24 Jun Everything you need to know for your maiden cruise
If you’re about to embark on your first ever cruise then you’ve probably got a ton of questions, ranging from what plug adaptor do I need to take, so how do I bag a seat at the captain’s table for dinner. Whilst we may not be able to help you get onto the captain’s table, in Coverontrip Holidays Insurance we’ve provided answers to some of the most common questions.
So first things first, here’s a quick overview of the boarding procedure so you know what’s what when you arrive on your first day. Your cruise company or tour operator will provide a boarding window of several hours when they send you your boarding documents. Don’t arrive late, as you may be refused to board, just as you would if you arrive late at an airport for flight check-in. When you arrive at the port, you’ll enter the cruise terminal, where you’ll need to show your boarding documents then go through airport-style security.
Checking in and luggage
Once you’ve gone through security you will then check-in, where you’ll need to show your passports and boarding documents, as well as complete a short questionnaire on whether anyone in your party has been sick lately. Here you’ll be given your cruise ID or wristbands, along with information on the itinerary and safety of the ship. Your heavy luggage can also be handed over here, for the ship’s porters to carry to your cabin. Word of advice, your luggage will probably be delivered to your cabin around dinnertime, so pack everything you need until then in your hand luggage, such as swimwear, sunglasses, and sunblock. Once the check-in procedure is complete, you can then join the queue to actually board the ship!
What clothes should I pack?
This is one of the most common questions we hear. Our first piece of advice is to check if your itinerary has any ‘formal’ nights. If so, check the dress code for this, as men will often be required to wear a suit and tie or perhaps a tux, while women may be required to wear cocktail dresses or similar. Also check what the dress code is for regular evenings, such as whether items like shorts, t-shirts and sandals are permitted in the dining rooms. Apart from that, pack the usual items that you would take for the climate, considering all the activities you plan on doing onboard and on land. And don’t bother packing towels for the swimming pools, as these will be provided
Extra tip – most cruise ships do not have irons as they’re a fire hazard, so consider buying some ‘wrinkle releaser’, or alternatively take advantage of the on board laundry service.
How to prevent sea sickness
Today’s modern cruise ships have stabilizers to prevent seasickness, but sometimes a particularly bad storm will cause those without adequate sea legs to feel queasy. There are a number of over the counter medications available to help combat symptoms of seasickness, such as Hyoscine (also known scopolamine) which Superdrug sells under the brand name Kwells. Antihistamines are also used to treat seasickness, such as the brand Stugeron available from Boots. As also, check with your pharmacist or GP before taking any new medication and always read the information leaflet.
You can also buy acupressure wristbands that apply pressure to specific pressure points, to help relieve symptoms and are available from many pharmacies and travel shops. And if the worst comes to the worst, sick bags are available in the corridors when conditions get really bad!
How do I pay for extras on board?
Most cruise companies will block out a limit on your credit or debit card during check-in and will then setup an account for you whilst you’re on board. You can then use your cruise ID or wristband to pay for extras, such as drinks or activities on board the ship. You will then settle the bill when you disembark, just as you would settle the bill for any extras when you check out of a hotel.
Should I book activities before boarding?
You may be able to save money by booking activities such as shore excursions before you board. This also means you can guarantee your place on the activities that you want to do, as many of these fill up quickly, meaning you may miss out if you leave it to the last minute.
Is there WI-FI on board?
Pretty much all cruise ships have WI-FI, but most will make you pay for it. Some charge by the minute whilst others bases their pricing on data usage. Alternatively, some cruise lines now offer ‘social plans’ allowing you to access social media sites and apps for a flat fee per day. It’s best to check the prices with your cruise company before you leave, so you can factor this into your budget.
What type of plug adaptor do I need?
This depends on where the cruise is. If it’s a Caribbean cruise, then the ship will likely have US style plugs, or if it’s a European cruise, then it will most probably have European style plugs. Again, double check with your cruise company, to make sure you bring the correct adaptor.
If you’re going on a cruise anytime soon, don’t forget to buy a holiday insurance policy that covers you for cruising. Here at Coverontrip, we offer a cruise add-on which will cover you if you go on a cruise. Not only will this provide the standard benefits such as emergency medical, cancellation and baggage & money cover, but it also provides cruise specific cover, such as missed port departure, cabin confinement, and unused excursions.
Get a quote today from Coverontrip for cruise holiday insurance and see how we compare.