20+ Important Tips and Things to Know for First-Time Cruise Goers

Are you a first-time cruise goer? If so, you’re in luck! Cruzely.com has put together a video filled with over 20 important tips and things to know for your upcoming cruise. The tips cover everything from payment methods and what to bring, to general advice for first-time cruisers. The goal is to help you feel prepared and ready for your cruise experience. In addition to the video, you can find additional resources and information on Cruzely.com. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn all you need to know before setting sail on your first cruise!

Embarking on your first cruise can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. That’s why it’s essential to be well-prepared. Don’t worry, though! Cruzely.com has got you covered with their video featuring 20+ important tips and advice specifically for first-time cruise goers. From understanding how your room key works as a credit card linked to your shipboard account, to knowing what to bring and how to save money during your cruise, these tips will ensure that you’re fully equipped to make the most of your first cruise. So get ready for a memorable voyage and visit Cruzely.com for all the information you need to prepare for your first sailing adventure!

20+ Important Tips and Things to Know for First-Time Cruise Goers

Table of Contents

Payment Methods

Your room key serves as a credit card and is linked to your shipboard account

When it comes to payment methods on a cruise, your room key is your best friend. It doubles as a credit card and is directly linked to your shipboard account. This means that whenever you make a purchase on the cruise ship, whether it’s a drink from the bar or a souvenir from the gift shop, you can simply charge it to your account using your room key. No need to carry around cash or worry about losing your credit card. Just make sure to keep your room key safe and secure throughout your cruise.

Cruise lines charge high prices for drinks, so bring your own alcohol if allowed or do the math on drink packages before purchasing

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to payment on a cruise is the cost of drinks. Cruise lines often charge high prices for alcoholic beverages, so if you’re a fan of a good cocktail or a glass of wine, it’s worth considering some cost-saving options. Some cruise lines allow you to bring your own alcohol on board, while others don’t. If you are allowed to bring your own alcohol, it can be a great way to save money on drinks during your cruise.

Another option to consider is purchasing a drink package. Many cruise lines offer various drink packages that allow you to pay a fixed price for unlimited drinks throughout your cruise. However, it’s important to do the math and determine whether the drink package is actually worth it for you. Consider how many drinks you typically consume in a day and compare the cost of the package to what you would spend if you paid for drinks individually. Sometimes, the drink package can be a great deal, but other times, it may not be worth the price.

Drink bills include gratuities, so double-check before tipping more

When you receive your bill for drinks on the cruise ship, it’s important to take note of the fact that gratuities are often included. Cruise lines typically add a gratuity or service charge to the cost of each drink, so you don’t need to tip extra. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check your bill and ensure that the gratuities have indeed been included. Sometimes, mistakes can occur, and you may be charged more than you should be. By paying attention to your drink bill and double-checking the gratuities, you can avoid accidentally tipping more than necessary.

Rules on What to Bring

You can sail with just a birth certificate and photo ID, but a passport is recommended

When it comes to what documents you need to bring on your cruise, there are a few options. While you can technically sail with just a birth certificate and a photo ID, it is highly recommended to have a passport. Having a passport not only makes the embarkation process smoother but also ensures that you have proper identification in case of any unforeseen circumstances during your cruise. Plus, having a passport allows you the flexibility to explore different ports of call without any issues.

Official port parking lots are convenient but independent lots may offer cheaper options with shuttle service

If you are planning to drive to the cruise port, you may be wondering about parking options. Most cruise ports have official parking lots where you can leave your vehicle for the duration of your cruise. These official parking lots are usually conveniently located near the cruise terminal, making it easy to access the ship. However, they can be quite pricey. If you’re looking to save some money, consider exploring independent parking lots in the area. These independent lots often offer cheaper rates and may even provide shuttle services to and from the cruise terminal. It’s worth doing some research and comparing prices before making a decision.

Bring an outlet adapter for more plug space, but avoid surge protectors

When it comes to packing for your cruise, it’s important to consider your electrical needs. Most cruise cabins have limited outlets, so bringing an outlet adapter can be a lifesaver. An outlet adapter allows you to plug in multiple devices at once, giving you more plug space in your cabin. However, it’s important to note that surge protectors are not allowed on cruise ships for safety reasons. Cruise ships have their own surge protection systems in place, and using personal surge protectors can interfere with these systems. Therefore, it’s best to avoid bringing surge protectors on your cruise.

Upgrade flip-flops to ones with rubberized soles for better grip on wet surfaces

When it comes to footwear on a cruise, flip-flops are a popular choice. They’re great for walking around the pool deck, heading to the beach, or even just strolling around the ship. However, not all flip-flops are created equal. If you want to ensure better grip on wet surfaces, consider upgrading to flip-flops with rubberized soles. These types of flip-flops offer better traction, reducing the risk of slipping and falling. It’s a small investment that can make a big difference in your comfort and safety aboard the ship.

