First Time Cruiser Info | CruiseHabit

First Time Cruiser Info

From passport requirements to WiFi at sea, articles in our First Time Cruiser series aim to answer questions and offer tips to those new to cruising, but we bet there is something for even the most experienced of cruisers in each of these articles.  We've got information about tips/gratuities, what to pack, price drops, passports, sea-sickness, and more!

Have questions for us?  Reach out on Twitter or Facebook, and join us as we talk ship on our weekly Periscope broadcasts from ports or cruise ships.

Disney Fantasy in Falmouth Jamaica

Which cruise line is best for me? Let's dig in to the differences between cruise lines.

cruise line logos
There are many choices in cruise lines.

It's not too likely that many people talk to a travel agent about visiting Alaska and leave convinced that instead, they want to take a cruise...to the Caribbean.  For that reason, instead of talking about destinations right out of the gate, I want to cover the question of which cruise line to try out.  I so often see the question, "What is the best cruise line?"  Well today I will share with you the answer to that question... Read more about Which cruise line is best for me? Let's dig in to the differences between cruise lines.

First Time Cruiser Series - I'm worried I'll get seasick. Do you feel the ship move?

vomiting smileyAmong the most common reasons people give for not taking a cruise vacation is seasickness.  While it's true that you're on a moving ship, it's nothing like going on your friend's fishing boat, the movements are slow and much less pronounced.  On newer ships don't even feel like they're moving.  Let's look into why seasickness is rarely an issue and what to know so you're prepared just in case you feel a bit too much motion in the ocean...

Read more about First Time Cruiser Series - I'm worried I'll get seasick. Do you feel the ship move?

First Time Cruiser Series - Do I need to have a passport to cruise?

The most important part of any cruise is actually being able to sail on it.  Let's have a look at the requirements that the US has for citizens traveling onboard a cruise ship, as there is a lot of confusing information out there.  While the short answer is, no, you don't need a passport to take most cruises out out of a US port, there are exceptions as well as some really important reasons to have a passport even if you don't otherwise need it, and even some things to keep in mind if you already have a passport... Read more about First Time Cruiser Series - Do I need to have a passport to cruise?

First Time Cruiser Series - Who To Tip On Your Cruise, and How Much

Gratuities, service charges, or tips – no matter what you call them it’s hard to know what is appropriate and how to pay – especially on cruises.  Cruise lines have long had crew members who work long and hard hours, thousands of miles from family to make your vacation a great one.  Many of these hard working, dedicated people are compensated primarily with gratuities.  Read more about First Time Cruiser Series - Who To Tip On Your Cruise, and How Much

What happens if I book a cruise and then the price goes down?

Having a vacation ahead of you is a great feeling.  You've chosen your cruise and you're happy with what you're getting for your money, but what happens when the price of your cruise drops after you've already booked?  Let's look into what your options are so you can make sure you're getting the best deal possible... Read more about What happens if I book a cruise and then the price goes down?

First Time Cruiser Series - We asked cruisers what they wish they'd known when they first started cruising.

Allure of The Seas SolariumI get a lot of questions about taking a first cruise, so this time I wanted to turn the conversation back around a bit - people other than me have great cruise tips too.  A week or so ago I reached out on social media and asked Reddit users on r/cruise the following question:

What do you wish you knew before you took your first cruise? Read more about First Time Cruiser Series - We asked cruisers what they wish they'd known when they first started cruising.

How I Pack For A Four Night Cruise

timbuk2 xs classic messengerIn just two days we'll be sailing on the Independence of the Seas for four nights, and you can tag along by following me on social media and checking in every day to my live blog which I'll be posting on RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com. For now though it's time to pack so I thought I'd share just a bit about how I prepare for a short Caribbean cruise... Read more about How I Pack For A Four Night Cruise

Should I use a travel agent or book directly with a cruise line?

One of the most common questions I find myself passionately answering both in person and on online communities (I’m looking at you Reddit), is about how to actually book a cruise.  Should you use a travel agent or book directly with a cruise line?  I’ll tell you right out the gate that whether you’re looking into your first cruise or well on your way to the highest levels of a cruise line’s loyalty program, I highly recommend using a good travel agent, but let’s talk about why by addressing some common questions and misconceptions... Read more about Should I use a travel agent or book directly with a cruise line?

Power Strips - Why they're not allowed on ships and how to safely gain some extra outlets

Many of us cruise with quite a few battery-powered devices that we want to keep charged, but cruise ship cabins don’t have as many outlets as we’d like. Common power strips are prohibited from cruise ships for safety reasons, and there aren't "cruise ship power strips", but there are alternatives. Let’s look into your options, and briefly cover why power strips aren’t allowed. Read more about Power Strips - Why they're not allowed on ships and how to safely gain some extra outlets

Hidden or unexpected fees on cruises. What is not included in your cruise fare?

Almost anyone who has cruised before will tout the value of cruising when compared to land vacations.  Most cruises include your meals, entertainment, transportation (to various ports of call), and your accommodations.  Nevertheless cruises are a big expense, so it's important to know about any expenses that aren't immediately apparent. Read more about Hidden or unexpected fees on cruises. What is not included in your cruise fare?

12 Things You Should Do The First Day Of Your Cruise

No matter if it’s your first cruise or your one-hundredth you’ll probably agree that the first day of your cruise is the most exciting, but there are a few things you’ll want to consider to make it as simple and enjoyable as possible.  I’ve come up with the below list of twelve tips, in chronological order that you should consider on embarkation day... Read more about 12 Things You Should Do The First Day Of Your Cruise

Will there be WiFi on the ship? 11 Tips to Keep You Connected While Cruising

Whether you want to share your vacation memories as they happen or you're looking to be able to keep in touch with those back home, many of you have asked questions about staying connected while cruising, and there is no single answer.  In the past couple of years cell phone carriers have made international roaming a bit more palatable, but cell phone roaming rates on ships are still completely impractical, at least for calls and data.  What are your options if you want to stay in touch while cruising?  We've got 11 tips to keep you connected without breaking the bank... Read more about Will there be WiFi on the ship? 11 Tips to Keep You Connected While Cruising

How many bags can I bring on my cruise?

Airlines and other carriers restrict the size and weight of bags, have limits on the number of carry-on bags, etc.  What about cruise lines?  There is no shortage of advice about how to pack for a cruise, but how much you can bring onboard?  Let's look at how much of your world you can bag up and bring on a cruise and what cruise line policies say about how lightly you need to travel... Read more about How many bags can I bring on my cruise?

Paying For Things In Other Countries - Changing Currency and Using Credit Cards

currencyWhether traveling by land or sea, paying for things can be a bit different in different countries.  Years ago, you simply changed currency at the purser’s desk on your cruise ship, but this is rarely done anymore.  Technologies and customs can make the simple process of paying for a meal, cab ride, or souvenir a bit confusing, but we’ve got some tips to keep things simple and more importantly, save you some time or even money... Read more about Paying For Things In Other Countries - Changing Currency and Using Credit Cards