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Everything You Need To Know Before Going On A Cruise Holiday
Monday 24 April 2023
With the excitement building as that cruise you’ve been waiting for ages finally nears, there are probably a million things whirling through your mind. Should I take a day bag with me? How many pairs of shoes is too much? And where the hell did I put that plug adaptor?
Unfortunately, we can’t help you with all of that’s racing through your head, but what we can do is outline everything you need to know before going on a cruise holiday. From understanding gratuities to what onboard packages are and from entertainment to dress code, we’ve got you covered.
And remember, if there’s anything else you feel we’ve missed that would put your mind at ease, don’t hesitate to contact us. We want you to set off for your cruise with a clear head and unrestrained excitement.
Amazing food - All-inclusive or speciality dining
If you’ve never eaten on a cruise ship, prepare to have your taste buds blown off. Nowadays, cruises provide an exceptional level of food, but exact services vary from company to company.
All-inclusive means just that; the cost of everything you eat on board has already been worked into the total price. These cruises are generally more expensive, but they come with the added bonus of knowing that everything has already been taken care of in one go.
Speciality dining refers to restaurants or bars that are a step up from the usual. These are typically high-end eateries where you’ll experience the very best food available onboard. You can usually pay for meals as you go or purchase a speciality dining package that will include a certain number of meals on your cruise.
The service on cruise ships is almost always second to none. From the moment a porter greets you to take your luggage on Day 1, you’re in for a real treat. Those onboard are experts in knowing and predicting exactly what you might need or want but don’t be afraid to ask if you need anything else.
If you need any advice for onshore activities, head over to the concierge desk, and if you feel there’s anything else you need in your room, don’t be afraid to mention it to the room steward.
Busy Pool Deck
The pool deck on a cruise ship is usually busy with children running around and plenty going on. We know that this is your time to relax and enjoy yourself, but there are a few points that most cruise companies will ask you to adhere to.
Don’t hog the chair - Nobody likes the person who arrives before dawn, puts their towel on a chair, and then doesn’t move for the entire day. These areas are communal and should be shared.
Keep an eye on the children - Screaming children left unattended is enough to drive anybody crazy.
Don’t run - It’s too busy and is often incredibly slippery.
Don’t drink or pee in the pool - Cruise ships don’t want any unauthorised liquids in the pool - whatever they may be.
Stay modest - Speedos and topless sunbathing are generally frowned upon on most cruise ships.
Depending on who you’re cruising with, there will be a wide array of onboard packages you can purchase beforehand or while onboard. This usually means paying for something upfront so you don’t have to make a repeated purchase along the way. These might include:
- Drinks packages
- Fitness Classes
- Speciality Dining
- Spa Packages
- Shore Excursions
- Room service
It’s always a good idea to double-check what is included in your cruise price and what isn’t. Packages certainly make sense if you think you’ll be using them a lot, as they’ll often work out slightly cheaper than buying something individually.
Regarding onboard entertainment, each cruise is slightly different, but generally, they all follow the same pattern. Daytime entertainment will likely include swimming pools, water parks, sports zones, fitness classes, lectures, dance classes, etc.
Evening activities are quite varied and include; cinemas, comedy shows, karaoke, live events, music, casinos, nightclubs, and a whole lot more - but you get the idea. Don’t worry, you’ll never be bored on a cruise ship.
Pack an Embarkation Day Bag
When you arrive on your embarkation day, you’ll typically be greeted by porters who take your main luggage. Just as with hotel rooms, it’s often not possible to go straight to your room, usually because of logistical reasons, with hundreds, if not thousands, arriving simultaneously.
Some cruise liners will give you allotted times to check in, but you are often welcome to arrive beforehand and enjoy the facilities before entering your room. With this in mind, it’s important to bring an embarkation bag with you and include the following:
- Travel documents
- Books, Kindle, etc
- Change of clothes
- Any valuables
The exact details of a dress code will vary between companies, but generally, comfortable and casual is the name of the game during the day, while in the evening, especially if you’ll be dining in a nice restaurant, it’s also a good idea to lean towards the smart casual look. This might mean trousers, a shirt, maybe even a jacket for men, and a dress, blouse, skirt, trousers, etc., for women.
If you’re cruising in a warm climate, you’ll probably be spending a lot of time in your swimsuit, which is absolutely fine, but remember that you’ll usually need to cover up when going inside, and that swimwear is generally unacceptable as restaurant attire.
Gratuities can be a complicated subject and also one that can cause some stress. It’s important that those who work so hard to make your holiday successful are rewarded appropriately, which is why most cruises have a daily gratuity rate added on top of your total cruise fee.
Fees vary from company to company but expect to pay between €13 and €23 per day, depending on the cabin size. Most cruise liners do charge by room, but there are a few exceptions that charge per person. Most companies will ask you to pre-pay your gratuity before leaving, but some will allow you to pay for everything, including gratuity and additional services, at the end of your cruise.
This means that you are not entitled nor expected to give any further gratuities while on the cruise, but anything extra is always much appreciated. Also, remember that pre-paid gratuities only cover services onboard and that when you go ashore, gratuities may be expected, depending on the country.
Travalue.ie offers the ideal cruises, whether you’re a family of 5 or a honeymooning couple at the very beginning of your own journey, so let us do the hard work while you sit back and prepare for the cruise of your dreams.
For more information on all our cruise offers click here.