You can’t bring bottles of alcohol purchased in ports back on board, they will be delivered to your stateroom the night before disembarkation

While you may be tempted to purchase bottles of alcohol during your port visits and bring them back on board the ship, it’s important to know the rules. In most cases, you cannot bring bottles of alcohol purchased in ports back on board. However, cruise lines often offer a solution. Instead of carrying the bottles with you, they will be collected and delivered to your stateroom the night before disembarkation. This allows you to enjoy your purchases without breaking any rules or worrying about transporting them throughout your cruise. Just make sure to plan accordingly and leave enough time for the delivery process before you depart the ship.

General Advice

Taking your first cruise can be overwhelming but these tips will help you prepare

If you’re about to embark on your first cruise, it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed. From packing to navigating the ship to understanding the various onboard activities, there’s a lot to consider. However, with the right tips and advice, you can feel confident and prepared for your cruise. This article aims to provide you with comprehensive information to make your cruise experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. So take a deep breath, relax, and get ready for an incredible adventure on the high seas!

Be mindful of noise in your cabin as walls may not provide complete privacy

While cruise ship cabins offer a cozy and comfortable place to rest during your cruise, it’s important to be mindful of the noise level. Cruise ship walls may not provide complete soundproofing, so sounds from neighboring cabins or the hallway can sometimes be heard. To ensure a good night’s sleep, consider bringing earplugs or using a white noise machine to drown out any noise. Additionally, be respectful of your fellow passengers and try to keep noise levels in your own cabin to a minimum, especially during late hours.

Learn the terminology and call it a ship, not a boat

When you’re on a cruise, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with the terminology used on board. One important distinction to remember is that cruise ships are referred to as “ships” and not “boats.” While it may seem like a small detail, it’s actually considered proper cruise ship etiquette to use the correct terminology. So next time you’re talking about your upcoming cruise, make sure to refer to it as a ship. It’s a simple way to show respect and understanding of cruise ship culture.

Cruise line shuttles from the airport to the cruise port are often overpriced, consider using Uber or Lyft instead

If you’re flying to your cruise port and need transportation from the airport to the cruise terminal, be cautious of cruise line shuttles. While these shuttles may seem convenient, they are often overpriced compared to other transportation options. Instead of using the cruise line shuttle, consider using ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft. These services are typically more affordable and offer a more personalized experience. Just make sure to check the availability of Uber or Lyft in the port city you’re visiting, as they may not be available in all locations.

Taking the stairs can be faster than waiting for elevators

When it comes to getting around the cruise ship, there’s one simple tip that can save you time and frustration: take the stairs. While cruise ships are equipped with elevators to help passengers move between decks, they can often be crowded and have long wait times, especially during peak hours. By opting to take the stairs instead, you can bypass the elevator lines and reach your destination faster. Plus, taking the stairs is a great way to get some exercise and burn off those extra calories from all the delicious food you’ll be enjoying on your cruise.

There are no baggage fees on cruises, but be mindful of how much luggage you can handle

One of the great perks of cruising is that there are no baggage fees. Unlike air travel, where you often have to pay extra for checked bags, cruises allow you to bring as much luggage as you can handle within reason. However, it’s important to be mindful of how much luggage you can actually handle. Keep in mind that you’ll need to transport your luggage from the airport to the cruise terminal and then from the cruise terminal to your cabin. Additionally, storage space in cruise ship cabins is limited, so it’s best to pack smart and bring only what you really need. Consider using packing cubes or compression bags to maximize your space and make it easier to manage your luggage.

Plan visits to guest services during off-hours to avoid long lines

At some point during your cruise, you may need to visit guest services for various reasons, such as requesting assistance, inquiring about onboard activities, or resolving any issues that may arise. To avoid long lines and minimize your wait time, it’s best to plan your visits to guest services during off-hours. Typically, the busiest times for guest services are right after embarkation when passengers are still settling in and before major onboard events or activities. By choosing to visit guest services during quieter times, you can save valuable time and make the most of your cruise experience.

Elevators are busy, wait for others to exit before boarding

If you do find yourself needing to use the elevator on the cruise ship, it’s important to remember elevator etiquette. Elevators can often be busy, especially during peak hours, and it’s common for multiple passengers to be waiting to board. To ensure a smooth and efficient elevator experience, it’s best to wait for others to exit before attempting to board. This allows the passengers inside the elevator to easily disembark without any obstacles. By practicing this simple courtesy, you can contribute to a more pleasant and stress-free elevator atmosphere.

