Travel SOS: How do I get the most out of a cruising experience?

Geraldine may finally get to go on her first cruise soon and wants to know how to get the most out of the experience.

Q. Geraldine
My husband and I were preparing to go on our first cruise together in June last year. COVID put paid to those plans, but we have kept hope alive waiting for cruises to restart so we could book something new. With vaccinations finally starting to pick up a little bit of steam, we can see light at the end of the tunnel and are beginning to think we might finally get to take our trip early next year. Do you think this sounds right and do you have any tips for first-time cruisers?

A. The current cruising ban is still in place to September and the Delta outbreak suggests it will probably be extended beyond that, but the four-phase plan released by the federal government with data from the Doherty Institute certainly suggests that you could finally go on your cruise next year, if all goes to plan.

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In terms of cruising tips, there are quite a few pointers I can give you to make sure that you and your husband own your next cruising experience.

My parents were frequent cruisers before the pandemic hit, and one of their best pieces of advice was to arrive at your destination port city at least one day before boarding.

This takes the hassle and worry out of flight days, traffic delays, bad weather or the myriad other problems that can stress you out as you race to the boarding area. I have known my parents to stay in the port city up to a week before departing, but that was at a time when they were living in a regional area; it did make the trip seem like two holidays.

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Another good tip is to take a power board with you on your cruise. Many cabins will have limited power points available, and given the amount of digital equipment we travel with these days, you could find yourself struggling to charge it all in time for your shore excursions. You should also travel with a portable battery pack to help with this problem.

Another good tip is to take all your essentials in a ‘carry-on’ bag. It can take a little while for your luggage to arrive in your room so if you want to freshen up once you are on board, you should plan to have all your home comforts on hand and ready to go.

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Once you are sailing, you should make your way around the ship and take in note of where the restaurants are that you would like to try and other areas of interest.

Timing can also be important when you are planning the activities you want to take part in while at sea.

If you plan on gambling, the casinos are usually less busy during the day, while the pools are much emptier early in the morning, and that is also the ideal time to secure yourself a spot on one of the poolside lounges.

One other way to make sure you have the run of the ship is to skip one or two of the shore excursions and stay on board while the ship empties out. This can give you the run of the spas, pools, casino, whatever takes you fancy without it being too crowded.

The best tip of all, if your cruise finally goes ahead, is to stay safe and enjoy yourself!

Do you have any cruise tips for our members? Why not share them in the comments section below?

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Written by Ben



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