll be cruising to Antarctica or a cold part of the world on the other hand, remember layers are key! Another thing to consider with regards to destinations is the attractions and sites you’ll be going to see. If they include any religious places for example, you’ll likely need to cover up from shoulders to knees, and maybe your head. Consider bringing a shawl or scarf just to be prepared.

     

    Themed Cruises

    Many cruise lines today offer themed experiences, whether for the duration or just one night. Anything happening onboard should be mentioned to you at the time of booking, but be sure to ask to double check. Taking part in the theme is optional, but most guests like to get involved with outfits and accessories and such, and often these are available to buy onboard. Themes could be anything from 80s to Star Wars.

    While there are some things to consider when it comes to what to wear on a cruise, it’s certainly not something to be overly worried about. Remember everyone is in the same boat, (pun intended!) and the likelihood is there will be a big mix of outfits and styles onboard. Take a look at our guide to packing for different climate zones for some more helpful hints and tips.



    Top Tips for Cruising the Caribbean

    clock 12th January 2018 | comment0 Comments

    Many people deem the islands of the Caribbean to be among the most idyllic and relaxing places on earth. There you’ll find just what many of us want when on holiday; warm weather, white sandy beaches, friendly locals, and great food. Sounds perfect, right? Well, just to make sure you have the absolute best Caribbean holiday possible, we’ve put together this list of tips to consider.

     

     

    Choose the right cruise ship

     

    You’ve made up your mind and your heart is set on the Caribbean, so next you need to think about which cruise line and ship is right for you. Fortunately, due to the popularity of this destination there are many cruise lines that cruise the Caribbean. If you like traditional British-style cruising P&O Cruises could be your ideal choice, for families Marella Cruises and Royal Caribbean are a great option, or for a little bit of luxury, consider Azamara Cruises. Remember that you will be spending a fair amount of time onboard, especially if you have opted for a no-fly cruise.

     

    Choose your islands

     

    With over 26 islands to choose from, it can be tricky to narrow down the top spots you want to see on a Caribbean cruise. It’s important to do your research and figure out what you’re interested in – maybe you just want to lie on a beach and relax, or do some snorkelling, or see some history. There are plenty of options when it comes to things to see and do, so depending on what you’re interested in you might prefer one island to another.

    Some cruise lines even have their own exclusive island for guests onboard Caribbean sailings, such as Virgin Voyages, Disney Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and more. These stunning locations are designed to offer plenty of opportunities for relaxation, delicious dining and activities for the adventurous. Whether you're a family of four, a laidback couple or going solo, there are plenty of islands to choose from. See our concise guide of some of the best islands to visit.

     

    It will be hot!

     

    You can rely on the islands to have sunny skies just about all year round, so when it comes to what to pack for a Caribbean cruise, your simple shorts, tees, sun dresses and the like are a safe and easy option. As well as appropriate clothing, you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared for bright skies and beaming, strong sun. Be sure to remember:

     

    • High-factor sun lotion

    • After-sun lotion – just in case!

    • Cap or sun hat

    • UV-Protective sunglasses

     

    When is the best time to cruise in the Caribbean?

    The ideal time to cruise in this tropical destination is between December and April. If you go in this period you should miss the majority of the rains, and will see warm temperatures averaging 26°C. Also, remember that cruising in these months means you’ll escape some of the cold and wet winter weather in the UK.

    Take your phrasebook

    If you intend to explore the islands and perhaps meet some locals, you might need to practice a few choice phrases before stepping into port. While English is likely to be the first or second language most of the time, French, Spanish, and Dutch are also spoken on various islands. Making an effort to learn some basic language – such as please, thank you, and hello – can go a long way toward making friends in new places.

     

     

    Other things to pack for a cruise in the Caribbean:

     

    • Swimwear

    • Sandals or flip flops

    • Comfortable shoes, if you plan on doing active excursions

    • Thin cardigan or shirt for the evenings

    • Formal wear, if your cruise line hosts formal nights

    • A small bag for days spent in port

    • A camera!

    If you're new to the game, or even just want to make sure you're in the new when it comes to getting the most out of your cruise holiday, take a look at our top tips for first time cruisers.



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