This past November to celebrate my 30th birthday I went on a cruise to The Bahamas. I was attracted to the idea of a cruise because it was all inclusive, had lots to offer in regards to food and fun, affordable and a destination away from home. The hardest part about cruising was picking a place to go! Now that my first cruise is behind me, there are a few things I will do differently next time. Please see my guide for the first time cruiser below.
Picking a Destination & Cruise line
- Start off with destinations departing from the closest port to you. It will help save in cost for transportation, lodging and parking.
- Go someplace that you have never been before. Part of the adventure is exploring.
- I choose my cruise line based on a few criteria’s: the experiences of individuals I trusted, reviews posted on-line within the past two months, and the overall experience I was looking for. My theme for my 30th birthday was “Mission Relaxation”. Carnival cruise line gave me exactly what I was looking for.
- Check the weather weeks prior to your departure. You’ll get a good feel for what to purchase and pack.
- Pack items that are thin, easy to roll up and takes up less space.
- I’m a heels kind of girl but I was so happy I packed cute and easy flats that made running around an island effortless.
- Leave lots of room in your suitcase to bring back souvenirs. You’re allowed two pieces of luggage. If you’re planning on doing a lot of shopping then travel with an empty carry-on or suitcase.
- If the cabin safe, which is 12’x12’, is too small for your valuables then make sure you have a lock on your suitcase to secure your items. The housekeeping safe aboard Carnival was great and we never had an incident of missing items.
- Pack your own supply bottled water and soda. We had a separate carry-on just for water. This is another way to save cost.
On-Board fun & Excursions
- If this is your first cruise you may get seasick. I suggest taking something a least an hour before you board. I learned that the first night at sea the ship travels at a faster speed to reach its destination on time and it can be unsettling. After taking two pills I felt better in about 1-2 hours.
- It was my experience that booking my excursion directly with the company was more cost effective. We saved $10.00 per person. Those that booked after us actually saved $20.00 per person.
- Do everything on-board. We were given an itinerary with event times and location. Even if you think you won’t enjoy the event go any way. You will certainly enjoy the people. FYI…The art auction was actually a ball!
- Do excursions that you can’t do back home. This was hard for me because I live in beautiful sunny Florida. We do parasailing, jet skiing, snorkeling all the time here. So for this trip touring The Bahamas was worth it.
- Dress to impress! There’s a formal dinner that takes place and depending on how long your cruise is, there may be more than one formal occasion. This is a great opportunity to take professional photos and don’t worry you only buy the photos you like.
- Part of the fun of a cruise is the people you get to meet. No matter the size of the party you’re traveling with be sure to sit and speak with other people. You might be surprised at who you might meet.
I had lots of fun on my first cruise. I’m already planning another one with family and friends. I certainly was able to relax and decompress, mission accomplished.
#takemyfoolishadvice live, laugh, eat and be merry. Take lots of pictures and enjoy where you are and who you’re with.