Port Tips

Caribbean ports usually accept US dollars, no need to convert currencies

If you’re cruising to the Caribbean, you’ll be pleased to know that most ports in the region accept US dollars. This means that there’s no need to go through the hassle of converting your currency. You can easily use US dollars to pay for goods, services, and even excursions in the Caribbean ports. However, it’s always a good idea to have some small bills handy for any smaller transactions or tipping situations. So whether you’re exploring the local markets, enjoying a delicious meal, or taking part in a fun shore excursion, you can rest assured that your US dollars will be widely accepted.

Itineraries can change, so be prepared for possible port substitutions

One important thing to keep in mind when cruising is that itineraries are subject to change. While cruise lines strive to stick to the planned schedule, there may be situations beyond their control that require adjustments. This can include inclement weather, mechanical issues, or changes in port availability. Therefore, it’s important to be prepared for possible port substitutions. Instead of getting too attached to a specific port, focus on the overall experience and the opportunity to explore new destinations. By maintaining a flexible mindset, you can make the most of your cruise experience, no matter what changes may occur.

Bring warm clothes as it can get chilly on deck and in air-conditioned areas

While you may be picturing sunny and warm weather when you think of a cruise, it’s important to remember that it can get chilly on deck and in air-conditioned areas of the ship. The sea breeze can sometimes be cool, especially in the evenings or during sailaways. Additionally, cruise ship interiors are often kept comfortably air-conditioned, which can sometimes feel cool for those who are sensitive to lower temperatures. To ensure your comfort throughout the cruise, it’s always a good idea to pack some warm clothes, such as a light sweater or jacket. This way, you’ll be prepared for any temperature fluctuations and can enjoy your cruise to the fullest.

Be back on board before the all-aboard time, don’t be a peer runner

One crucial rule to follow when exploring the ports of call is to be back on board the ship before the designated all-aboard time. This is the time specified by the cruise line by which all passengers need to be back on the ship. It’s important to adhere to this deadline to ensure that the ship can depart on time. Don’t be a “peer runner” – someone who is rushing back to the ship at the last minute, holding up the departure process. Make sure to plan your day in port wisely, allowing yourself plenty of time to explore and enjoy the local attractions while still giving yourself enough buffer time to make it back to the ship comfortably.

20+ Important Tips and Things to Know for First-Time Cruise Goers

Dining Tips

Take advantage of opportunities to save money, such as bringing non-alcoholic drinks and ordering multiple items from the dining menu

When it comes to dining on a cruise, there are a few tips and tricks that can help you save money. One easy way to cut down on expenses is to bring your own non-alcoholic drinks on board. Most cruise lines allow passengers to bring a limited amount of non-alcoholic beverages, such as bottled water or soda, on board. By bringing your own drinks, you can avoid purchasing them from the ship’s bars or restaurants, where prices can be quite high.

Another money-saving tip is to take advantage of the dining menu. Most cruise ship dining options offer a variety of items to choose from, and you can often order multiple items in one sitting. So if you can’t decide between two appetizers or want to try multiple desserts, go ahead and order them. This way, you can sample a wider range of dishes without having to pay extra. Just keep in mind that ordering multiple items should be done in moderation to avoid wasting food.

Main dining rooms provide better quality meals than the buffet, but take longer to eat

When it comes to dining options on a cruise, most ships offer both a main dining room and a buffet. While both options can be enjoyable, there are some differences to consider. The main dining room typically offers a higher quality of meals compared to the buffet. The dishes in the main dining room are often more elaborate, and the service is more a la carte. This can result in a more enjoyable dining experience overall. However, it’s important to note that dining in the main dining room tends to take longer. If you prefer a quicker, buffet-style meal, the buffet may be the better option for you. It all depends on your personal preferences and dining priorities.

Gratuities are often included in the cruise fare, so no need to tip at free restaurants, but tip at specialty restaurants and double-check receipts

When it comes to tipping on a cruise, there are some general guidelines to keep in mind. In many cases, gratuities are already included in the cruise fare. This means that there’s no need to tip at the free restaurants on board, such as the buffet or main dining room. However, it’s important to note that if you dine at specialty restaurants that have an additional cover charge, it is customary to tip separately for the service received.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to double-check your receipts when it comes to tipping. Sometimes, an automatic gratuity may be added to your bill, especially for drinks or services provided outside of the main dining areas. By reviewing your receipts and ensuring that the gratuities are correctly accounted for, you can avoid accidentally tipping more or less than you had intended.

Entertainment and Activities

Splurge on shore excursions for unique experiences you won’t forget

One aspect of cruising that many passengers look forward to is the opportunity to explore new destinations through shore excursions. These organized tours or activities can provide unique experiences and help you discover the highlights of each port of call. While some shore excursions can be quite pricey, they often offer extraordinary opportunities that you wouldn’t want to miss. Whether it’s swimming with dolphins, hiking through a rainforest, or taking a scenic helicopter ride, splurging on a shore excursion can create memories that will last a lifetime. So consider setting aside some budget for these special experiences and make the most of your time ashore.

