Cruise holidays are one of the most exciting ways to escape the everyday and see more of the world. With everything you could wish for found onboard, there's something new to explore around every corner. Whether you're looking for a luxury voyage with world-class service that treats you like royalty, or a ship packed with family-friendly activities from morning until evening, the perfect holiday awaits. However, with so much choice when it comes to cruise lines, ships and itineraries, embarking on your first cruise can be a daunting prospect, which is why we've put together all the information you could need to make the experience as stress-free as possible.
When it comes to your first cruise, there's a lot to think about. Depending on who you're travelling with, your budget, where you'd like to sail and how long you've got, you'll have to narrow down your options to one ship. With this in mind, keep reading to find out everything you need to know to make your first cruise plain sailing.
If you want to book your first cruise, it's highly recommended that your first taste of ocean voyaging comes in the form of a taster or mini cruise. Typically lasting anywhere from 2-5 days, this is a great way to test the waters and see if it's for you. While on a mini cruise you'll still be able to visit fantastic ports of call and make the most of the onboard experience, you won't have to worry about spending too much time at sea. What's more, with many cruise lines offering no fly cruises from UK ports, including Southampton, Portsmouth, Liverpool and Newcastle, your first cruise will be even easier.
When booking your first cruise, one of the first things you’ll want to know is what the best cruise line for first time cruisers is. And with so many different cruise lines to choose from, it might be initially daunting to decide which one to go with.
At the end of the day the cruise line that you choose will depend on the type of cruise you’re looking for. For example, if you’re travelling with your family in tow, you might opt for a different cruise line than if you’re travelling with your partner and want an adults-only getaway.
If you’re looking for a family-friendly option, the following cruise lines are all great choices:
Each offering fantastic amenities, events and activities onboard, your family will have an unforgettable first cruise on one of these cruise lines.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for an adult-only getaway for your first cruise, the following cruise lines are ideal for you:
Each of these cruise lines have amenities onboard that adults will love, including dazzling theatres, decadent restaurants and modern bars.
If you want to cruise on a ship that boasts a classic British style and sails out of a UK port, these cruise lines are both good options:
P&O Cruises is particularly popular with UK guests due to the variety of restaurants, entertainment and recreational activities onboard.
For those looking to treat themselves to a more luxury cruise experience, whether that be a transatlantic cruise or one closer to home, Cunard has long been a favourite of cruisers, due to the beloved White Star Line service.
Although Cunard is often the first cruise line that comes to mind when thinking about luxury cruise lines, there are a variety of luxury cruise lines to choose from, each with their own extraordinary features that first time cruisers will love:
When booking your first cruise, you will also be considering where to visit. And once again the best destination for you will depend on the type of cruise you’re looking for. For example, if you’re looking for a cruise in which you can explore breathtaking glaciers or fjords, then an Alaskan cruise or cruise to the Norwegian Fjords is perfect for you.
However if you’re looking for a relaxing, warm getaway, then a Mediterranean or Caribbean Cruise will be the best option for you.
Overall, the top cruise destinations for first time cruisers are:
Whether you're new to this type of holiday or have booked your first cruise and still have some queries, we've put together a selection of some of the more popular questions and answers below. Read our cruise advice for first timers and you'll be more than prepared for your inaugural ocean voyage.
Cruise holidays represent excellent value for money. When calculating the cost of a cruise holiday you should bear in mind that your cruise price includes your accommodation, meals, daytime activities and evening entertainment. All this for less than £70 per day on some of our cheap cruises. We often have offers which will include a free drinks package or buy one cruise, get one half price for example. Plus, with a variety of cruise lines to choose from, you'll be sure to find one that suits your budget.
Cruise holidays are fantastic all year round. Most cruise lines operate when and where the weather is good. Enjoy European cruises and Mediterranean cruises in the summer months and Caribbean cruises and Dubai cruises in the winter, when most cruise ships transfer destinations in order to take advantage of the good weather.
This is not usually a problem these days as most cruise ships are equipped with modern stabiliser systems and they generally cruise around in calm waters. If sea sickness really concerns you then a river cruise would be the best option, or browse our guide to the best sea sickness remedies.
All cruise cabins have en-suite bathrooms (bath and/or shower), television, telephone, hairdryers and many have sea views or a balcony. The higher grade cabins are more spacious and often have lounge areas to sit and relax in, allowing you to indulge in a luxury cruise holiday. If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, choose an inside cabin.
There’s so much to do on a cruise holiday that you’ll never get bored. Cruise ships have a diverse range of activities including sports facilities, children’s activity programmes, internet cafes, lectures, quizzes, competitions, bars, restaurants, cinemas, discos, dancing and shows. Also, we must not forget that cruise holidays will allow you the opportunity to explore a whole variety of different cities and countries. Or, if you prefer you can simply relax and do absolutely nothing on your first time cruise holiday with a good book by the pool!
Cruise holidays are great for everyone and no longer have the image of being for a small select group of people. Different cruise ships appeal to different ages. All you need to do is choose the one that appeals to you for your first time cruise holiday.
If you are taking your family on a first time cruise holiday, there's no need to worry. Cruises are particularly popular with families, with most cruise ships having their own kid’s clubs programmes with trained staff on hand to keep the youngsters entertained. Find out more about family cruise holidays with our guide to family cruises.
You needn’t feel trapped on a cruise holiday. Most cruise ships, particularly those cruising in the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, will have a port of call nearly every day. You can choose one of the shore excursions or simply go off on your own to explore. If you want to spend more time on land, why not combine a cruise holiday and beach holiday with a cruise and stay holiday?
Want to discover more useful tips? Check out our dedicated article on the top first time cruise tips.