10 Tips for First Time Cruisers

Jul 09, 2023
solarium oasis of the seas

Welcome to Byte Size Cruises! We are a travel agency and love sharing tips and tricks for newbie cruisers to make their experiences even more enjoyable. Below are our top 10 tips for first time cruisers. 


1: Don’t worry about cash on board! There is very little you would need cash for on any cruise ship today, nor do you need your debit or credit cards. All payment is done through your room identifier, whether the cruise line gives you a band to wear, a medallion, a room card, etc. All payments for extras will be done through that. Once you are on the ship, the only thing you might need cash for is tipping IF you choose to give cash tips (there is tipping included in your fares.)


2: You do need to bring identification in the form of either your passport OR your birth certificate AND driver's license. We recommend getting your passport because it is far easier to do this than to be carrying your birth certificate around with you. Should anything happen, it is also far easier to replace a passport vs. replacing your birth certificate. 

A second tip with this: take a photo of the front and back of your driver's license and your passport and keep it with you on your phone. Legally this cannot replace physical copies of these documents however if there is a situation while you are at a port and something gets lost, it can be enough to at least get you back onto the ship. 


3: Turn your phone to airplane mode before you leave the port to embark on your cruise. This will keep you from incurring roaming charges on your wireless line while you are away. Need to check email? Connect to WiFi while on the ship without using cellular data. 


4: Watch your noise level! If you’ve never been on a cruise before, you might not know that the rooms are modular and the walls are not thick. Be responsible and respectful with late night partying or kids creating a lot of noise all night in the rooms. If you want to stay up all night, do so in a public area of the ship. 


5: Get Cruise Insurance! This is one of the most polarizing topics we talk about here at Byte Size Cruises and it is one of those things where you don’t need it… Until you REALLY need it. Here’s the thing; we all expect to have an amazing time on a cruise AND the reality is that sometimes emergencies happen that are outside of our control. In a worst case situation, where you need to be airlifted to a hospital off of the ship or you catch an illness while in Mexico, you will be grateful you have cruise insurance. It’s not expensive and we highly recommend everyone get this before going on a cruise.


6: Be prepared for itinerary changes! When you’re on a ship sailing the open seas, sometimes elements outside of the captain's control come up. Whether it’s rocky waters, bad weather, etc. sometimes there will be a need to change the cruise itinerary. That’s okay! The cruise lines are used to making these changes and they will supplement with alternate activities and adventures. 


7: While booking your cruise, don’t waste time searching for the best deal. We recommend talking to a highly rated and recommended travel agent to get both the best rate AND find the best cruise experience for what you are looking for. A travel agent can also help you avoid some other pitfalls and mistakes that can happen when booking solo through a big box site, such as name misspellings, hidden fees, etc.


8: Avoid cruise line transfers! Honestly, they’re a waste of funds and time. We recommend you take a private rideshare vehicle, such as an Uber or Lyft, or a taxi from the airport to the ship and back upon returning. This won’t cost you much more (if any) than the cruise line transfer and it will be far more comfortable for you as well as time efficient. 


9: Looking to cruise on a budget? Choose an older ship! The newest ships on the seas cost more, however you can have an amazing vacation while saving some funds on a ship that is just a few years old. Another option is to go off season, where the rates on all ships will be lower than during the busy time of year. 


10: Don’t bother with Guest Services during the mid-afternoon. It will always be busy! Remember, they’re open 24/7. If you need to visit Guest Services for support or assistance that is not urgent, we recommend you go either early in the morning or late at night to avoid long lines as well as other bothered cruisers. 


Those are our top 10 tips for first time cruisers! Anything you would add? What was your first cruising experience like? Comment below!


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