Casino games on cruise ships often have lower payouts, be aware of the odds

If you enjoy trying your luck at casino games, you’ll find plenty of options on cruise ships. However, it’s important to be aware that casino games on cruise ships often have lower payouts compared to casinos on land. This is because cruise ship casinos are typically governed by different regulations and have different financial structures. While the allure of hitting the jackpot can be tempting, it’s important to approach casino gaming on a cruise ship with realistic expectations. Set a budget and gamble responsibly, focusing on the enjoyment of the games rather than the expectation of big wins.

20+ Important Tips and Things to Know for First-Time Cruise Goers

Communication and Internet

Put your phone on airplane mode to avoid high charges, especially if you are roaming or using data

When it comes to using your phone on a cruise, it’s crucial to be mindful of potential high charges. Many cruise ships operate in international waters, which means that your phone may be subject to costly roaming charges if you don’t have an international plan or are not using a local SIM card. To avoid any unexpected charges, it’s best to put your phone on airplane mode as soon as you embark on the ship. This will prevent your phone from connecting to cellular networks and incurring roaming charges. Instead, take advantage of the ship’s Wi-Fi or other communication options provided by the cruise line.

Internet and communication packages on board can be expensive, book ahead for discounts

If you do want to stay connected to the internet during your cruise, it’s important to note that internet and communication packages on board can be quite expensive. Cruise lines typically offer various internet package options, allowing you to access the internet for a set duration or data limit. However, these packages can add up quickly, especially if you’re planning to use the internet extensively. To save money, it’s a good idea to book your internet package ahead of time. Many cruise lines offer pre-cruise discounts for internet packages purchased in advance. By planning ahead, you can enjoy the convenience of staying connected without breaking the bank.

Choosing a Cabin

Interior cabins are cheaper than balcony rooms and are great for shorter cruises

One of the decisions you’ll need to make when booking your cruise is the type of cabin you prefer. Interior cabins are the most basic and affordable option, offering no window or balcony. While they may lack natural light and views, interior cabins can be a great choice if you’re on a budget or planning a shorter cruise where you’ll spend most of your time exploring the ship or enjoying the onboard activities. They provide a comfortable and cozy space to rest and sleep, without breaking the bank.

Balcony cabins may not offer complete privacy, so be mindful when being romantic

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more luxurious and intimate experience, consider upgrading to a balcony cabin. Balcony cabins feature a private outdoor space where you can relax and enjoy the breathtaking views of the ocean. However, it’s important to note that balcony cabins may not offer complete privacy, especially if you have neighbors in neighboring cabins. Be mindful when being romantic on the balcony, as you wouldn’t want to unintentionally invade someone else’s privacy or create an awkward situation. Respect your neighbors and enjoy the balcony responsibly.

Warm clothes as it can get chilly on deck and in air-conditioned areas

Similar to the advice mentioned earlier regarding packing warm clothes, it’s important to remember that even if you have a balcony cabin, it can still get chilly on deck and in air-conditioned areas of the ship. The same sea breeze and air conditioning that can make the pool deck or dining rooms refreshing can also make it feel cooler than expected. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to bring some warm clothes, such as a light sweater or jacket, even if you have the luxury of a balcony cabin. This will ensure that you’re comfortable and can enjoy your balcony experience to the fullest, regardless of the temperature.

20+ Important Tips and Things to Know for First-Time Cruise Goers

Crowd and Cruise Duration

Seven-day or longer cruises tend to attract calmer and quieter crowds

If you’re looking for a more serene and peaceful cruise experience, it’s worth considering the duration of your cruise. In general, longer cruises, such as seven days or more, tend to attract calmer and quieter crowds. This is because passengers on longer cruises often prioritize relaxation and unwinding, rather than constant partying and high-energy activities. If you prefer a more laid-back atmosphere and want to avoid large crowds, a longer cruise may be the perfect option for you. You’ll have more time to explore the ship at your own pace, enjoy quiet moments on deck, and truly unwind while sailing the open seas.


Embarking on a cruise can be an incredible and memorable experience. From exploring fascinating ports of call to enjoying the numerous onboard activities and amenities, a cruise offers something for everyone. By following the tips and advice provided in this article, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable cruise experience. From managing your payment methods to packing wisely, understanding the rules and procedures, and making the most of dining, entertainment, and communication options, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your cruise adventure. So set sail with confidence, embrace the excitement, and get ready for an unforgettable journey on the high seas!

20+ Important Tips and Things to Know for First-Time Cruise Goers

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